Several people have been in touch asking – “What has happened to the History of the Happy Ballroom etc “ for many reasons I have been unable to write the weekly blog for a while, but now things are sorted, it back to telling about Hastings and our lives of 50 years ago. This weekend is Saturday 18th June 1966 – and what a week this was to be, with the big event coming along on Friday with the College Rag week all-nighter, but more of that later. The Pier was in a quiet time, gathering up for the busy summer season that would have a whole range of weekly entertainments starting in July, included this was the new Sunday Club, that would be a challenge to the Witch Doctor with the groups booked incluing Zoot Money,The Yard Birds and The Who to name a few.
Our Friday Night Ritual would have kicked off with Ready Steady Go and amongst the acts booked were Chris Farlowe & The Thunderbirds –“ Out Of Time”, The Hollies – “Bus Stop”, Gene Pitney – “Nobody Needs Your Love” and Herman’s Hermits – “The Door swings Both Ways”. As usual the show was kept moving along with Keith and Cathy.
Down in St Leonards The Witch Doctor had “The Loose Ends “ topping the bill on the Saturday night, the rest of the week was the usual mix of records/disco and the ever popular Steve Maxted on Thursday Night, although I know that his crowds would be reduced this week, because of the competition offered in The Happy Ballroom.
On the Radio, BBC Light programme was following its usual mix of programmes including Saturday Club with Brian Mathew and his guests, this week including Dave, Dee, Dozy, Beaky,Mick & Tich. Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames, The Downliners Sect and Los Bravos. Jack Jackson was spinning his records and Saturday Swings featured The Hollies. This was also the weekend of the 24hours Le Man Motor racing and reports from France were popping up all the time. On the Sunday we had Easy Beat, Two Way Family Favourites, The Ken Dodd Radio Show, Val Doonican, Semprini Serenade,Top of the Pops. Movie Go-Round and later in the evening Jazz Scene. Television, was the mix of films, variety and dramas, On Saturday Juke Box Jury was hosted by David Jacobs and his guests this week Richard Anthony, Ernestine Anderson, Sam Costa and Anne Nightingale. Likewise Sunday format was very much the same as each week, with the addition transmission of the Motor racing at many times over the weekend.
Over on the Pirate Stations, and new voice was heard on Sunday 19th June 1966 presenting the Fab Forty for the first time – Tony Blackburn. That weekend the top 5 included – Kinks : Sunny Afternoon, Ike & Tina Turner : River Deep Mountain High, The Animals : Don’t Bring me Down, Beatles : Paperback Writer and Four Seasons : Opus 17[Don’t you worry ‘bout Me.] On the good ship Radio Caroline, that weekend the charts would have included Beatles: Paperback Writer, Yardbirds – Over Under Sideways Down, Ike & Tina Turner – River Deep-Mountain High, Cilla Black- Don’t Answer Me and Tom Jones – Once There was a Time. We would be getting a visit from one of the Radio London DJs later in the week. This lead to the Rag weekend All Nighter and associated events on the Pier. We started off on the Thursday with an up and coming arties from London – Chris Farlowe with the Thunderbirds – he had just released “Out of Time” and that was starting to climb the charts, although we did not have a big crowd it was an excellent time, and his support act The In-Crowd did us well. Now for the BIG Event, this was going to be the first “All Nighter” as we when through from 9.00pm – 7.00am as First! The Line Up George Fame & The Blue Flames, Unit Four Plus Two, Tony Rivers & The Castaways and The Defiants, and compared by Radio London’s Earl Richmond. The venue was packed and the night was a great success, at one point I thought we might have had a problem, when Georgie Fame started his set, and hit the Hammond Organ – nothing but a loud bang! No music – it did not want to work, so he simply picked up an acoustic guitar and carried on. When we eventually sat down for breakfast and saw the dawn coming up over the sea, it was a great moment. Everything had gone well and we still had a full days entertainment to look forward to, and at some point to get some sleep, before the show started again… but more about that next week. It does not seem like 50 years ago, but it was, until next week you all take care and enjoy the summer – if we see anything that looks like Summer –Andre Palfrey-Martin©2016
Mick Bolton… I just sent this to Tony Rivers. He was really pleased to see that he was on Hastings Pier 50 years ago next weekend. He now lives in Spain and still performs regularly. Incidentally he was the voice on the theme tune to Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads. And he was one of Cliff Richards backing singers for many years. Saw them in ’67 when I was a student at a college in Twickenham – also Tony Rivers’ later band Harmony Grass.
Andy Qunta… Fantastic report, Andre, and what great memories it brings back! Thanks!