Ian Crawford and The Boomerangs – 9th May 1964

10258476_10202742078011095_2692296178664331953_o 10309210_10202742079491132_7193628444927846854_n

Andre Palfrey-martin collection

Andre Martin…..May moves on and here we are again at the doors of The Happy Ballroom, Hastings Pier to see what is on the bill for this week. Saturday 9th May 1964 – Ian Crawford and The Boomerangs, supported by The Alexanders.As one would guess, the name of the group has a “ down-under” connection, the lead vocalist – Ian Crawford, had emigrated to Australia at the age of 15 and had spent some time in the pop business releasing a couple of records and appearing on Australian TV [ No he was not the stunt double for Skippy] then decided to return to UK. With his group The Boomerangs he worked throughout the UK in the 60s and included several package shows supporting the Beatles. This was a feature of the scene at the time, when for about 5/- [25p] you could see a show with several chart acts together – we had several of these at the old ABC Cinema in the early 60s. Ian Crawford and the Boomerangs had their first release in 1964 on Fontana Records – “Don’t Let her be your Baby” it was a cover of the US Contours number. It did very little in the charts.


Supporting the show on that night were the popular regular visitor to the Happy Ballroom, from Eastbourne/Brighton The Alexanders, who during this period were building up a fine following in Sussex and the Home Counties.



Double Rave – Patrick Dane & The Quiet Five plus The Sabres – 1964




10153788_10202685815164559_5973903564718621544_n all photos & cuttings…..Andre Palfrey-martin collection

Andre Martin…..To many this weekend will be a Bank Holiday, for us back in the 1960s, this was just another weekend, even though it did include the beginning of May. The History of the Happy Ballroom on Hastings Pier continues. Here we are Saturday 2nd May 1964, and have a return visit from both of the bands playing tonight, this did seem to be a regular feature over the years, and when you think of the number of venues throughout the country, many of the groups appeared with regularity, just to meet the demands of a growing pop music industry.
Top of the Bill tonight are Patrick Dane and The Quiet Five – The Quiet Five formed in the early ’60s in London, first as the Trebletones before changing their name to the Vikings. As the Vikings, they did manage one side of a 45 single, the instrumental “Space Walk,” whose title was changed to “Gemini” when it was eventually issued by Columbia. The Vikings became the Quiet Five, however, in 1964 when they became the backing band for singer Patrick Dane, the Quiet Five split from Dane to go out on their own, signing with Parlophone, where they were produced by Ron Richards also responsible for production for the Hollies.
The supporting group, were well know and very popular from Brighton original members were Dick Plant from Eastbourne, James Hazeldene, Stuart Hinchcliffe and Geoff Cooper from Brighton, the group would later this year change their name to The Shelley, and embark on a impressive career working in Denmark and Scandinavia which would keep them working outside of the UK for the next 15 years.
That’s all for this week in The Happy Ballroom – somebody asked me the other week, when was this tag given to the Pier Ballroom, so far I have traced this back to publicity issued in 1956 and will keep searching.




Swinging Blue Jeans & The Confederates – Hastings Pier Sat 25th April 1964.

Andre Martin…..This week’s History of The Happy Ballroom, is going to be much improved. Lets go to Saturday 25 April 1964, the top of the bill a band that had been doing great things in recent months were booked to appear – THE SWINGING BLUE JEANS .
Formed in Liverpool in 1961 as The Bluegenes, The Swinging Blue Jeans followed virtually the same path to success as many of their Merseybeat contemporaries during the early 1960s. After playing a succession of local dance halls and club engagements, including the Cavern Club, they travelled to Germany and appeared at the Star Club, Hamburg. The Jeans had their own ‘Tuesday Guest Night’ while they were resident band at the Cavern. One of the first bands they invited as their guests were The Beatles.
Their popularity was assured as by the time they appeared in Hastings in April, they had to their credit several singles, including these over a very short period of time, that had charted, “ Hippy Hippy Shake” / “Now I Must Go”, December 1963) – UK no. 2; “Good Golly Miss Molly” / “Shaking Feeling” March 1964) – UK no.11, and about to be released within days of this appearance, “You’re No Good” / “Don’t You Worry About Me” May 1964) – UK no. 3.
The Support act, booked for that night, should have been The Ramblers, who were from North London and who had appeared before in The Happy Ballroom, they were well known and had made several records under the direction of Joe Meek – what happened on that night is now picked up by the Hastings Observer – A local group The Confederates were asked at the last moment to stand in for the Ramblers and as you can see from the press cutting from the following Saturday, did a splendid job. Peter Millington, remembers the night well, as it was the first time they had played the venue, and it was somewhat larger than usual, as was the size of audience that the boys were used to working before.
The show went well, and as we will see very shortly, the Confederates were to headline The Happy Ballroom in their own right.

1396967_10202634223194792_205994777678877435_o 1956965_10202634222834783_5211448116413007092_o


all cuttings…..Andre Palfrey-martin collection

Peter Shaw…..The unfortunately late, but great sticks man Dave Saunders…fast hands and an excellent artist too! I have one of his signed crayon art works at home…and it’s of a beautiful woman…typically Dave!!  The band were a local big time outfit with a powerful presence…great memories!

Peter Millington….Thanks Pete, Praise from the master, All the product of Grove School (1961-1963) and a Regimental Sergeant Major with a Blue Van.

Tom Robinson & Dexy’s Midnight Runners – Hastings Pier gigs

John Storer asks...

I wonder if anyone else can remember Tom Robinson Band with Eater in support around the time of 2-4-6-8 Motorway

The other was Dexy’s Midnight Runners around the time of “Searching For The Young Soul Rebels (my second favourite album ever) – a set even shorter than The Sex Pistols. There were a few National Front idiots at the front of the stage and Kevin Rowland took the band off-stage during the third number and refused to come back out. There may even have been some band / audience fisticuffs Dexy’s are one of my all-time fave bands but this was the only time I saw them live. What really annoyed me was that a lot of mates decided not to go see them at The Pier but to go to the band’s gig at Brighton Top Rank the following night. They all returned with rave reviews and one of them still swears to this day it was the best gig he ever went to!

Philip Meston…..Didn’t see TRB, but was at the Dexy’s gig. Gig was rather spoilt by beer can throwing and disruption, which was partly due to the band not wanting to play Geno as I recall. Other than that, they really could play!!

John Austin….I saw the Dexy”s gig ! spoilt by gobbing punks !

Pete Fairless…..The Dexys gig was brief, nervous and angry… In short, of course, exactly as it should have been! Not sure anyone saw TRB on the pier!

Martyn Baker…..Yep I was there. Kevin asked the audience if they’d bought tickets just to see them perform their hit record. When lots shouted “Yeah!” He quietly said “Ever been had?”.

Leigh Weiland-Boys…..I was there that night! Anyone & everyone that knows me has heard the story…I seem to recall a lot of spitting going on!

Pete Fairless….Eater supported The Stranglers, it may be that gig that John is thinking of. Eater were dire, probably the worst band I ever saw on the pier.

Alan Esdaile….It does look like Tom Robinson did not appear, unless anyone knows different? Could it have been The Crpyt?

Sarah Harvey….I have seen an advert for TRB but just need to find it. As i remember it wasn’t the biggest advert I have ever seen….could have been supporting someone else. Can’t remember actually seeing them.

Sonja Kristina – Curved Air – backstage Hastings Pier 1975

Curved Air2

 photo by Mick O’Dowd

Curved Air 2

  photo by Mick O’Dowd

Tony Qunta….”One of my favourite singers/frontperson ladies from one of my favourite bands! Great photos!”

Dave Arnold….Was a roadie for them at Maidstone Art College gig:) great band & beautiful singer…

Andy Qunta….Great to see these pics! BIg fan of the band & Sonja!

John Alexander Wilde….”Daryl Way on violin”

Mick O’Dowd….She seemed very pleasant and friendly. Great meeting her.

Martyn Baker….”Great photo. I remember those weird fire-buckets too, and wasn’t she a Babe!”

Sarah Harvey…..She was such a beautiful lady.

Ralph Town….Still alive and still performing

Ozric Tentacles, Mandragora, Felo-De-Se – Hastings Pier 1990

1013077_670284822998564_1099657233_nsupplied by Alex Chapman

Phil Thornton…..this was a good one ! I was on the synths with Mandragora !! all the bands and the audience had a great night ! all sorts going on – lots of stalls, jugglers etc. – can’t remember what year it was though. I didn’t play with Mandragora till around 1990 and the last live gig was around 2005 ( I think ! )

Mark Richards…..I was at this.. its 89 or 90

Mick O’Dowd…..October 20th 1990.



The Jam – Hastings Pier 23rd April, 1977

John Storer..I can’t seem to find any mention on the site of The Jam playing The Pier. True, there were only about 20 of us there but Q Magazine did print an article about the gig several years back.

Peter Fairless….There were no posters or flyers because The Jam were a last minute replacement booking. As I recall, refunds were offered and not many people stayed. There were badges given out, anyone still got theirs?  Anyone got the ‘Q’ article? It was the week before ‘In The City’ was released, yes, Alan. That’s right, Peter, he took a turn for the worse, LOL. I read somewhere that it was only twenty who stayed, John. I thought it was a few more but hey, it was one of the best gigs I’ve ever seen!

Peter Bridger…..They were standing in for Johnny Thunder who had “tonsillitis”. Dead from an o/d a few weeks later so I think the diagnosis was a bit off.

John Storer…They were supposed to have been supporting Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers, who never turned up. The gig was cancelled and everyone was told they could get their money back. When I got to the kiosk at the front of the pier, one of the bouncers told me that The Jam were going to play anyway. Very few of us decided to stay on … I remember counting 23 in the audience.  The band joined everyone in the bar afterwards and I saw both Bruce Foxton and Paul Weller on separate occasions as punters at later gigs on the pier.

the jam first single


John Storer….Four months later, the night before we were off to Reading Festival in fact, I wore the badge to the Pump House. There was a girl in there I’d not seen before, wearing a “Genesis” badge. We argued at length on the merits of our respective musical allegiances and denigrated each other’s taste in music. We’ve been married 35 years!

Chris Pelling…..I recall Paul Weller’s dad, I think, prowling to and fro in front of the front of the stage wielding a baseball bat should the massed throng (!) decide to invade the stage. In the event I don’t think the baseball bat was used in anger. Johnny Thunders? He actually lived on for several years – he died in strange circumstances in New Orleans in 1991. The badge? Pretty sure I have one at the bottom of a deep box in the loft – one wet Sunday afternoon a box that I must have a rummage through!


supplied by Sarah Harvey

Sarah Harvey….Here is the advert that appeared in the Observer on April 23rd, 1977 that advertises The Violation as support for Johnny Thunder.