cuttings supplied by Andre Palfrey-martin collection
What a week that turned into – Bank Holiday August 1964 – will go down in the local history for so many reasons, but more of that another time, here we are back in the Happy Ballroom on Saturday 8th August, and tonight be have on stage Alex Harvey Soul Band, supported by Johnny and The Spirits. Harvey was born in the Kinning Park district of Glasgow, where he grew up. By his own account, he worked in a number of jobs, from carpentry to waiting tables at a restaurant to carving tombstones, before finding success in music. He first began performing in skiffle groups in 1954. On Friday, May 20, 1960, at the Town Hall, Alloa, Clackmannanshire, Scotland, Alex Harvey and his Big Beat Band opened for Johnny Gentle and His Group, “His Group” being the Beatles (John, Paul, George, Stuart Sutcliffe and Tommy Moore), on this the opening night — and biggest audience — of the Beatles’ seven-date tour of Scotland with Gentle.
His musical roots were in Dixieland jazz and skiffle music, which enjoyed considerable popularity in Britain during the late 1950s. From 1958 until 1965, he was the leader of Alex Harvey’s Big Soul Band, playing blues and rock and roll songs and spending considerable time touring in the United Kingdom He also won a competition, that sought “Scotland’s answer to Tommy Steele”. Harvey became strongly identified with British rhythm and blues music, although he was equally able to play rock songs. The supporting band – Johnny & The Spirits, no information can be found, other than it was believed they came from South London.
The previous night, Ready Steady Go had featured music from —The Rolling Stones – “It’s All Over Now.” –Cilla Black – “It’s For You.”–Kenny Lynch – “What Am I To You?”–The Nashville Teens – “Tobacco Road.”–Brian Poole and the Tremeloes – “Twelve Steps To Love.”
A quick mention of the Witch Doctor – on the Saturday one of the regulars in the early days in St Leonards – Steve Marriotts Moments , destined for big things and on Wednesday 12th – The Animals, so the competition was building up.
I could not write this week’s History, without mentioning that the local press – The Hastings & St Leonards Observer, had several pages devoted to the previous weekend’s activities and the post actions : Magistrates Court, locals letters to the editor, the official feedback from the Police and Local Authorities. But I am sure that we have over the years heard a lot about what happened just over half a century ago, and drawn our own conclusions as to who really was behind these events. Andre Martin
Alan Esdaile……Apparently he won a Tommy Steele talent competition when he was young. Here he is, a few years later in 1974.
David Miller…..Now you’re talking…! The clip of Midnight Moses from the same gig is excellent too….Alex and Zal are very disturbing indeed…..!
Yvonne Cleland… Wow look at him – all clean and crew-cut!
Peter Thomson… The Sensational Alex Harvey Band were the support act for Slade when I saw them at Brighton Dome in ’73. I remember reading of his longevity in the music business even then. I was impressed that he had been supported by the Beatles for some early Scottish gigs in the ’60s.
Neil William Michael McGuigan… Shocked, never knew that. I’m a big sahb fan