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.