Tony Rivers and The Castaways & The King Bees – Hastings Pier 31st Oct 1964. from Andre Martin

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Andre Palfrey-martin collection

Andre Martin…That has been a very busy weekend, with the prospect of Trick or Treat, the Bonfire Societies lighting up the skies in Sussex, and the Herring Festival in the Old Town. And so it was another very busy weekend in Hastings at The Pier Ballroom and around – The Date is Saturday 31st October 1964. The Happy Ballroom was presenting a group that would become well known to Hastings – Tony Rivers & The Castaways and in support the King Bees – another London group that have well known members over the years. Tony Rivers & The Castaways, were one of a breed of groups that during the 1960s, would work the length and breadth of the country, clubs, ballrooms, pubs & service bases, building up a regular following. The boys were based in London, and were well known for the close harmony numbers that featured in their act. There were several releases over the coming years, that although did not make high chart entries, they did provide a lot of fans with an excellent collections or covers and original material. This appearance on The Happy Ballroom was to be the first of the visits to the town and to other music venues. Tony and his outfit, have often been described as “ a groups, group” because of the following amongst musicians.
The King Bees did at one time have a certain Davie Bowie in their line up, but by the time they appeared on the Pier, he had left the group to move onto other outfits.This was to be the last “Young Peoples “group appearing in the Happy Ballroom on a Saturday Night for a while, as the Pier Management, had decided to move away from the Pop market and bring back “more romantic dancing & music provision “and this would be the policy from the end of November – but I can give you more details in the coming weeks.
I mentioned that this had been a busy weekend, and it started off with Friday Nights ITV – Ready Steady Go, and for 30th October, the programme would include –The Dixie Cups, The Kinks – “All Day and All Of The Night”, and Sugar Pie Desanto –“ I don’t Wanna Fuss” – presented by Keith Fordyce and Cathy McGowan. For many this would have been the start of Friday Night, because at the local College – HCFE – there was the Halloween Rave in the Gyms, and topping the bill: A Band Of Angels fronted by Mike d’Abo. In support were a Blues and R&B outfit called The Brood, with one Noel d’Abo on Bass – Mike and the boys had called at the Disc Jockey in the afternoon and had their photo taken for the press with owner Alan Jensen.
The Witch Doctor presented another great week of entertainment, Saturday it was the visit to St Leonards on – Lorraine Grey, Tony Dee and The Shakeouts and Ray Clevelands, plus records – all for 6/-. The Sunday Club, continued with Top R&B acts, this week it was Little Walter and Scotland’s top R&B outfit The Johnny Hudson Four. An extra special Thursday Night was planned with a 5th November Bonfire Rave – 1/6 – although at this time, there was no live flames in the club !!!!! and the week ended with Friday at the return of The Habit. Radio and Television were providing some good entertainment for us all, in addition to Radio Caroline and Radio 208, The Light Programme on Saturday had on offer – Saturday Club [10.00am] Brian Matthews introduced amongst others – The Dixie Cups, Sugar Pie Desanto, Tornados, The Federals and the Blue Aces. Saturday Swings [2.00pm] with Don Wardell presented The Searchers, Mark Wynter, Jackie Trent, The Petty Things, The Kestrells and Sheila Buxton. On the Sunday morning Easy Beat [10.30] it was Keith Fordyce and The Barron Knights, Freddie and The Dreamers, Julie Grant and The Johnny Howard Band. Later that afternoon 5.00pm would have been Top of the Pops with Alan Freeman. Television presented for us – Saturday Juke Box Jury with David Jacobs in the chair, and poised with hands of the bell or buzzer would have been Petula Clark, Marianne Faithfull, Stubby Keye and Don Wardell. Earlier in the week – David Jacobs had presented the week’s Top of the Pops on Thursday Evening – just in time to go either the The Teenage Dance or Twist Time on the Pier or the Thursday Record show at the Witch Doctor. A new chapter in the History of the Happy Ballroom is about to start……………………………………watch out for more details next week.     Andre Martin

Mick O’Dowd… Has anybody else noticed that the last 2 weeks on The Pier have both had bands connected with a certain Mr Bowie/Jones? The Konrads & The King Bees. Was he here at any of these. He didn’t appear here as Bowie, but….

Andre Martin… according to the write up on both these groups. he did not have any connections at the time of the appearances on Hastings Pier – it could simply be that these support bands we booked from the same agency

Mick Knights… I  saw Tony Rivers several times at the Witch Doctor and we’re my favourite live band at the time, their Beach Boys covers were spot on and the first band to my knowledge to perform good vibrations on stage.

Tony Rivers… Hi Mick, Good to know we were your fave band ‘live’, Hastings Pier and the Witchdoctor were great places to play.

Andre Martin… I would agree on that, great guy to work with, great band on stage.

1 thought on “Tony Rivers and The Castaways & The King Bees – Hastings Pier 31st Oct 1964. from Andre Martin”

  1. Hi Mick,
    Good to know we were your fave band ‘live’, Hastings Pier and the Witchdoctor were great places to play.
    Tony Rivers.


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