Sounds Incorporated & Gene Bennett and The Initials – Hastings Pier 6th June 1964 by Andre Martin



Andre Palfrey-martin collection

Its Saturday 6th June 1964 and for the History Fans of 50 years ago we are again at the Happy Ballroom on Hasting Pier, for what looks like being another great night – top of the bill today are Sounds Incorporated, making yet again another visit to us here on the South coast, and in support Gene Bennett and the Sidewinders, a truly value for money show – for those who would like to know 6/- on the door [30p] and this would also have included FREE admission to the pier and all the attractions along the way from the toll house and the Ballroom – again what value, if you were good you could also have fitted in a game or two of BINGO !
Sounds Incorporated formed in Early 1961, in Dartford, Kent, and gained a local reputation in nearby South London for the fullness of their saxophone-led instrumental sound. In August 1961, after Gene Vincent’s band, The Blue Caps, had been denied permission to work in the UK, they won the opportunity to back Vincent on his British tour and on recordings in London. This led to further opportunities to back other visiting American artists, including Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Brenda Lee and Sam Cooke.[1]
Their first two singles on new label Columbia, “The Spartans” written by Russ Conway and “Spanish Harlem” co-written by Jerry Leiber and Phil Spector and originally released by Ben e King in early 1960 made the UK Singles Chart in 1964 but these were the only successes in this country. That year also saw their becoming Cilla Black’s backing band; they supported her recently on her appearance in The Happy Ballroom. And the recording of their first album which incidentally coincided with this visit to Hastings, called Sounds Incorporated containing many stage favourites, although not their chart successes. Their third Columbia single was included and turned out to be their greatest success in Australia, their version of the “William Tell Overture” reached No2. So it is clear to see the musical background to this outfit that made them very popular wherever they performed and from all account this was a sell out that weekend in the Happy Ballroom. For technical reasons I have flipped the “Spanish Harlem” single today and have included the b side – “Rinky Dink” –
Of the Supporting act – Gene Bennett & The Sidewinders, as with so many of these outfits very little is known other then they were from Ipswich in Suffolk, and have been described as a rockabilly 5 piece that were kept busy on the Ballroom circuit in the south and London.    Andre Martin

Mick Law…  I was Gene Bennett, but it should be Gene Bennett and the Initials.

Alan Esdaile… Thanks for updating Mick. Photo below.


Gene Bennett and The Initials. Photo from Mick Law Facebook page.

Leave a comment