Dave Berry & The Cruisers and The Chris Starr Orbits Hastings Pier – 16th May 1964

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all cuttings…. Andre Palfrey-martin collection

The History of the Happy Ballroom

It’s the Spring Bank Holiday weekend – Saturday 16 May 1964 – and was going to be a great weekend by all accounts – that’s what the BBC weather forecast told the South-East. Radio Caroline was now established listening for the young people in Hastings, and in the Happy Ballroom they were looking forward to the visit of an up and coming lad from the North, whose reputation went before him – “Dave Berry” and his four piece supporting group “The Cruisers”. Plus supported by The Chris Starr Orbits.
Dave Berry was born in 1941 and hailed from just outside Sheffield, he joined the Cruisers –John, Kenny, Roy & Frank in 1962 and were well known as a” hard driving R&B outfit” to his credit he had released several singles, but it was not until a chance meeting with an up and coming record producer – Micky Most in early 1963 and he changed to DECCA records that his recording career really took off, his cover of the Shirelles classic – “Baby it’s You” charted in early April 1964. Have a quick listen to this and you can hear in the backing the hand of Big Jim Sullivan, who would be very much involved with his next release in the summer of 1964 –“The Crying Game”

Round about the time of his appearing at The Happy Ballroom that he replaced the members of the original Cruisers with new members, it was about the time that his music turned away from hard driving R&B, we cannot however give a date when this occurred so on 16 May, it could have been the Mk1 or Mk2 group !

For the musical readers, you might also be interested in knowing that during this early recording years, amongst his session musicians that he regularly used, apart from Big Jim Sullivan, can be included same names – Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and Bobby Graham.
Although, we have a short write up from the Hastings Observer, which makes one think that it might well have been the Mk1 Cruisers, there is nothing mentioned about the support group and my usual sources although rigorously research have come up with nothing.
Likewise the advertisements and press give nothing to report about what other activities would have been taking place on the Sunday or Monday of that Bank Holiday. All I do know is that in Brighton and Margate there were visits from many Mods and Rockers, but the reports on the weekend say nothing about Hastings. So we must have all enjoyed a peaceful Bank Holiday – till the next lesson in The History of The Happy Ballroom.      Andre Palfrey-martin 

Chris Stevens… If anybody cares, my name is Chris Stevens & I live in Egerton Kent.. The stage name of The Chris Starr Orbits was inevitable I suppose. I remember the gig well…. and still have the poster. I was 22, so at 74 it seems a long time ago. Your social gatherings sound great. Rock on folks !! Cheers. Chris..

Mick O’Dowd… Perhaps you can post the poster so to speak, on SMART website. I don’t think we’ve seen it before. Welcome to the SMARTIES Chris your always welcome to come along.

Peter Gladwish… This is me with Dave Berry in the dressing room at the De La Warr Pavilion (around 1998). Great bloke and The Cruisers were brilliant. I was with Centre Page at the time and the event was ‘The Hop’, which took place twice per year in those days.


supplied by Peter Gladwish