The Happy Ballroom and more 28th March 1965 by Andre Martin

In the 12 months that I have been producing this weekly History of The Happy Ballroom, I have noticed a change in the artistes that have been appearing weekly for the entertainment of the dancers in Hastings. What I find quite interesting is the different types of bands and groups that have made Saturday Nights important, and have offered a selection of both National and local “names”. This week we have the Gordon Rider Band in the Happy Ballroom, offering a wide range of dance music, unfortunately there is never any more information in the press, that might fill in the gaps of just what was happening some 50 years ago, which as a historian I find disappointing.
The Witch Doctor in Marine Court, goes from strength to strength with a full weekly programme of both live groups and records – not yet called disco! This was a good week as Saturday Nights Top of the Bill – Dave Dee, Dozy, Beeky, Mich and Tich and in support Denny Mitchell Soundsations, 7.30pm to 11.45pm and all for 6/- [30 pence in today’s money]. Sunday Club was to be a big draw, as this week we have a visit from ZOOT MONEYs BIG ROLL BAND. Friday night’s attraction was Trendsetters Ltd, another popular group with a good following in the south. Records filled the rest of the week, with a range of entry charges between 1/- to 1/6d – value for money!!
The weekend would have kicked off, as it always did with a visit via TV to Kingsway London and the Studio of Ready Steady Go – setting the scene as it were for the rest of the weekend. On tonight show we had some classic acts – The Drifters “At the Club” : The Supremes “ Stop in the Name of Love” : Moody Blues “ I Don’t want to go on without you” also we had the Checkmates, Cathy and Keith to keep it all moving. {Ed 2 of my personal all time favourites}
This was the time that the Tamla Motown Review was playing venues in the UK, so we were to get a lot of exposure on both Radio and Television and of course the Pirates would be able to happily play all their releases without the problems of needletime.
BBC Radio was even with the restrictions imposed by “the Management “pushing out some good sounds. Saturday Club with Brian Matthews this week featured The Supremes, Gerry & The Pacemakers, Susan Maughan, The Overlanders, Zoot Moneys Big Roll Band, The Checkmates and The Reg Tilsey Group. 2.00pm Saturday Swings with Helen Shapiro, The Raindrops, The Searchers, The Raindrops, came live this week from the Daily Mail Ideal Homes Exhibition. Brian Matthews was back at 4.00pm with Top Gear and this week the Tamla Motown influence continued with Martha Reeves & The Vandellas, The Miracles {not yet listing Smokey Robinson} and Cliff Bennett & The Rebel Rousers.
On Sunday Easy Beat – featured Bobby Vee, Georgie Fame & the Blue Flames, The Barron Knights, The Johnny Howard Band and with a few new releases played by Keith Fordyce.
Television that weekend featured many of the regular programmes, Z Cars, Dr Who, and Dixon of Dock Green. From the musical elements, for those who liked Dance Music, Saturday Night featured many of the well know Dance Bands from such venues as the Lyceum in London, various Butlins Holiday Camps etc. The pop music input would be such as Juke Box Jury with David Jacobs on his panel this week – Peter Carver, Roy Castle, Marlene Laird and Joan Turner. Brian Matthews {yes he pops up again} on ABC with Thank Your Lucky Stars and Dave Berry, Chuck Jackson, Rolling Stones, Susan Maughan, Bobby Vee and Janice Nicholls. Easter is just around the corner, and we will see some extra attractions in the Happy Ballroom, and perhaps some better weather, which 50 years ago, was nothing very special – Wet and Windy is a simple description. It was great when researching this week all those years ago, to see and remember from the great artistes that were appearing in Hastings and in the media {we never called it that back then – Radio & TV would be the normal description}
Coming back to the present, it was really great to hear Brian Matthews going strong on Saturday Morning with SOTS and meeting up with some old friends at The Hub { Hastings Pier Project Information Point } with our Musical Weekend that continues on Sunday. Until next week have a good few days and take care of your selves – not TOO MANY CHOCOLATE EGGS!    Andre Palfrey-Martin©2015

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