all cuttings Andre Palfrey-martin collection
The month of June 1964 continues to be fairly warm if not a little wet, and here we are again on Hastings Pier eager to make our trip to the Happy Ballroom, for tonight on the bill be have the ever popular Barron Knights and support comes from a Eastbourne group who we have seen many times before The Sabres.
Hailing from Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire when they started in 1959, they were a straight pop group, and spent a couple of years touring and playing in UK dance halls, before the obligatory trip and time in Hamburg, West Germany. In 1963, at the invitation of Brian Epstein, they were one of the support acts on The Beatles’ Christmas shows at the Finsbury Park Astoria in London, and later became one of the few acts to tour with both the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. They first came to fame in 1964 with the number “Call Up the Groups” (Parts 1 and 2). It overcame copyright restrictions and parodied a number of the leading pop groups of the time including the Searchers, Freddie and the Dreamers, the Dave Clark Five, the Bachelors, the Rolling Stones, and the Beatles. The song imagined the various artists singing about being conscripted, or “called up” into the British Army, although actual conscription had ended in 1960. The single released in the summer of 1963 entered the charts in July that year climbed to number 3 and remained in the charts for 13 weeks. As an example, the song “Bits and Pieces” by The Dave Clark Five was parodied as “Boots and Blisters”. It is quite on the cards that this number could have been introduced to the audience in The Happy Ballroom on this appearance, and as such we could have been some of the first to see the new format of Comedy from the Boys.
Back in the last 1970s, I worked many times with the group when they appeared in Cabaret in various clubs and service bases in this country, and their act by then included a lot of sketches and one liners that had been part of their Television Shows in the UK.
As with so many groups at this time, there were alway changes, and sometimes tracking down their histories is difficult, because, people at the time never kept details, photographs, datesheets etc. The Sabres, who for several years had entertained us in the south-east were about to reinvent themselves and become The Shelley and it was from mid 1964 that these changes would take place, and we would see this happen ……. But more about later in the year.
Many of you who have been following the weekly History of the Happy Ballroom, have asked about other musical experiences that effected us in the town and would have had an impact on the Pier – things will be shortly changing – but of that in a few weeks. However, for many of the young people at the time, Friday night would have meant one thing – Rediffusion TV and “ Ready Steady Go”. If you were lucky enough to have cable television in your home, this made it possible to tune to London ITV and experience this weekly 30 minute show, with Keith Fordyce and Cathy McGowen introducing some of the current pop acts, on Friday 12 June, The Dave Clark Five – “Can’t You See That She’s Mine?”, Peter and Gordon – “Nobody I Know.” Jimmy Powell and The 5 Dimensions .and Dusty Springfield, one of the great regulars.
That would have certainly started off the weekend well for us all …………….till the next episode of the History Happy Ballroom, make the most of the Sunshine and take a look at how the rebuilding work is moving along at a great rate – well done all involved. …………………… Andre Martin
John Storer….The Barron Knights were the first “live” band I ever saw. Later that year (1964) they had a residency with Bertram Mills Circus at Olympia and we went on a cub scout outing to see them around Christmas ’64. I had always thought that the next live band I saw was Budgie on the Pier (when they were supporting Genesis) .
Jenny Walker…..I saw them at Bertram Mills Circus when I was about 10, I was so in awe of them as they were great. This was my first live band.
Stuart Moir…..Supported them with the original Centre Page many years ago .
Cindy Goodhand-Knight… There for that,and loved the Sabres
Gill Harrod.. Didn’t see them on the pier we went over to Kings Country Club in Eastbourne!
Andre Martin… Worked with them many times at Kings, they really knew how to play to the crowd!!