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

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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.

Barron Knights – Hastings Pier 13th June 1964 by Andre Martin

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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.

Read moreBarron Knights – Hastings Pier 13th June 1964 by Andre Martin

History of the Happy Ballroom The Kinks – Hastings Pier 23rd May 1964

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Andre Martin….Its that time of the week for the next chapter in the History of the Happy Ballroom – Hastings Pier. Dateline 23rd May 1964, not a very eventful weekend, other than it was to be the first time that an up an coming group from Croydon were to make an appearance – a group that were to become very popular in coming years – The Kinks. Supported by a regular outfit that had appeared many time before over the years Earl Sheridan and the Housebrakers.

This was a few weeks before the third release from the Kinks – “ You Really Got Me “ and would establish them in the recording world, this was to reach no 1 in early August [ 4 days after THAT appearance from the Rolling Stones in The Happy Ballroom ] and stayed in that slot for the following 3 weeks. What makes this interesting is that the College had booked the group for their Summer Ball in July and ace reporters – students – David Bargioni and Roger Summerling were sent to interview the group for a write up in the Rag Mag Howzat 1964. I quote from this work above in the captured images.  That’s about all for this week folks, enjoy the summer weather – if it lasts, and the Bank Holiday Weekend .  Andre Martin

Helena Kingshott… I was there x

Mick O’Dowd… Good stuff as usual Andre. Thanx

Marshall Scott and Whisky Mac first gig – September 1968

supplied by Andre Martin

Ian McGilvray… One of My first Bands

Geoff Peckham… Yes, I remember seeing you with them. Quite awestruck as a young lad, I was!

Dave Nattress… Geoff, I recall seeing Whisky Mac round and about Bexhill a few times probably the first few live gigs I ever attended. I remember Mac (Ian) from school – he would have been 2/3 years older than you and I? Probably back then Ian and you would have been just about the only rock musicians in the school? As you would recall though, there was a thriving school orchestra for a good while presided over by a somewhat formidable Miss Celia Elsworth. I’m pretty sure there was a dedicated music room that carried over from the girls school when the boys and girls were amalgamated in our 4th year.

Donation to Conquest Hospital Radio from Kevin Burchett Scalliwags

photos by Sid Saunders

Today 11th May 2018, Kevin Burchett on behalf of the members of Scalliwags made a donation of £300 to the Conquest Hospital Radio.Three of the radio presenters accepted the donation with thanks at the White Rock Hotel. In the photo left to right is Tony Davis, Kevin Burchett, Alan Esdaile and Andre Palfrey-Martin. Donations to help with the running of the radio station are always welcome.

Alan Esdaile… very much appreciated Kevin

Andre Martin… Excellent and a BIG thank you from all at CHR. It will be much appreciated.

Mick O’Dowd… Good stuff Kev!

Tony Davis… Thank you Kevin.

Andy Qunta… Excellent!

Alison Cackett… Brilliant x

Wendy Belton… A huge thank you to Kevin Burchett for his generous donation to Conquest Hospital Radio and to Sid Saunders for the lovely photos.

Kevin Burchett…. you have to thank the scalliwags members that come to my charity event every year without them it wouldnt happen

Kings Country Club – The Drifters, Martha Reeves, Johnnie Ray -1970’s memories from Andre Martin(Chris Gentry)

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advert 26th January 1978

Mike Wright…..Drifters with the great lead voice of Johnny Moore

Philip Meston……The only performance I saw at Kings was The Three Degrees and that was because I free tickets!

Andre Martin…..Philip for you –

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Andre Palfrey-martin collection

Robert Searle….Saw Three Degrees there, the place was packed out .A really good night with Clodagh Rodgers in support.

Colin Fox….. also saw them at Kings and they did a great harmony version of MacArthur Park

Gary Kinch…..All together now, one, two, three……………………….Under the Boardwalk, down by the sea.

Jacqueline Patton… I used to go with my parents it was a grand night out as a child

Colin Fox… The Drifters had 60 different singers over the years, and the last original Drifter died in 2007. I remember reading years ago that their were 42 different groups called The Drifters touring the world in one year.

 

A Band Of Angels – Hastings Collage 30th October 1964 by Andre Martin

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Andre Martin… As its Halloween at the moment, if we think back – this is about the college, here is something that I know will be of interest to many, On Friday evening 30th October 1964, in the old Gymnasium at the College in Archery Road, we held our Halloween Dance – Top of the Bill, A Band of Angels, featuring Mike d’Abo and the supporting band whose name slips my memory for the moment, bass guitar one Noel d’Abo [ student and well known member of the college]. We do not have any press adverts for this, but I have found the following press cutting from the local Observer, about a visit made by the group to AJs show in Queens Road. I am sorry the photo is very dark, but Mike can just be seen in the back row.

Rolling Stones – Hastings Pier 1st August 1964 by Andre Martin

all cuttings Andre Palfrey-martin collection, pier crowd photo Coz ‘Swoz’ Booth from Alex Chapman West Marina To Hastings Pier. 

Dateline – August Bank Holiday 1st August 1964, and here we are all poised for another great weekend in The Happy Ballroom – headline act this weekend The Rolling Stones, making their 3rd visit to Hastings, and this was going to be a good night, as they had just had 2 weeks in the no 1 spot on the UK Charts with “It’s All Over Now “ – a number penned by Bobby & Shirley Womack and had been originally released in the US by the Valentinos. The Stones had raved about this song when they first heard this on the Murray the K Show earlier that year. For those who like FACTS – it was The Beatles, with “ A Hard Day’s Night” that had pushed The Stones off the No 1 spot the previous week. Because of the popularity the prices had risen to 10/- admission. The supporting bands were The Worrying Kind and The Sabres – both of which were well know to the patrons of the Happy Ballroom. So nothing very different than a normal Saturday night in The Happy Ballroom – but as we all know things were about to change. Because of the very recent chart success of The Stones, more than normal crowds began to arrive at the Pier, also being a Bank Holiday extra visitors, looking for a long weekend added to the interest. Because of the numbers of fans it was agreed that to get the band onto the Ballroom, different tactics should be used, and in this instance the famous disused ambulance delivery would be used. I have attached with this amongst the photos, a copy from the after-action report from the Police giving more details of this activity. Well as we all now know, this was going to be the start of a very different weekend for Hastings, and one that would be branded – Second Battle of Hastings. The night before – 31st July – Ready Steady Go would include – –The Kinks – “You Really Got Me.”
–Manfred Mann – “Do Wah Diddy Diddy.”–The Four Pennies – ” Found Out The Hard Way.”
–Kenny Lynch – “What Am I To You” (or “My Own Two Feet”). -Simon Scott – “Move It Baby.”
–Peter Lee Stirling –The Shevelles -The Leroys
This had set the musical scene for the Bank Holiday. Along the seafront at the very recently opened The Witch Doctor, was planning a weekend that would have included Saturday night – from Coventry “ The Avengers “ and Sunday “ John Lees Ground Hoggs”.         Andre Martin

Clifford Rose……I’d like to have seen the Alex Harvey Soul Band. Same Alex Harvey before the rock band.

Andre Martin… The crowd photo,  just prior to the Rolling Stones Appearing in the Happy Ballroom, this was part of the build up to the second Battle of Hastings as the press and TV branded the Bank Holiday Weekend.

Sue Verrall… The Sabres supporting wow !!!

Trevor Walker… Thanks for that Alan, I now know the year and I was 18 years old then !!

Andre Martin… Who would have thought it 52 years ago !!!!!!(1st Aug 2016)Perhaps i will visit tonight on the TIMEMachine Carnival FM 87.9 plus the internet from 8.00pm

Pat Smith… 10 shillings to see the stones! Bargain!!

Mick O’Dowd… 50p to the young things!

Diane Neve… Couldn’t get into that one the queue stretched right down Bottle Alley so went to Bingo instead and people were still queuing when we came out.

Mike Thompson… I was there and what a night. I’ll never forget it but could not remember the year. I still have my ticket which does not have the year on it and thanks to this i now know that too. Thanks.

Tammy St John & The Trends – Sat 12th Sept 1964 – Hastings Pier by Andre Martin

supplied by  Andre Palfrey-martin collection

Andre Martin… The nights are closing in, and the Happy Ballroom on Hastings Pier is in for a great surprise this weekend, Saturday 12th September 1964. Top of the bill tonight is north London vocalist – Tammy St John and her backing group The Trends. Plus support from Gene Bennett & The Initials.
Tammy St John was born Judith Coster and hailed from Hornchurch in Essex, east of London. She earned a recording contract with Pye Records at the age of just 14 and released four singles over a two-year period. Each showed a very different side of the young singer as her record company tried to find a winning sound.
Her first 45, Boys, was a decent debut, and featured Hey-hey-hey-hey, a cover of a song originally recorded by Little Richard, on the flip. Issued in August 1964, it was a raucous affair, with a distinctly American flavour, loud guitars and strong backing vocals. It also gained a release in the US, on the small Four Corner of the World label.
Although she had little record success in the UK charts at the time, in later years, she would build up a big following on the Northern Circuit and several of these 1960s releases being worth £100s on the vinyl market.
Gene Bennett & The Initials are another of the many groups that acted in support on the Pier, of whom no knowledge is available; all the usual research has come up with little that can link them with Hastings Pier.
Along the Promenade – The Witch Doctor, is consolidating his position, and is offerings a really good weeks entertainment . Saturday Night – From London Steve Marriott’s Moments, supported by Brighton’s own The Alexenders, Sunday was the R&B night with Victor Brox Blues Train. Wednesday London’s own Christians Crusaders featuring Neil Christian and Friday Parlophone recording group The Contrasts.
The Weekend would have started off for us with the Friday Nights RSG and this week would have featured – Scheduled guests: Bill Haley and his Comets -Cliff Bennett and the Rebel Rousers – “One Way Love” -Adam Faith and the Roulettes -Tony Jackson and the Vibrations – “Bye Bye Baby” -Rita Bartok -Doug Sheldon.
So there you have another week of History of not just the Happy Ballroom, but other attractions in the town for the young at heart, I hope this has brought back some memories for you all………….

Big Dee Irwin – Hastings Pier – 11th July 1964 by Andre Martin and info required on The Marauders

  

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The next instalment of the History of the Happy Ballroom, takes us to Saturday 11 July 1964, which turns out to be quite different, we have starts from the US A and The Midlands appearing. The attractions tonight on the Pier will include Big Dee Irwin and The Strangers Five.
Big Dee joined the United States Air Force, and in 1954 was based at Narsarssuak Air Base in Greenland. While there, he formed a singing group, The Pastels. The groups all left the USAF at the same time and the group continued, toured widely and appeared on concert bills. In March 1958 they featured as part of Alan Freed’s touring Big Beat Show, which also included Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, Frankie Lymon, Larry Williams, and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. They performed at the famous New York Apollo Theatre later in 1958, but split up early the following year. Ervin then started a solo career as Dee Erwin, before signing for Dimension Records as Big Dee Irwin, and releasing a version of the 1944 Bing Crosby song “Swinging On A Star” which also featured Little Eva (unaccredited on the UK issue). In 1963 it became a bigger hit in the UK where it rose to 7, and Irwin then took part in a nine month tour of Britain. Of which the Happy Ballroom was one of those dates. He also worked as a songwriter for Ray Charles, Bobby Womack, and others – the Hollies included his “What Kind of Boy” on their 1964 album In The Hollies Style. The Strangers originated from a local rock ‘n’ roll band called The Marauders, initially known as “Rob Roy and The Rockin’ Marauders” who formed about 1960 while pupils at Dudley Grammar School. The Strangers were very active on Joe and Mary Regan’s famous “Regan Circuit” of dance halls in the West Midlands which included The Plazas at Old Hill and Handsworth, The Adelphi (West Bromwich) and The Ritz at King’s Heath.
The band won a coveted spot on Decca’s “Brum Beat” LP compilation of West Midlands groups in 1964. The opening track on the album was an original composition by Roy “Dripper” Kent entitled “What A Way” and was certainly good enough to have been released as a single in its own right.
Other things that were happening that week included – Ready Steady Go for Friday 10 July – included guests appearing – Manfred Mann – “Do Wah Diddy Diddy.”The Searchers – “Someday We’re Gonna Love Again.”Dusty Springfield – “I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself.”The Four Pennies – “I Found Out The Hard Way.”The Pete Best Four. The Leroys
BBC TV: Top of the Pops The Applejacks (“Like Dreamers Do”); The Animals (“House of the Rising Sun”). Videos: The Rolling Stones (“It’s All Over Now”); The Beatles (“A Hard Day’s Night” & “Long Tall Sally.

And for those that will recall the recent visit of the Kinks – I discovered this fact the other day – 12 July 1964 – IBC Studios, Portland Place, London : The Kinks record “ You Really Got Me” with Bobby Graham on drums and Arthur Greenslade on Piano.                   Andre Martin

John Maskell… Sometime ago you were instigators in finding an Ad for the pier as my group The Beat Syndicate appeared with Patrick Dane & the Quiet Five. You now have a fantastic site reminding all who were there of our time. Having read your articles I noted the comments on the Marauders. I had the pleasure of playing on the same bill as them at the Noreik club South Tottenham in 1964. I thought they were a great group and the drummer exceptional but like a lot of us never got the big break. Are you able to put a name to the drummer as I never did find out who he was. Keep up the good work.

Anyone help?