Mike Berry & The Innocents – Hastings Pier Sat 20th June 1964 by Andre Martin



all cuttings  Andre Palfrey-martin collection

The next episode of the History of the Happy Ballroom – Hastings Pier, takes us almost midsummer in 1964 – its Saturday 20 June and Bob Knights and brought back one of the most popular acts that regularly appeared in Hastings – Mike Berry and the Innocents, backed with Chris Star and the Orbits.
Mike Berry started off as “Kenny Lord and The Statesmen” and then became “Mike Berry & The Outlaws” before “Mike Berry and The Innocents.”
“The Innocents” were originally a band called “‘Bobby Angelo & The Tuxedos” who had backed Mike once or twice. When ‘Don’t You Think It’s Time’ made it into the charts, Mike needed a band so offered them the job. The change in name came about when the guys were travelling in the group van one day to rehearsals. They were suddenly surrounded by police at traffic lights near their manager’s office thinking five young guys in a van looked suspicious. Whilst being questioned, their manager came along to explain who they were and that they were quite ‘innocent,’ and so the name was born!
The original Outlaws date back to 1961 when they, as members of the then recently disbanded ‘Billy Gray & The Stormers’, reformed without Billy, on the promise of better things to come in the shape of a recording contract from the legendary producer Joe Meek, initially to back his newly signed artist Mike Berry. As it transpired, when Joe realised what a talented bunch they were, he was very keen to get them to record in their own right, as well as back virtually every other solo artist under Joe’s control. Including Carter-Lewis, Gunilla Thorne, Michael Cox, Jess Conrad, Freddie Starr, Dave Kaye, Dave Adams (Burr Bailey,Silas Dooley Jr) and Houston Wells (Andy Smith) among others.
The Innocents became to the Joe Meek Organisation what Earl Van Dyke & the Soul Brother were to Motown.
They had several singles early in their career – including a cover of the Goffin & King classic – Will You Still Love Me tomorrow http://youtu.be/7wea1hYNP6A
the one that really put them on the map as Mike Berry & The Outlaws – A tribute to Buddy Holly http://youtu.be/5IQhJ-VVGyo
A month earlier The Outlaws had achieved, backing another Meek’s protégé, singer John Leyton on his number one hit ”Johnny Remember Me”.
A further hit came from the same producer Joe Meek in 1964 with http://youtu.be/kgNbN9mPiW4
This again was an example of how The Happy Ballroom was bringing down to Hastings some of the most popular and entertaining acts available in the country for its young people.
Again – The Chris Star Orbits, have proved a complete mystery, I wonder sometimes with these support bands, if they are simply a bunch of musicians that have been put together for the show, using an existing name .. Does sound a little like something promoters and producers would do when pushed.
Several people were interested to know about the new feature on these weekly posts – who appeared on ITVs READY STEADY GO the Friday Night before – in this case it would be 19th JUNE– I can confirm, we would have seen the Animals – The House of the Rising Sun, being promoted as it was due for release the following Thursday, and we all know what happened with that single ! – The Crickets, who were touring the UK at the time and promoting (They call her) LA BAMBA and Troy Dante & The Infernos who were currently supporting the Crickets on their UK tour. Andre Martin

Catherine Ireland… I remember making a commercial with Mike Berry. For Cadburys drinking chocolate with Elaine Delmar not sure which year.

Paul Burnett Radio One Show – Hastings Pier 17th June 1978

Ian Mantel… Loved the wrestling at the Pier and White Rock Pavilion as a kid

Martin Richter… met peter powell – my girlfriend had to rescue me !

John Austin… Got up on stage with Peter Powell, invited me up to Radio 1 the following week to be on his Saturday morning show !

Jane Hartley… Peter Powell also did a show in Bonita’s

Dubious Connections – 1979 photo by Chris Meachen

1385864_10201636236861973_1460437997_nphoto by Chris Meachen

Mick Mepham…..Farid Seddiki (hope it’s the right spelling) on drums but don’t know anyone else except Min.

Martin Blackman….I think it’s an old friend of mine called Alamo Leal, a Brazilian guy who used to live in Hastings in the 70’s good blues player now back living in Brazil

John Wilde….Yep Martin it is in fact Alamo Leal. Spoke with him last week. He is doing very well and playing constanly.

Glenn Piper….Wow, thanks for clearing that up for me John.

Alamo Leal….My first ever band in Hastings, 1979. We called Dubious Connections, and the name was spot on. We were quite a mixed connection. Freddie(from Marroco) on drums; Min on sax; we had Paul”The Viscount” Gumble on guitar there on the right , and Big Roy, behind Min, on bass. If I’m not mistaken, this one was taken at the Etchingham Arms, when we supported Tiche’s band, The Roaring 80’s. We were doing some straight Chuck Berry and Chicago Blues stuff. Love it ! It was the night Jeff Beck turned up, cause he lived nr by the Pub, and after the gig we took him to Tiche’s party at the small cottage in the Fairlight Green wher he lived with Judy, maybe her birthday or something like that.  John Wilde was there with us. He’s got some funny memories from that night.

Andy Qunta… I miss Min!

Tony Qunta… Yes Min was a one off!

The School Recorder – Who’s still got the book and remembers playing this?

Josie Lawson… I did, was pretty good too.In those days could even read the music notes. Went on stage at school. Wanted to upgrade to the treble recorder but money was scarce in those days so never did. Didn’t realise my love of music even though grew up with it in family life so when left school the recorder was left behind . I loved playing the recorder, why do times change, as I got older, I lost the art, but I did go into trying the guitar with a metronome but gave up, hurt my fingers…

John Austin… Yes, badly lol

Martin Richter… I was thumbing through my copy just the other day!

Lucy Pappas… Still got my book, too x  Had a few incarnations of recorders x

Julie Morris… Still got mine -and book 2!

Phil Gill… Me!

Chris Giles… Me

Peri Ann Haste… Me

Steve Cooke… Me

Jan Warren… I’ve still got 2 recorders and the book!!

Joe Knight… LONDONS BURNING!!!!!

Kevin Burchett… yes and i can still play that after all these years but its the only thing though

Yvonne Cleland…  Oh yes! We had a recorder band at West St. Leonards

Terry Pack… I had this book and a recorder. Couldn’t get a note out of it. The music teacher let me sing the exam because all I could get were squeaks out of the recorder. I love the sound of recorders played well.

Leigh Wieland-Boys… Have got a recorder (not the original) & can still play ‘Go and tell Aunt Rosie’, Hot Cross Buns, Men of Harlech & The Young Ones by Cliff Richard!

Pete Prescott… I was useless and still would be !

Martyn Baker… I was an atheist even then, but I loved playing “All Glory Laud and Honour” in C.



Jazz Combo photos 1959 and more from John Gale

all supplied by John Gale.

John Gale… Here is the Jazz Combo lineup from the poster I posted last week of the 1959 gig St Mary’s Hall( later known as All Saints Church Hall) , All Saints Street, Thursday 16th July …..

Photo 1)my dad Tony Gale (drums), Paul Goddard (Trombone), Mick Davies (Clarinet), John Evans (Tea chest base), Kenny Easton (Trumpet) and John Miles (Piano).

Photo 2)
Same but different order,, John Evans, Paul Goddard, Mick Davies, Tony Gale (hidden almost), Kenny Easton and John Miles

Photo 3) Harvey shops (guitarist), Mick Davies (Clarinet), “. Then 2 unknown guitarists,,,, anyone know who they are please ??

John Gale…Dad use to jam at quite an early age in Hastings ,, late 50s, early 60’s with different musicians… Photo 1) here dad can be seen playing he drums with John ‘Spud’ ‘ Taylor, who soon after this went on to play piano for Johnny Dankworth and Cleo Lane. Photo 2) dad and Spud again but with who on bass, sax and trumpet? Any idea?

Geoff Peckham… I wonder if my late dad, Dave Peckham, ever played with him. He played bass around the Bexhill/Hastings area in the 50s and 60s and certainly played with some people mentioned like Ted Crouch and Gordon Miles.

John Gale… Most likely Geoff, I’ll ask mum if she remembers your dad, she’s got a good memory and was always with dad, they met on the pier at a dance

Geoff Peckham… It would be nice, wouldn’t it, John. He was certainly friends with Gordon as I remember visiting him with dad, I believe up from the Old Town. And Gordon and others used to come to our place in Sidley for jam sessions on Sunday afternoons. I kept trying to get my dad to write his memories of playing in jazz and dance bands, but he never did.

John Gale… Gordon and Arthur had the lawnmower shop in Courthouse Street, yes Gordon lived in All Saints Crescent

Barden Taylor Big Band

John Gale… Dad decided one night to help us (a punk combo in 1977) rehearse as we didnt have a drummer, after he played a version of the Damned’s New Rose he immediately siezed up 🤣🤣🤣. He then decided to gracefully revert to his favourite music, to his dying day, Big Band Swing playing in Ore with the Barden Taylor Big Band, probably at his happiest, he was never going to be his hero Buddy Rich. But Dad, if you’re up there reading this, you put up a good shot at it and you were alot better than you ever thought you were

Mike Mitchell… Is that Brett Taylor’s dad on the left in the second pic?

John Gale… yes m8

HiFi Club – High Street Hastings. 1970/1971 and Jooks Cafe fire

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Barry Dyke… I remember all too well The Hi-Fi. Toilets leaking onto the dance floor, etc

Paul Sleet… I remember when the police came in to check on the number of people inside. Everyone crammed into the toilets and when the old bill got downstairs it seemed empty!

Nick Prince… It was called Jooks at the time of the fire! It changed its name 1976-77 time…..

Rosalind Cleave… I  used to go there from 1966 !

Matthew Bryant… And now nothing there! Just a gap between Shirley Leaf and Petal and the sweet shop.

Paul Redfearn… Now then, there’s a blast from the past!


supplied by Leigh Kennedy

Leigh Kennedy… October 1 st 1977. mystery surrounded the cause of the blaze but the owner was trying to sell the property at the time . The site has remained as wasteground ever since

Bob Saunders… Now there’s a blast from the past so dark down there spot of underage drinking methinks!

Gavin Martin… The forerunner of The Jenny Lind’s Sunday night vinyl club?

Madeline Joyce Morton… I lived opposite at 62 High St.

Lin Mitchell… Had some great times there

Alan Griffiths.. Now the gap next to Turners?

Fernando Silva…Was a regular customer through 66/67 when studying in St. Leonards only 48 (forty eight) years ago. Great times in Hi-fi with Alain as manager.

John Wilde… Guy and Mungo kept us suitably well oiled. I was on fire every night dancing alone to the best soul and rock tracks. Then upstairs for the after party. Lots of Swedish girls and hornacious longhairs with marching powder chased down with the best afghani. Of course I am telling lies.

Yvonne Cleland…  I used to go upstairs at the Hifi, sometimes with Heather Carter! It was exactly like that. smile emoticon

Linda Day…  I remember that place

Alan Esdaile…  I remember taking over the decks from Jack a few times. He would say I’m just popping upstairs and would disappear for a few hours.

Chris Baker… Goat Curry was amazing! 🙂

Jon McCallion… It’s where I had the audition for Muller.

Tony Court-holmes… had my 21st birthday party there a long time ago

Andre Martin… And you can remember that far back !

Candy Clark… I wish , ha

Tony Davies… I remember the Hi Fi only to well, spent many a happy hour down there. They didn’t have a last order bell, just used to play Lou Reeds ” Goodnight Ladies” track,,,,, good memories.

Chris Meachen… Spent many a hot, crowded evening there myself, back in the day….

Diane Knight… Me too ..forgot the “Goodnight Ladies “bit ..good times !!

Nick Prince… Jooks had already been closed for a month or so prior to the fire. I remember the night it went up well. We lived on the corner of Dudley and Harold Road at the time and the sky was glowing orange. To be honest we all thought it was a repeat of something more serious like the previous years fire in George Street.



Who went to Carnaby Street in the swinging 60’s?

photo: 1968 – H.Grobe

Thanks to John Busbridge for suggesting this post.

Wendy Weaver… Fascinsting. Takes me back to happy times when I worked there

Peter Fortsch… Really Cool man. And i love the fantastic classic motors.

Lucy Pappas… Wonderful piece of film, Al, thank you x

Paul Crimin… How sad to think that all of those ‘pretty young things’ are now 53 years older. I wish I’d been born ten years earlier when I see film like that.

John Busbridge… I was just 20 years old in 1967 and used to go to Carnaby Sreet to buy some of my clothes!

Moya Wilson… This is fantastic !!! Takes you right back !!

Liz Dianto… Fascinating

Gerry Fortsch… I still have my Sgt Pepper jacket I purchased in 1967/68 up in the loft sadly it has shrunk a little I think.

Ian Tee… Carnaby street by day then Wardour street for the night. Happy times

Alan Parker… Oh WoW. I remember it like it was yesterday. was a regular Saturday trip for me , was about 18 then

Colin Bell… Great stuff John, bought my first ‘stage gear’ there in 1968 and Ravel shoes! good times

Ian Tee… do you remember “Topper” shoe shop. Just down from Ravel.

Colin Bell… Vaguely Ian, but you know what they say about the 60’s

Paul Marshall… That’s quite special.

John William Willis… Just got stationed in Chelsea barracks what a place to visit , we came back with flowery shirts etc the older soldiers took a dim view , Whats this!!! they were from another generation some were from the war 2 etc from 20 years ago we did not understand them either

Alan Esdaile… I remember buying a hippy bell in Carnaby Street.

Alan Parker… did you wear the blue tinted Lenon glasses too Alan. I was a hippy too gave out flowers in Kentish town and Camden town. Lost count of how many times I got told to get a job or a haircut. Don’t think I was being given a choice , it was just their way of telling me to F… off

Martin Stoggell… I remember buying some blue suede shoes down there about that time. Magic

Martin Curcher… When people actually talked face to face and not a mobile phone in sight, how good was that?

John Gale… How great that someone had the foresight to think something great is going on here in Carnaby Street let’s film it. Not alot of that going on in detail these days. Just snippets from mobile phones

Dave Nattress… Yeah definitely but not really knowing what to expect I found it quite a disappointingly short street, maybe was thinking it would be like Oxford Street. But, during those late 60’s and into the early 70’s the other places we went to were the Kings Road, Chelsea, – “Granny Takes a Trip” etc. The Chelsea Drugstore (Pub), Kensington Market a huge building, two/three floors full of stalls, jewellery, shoes, clothes, loon pants, Tie-dye T shirts, Cheesecloth shirts, Kurta’s, Afghan coats, Joss sticks, Musk oil, Patchouli Oil, BIBA – Kensington and Petticoat Lane Market off Aldgate on a Sunday morning. Topper shoes, Ravel, platforms, stacked wooden heels. Great days to have experienced and so long ago!

Steve Maxted… Most of my outfits were made there by a well known tailor. Also bought many crazy shoes and boots up there

John Warner… Me too, had a great collection of shirts and Robin Hood boots

Nick Prince… I love it