The Happy Ballroom and more – 12th April 1965 by Andre Martin

The Happy Ballroom will this week 50 years ago be holding the South Eastern Young Conservatives Dance according to the Hastings Observer and tickets are available from the Toll House. No more information about the band or was this to be a “togetherness event” bringing back the romance to the Pier. Watch out for next week, as we see the return to Hasting Pier of The Searchers, plus local attractions Saxtet 65.
The weekend had started well with, Ready Steady Go, now in the hands of Cathy McGowan and new fellow compare David Goldsmith. There had been a recent policy change, and now acts appeared live, this week The Animals – “Bring it on home to me”: Madeline Bell “Daytime” and together they gave a very powerful rendition of “ C C Rider”: Dave Berry “Little Things” : Goldie & The Gingerbreads –“Can’t you hear my heartbeat”: Roger Miller “ King of the Road” : Rolling Stones “ Everybody needs somebody to Love” “Pain in my heart” “I’m allright” and “The Last Time” and now the regular back-up from the Breakaways and The Johnny Spencer Orchestra. The St Leonards answer to the Scene – The Witch Doctor, was building up to the Bank Holiday Weekend, with on Saturday on of the most popular groups of the circuit – John L Watson & the Hummelflugs plus Dave Lee and the Rebounds. Sunday Club, new to the south-east, The Falling Leaves and Friday [Good Friday] Dusty Springfield’s backing group – The Echoes. The rest of the week,” Great Record Nights” with the regular team of platter spinners. I know for many that have fond memories of this time, Radio was so important and perhaps we did not realise at the time, there was a lot on offer, Pirate Radio and Radio Luxemburg were aimed more at the Teen age market, but the BBC were putting out some interesting programme. Saturday morning it would be 10.00am on The Light Programme – Saturday Club, with Brian Matthews – and this week he introduced Adam Faith, Freddie & the Dreamers, Martha Reeves & the Vandellas, Animals, Roulettes, Silkie, the Sound of Jimmy Nicols and the Tommy Sanderson Orchestra. In the afternoon, Saturday Swings – Tom Jones & the Squires, Lita Roza, Dick Jordan and the Bill Rayner Quartet with Bruce Wyndham spinning some discs. This was followed at 4.00pm by “an express delivery of Pop Packages and Discs” with Top Gear, with Brian Matthews in charge and this week featuring the Supremes and the Temptations plus the Yardbirds. Later that night at 11.00pm amongst Pete Murray’s guests on “Late Night Saturday” was Cliff Richard talking and playing tracks from his new LP “Cliff Richard & The Shadows”
Sunday regulars were 10.31am Easy Beat with Keith Fordyce and this week his guests included Kenny Ball & his Jazzmen, Doris Troy [ed -calm down Colin] the Lorne Gibson Trio with the Johnny Howard Band. Later in the day after our visit to London and Cologne with this weeks 2 Way Family Favourites, at 2.00pm The Ken Dodd Show with a special appearance of the Doddy Men – sorry I was carried away – I mean The Swinging Blue Jeans.Television regulars on Saturday: “Juke Box Jury” with David Jacobs, and this week’s guests – Hermione Gingold, “that most Happy Fella” Stubby Kaye, Tom Springfield and Dionne Warwick. Over on the Commercial channel “Thank your Lucky Stars” in the capable hands of Brian Matthews featured: The Kinks, Gerry & the Pacemakers, Donovan, the Seekers, the Walker Brothers and Alan David, and dear Janice still adding up the scores. Next weekend would be a Bank Holiday, and I know that some people were wondering if trouble would return to this quiet part of the Sussex coast, would we see Mods and Rockers back? Certainly nothing had been mentioned in the local press about any preparations, so it was down to speculation which was all very low key. Time will tell, for some, it was starting to think about looking for a summer season job, as that was not that far away, I recall filling form for a job with Butlins – but that as they say is another story. Until next week, and another instalment of The Happy Ballroom on Hastings Pier, the true story of what was happening for us in Hastings & St Leonards !

Andre Palfrey-Martin©2015


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