supplied by Lloyd Johnson
all cuttings Andre Palfrey-martin collection
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.
supplied by Sarah Harvey
Sarah Harvey… This day in 1977. The Pier Ballroom opens its doors for the first time after extensive re-decorations with Medicine Head.
Jim Breeds… March 26th – Stranglers! I was at that one.
Peter Fairless… Getting ahead of ourselves… get a grip, Jim!
Andre Martin… Yes calm down, just because the sun is out – Were English don’t do things like this !!
Jim Breeds… I’m just Hanging Around …
Alan Esdaile… What is bizarre is Medicine Head played the pier on the 12th March 1976 and again on the 12th March 1977.
supplied by Mick Mepham
Andy Qunta… Definitely ’76, Factory wasn’t going in ’77. Going again now though!
Alan Esdaile… The Stranglers also performed on the 29th Oct 1977.
Andre Palfrey-martin collection
Andre Martin…Strange how times change – we are in February, Saturday 13th – 1965, and it’s a St Valentines Weekend – but there is very little indication in any of the Press and advertising, come forward to the present day and you would have been swamped by Press and Television advertising this date in the calendar. The Happy Ballroom continued with its policy of “Togetherness Dancing” and “Bringing back Romance to the Ballroom” – Gordon Rider and His Music will be on stage from 8.00pm to 11.45pm, with the usual package of music and entertainment for 5/-, and for those who are not that interested in what’s happening in The Happy Ballroom, the Long Bar is open and a place to meet all your friends.
As usual for so many of the young people in the town the weekend would have kicked-off with our regular viewing of the best from London: Ready, Steady, Go. in the capable hands of Keith and Cathy on the show tonight included Donovan – Manfred Mann “ Come Tomorrow” – Dusty Springfield “Your Hurtin’ Kind of Love” – Sandie Shaw “ I’ll stop at Nothing” – Millie, and The Nashville Teens “ Find my way back home”
The Live music scene at The Witch Doctor on stage were 2 groups from London, The Pantilers and The Exiles, who would set the scene going – all for 6/-. Sunday Club this week featured The Graham Bond Organisation, if you were a member it was only 4/-. You could also win a weekly draw of £10.00, based on your Sunday Club membership number – BUT you had to be in the club when the draw was made, if nobody won that week, it was simply rolled over and added to the next week. It does not sound much today, but 50 years ago £10.00 was a useful sum of money. Friday night it was Brian Poole & The Tremeloes. The record spinning for the remainder of the week, was in the capable hands of Trevor Ollive [Mon & Tues] Johnny Warner – Wednesday, with his “chick cheap night “ all for 6d, and on Thursday and Sunday afternoons – Ginger Powell.
Radio on Saturday had the BBC Light Programme presenting at 10.00am Saturday Club,and this week included Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders, The Pretty Things, Jimmy Rodgers, Craig Douglas, Unit 4 + 2, Elkie Brooks and The Ladybirds. Brian Matthews was along to spin any new releases. Later in the day at 2.00pm – Saturday Swings this week presented – Janie Marsden, Four Pennies, Les Howard, The Brooks. The new 4.00pm show Top Gear continued with Sandi Shaw and Cliff Bennett with the Rebel Rousers.
On Sunday, the regular morning slot at 10.31 – Easy Beat – featured, Cliff Bennett, Spencer Davis, The Countrymen, Dodie West and The Johnny Howard Band – Keith Fordyce was on hand to spin any new releases.
For those who looked to TV to provide some pop entertainment, “Juke Box Jury” with David Jacobs and Marianne Faithfull, Adrian Poster, Brian Epstein and Ted Ray. And on “the other side” Thank Your Lucky Stars” – this week Brian Matthews guests included – Adam Faith & The Roulettes, Herman’s Hermits, Jackie Lee, Gene Pitney, Tammy St John – with the guest DJ Ed Moreno.
As we can see from the local press, things were about to change in the Happy Ballroom and national names were to start appearing again over the coming weeks, so for more of that, cope back next week and I will tell you more in The History of the Happy Ballroom – Hastings Pier.
Andre Palfrey-Martin © 2015
PS watch this space – important announcement will be made shortly about Jimi Hendrix !!!
Mick O’Dowd… Oh no! Not the end of “together dancing” and Gordon riding off into the sunset! OMG.
Andre Martin… Don’t get too worried about this…. time will tell !!
Andre Palfrey-martin collection
Andre Martin… The History of the Happy Ballroom now moves into a new phase, as we have been eagerly awaiting the return of the “Together Dancing” and after several weeks of press trails and leaked information, here we are SATURDAY 5TH December 1964 and at 8.00pm tonight the baton will be raised at the Percy Howe Orchestra will swing into action – 8.00pm-11.45pm and all for the princely sum of 5/-. You will have to wait till next week for the report on how this went………………Did this achieve what the Pier Management wanted, did it meet the needs and expectations of the Patrons of the Pier, and would this be sustainable against other similar competition, we will only know in weeks to come. In advertising terms the re-launch was very low key, there were no special features with all the suppliers and contracts mentioned and advertised – in recent times such an event as this would have taken up sometimes a double page spread !!
Elsewhere what have the young people in the town be enjoying over the coming week – The Witch Doctor has a change in their weekly programme, on Wednesday Nights, it’s the start of the “ Beat Group Competition” with a prize of £300.00 for the winners, run in a series of heat, each week 4 groups would appear and over the coming weeks by elimination, there would be a winner.. but more about that as it takes place, but what value for money – entry only 2/6d. This week in December, Saturday Night featured –The Brothers Grimm + Jonathon Cane and The Freemen. Sunday it was a visit from Ray Clevelands, and Friday night The Zephyrs.
Friday night had seen a interesting Ready Steady Go, with a link with the Hasting Pier, as included in the line up were acts that had or would make visits in time – Keith Fordyce and Cathy McGowan fronting the show with The Moody Blues “Go Now”, The Miracles [no mention of Smokey Robinson as yet fronting the group] P J Proby “Summertime” and Peter Jay & The Jaywalkers.
BBC Radio – Light Programme – Saturday morning was with Saturday Club, and as ever this always reflected what the music scene was offering –Marvin Gaye, The Searchers, The Fourmost, The Sputniks, Jess Conrad, The Hi Fi’s and all under the watchful eye of Brian Matthews, is it any wonder that he today in 2014 can talk with such authority about the music and artistes over the past 50+ years
2.00pm would be time for Saturday Swings – Brian Poole & The Tremeloes, Russ Sainty, The Lauries Steel New Sound, Julie Rodgers, The Bachelors, The Brooks and The NDO with Bernard Herman – compere was Don Wardell [Eds note – The Northern Dance Orchestra appeared regularly on the BBC as they were one of the House Bands, the musicians were often some of the top session men in the country, and would have appeared on numerous records under the direction such greats as Norrie Paramour, George Martin and the like, these musicians were the cream of the recording industry]
Sundays offerings – Easy Beat at 10.31am –Brenda Lee, Kenny Lynch, Patsy Ann Noble, Long John Baldry , The Eric Delany Band and in the chair Keith Fordyce. Special this week at noon, was 3 way Family Favourites – obviously getting ready for Christmas, with the link up – London[BBC] – Cologne[BFBS] and Singapore[BFBS]. “Sunday Best” at 3.00pm included – Joe Brown & The Bruvvers, The Karl Denver Trio and Julie Dawn.
Television that weekend included Juke Box Jury with David Jacobs and the Panel – Peter Murray, Sandie Shaw, Diahann Carroll and Vic Lewis. There was the usual run of programmes that I have mentioned in the past, so no change there – however Christmas is coming and within the next couple of weeks much would change. There we go for this week – 5th December 1964 .. We await the feedback from the Happy Ballroom as to how the new policy on dancing has been received. Until then keep warm and watch out for the next edition of the History of the Happy Ballroom . 2014©Andre Palfrey-Martin