Happy Ballroom Sat 12th December 1964 by Andre Martin


Andre Palfrey-martin collection

Andre Martin…. The town is looking festive, and we even have Christmas adverts in the local newspapers, so we know that it’s only a few days to go before Christmas Day, its Saturday 12th December 1964, and the next episode of the History of “The Happy Ballroom” on Hastings Pier. According to the Hastings & St Leonards Observer, the “together dancing” is a success and the patrons returning to the more formal Ballroom activities and music, are making this change a success. The Percy Howe Orchestra are setting just the right tone and atmosphere in “The Happy Ballroom”. But! For how long was that to last ???
The Witch Doctor keeps going from strength to strength, with a really wise choice of acts over the week, Saturday Night it was Johnny Mike & The Shades, supported by The Outcasts. The Sunday Club features The Shevelles, Wednesday it is group night with The Silhouettes and Friday is a return from – Linda Lane & The Sinners. The other evenings, it was Top Record Spinning usually for only 1/6d a night. Value for money? or did this get the patrons in, and more to spend in the Bar ! Friday Night would have kicked off with the Rediffusion TV special – Ready Steady Go, and what an excellent line up this week, Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames playing live in the studio [ Yeh,Yeh & Monkeying Around] The McKinleys, Kenny Lynch [On my own Two Feet] Tony Jackson & The Vibrations [You beat me to the Punch] Rufus Thomas [ Walking the Dog & Jump Back] Gerry & The Pacemakers [Ferry Cross the Mersey – Why oh Why – My Babe] Dick & Dee Dee. Brenda lee had been scheduled to appear by had to cancel at the last moment. The Opening toon was The Animals – Baby Please don’t go. The audience dance segment was James Brown – Night Train. What a great show that night, in charge Keith Fordyce & Cathy McGowan.
The BBC were doing a reasonable job with Saturday – Light Programme 10.00am – Brian Matthews and Saturday Club, the line up included The Miracles, The Kinks, Chris Barber and Ottililie Paterson, Howlin Wolf, The Nocturnes and Arthur Greenslade with The Gee Men ! The afternoon show Saturday Swings featured The Magil 5, Joe Brown & The Bruvers, The Applejacks, Vince Hill, Don Lusher, Julie Grant, The Lorne Gibson Trio and the regular house band The Northern Dance Orchestra. Sunday was Easy Beat with Keith Fordyce – featuring Brian Poole & The Trems, The Zombies, Maureen Evans, The Seekers, Paul Conway with the Eric Delaney Band. Following this was what had become a Sunday tradition at 12noon Family Favourites, and this week it was London and Cologne. Later in the afternoon a new Sunday show – Sunday Best, with Kenny Lynch, Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames, The Rockin Berries, and Dave Shephard Sextet. 5.00pm would bring Alan Freeman and Top of the Pops. Other radio programmes in the week that might have had us tuned into were –Tuesday 1.00pm Pop Inn with Keith Fordyce and 1.00pm Wednesday Parade of the Pops, with Matt Monro and Bob Miller & The Millermen
Television hi-lights – Saturday Juke Box Jury with David Jacobs – Panel this week Lonnie Donegan, Shirley Eaton, Jimmy Edwards & Polly Elves. Thursday it was Top Of The Pops with Alan Freeman – 7.30pm.
That what we are tuned into during this week, plus for many living in East Anglia, Tuesday 16th December that was to be another Red Letter day, with the Text transmissions from MV Galaxy – also known as “ RADIO LONDON on 266 meters on the medium wave band” – more about that next week. Until then keep the faith, and save you pennies for Christmas.
2014@Andre Palfrey-Martin

Sounds Incorporated & Gene Bennett and The Initials – Hastings Pier 6th June 1964 by Andre Martin



Andre Palfrey-martin collection

Its Saturday 6th June 1964 and for the History Fans of 50 years ago we are again at the Happy Ballroom on Hasting Pier, for what looks like being another great night – top of the bill today are Sounds Incorporated, making yet again another visit to us here on the South coast, and in support Gene Bennett and the Sidewinders, a truly value for money show – for those who would like to know 6/- on the door [30p] and this would also have included FREE admission to the pier and all the attractions along the way from the toll house and the Ballroom – again what value, if you were good you could also have fitted in a game or two of BINGO !
Sounds Incorporated formed in Early 1961, in Dartford, Kent, and gained a local reputation in nearby South London for the fullness of their saxophone-led instrumental sound. In August 1961, after Gene Vincent’s band, The Blue Caps, had been denied permission to work in the UK, they won the opportunity to back Vincent on his British tour and on recordings in London. This led to further opportunities to back other visiting American artists, including Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Brenda Lee and Sam Cooke.[1]
Their first two singles on new label Columbia, “The Spartans” written by Russ Conway and “Spanish Harlem” co-written by Jerry Leiber and Phil Spector and originally released by Ben e King in early 1960 made the UK Singles Chart in 1964 but these were the only successes in this country. That year also saw their becoming Cilla Black’s backing band; they supported her recently on her appearance in The Happy Ballroom. And the recording of their first album which incidentally coincided with this visit to Hastings, called Sounds Incorporated containing many stage favourites, although not their chart successes. Their third Columbia single was included and turned out to be their greatest success in Australia, their version of the “William Tell Overture” reached No2. So it is clear to see the musical background to this outfit that made them very popular wherever they performed and from all account this was a sell out that weekend in the Happy Ballroom. For technical reasons I have flipped the “Spanish Harlem” single today and have included the b side – “Rinky Dink” – http://youtu.be/OTOmAi0rC9E
Of the Supporting act – Gene Bennett & The Sidewinders, as with so many of these outfits very little is known other then they were from Ipswich in Suffolk, and have been described as a rockabilly 5 piece that were kept busy on the Ballroom circuit in the south and London.    Andre Martin

Mick Law…  I was Gene Bennett, but it should be Gene Bennett and the Initials.

Alan Esdaile… Thanks for updating Mick. Photo below.


Gene Bennett and The Initials. Photo from Mick Law Facebook page.

Happy Ballroom & music memories 9th January 1965 by Andre Martin




all cuttings – Andre Palfrey-martin collection

Andre Martin… That’s the Christmas and New Year celebrations over for another year, the Christmas Trees and Illuminations have gone from the town centre, and we all settle down for the start of the new year – this week in the Happy Ballroom its Saturday 9th January 1965, and the entertainments provided includes The Percy Howe Orchestra – “Bringing the Romance back to the Ballroom” – in the local press I notice that a change is intended, and from next week, The Gordon Ryder Orchestra will be providing the music for both young and old alike. Does this indicate that changes are afoot? We will have to wait and see, no looking in the crystal ball now!! Several of the local firms had also completed their seasonal functions and I have found a couple of examples, J F Parsons and KB [attached]
The St Leonards home of the Witch Doctor continues with an interesting programme for the coming week, including some changes. Saturday night we were entertainment with The Puppets and The Dolphins, Sunday Club saw the first visit by The Blues X5. Wednesday night introduced another genre for the club with Mr Acker Bilk and Paramount Jazz Band. Friday saw Wayne Dene and The Telstars bringing the week to a close. Watch out for more Jazz over the coming weeks, it had always been popular in the town, looking for a new audience or “the management” looking to keep us all happy?
Last Friday nights Ready, Steady, Go had been another good weekend with Cilla Black “ You’ve lost that Lovin Feeling “ and from the soundtrack of Ferry Cross the Mersey – “ Is it Love”. The Rockin Berries included in their set “ What in the Worlds Come over you” another single heading for the charts. Also on the show Sonny Boy Williamson, Keith Fordyce and Cathy McGowan, a good 30 minutes from London and the MOD world.
The BBC still kept up the POP music, Saturday Club with Brian Matthews hosted Matt Monro, Johnny Spencer Orchestra, Swinging Blue Jeans, Kenny Ball and a true Hastings favourite group – Tony Rivers & The Castaways . Later that day Saturday Swings, with Frankie Vaughan, The Barron Knights, The Brooks, The Outlaws, The Overlanders and The NDO [Northern Dance Orchestra] with Mr Bob Miller all under the control of Don Wardell.
Sunday Morning, for those who were up and about by 10.30am heard Susan Maughan, Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames, The Lorne Gibson Trio with The Johnny Howard Band – in the hot seat spinning records was Keith Fordyce.
For those who watched Television on Saturday evening, you had Juke Box Jury with David Jacobs – his panel this week – Peggy Mount, Pete Murray, Dusty Springfield and David Healey. As soon as this show ended, with a quick channel change it would be time for “Thank Your Lucky Stars” from ABC TV in Birmingham, and this week Brian Matthews [ he pops up all over the place ] presented – Ronnie Carroll, The Dave Clark 5, The Kinks, Tony Jackson and the Vibrations, Twinkle, Dodie West and using her mathematic skills – Janice “ I’ll give it fouive” Nicholls.
What a week in Hastings – changes in the wind for the Happy Ballroom, introducing different sounds to the Witch Doctor, our cinemas offering us a good selection of block busting films – don’t forget we had several cinemas in the town and around all running seven days a week. So all in all it was a good time to be living in this town, plenty of jobs and a vibrant social scene.
Next week – will we know any more about the Pier? Log-in and read the next instalment of “The History of the Happy Ballroom – Hastings Pier “                    2015© Andre Palfrey-Martin.

Jim Breeds… I  remember my neighbour in Rock Lane, Trevor Partridge , playing this over and over on his record player 🙂

Yvonne Cleland… One of the great meaningful records of the Lido days……

Terry Huggins… Humph! I had to endure that dirge repeatedly in my youth. It was clearly derived from Leader of the Pack.

Alan Esdaile… Weren’t both of these banned from being played on the radio at one stage?

Terry Huggins… There were originally four Shangri Las, but the other one suffered from stage fright and left. They came from a tough area of New York and were the first ‘bad girl’ band.Many over amorous musicians they toured with received a hefty kick where it hurts. One of them died young, but Mary still performs occasionally. Don’t know about any bans, but there was a story that their record company refused to release I Can Never Go Home Any More until the lyric was changed to eliminate a reference to the girl being sexually abused by her father.

Pete Fairless… The BBC refused to play it, apparently.

Andre Martin… Twinkle had a big boost from plays on the Pirate Stations, don’t recall that being banned by the BBC, but I am sure that Leader of the Pack suffered. Don’t forget that we also had a powerful station at the time Radio Luxemburg, and Twinkle would have featured in any DECCA sponsored shows- there was Wednesday Night show TTDC [Teen & Twenty Disc Club] fronted by a well known DJ from the MECCA Circuit !!

Terry Huggins… There were a number of hit records about death during the late 50s early 60s: Dead Man’s Curve, Tell Laura I love her (with the words altered as it was written about a rodeo rather than a car race), Last Kiss, Teen Angel etc.

Pete Fairless… I love ‘Dead Man’s Curve’, what a great song!

Terry Huggins… And eerily portentous as it turned out for Jan Berry.

Julian Weber… Were Wayne Dene & The Telstars from Beaconsfield, Bucks?

Geoff Joliffe… Hi Julian, Wayne Dene & The Telstars were from Beaconsfield. I am Geoff Jolliffe who formed the band with John Ireson in early 60s and were going for several years but allas when we could not get into the charts we decided to disband and went on to carry on with other projects. I have carried on playing ever since and still enjoy the buzz. If you want to contact me, email geoff.jolliffe@btinternet.com Many fond memories of Telstar days

The Happy Ballroom Hastings Pier And More – 27th August 1966 by Andre Martin




Ads: Andre Palfrey-martin collection. Nashville Teens photo source: http://beatsixties.blogspot.co.uk/2011/06/nashville-teens-pop-weekly-n-05-26-09.html

Another month has just whizzed by and we are now at Saturday 27th August 1966, and it’s the Bank Holiday Weekend. In the Happy Ballroom on Hastings Pier, the summer has been going well for all and this weekend would be no exception. On Saturday night it was the resident Big Band – The Tony Strudwick Big Band, with Saturday is Party Night, all the fun and joy of the night for 5/-. The Sunday Club this week featured a group that were well known in Hastings – The Nashville Teens [ yes the same group that had hit the headlines a couple of years previous , after the daughter of a local solicitor ran off to London when the group had appeared at the opening of the Witch Doctor] Monday being a Bank Holiday had a Coffee Dance 10.30am-1.00pm all for 1/-. Tuesday it was the weekly visit from the masters of the gruntin’ and groanin’ –Dale Martin Wrestling, top of the bill this week – Mr TV Pallo v Linde Caulder. The week would be brought to a close with Dancing to The Tony Strudwick Show Band.
Friday night’s edition of Ready Steady Go would include The Mindbenders: Ashes to Ashes, Overlanders: Go where you wanna Go, Small Faces: All or Nothing and Sonny & Cher; Little Man. Keith and Cathy as ever in control with the antics of the crowd and artistes. The Witch Doctor was still following the summer season format, of records for most of the week and live music on Saturdays, this week it was the Loose Ends from Birmingham, on Sunday because this was a special weekend it was a visit from south London’s – the Herd now with a new line-up and featuring Peter Frampton. Over on the dear old Beeb – the Light programme 10.00 Saturday Club with Val Doonican,The Mindbenders, Cliff Bennett & The Rebel Rousers, The Overlanders and Hayes & Wadey In chair this week to spin records and chat was Ray Orchard as Brian Matthew was on holiday. The rest of the day followed the familiar selection of Saturday programmes, in the evening the Big Show came from Scarbrough with Peter Goodwright and Friends, later we had the henry Woods Proms, Dance Music from the NDO and to end the evening Simon Dee. On Sunday similar to most weeks, the shows followed the same format, with Mrs Mills, Easy Beat, Two Way Family Favourites. Movie Go-Round featured James Stewart in “The Rare Breed” Television – Saturday it was Cricket & Grandstand, Juke Box Jury with David Jacobs and his guests – Juliet Harmer, Englebert Humperdink, Dann Ellis & Sarah Ward. Later in the evening we were treated to “ The Beatles at Shea Stadium” the August 1965 US Television Special featuring also Sounds Incorporated. Also in the schedule “Till Death Do Us Part”, The Good Old days with Leonard Sachs and Match of the Day with Ken [they think it’s all over] Wolstenholme. The Midnight Movie on BBC2 was “Privates Progress”. Sunday nights viewing included The Edinburgh Tattoo, the film matinee – Road to Singapore with Bob Hope, Bing Crosby & Dorothy Lamour. Ted Ray and McDonald Hobley led the It’s a KO competition between Ilkey & Otley, we also had European Swimming Championships, Disney Time and a Ken Dodd Show [ not sure when that finished!] and The Sunday Prom. The cultural offering on BBC2 was Mozart from Salzburg – The Marriage of Figaro. Because this was a Bank Holiday, and many did not have to work on Monday, television had on offer cricket & Grandstand, Tim Gudgin filming “Life Savers” with the RAF Rescue Service. Town & Around, United [the football soap] Billy Smarts Circus, a Brian Rix Farce and a Sherlock Holmes drama. Radio with BBC Light Programme included – Happy Holiday Time with DDDBMT, David & Jonathan, Ray Macvay Showband introduced by Tony Hall. Monday spin with Sam Costa, Going Places with the Geof Love Orchestra. The Billy Cotton Band Show, the regular music programme Swing into Summer and Keith Fordyce introduced items from the Lennon & McCartney Song Book.
Out on the waters we still had the music from Radio Caroline South – Small Faces: All or Nothing, Beatles: Yellow Submarine, Ken Dodd; More than Love, Manfred Mann: Just like a woman, Chris Andrews: Stop that Girl. Radio London Big L 266 Meters –Big O: Too Soon to Know, Small Faces: All or Nothing, Cliff Bennett: Got to get you into my life, Lee Dorsey : Working in a Coal Mine, Zoot Money: Big Time Operator. That was in a nutshell what we are about 50 years ago here in Hastings & St Leonards, for many the summer was quickly drawing to a close, schools and colleges returning shortly and the thoughts of getting more permanent jobs. In many ways we were still very lucky as the 900th celebrations of The Battle of Hastings, would continue for many weeks. The weather had improved and perhaps this would last a little longer. Until next week and we enter into the Autumn you all take great care, if you’re going out and about this Bank Holiday Weekend enjoy yourselves.    Andre Palfrey-Martin ©2016


The Happy Ballroom Hastings Pier, The Who & more 21st August 1966 by Andre Martin



supplied by: Andre Palfrey-martin collection

The month continues and we are now almost at the next Bank Holiday Weekend. However it is still only Saturday 20th August 1966, over on the Pier the entertainment continues to attract many different visitors and residents alike. This Saturday it is the return of one of the most popular regular bands that appear in the Happy Ballroom – Tony Strudwick Big Band Party Night. The big attraction for the young people comes on Sunday with a return visit from The Who – the band had been recently on major tours in France and would shortly being going to Scandinavia, their music included such standards as Heatwave, Dancing in the Street, Barbra Ann and Daddy Rolling Stone, plus I Can’t Explain, Substitute, I’m Boy, A legal Matter & My Generation. They were working on their second album at the time – “A Quick One”. Tuesday it was Wrestling and in addition to the “Sensational American Style Tag team Contest” included in the bill was the Heavyweight contest between Steve Veidor and Al Fontayne. The week ended with Tony Strudwick Show Band. Friday night [19th] it was a great start to the weekend with the visit to “Ready Steady Go” Cathy and Keith in the hot seats and presenting live in the studio Cliff Bennett & The Rebel Rousers : Got to get you into my Life, Salena Scott : I am Yours, Manfred Mann : Just Like a Woman & You gave me somebody to Love, Twice as Nice & The Who : A legal Matter & I’m a Boy. This would also have seen one of the very first appearances of Mike d’Abo in the new line up for Manfred Mann, with Paul Jones having left earlier in the summer. The Witch Doctor following its summer schedule of groups only on Saturday Night – this week it was a visit for the Oxford group Felders Orioles and the Yes “n” No. On Sunday Night it was a Record Rave and the rest of the week advertised as “ make sure you’re in the In crowd”
Let’s take a look at what was on radio, BBC Light Programme for Saturday – 10.00am Saturday Club – Brian Matthew introduced Manfred Mann, Twice as Nice, The Fourmost, Friday Brown & The Checkmates. Later in the day on Swing into Summer included Barron Knights, Acker Bilk, Clinton Ford, Ivy League, Billy J Kramer, Pinkertons Assorted Colours, Searchers, Jackie Trent & Wout Steenhaus. With the football season being under way, another feature on Saturday Afternoon – Association Football was back followed by Sports Report. In the evening it was time for BlackPool Night with Ken Dodd, Mrs Mills and Freddie Davies. A regular visit to the Promenade Concerts would have been followed with Time for Latin and Simon Dee.
On television – BBC 1 had Cricket with Brian Johnson, Peter West, Denis Compton and Richie Benaud, followed by Grandstand. Juke Box Jury this week with David Jacobs chairing –Don Moss, Patsy Ann Noble, Meg Wynn Owen and Fred Emney on the panel. Later in the evening the programmes included Laurel 7 Hardy, Creicket, Till Death us do Part, The Troubleshooters and a Visit to the Edinburgh Military Tattoo with Tom Fleming giving the commentary.  On Sunday we had a choice of BBC Light Programme – David Nixon, Children’s Favourites, Mrs Mills and Easy Beat. The forces link up this week at noon would include London Koln and Borneo, later in the afternoon it was the Morecomb & Wise radio Show, Movie Go Round – How to steal a Million with Audrey Hepburn and Peter O’Toole. Singe something simple followed by Steptoe & Son. Sunday half hour this week came from HMPrision Exeter. A womens hour special from Moscow was followed by Jazz scene. Over on television there was “It’s a KO” between Lytham St Annes and Fleetwood, and Ked Dodd from Blackpoo was another high light of the day
Over on the Pirate ships, this week’s charts would include Big L Radio London: Small Faces: All or Nothing, Ken Dodd : More than Nothing, Beatles : Yellow Submarine, Napoleon XIV : They’re coming to take me away, Ha Ha. Cliff Bennet & The Rebel Rousers : Got to get you into my Life. Over on Caroline South – Beatles : yellow Submarine, Beach Boys : God only Knows, Lovin Spoonful : Summer in the City, Mamas and Papas : I saw her again last night, Los Bravos : Black is Black. Here we are at the end of the week, and from records it shows that the weather went from warm in the early days to wet and cooler towards the end, I do recall that we had several days of heavy rain towards the end of the month, so much so that on some of the bus routes, the water came under the doors and made the floor a little wet and slippery. The 900th celebrations continue towards their climax on 14th October, and the town was decked out with bunting and flags making it very festive. Until next week episode, all take care out in the big wide world and watch this space for events and changes that are about to take place.
Andre Palfrey-Martin © 2016

Here’s The Who a few weeks later at Felixstowe on 8th Sept 1966.

Andre Martin… OMG – Lynne that would  have been within 200 yds of my Uncles house in Felixstowe, I wonder if my Lynne cousin would have been at that.

Peter Fairless… Hastings Pier 21st August, 50 years ago, today!

Andre Martin… As you say Pete, 50 years ago almost to the minute – the headline bands would start their act around 9.00pm/9.15pm to ensure that it was completed by the early Sunday Closing hours. No quite sure if that was the National Licencing Hours or Bob Knight’s Rules !!

Jim Breeds… Thanks as always Andre for an entertaining piece. Ked Dodd from “Blackpoo” boggles the mind, though! 🙂

Andre Martin… I could say a typo – but if you have ever work with Ken Dodd, you never knew when he would end, I have seen him stretch out a 1hrs cabaret for over 3 hours ! so I left the last “l” untill the show wnds. Hope your feeling better and enjoying getting out and about.

The Worrying Kind in the Happy Ballroom Sat 27th June 1964 by Andre Martin


Andre Palfrey-martin collection

Here is this week’s edition of The History of the Happy Ballroom, we are at the end of June – its Saturday Night 27th June 1964 – and tonight’s show will be topped by The Worrying Kind and supported by Frankie Roy and the Sandcoasters. So it’s all out of the long bar into the ballroom to see the show, you can go back for a lemonade if your good in the band changes.

I recognise the name of the top of the bill, but have little knowledge of their pedigree other than they started in the early 1960s in and around Hull, after winning an audition for a midlands agency they ended up working in London, and have to their credit supporting roles with The Rolling Stones, The Who, Georgie Fame and Zoot Money. Their line up included brass & keyboards and the music would fall roughly into the Soul/Dance genre. They made 2 recording for Marquee Studios. And that I am sorry to say is about all I could find.
The supporting act – Frankie Roy and the Sandcasters – this 5 piece have their roots in the Wantage/Swindon area, and first turned professional in 1964, in their time they played a lot of gigs in the west country and supported The Stones on their first appearance in Swindon earlier this year.
So it’s a little thin of detail this week – let us hope for more next month.
For the Friday Night RSG brigade, this would have been a good week with presentations from The Rolling Stones – plugging “It’s All Over Now”, The Mersey Beats with the Bacharach and David classic Wishing and Hoping “, Millie Small “ My Boy Lollipop” to add to the entertainment Janice Nicholls of ” Oi’ll Give It Foive” fame “.
Till next week in the Happy Ballroom ………………. Andre Martin

Suzie… They were called the frankie Roy and the Soundcasters and had Dave Balfe on guitar.

Sandy Max… Blimey, I was five!

Sam Carter… My dad Bob Carter was a member of the Soundcasters

David Balfe… I was the bass player in The Soundcasters? The 60’s was a great time for young musicians and groups, if you were up for it you could play 6 or 7 nights a week.

John Warner… Were the Worrying Kind from Kent?

The Happy Ballroom Hastings Pier and more 1st October 1966 by Andre Martin

The Autumn has arrived and we are now only 12 weeks away from Christmas, it is Saturday 1st October 1966. But unlike today, none of the shops have any Christmas decorations or advertising, everything was centred on the coming month’s prime activity – the 900th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings. The Happy Ballroom was still very quiet and the focus of the Pier is very much on the Triodome on the Parade Extension.
Friday night would have normally be a Ready Steady Go evening, but for some unknown reason nothing was transmitted. All I can remember about that night was that I had to start Night School and catch up, because my new employer from October wanted me to brush up on Book Keeping as part of the terms of my employment! It was common practice all those years ago and to include Friday in the normal timetable.
Down at Marine Court, the home of The Witch Doctor entertainment continues, but at present only on Two nights a week. On this Saturday it’s the return of The Lonely Ones, who feature prominently in the regular line-ups of live music, and On Thursday it’s the return of Steve Maxted for yet another of his completely unscripted, unplanned and crazy nights ! We are told by management to watch out for changes.
Television over the weekend would include many of the regular programmes – On Saturday for example – Grand Stand followed by Juke Box Jury with David Jacobs and his special guests this week with the power of Hit or Miss were Una Stubbs, Lena Martell, Kenneth Horne and DJ Jimmy Young, later Dr Who, Dixon of Dock Green, Dick Van Dyke, The Film – 10 Tall men, Death Do Us Part, the Trouble Shooters and Match for the Day .BBC 2 The Danny Kaye Show and Wickers World. On Sunday television was educational till 3.20pm and this was followed by the film Lost Horizons. Women in White, Meeting Point, Film The Mudlarks, Billy Cotton Music Hall with Spike Milligan and Lance Percival and to round up the evening Ages of Man.
Radio, was similar with regular known programmes – Saturday – Saturday Club with Brian Matthew and Alan Price Set, Lulu, Graham Bonnet Soulmates, Geno Washington & the Loving Kind. Later in the evening the shows would have included pop Over Europe, Have a Go, Night at The Music Hall, Roy Castle, and Time for Old Time with Bob Potter & His Band. Sunday was a mix of Children’s Favourites, Mrs Mills, Easy Beat and this week a special – Peoples Service from Zambia. Lunchtime we had a three way Family Favourites from London, Koln and Malta [from RAF Luqa] later shows included the Navy Lark, Clitheroe kid, Billy Cotton Band Show, Sempreni Serenade, POTP, Movie Go Round and Top of the Form. The Pirates as ever were feeding us with some of the most popular tunes of the day, Radio Caroline South – Keith Hampshire spinning the discs, Bend It : DDDBMT, Dusty : All I see is you, Sonny & Cher : Little Man, Supremes : You Can’t Hurry Love, The Who : I’m a Boy. Radio London Big L on 266 with Ed Stewart – The Who : I’m a Boy, Stones : Have You Seen your Mother standing in the Shadow, New Vaudeville Band : Winchester Cathedral, Dusty : All I see is You, DDDBMT : Bend It. Thinking back all those years ago I have some great memories of my last few weeks on the buses, as on 1st October, I handed in my uniform and left what had been a very enjoyable job – even with the 6.00am starts.
So there is a another week of 1966 gone, what secrets do we still await, what earth shattering moments will happen – all I can say is keep reading –One of the memories that I have just recalled is connected with the date 1st October, how many of you worked in government offices, post office, local council buildings etc, do you remember the golden rule that would come into effect on 1st and lasted until 31st March next year – YES – the Heating went ON no matter the temperature, and in March it went OFF again no matter the temperature, so it was no unusual to boil in October and Freeze in April. I will leave you with that thought. To you all, take greet care out there.     Andre Palfrey-Martin © 2016

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


The Happy Ballroom and more – New Years Eve 1965 by Andre Martin

Third part of what does seem to have been a long week+ It is now New Years Eve – 31st December 1965 and there is a lot going on for us – we were so lucky in those days. In the Happy Ballroom – Hastings Pier, after the success of The Who on Christmas Eve, New Years Eve had a particular Scottish flavour with two attractions from North of the Border – The Two of Each and Pinky & The Phellows. Apart from their names in print in the advertisement, I can find nothing more to report. Pinky & The Phellows were listed as one of Scotland’s leading Show Bands. It’s a bit like “The Lurking Cromwell’s” from Boxing Day, thanks to Pete Millington/ Trevor Spears they have tracked them down to the Ninefield area, so more in the New Year – I hope.
I can recall the Witch Doctor on that night and the acts booked, The Lonely Ones, Davey Sands & The Essex + The Humperdinks, also included on that nights show “ the Witch Doctors own Father Time” – I wonder who that would have been ? That night when on till 1.30am New Years Day, and all for 10/- in advance! This would have been a Saturday for some, getting up to go to work might not have been such a problem as for many, but in those days you just did – no argument!!
Thinking back the venue was packed, and one of the perks that I had was membership of the Grenadier Club, down stairs next to the Dolphin Ballroom, which was also very busy, this enabled me to always get a drink and not have to face the crush at the bar in the Witch Doctor and was even more handy if I was in company as I was that night. The owner of the whole complex was Eric Rennie, he was a character, but he knew how to keep people happy, and there would have been a lot of people in that building for New Years Eve.
Saturday January 1st 1966 – we had ex-organist of THEM with his group Peter B’s Looners, plus from Eastbourne the Defiants, back to normal and the show ends at 11.45pm with bar closing by 11.00pm all for 6/- .Sunday, if you needed any more dance time, the afternoon Record session went from 2.30pm to 5.00pm. The rest of the weeks programme was the same as usual – Records on Tuesday and Thursday night with Steve Muscles Maxted.
Because New Years Eve was on Friday, Ready Steady Go very much under Vicky Wickham control, added yet another first to the Schedule and from 10.52pm its “The New Year Starts Here” and amongst the artistes on the bill – The Animals: The Who “ Cants Explain”:Chris Andrews “ Girls Don’t Come”: Dave Berry; Dave Clark Five : Tom Jones 2 Chills & Fevers”: Kinks : Lulu “Shout”: Kenny Lynch :Rolling Stones “Satisfaction & Get Off My Cloud” Searchers & Dusty Springfield. [It was a great pity that we did not have video recorders for such nights, as we must have missed some great shows being out at clubs etc]
Television that night would have also included on the BBC – 7.00pm The Newcomers Soap/drama.7.30pm “ Barney is My Darling :the Twenty Six year Itch” with Bill Fraser and Irene Handl. 8.00pm Film “North West Mounted Police” with Gary Cooper and Paulette Goddard. 10.10pm “1965 Panorama of the Year” 11.00pm “The Andy Williams Show”.11.50pm A WatchNight Service from St Martin-in-the-field” 12mn herald in the New Year as the crowds celebrate in Trafalgar Square then north of the border to… Ring In the New – an Entertainment from Scotland featuring Andy Stewart.
Saturday 1st January 1966 – BBC Light Programme 1.00am Saturday Club, with Hedgehoppers Anonymous: Barry St JOHN: Merseybeats: Rick & Sandy: Acker Bilk plus the backbone to the show Brian Matthew. 6.30pm Jazz Beat with Georgie Fame & the Blue Flames: Brian Auger Trinity and George Melly. Sunday 10.31am Easy Beat. 12noon 2 Way Family Favourites London & Koln: 4.00pm “Pick of the Pops”. 5.00pm “Movie Go Round” this weeks feature films – “The Heroes of Telemark” with Kirk Douglas & Richard Harris, “ Sands of The Kalahari” – Stanley Baker, Susannah York & Harry Andrews. 6.00pm “What do you know”, nationwide general knowledge competition for “Brain of Britain”. 11.30pm – Jazz Club.
Television that weekend would have included Saturday – 1.30pm GRANDSTAND, 5.15PM Juke Box Jury – David Jacobs with panel members Max Bygraves Family & Uncle Eric. 5.50pm “Dr Who: Volcano”. 6.15pm “The Munster’s”, 6.40pm “Dixon of Dock Green”. 8.55pm “Billy Cotton Band Show” Over on ITV – “Thank Your Lucky Stars” and the line up for the first show in 1966 included Jim Dale, Searchers, Bachelors, Fortunes, Lance Percival, Julie Rogers 7 Jackie Trent. Sunday 2nd January – 1.15pm Gardening Club with Percy Thrower, 2.00pm New Year Concert from Vienna.7.30pm Film – On the Waterfront.
Back to normal – if there ever was a normal time – I have just remembered that when I went back to college the following week it was for examinations! Until next week you take care and a Happy New Year to you all – no matter what year you wish to live in !!!!
Andre Palfrey-Martin ©2015

Andy Qunta… Fabulous run-down, Andre, thanks!

Anne Wells… Andre Happy New Year and thank you for all of your weekly memory prods – much appreciated. I recommend a book I’m currently reading 1966: the Year the Decade Exploded by Jon Savage – excellent.

The Happy Ballroom & more – 16th October 1965 by Andre Martin

October can be a great month, and we have had a really fantastic few days this year, much of which I know you will already be talking about, but it does not seem to have been the same 50 years ago. We are going to look at the 2 weeks: 9th and 16th which nowadays line up very nicely with Hastings Week, but I do not recall much celebration all those years ago, I know some will say – Yes, but do not forget that we are getting worked up to the 900th anniversary of The Norman Invasion and subsequent battle next year in 1966. Here we go then with this episode of the History of The Happy Ballroom – Hastings Pier and it is Saturday 16th October 1965. The lights are OFF and nothing has happened over the past few weeks, I know that it is a crafty way for the Management to save on the electric by not having the large DANCING illuminations that we always so very easily to see from the promenade. But the truth is nothing is happening, and all the research of that immediate period has come up with nothing.
Both of the Friday nights had started off well with the London TV transmission of Ready Steady Go on Friday 8th the show had headlined with The Everly Brothers: “Love is Strange” amongst the numbers they included, also on the programme The Supremes and Peter & Gordon. Holding it all together were the regular presenters Keith and Cathy. On the following Friday 15th October – wow a great package Lulu & The Luvvers “ Try to understand”, Ben E King, Dusty “ Some of your Lovin”, Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames “Something”, The Fortunes “Here it comes again” and The Graham Bond Organisation. Linking the show together, Keith Fordyce and Cathy McGowan.
The Witch Doctor was playing low key at this time, because of some plans for the future and the refurbishment, Tony Powell and his team had been out seeking shrunken heads for the club décor, but were not getting many, perhaps Alan Jensen should have offered some free records from the Disc Jockey as an incentive. The line up was Saturday 9th October; double bill, George Bean and The Runners plus the Disciples and records for the rest of the week. Friday October 15th – The Symbols. On Saturday 16th Felders Orioles and supporting Dave and The Strollers, on the Friday Night 22nd Sons of Fred.
Even the radio and television was undergoing changes and some new programmes were being integrated into the schedule to offer variety. Some of the stalwarts remained. Saturday Club for example, on 9th October, Brian Matthew presented a good variety – The Searchers, Manfred Mann, Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames, Don Charles, The Cherokees, Sharon Tandy. The following week the show came live from Copenhagen, and included The Swinging Blue Jeans, Pretty Things, Chris Barber Jazz Band, The Defenders, Peter Belli & The Rivals, Kjeld Ingridh and the New Danish Radio Band.
There was the usual mix of “Lance a Go Go”, “Fanfayre”, “The Folk Room”, on 16th at 4.00pm, they introduced a new Film based show “ Music from the Movies” with Desmond Carrington and later that evening an outside broadcast from The Ricky Tick Club in Windsor with Tony Hall introducing a very popular act who played the venue a lot – Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames.
On Sunday, it was the usual mix of Keith Fordyce with Easy Beat at10.31am after the Sunday Service at12 noon – Family Favourites from Cologne and London. “Movie Go Round” on 16th featured “Darling” with Lawrence Harvey, Dirk Bogarde and Julie Christie and always in the right place, that you could set your watch 4.00pm “Pick of The Pops” with dear old Fluff.
Television featured a lot more drama and variety shows than today, however the musical side included the regular” Juke Box Jury” with David Jacobs and his panel of hit/miss makers on the 9th, they were Louise Cordet, Julie Felix, Lance Percival and Leslie Phillips. The following week it was Denny Piercy, Gene Pitney, Marian Ryan and Ginette Spaniel. Not to be outdone. Over on ITV or ABC to be precise – had” Thank Your Lucky Stars” introduced by Jim Dale [Brian Matthew was taking a break] and that would have included a good lively mix of recording arties from both sides of the Atlantic, with dear old Janice “I’ll give it Five” on the show.
On Saturday 16th October, live from Brighton you had The Conservative Party Conference with political reporters, you may remember – Ian Trethowan and Robin Day, but that was only limited to a report on the final day, how things have changed.
This last Saturday in Hastings – 2015 – was the Bonfire Celebrations, and back in the 1960s, they were also celebrated, and I can recall that we would have had Battle, Hastings and Rye possibly on the same night, which was a little disappointing if you had wanted to get to more than one. I am not sure if they would have been “political” as today, but that does make them much more interesting.
The next episode of the History of the Happy Ballroom – Hastings Pier, I very much hope will include something different for a change, I would have thought that the patrons missed the venue and their friends? Time will tell. Till next week you all take care, remember the clocks go back next Sunday morning, and it will be darker getting about, so make sure that you can be seen!!
Andre Palfrey-Martin ©2015