The Happy Ballroom, Tom Jones and more 24th April 1965 by Andre Martin


Andre Palfrey-martin collection

What a great weekend we have just had with the Easter Bank Holidays, we will now have to wait another 6 weeks before anything like this again, remembering back The Happy Ballroom on Hastings Pier, 50 years ago. It is now Saturday 24th April 1965, and the mood has changed with the entertainments in the Ballroom, this is going to be one of those weekends that we see future stars appearing for us { ed that the benefit of my crystal ball ] Topping the bill this week is an up and coming welsh vocalist who has been wooing the ladies, called Tom Jones with his backing band The Squires. Well supported by a new local group the Saxtet 65.
Along the promenade, The Witch Doctor is maintaining a good 7 day a week provision of the best in current music and live entertainments, this week we kick off on Saturday with The Quiet Five and the Diamonds, both of which have appeared in the Happy Ballroom at some time. Sunday it was R&B Club –The Mike Cotton Sound. Friday is going to be a big night for the club with the Belfast group –DECCA Recording act – featuring Van Morrison – THEM making their first appearance. And what a night it was, the venue was packed and the temperature just rose, I am not sure that the air conditioning had not broken down, but a simple description would have been “ it was Hot, Damned Hot “ In support were Folkestone’s own The Lonely Ones. That was another good week for us all.
Our Friday ritual of Ready Steady Go, had kicked off the weekend, this week with Cathy and Keith we were entertained by – Cilla Black “Ive been wrong before” : Tom Jones “ Once Upon a Time” :John Mayalls Bluesbreakers : Moody Blues : and The Paramounts. Another good line up.
Over on the BBC – Radio was filling the airwaves with some good stuff – Saturday Club with Brian Matthews this week included The Kinks : The Seekers : The Ivy League : Rockin Berries : Keith Powell : Lulu & The Luvvers . Later in the day Saturday Swings with Betty Smith : Tony Knights Chessmen : Jerry Allen Trio and Ronnie Brewster. Bruce Wyndham, in the chair spinning the records. Brian Matthews was back with Top Gear – described in the Radio Times as “Express delivery of Pop Packages and Discs, this week featured Dionne Warwick : Bobby Vee : Zoot Money Roll Band and The Lady Birds.
Sunday it was Easy Beat in the morning, and on the show this week Tom Jones [ Oh! He made it back from Hastings alright !!] Julie Grant : The Countrymen : The Atlantics and new releases played by Keith Fordyce.
Television on Saturday had us watching Juke Box jury with David Jacobs, and his panel this week included Val Doonican, Judy Huxtable, Peter Murray, Julie Rogers. Over on ITV we had Brian Matthews and Thank Your Lucky Stars – on this week’s show – The Zombies, Freddie & The Dreamers, Herman’s Hermits, Lulu & The Luvvers and the Moonstones.
Other mentions from the BBC radio schedules for the week, that some might find of interest, Thursday 1.00pm The Beat Show featuring Zoot Moneys Roll Band. And on Friday at the same time the Joe Loss pop Show, with special guest artiste – Tom Jones.
It does seem that we are getting back to the old days in Hastings, with presenting tomorrows future stars and current chart groups – long may it live!
Just leaves me to say a Big Thank you to an old friend and fellow DJ Colin Bell – for getting me tickets last night (Sunday) for the Sixties Show at the Congress, Eastbourne. It was a great night, and topped by both P P Arnold and Chris Farlowe with their duet – “ Private Number “ and not forgetting Mike Pender of Searchers fame with his set, I reminded him earlier that night in the Bar about last weeks (1965) appearance in The Happy Ballroom, for the Carnival Queen Dance, he asked me – “Hastings ? Is that where the Ballroom is at the wrong end of the Pier” ?? – Spot on Mike.
Also, what a great Saturday with the AGM of the Pier Trust and the update as to where they are in the programme and what we can look forward to in the coming months and it gets nearer the official Opening in Easter 2016. Till next week – you all take great care with yourselves, and watch out for all the events for the May Day Celebrations.
Andre Palfrey-Martin © 2015

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