The Rattles plus support Johnny and The Spirits – Hastings Pier 18th April 1964



Andre Palfrey-martin collection

Andre Martin…Well for us in Hastings today it’s just coming up to the start of the Easter Bank Holiday Weekend 2014 – but for your history lesson from 50 years ago, it’s Saturday April 18 1964 in the Happy Ballroom. You can truly say that we are going International and top of the bill are the Rattles from Hamburg West Germany. Let me till you a little about this band -The Rattles performed in Hamburg, and played at the same venues as The Beatles on several occasions in 1962. In 1964 the group recorded “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah”, which charted in the UK.
The supporting group – Johnny & The Spirits, which after extensive research has shown no details, images or stories, it’s as if they have just disappeared in the great world of rock and roll, never to be seen again.
From reports on the gig, from several who attended, “ it was one of the worse nights that I have ever attended in The Happy Ballroom” “ the band were awful” “why did I waste my money going to see them” “ hardly anybody turned up” “after 5 minutes, I thought enough is a enough and I went back to the PamDor”
So all in all, not a good Saturday Night. – We should have better entertainment next week – but that’s for the next History of the Happy Ballroom.

Alan Esdaile…..I bet Swinging Blues Jeans were good, the following week.

Andy Qunta…..Yes, Swinging Blues Jean had some good stuff!

Jim Hobbs…..The Rattles had a great single called ‘The Witch’ in 1970, played a lot on Luxembourg.

Malcolm Bucket… With reference to Johnny And The Spirits, I personally to date know of the bass player and Malcolm Bucket now live in Littlehampton West Sussex and are still both actively playing in a Shadows tribute band workshop in Barnham Village Hall. The band still meets once or twice year and the reunion with Bill Dayman and Pete fro lead guitarist. They made a demo disc record called Guess Who with Emi archives unknown but was recorded pan music company Waldorf Street London. Era 64/65. The singer John Mccload of the band passed away 20 years ago.

Alan King… Saturday, April 18th , 1964 Hastings Pier THE RATTLES (billed as The German Beatles on the poster) anyone remember this one ? was it the inspiration for The Rutles ?

Jimi Hendrix Experience autographs & poster – Hastings Pier 22nd October 1967

Jimi Hendrix, Mitch Mitchell & Noel Redding autographs – Hastings Pier 1967 and also ‘Graham Nash’ from the Hollies! Was he backstage that night? Supplied by Mick O’Dowd.




pier poster source… Mick Bean Hastings Old Town Appreciation Group

Brandon Knights…..Hi, does anyone know where I might be able to purchase a copy of this poster? General Manager: R.E.Knights, was my Grandfather and I am a huge Hendrix fan. I was also born in 1967, – so it would mean a lot to me to get a copy framed and hang it on the wall, in the office of my Sound company!  I have also seen other posters & Flyers ( Stones, The Who etc) with Gramp’s name featured, but have been unable to track anything down for sale. – can anybody help?
My first memories of gigs on the Pier were Sham 69 & Siouxsie & The Banshees, who gave me a guitar strap! – I must have been 11 or 12 yrs old: – Very exiting & fond memories.
Such wonderful news that the Pier is being re built!

John Wilde….I’ll buy one.

Chris Farley… Well done with tracking down detailed event of Hastings Pier & Jimmy Hendrix on Oct 1967. – I was there as a teenager still at Bexhill Grammer School – never heard of the Experince or MR J Hendrix at age 17y …

Andre Martin… here is one of the HP advertisements picked at random that clearly shows Robert E Knights as General Manager.


Andre Palfrey-martin collection

Jan Warren… Jimi – Always and Forever!!  Jimi, the greatest EVER!! – s’cuse me while I kiss the sky!!

Andy Qunta… Would love to have seen Jimi Hendrix on the pier.

Jenny Tyler… I was there, right at the front. X

Sheila Chamberlain… O’h my goodness I was there standing on a chair!!!!

Ian Mantel… I didn’t move down until 1972 (and would have been too young to go anyway) but does anyone remember this gig?

Mick O’Dowd… I got the autographs, all 12 copies and I’ve even kept one! Doh!

Eric Harmer… Mitch Mitchell lived in Hastings later. I went to his house

John Warner… Met Noel Redding many times at the Star Ballroom Maidstone. He played for a couple of groups based in Kent, The Loving Kind and the Lonely Ones.

Chris Meachen… I remember how the philistines painted over those autographs when the dressing rooms were redecorated.

Catherine Ireland… Graham Nash at Del la War Pavilion July 24th I believe

Alan King… I can get copies of Hendrix / Floyd / Who / Stones & Beatles posters from the Pier gigs – askAlan Esdaile to put you in touch with me if you need / want any of them – can bring them to the next SMART coffee meeting – in the meantime will find out how much they will set you back – don’t think they are too expensive

Peter Fairless… Which Beatles gig was that, then?

Mick O’Dowd…  Probably the phantom one when we got Billy J Kramer instead Pete.

Pete Fairless… Anyone still got an Ian Dury & The Blockheads ticket, I wonder Mick.

Alan Esdaile… I’m still searching for paper cuttings about this. When Ian Drury was advertised on posters for a gig on the pier and tickets being sold but was all a con. As soon as the posters went up, I contacted Stiff Records for some display material for the shop and they knew nothing about the gig and didn’t believe me. I got them to contact Bob Knights and tickets were withdrawn and the police were contacted. Stiff Records did send me some free albums for my help.


Magma, Esperanto, Keith Christmas – Hastings Pier 8th March 1974



poster supplied by Mick Mepham. photo source

Geoff Peckham….I was there that night. I was knocked out by Magma. They’d thrown away the rule book. The singer (Christian Vander?) even sang in his own made-up language. The perfect antidote to Eurotrash!

Terry Pack….I was at that one, too. Magma were amazing. I got to meet Keith Christmas during the 1980s. He lived in Kingston near Nick Magnus, with whom I used to write songs around that time.

John Wilde…. I was there also, Greatly impressed by Magma and the singing in tongues.

Mick Mepham….. They’re my favouritest band in the whole world! Saw them in ’73 supporting someone I can’t remember, then this one and loads subsequently. They’re still going and are utterly awesome (I don’t use that word lightly). The language Vander wrote is called Kobaiian and it suits the music well. The best drummer I’ve ever seen (apologies to all others) and some of the most intriguing music ever. They wipe me out whenever I see them, though I don’t think they play here anymore so I haven’t witnessed a gig for several years now. Have a look at their show at the Trianon in Paris on their 30th anniversary. Excellent! etc etc sorry …..babbling now. Esperanto were also a really good band and Keith Christmas too. Ahhhhh those were the days hahahahahahahha …..

John Wilde… Excellent gig. Wish I had this poster Mick.

Terry Huggins… Magma are still around aren’t they? Their last album, Félicité Thösz, was only released a couple of years ago.

Peter Fairless… Still putting out CDs, Terry

Mick Mepham… Magma were and still are my favourite band. Awe-inspiring live and good recorded. They’re still pretty big in Europe. Too “out-there” to be commercial but a great band. Hurrah!!John, I’ll send you a copy…..

Phil Thornton… another gig I was at ! – both bands were great !! – not that I understood it all, but I still knew it was great !

Tony Court-holmes… that is a very worrying photo.


Groundhogs – Hastings Pier 1st March 1975


groundhogs solid

supplied by Sarah Harvey

Sarah Harvey….A bit of a typo in the advert corrected beneath advert. A single Groundhog! I wonder which one appeared?

Leigh Wieland-Boys… I saw the Groundhogs, supported by Juicy Lucy, at a music festival in Keswick whilst on hols in the Lake District, when I was 14 – it was an overnighter but my Dad picked me up about 7pm! Five years before they were on the pier!

Jan Warren… Love Groundhogs!! 

Alan King… I put Tony McPhee up at the house a few times – surprised that he was a vegetarian – dunno why I was surprised by it but I was


Did Elton John (Reg Dwight) play Hastings Pier?

Clive Garrard… I remember reading somewhere that Elton John said the oddest gig he did was supporting The Who on the end of Hastings Pier. I’m surprised no one has mentioned it.

Alan Esdaile… Could it have been Bluesology? Anyone confirm?

Colin Bell… when I first started going into DJM in New Oxford Street he was Dick James teaboy/session player etc and played in loads of odd bands that were put together, like Mr Bloe etc, so maybe he was in a supporting band to The Who at some stage but I have no personal knowledge of any appearances on the Pier, but Bluesology could well be it.

Jim Breeds… He was also the performer on many of the Hot Hits LPs cover versions.

Colin Norton… His best session has to be The Hollies “He ain’t heavy….”

Clive Garrard… I did not read the comment about Elton John.He actually said this himself in a documentary tv programme “the strangest gig that i ever played was as support to “the Who” on the end of Hastings Pier”.

Pete Fairless… Was asked this very question today in Bands On Hastings Pier. After a quick check of t’interweb, here’s my reply… In 1966, Reg was playing with Bluesology. In April, they supported The Who at a gig at the Links International Club in Boreham Wood. That makes sense, because it’s near Reg’s home and, apparently, at the time his Mum drove him to their gigs. This appears to be a one off support gig, not a tour. It’s also recorded that John had a chat with Reg in the bar where Reg was complaining that the other members of Bluesology wouldn’t let him sing. Now, The Who played Hastings Pier on 21st August 1966. I guess it’s possible Bluesology supported but I’ve seen nothing to confirm that. It would be odd. However, Sir Reg appears to claim he was there!

Colin Norton… I just found this Bluesology Gig list:

Pete Fairless… No mention of either gig there!

Status Quo plus Finbow – Hastings Pier 2nd March 1973.

status quo 2nd march 1973

quo - plane

Peter Thomson… That must have been the first of the 2 gigs they did in ’73 on the pier. The second was courtesy of Ace Promotions. The performances were so different I was convinced for a long time I’d seen 2 completely different bands. Anyone feel the same?

Alan Esdaile… That’s right Pete, they did play again on the 28th July 1973 which I think was the one I went to. Mind you they would have also sounded completely different a few years earlier when they played The Cobweb.

Julie Morris… I was at one of the 1973 concerts – can’t remember which one – great concert!

Martin Waghorne… I was at the second concert.


supplied by Mick Mepham

Lesley Brown… I saw them twice on the pier. I didn’t realise it was the same year though.

Keith Veness… Was there great night So many great nights on the pier

Pete Fisher… I remember watching those wooden floorboards bend under the weight of all those stomping boogieing people and hoping they didn’t cave in…one of the tightest bands I’ve ever seen, probably at their best back then…

UFO Records – Hastings Pier 1976


photo 1 supplied by Clive Richardson, photo 2 supplied by Eva Neuke

Alan Esdaile… This is a shop I ran with Clive and yes we did sell knickers! First time ever I have seen this photo. Anyone remember the shop? What intrigues me is the red poster below the window. This is for The Village Glen Fern Road Bournemouth. Seems very odd to advertise it on the pier unless a local band was on the bill?

Matt Thomas… Still selling knickers as well 🙂

Diane Knight… My dad had a shop on the pier then , you must have been the competition …which side were you on ???

Alan Esdaile… The right hand side Diane. Next to the bookies. What did your dad sell?

Diane Knight… Silly hats and all those necessary things …he also built the model railway on the other side…

Phil Gill… I remember it well.

Nastassja Kaschevsky… Remember it well, when I used to work on the pier. I was working in the Dome on the pier, that summer!

Mick O’Dowd… Yes remember this well Alan. If I remember correctly you specialised in prog rock.

Alan Esdaile… Sold mainly deletions and american overstocks which you could make a bit more money on. The only trouble being the American imports either had a hole punched through them, corner cut or a sticker on the sleeve showing that the import duty had been paid.

Leigh Wieland-Boys… Still have a Yes LP Steve Demetris bought for me on one of our visits to the shop

Snafu plus Krazy Kat – Hastings Pier 28th Feb 1976

1976 28th feb snafuimg215 snafu

Terry Pack…  I would have been a member of The Hollywood Killers in Feb 76, but have no recollection of this gig (as usual; maybe I had a double for 20 years?).

Ralph Town… Terry,was Ashley Pepper in the band in Feb 76?? Coz if he was,I would have been his “roadie” at that time and I cant remember that gig either smile emoticon

Terry Pack… Yep, Ralph, Ashley Pepper was in the band then. Maybe we ALL had doppelgängers!

Alan Esdaile… Found another cutting (see above) This might be the reason you don’t remember this gig. Possibly Hollywood Killers did not support in the end and replaced by Krazy Kat?

Dave Nattress… I don’t remember this gig or gigs but saw Krazy Kat supporting the wonderful Be Bop Deluxe at Eastbourne Congress in 1976 and they were really good. I’ve got 2 vinyl albums of Krazy Kat which likewise are good. Snafu were gigging a lot in this period and I have a CD of theirs – a sort of best of I think. Need to check out personnel and tracks when I get a bit of time later today.

Jim Penfold… My sister promoted this gig (Rollerball Productions) and we were billed to support (Hollywood Killers) but for some reason we didn’t!

Gerry Fortsch… I was there.

Skip Bifferty – Hastings Pier 24th February 1968

supplied by Sarah Harvey

Sarah Harvey…  Skip Bifferty on the Pier (February 24th, 1968). A psychedelic band formed in early 1966. Band members were…Graham Bell: vocals – Mick Gallagher: Keyboards – Colin Gibson: bass – John Turnbull: guitar, vocals – Tommy Jackman: drums. Following their demise in 1971 , together with , Bell, Turnbull and Gallagher, formed Bell & Arc. Bassist Colin Gibson went on to work with Ginger Baker, Bert Jansch, Alvin Lee and Van Morrison. John Turnbull and Mick Gallagher reappeared in 1977 in The Blockheads, backing Ian Dury; in 1979 Gallagher played and recorded with The Clash and The Only Ones.

Mick Mepham… Blimey! Haven’t heard On Love since we played it in Die Laughing. Great song!

Terry Huggins… They were also known as ‘Heavy Jelly’ and had a song called ‘I keep singing that same old song’ on the ‘Nice enough to eat’ sampler. Can’t recall what the story behind this was, but apparently there were several bands using the ‘Heavy Jelly’ name.

Phil Thornton… that was a great song !! written by Colin Gibson !! When we had a revival of Stallion recently we had planned to play a new version of ‘I keep singing that same old song’ as an encore !!

Terry Huggins… One of the best piano riffs ever.

Kev Towner… Now that would’ve been cool Phil!! I had no idea Colin wrote it – I think I’ve got a copy somewhere.

Sarah Harvey… Heavy Jelly…… Skip Bifferty had been clandestinely recording a new single “I Keep Singing That Same Old Song” with Paul Nicholls replacing Tommy Jackman on drums and with producer Guy Stevens at the helm. Writers of the London magazine ‘Time Out’ had written a review of a fictitious band with the name of Heavy Jelly as a spoof and a number of bands contemplated using the name. Skip Bifferty managed to be first out and the Heavy Jelly single was released on Island. For a while it was rumoured to be Spooky Tooth moonlighting, but journalist Chris Welsh almost disclosed the true identity of the group when his review punned “this one really skips and biffs along”. The single didn’t sell in the UK but did well in Europe.

Mick O’Dowd… Only just recently caught up with listening to this group. Most impressed especially their version of I Am The Walrus. Good band.

Wendy Wells… I have their autographs somewhere, I got from this gig, I’ll try and look them out lol!

Steve Cooke… … and of course Colin Gibson has lived locally for many years, forming Buick 6 with Roger Hubbard and Liam Genockey as well as numerous other musical and artistic achievements.

Gavin Martin… Good band!

Carol Ann Bolton… Excellent.

Tommy Quickly and The Remo Four plus Pagans Hastings Pier 27th Feb 1965


tommy quickly

tommy quickly wilde side

Andre Palfrey-martin collection 

Alan Esdaile… Has anyone heard his version of The Wild Side Of Life (you will find it on You Tube). Rather different to the Status Quo version!

Peter Fairless… Not that different, if you play it at 78rpm, or Quo at 33rpm, Alan!