Medicine Head – Hastings Pier 12th March 1977


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.




Hastings Pier Ballroom & more – 13th Feb 1965 by Andre Martin


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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 !!

The Percy Howe Orchestra – Hastings Pier Sat 5th Dec 1964 by Andre Martin

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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