The Sweet – Hastings Pier 31st Dec 1971

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supplied by  Andre Palfrey-Martin Collection

Chris Giles….Saw Sweet at the Aquarius was surprised and quite pleased that they did a lot of rock numbers

Alan Esdaile….I also saw them at the Aquarius Chris and we were packed in like sardines. They always did some good rock ‘b’ sides, one of the best was ‘done me wrong alright’.

Mick Mepham….Sweet were always a rock band first and a pop band second.

and from 1978 – Love Is Like Oxygen….

Karen Sweatman was Blackman… Saw a band called the Wandering Crutchlees down the Crypt in the early nineties. Two ex members of Sweet. At the end of the gig, they called out to the audience for requests. Don’t think they were expecting me to shout out ‘Poppa Joe’ and they fell about laughing. They decided to do Ballroom Blitz instead!

Kev Towner… I was a big Sweet fan – but I was only 9 in 1971!! I’ve still got the vast majority of The Sweet’s singles on vinyl. The albums seem more difficult to track down.

Karen Sweatman was Blackman… Beat you. I was only 1! But I’m sure I was dribbling along with the best of them. I also saw The Sweet with Mud at the White Rock a few years ago. Half the audience were obviously reliving their teenage years and the other half were about my age (early twenties at the time) seeing what we had missed. Great party night.

Jane Hartley… I saw them at the Aquarius!

Nicola Dobson… I  was 17!

Matt Thomas… I was working behind the bar at The White Rock when they appeared around 1989/90 sadly they had all seen better days lol

Jeff Chuzz Balcombe… wasn’t a good turnout only a handful of peps & they wasn’t that good.

Tim Elms… I saw Sweet at the Aquarius the week they went to no 1 with Blockbuster, fantastic night. I worked there behind the bar but this was a night off. Much of their set was rock although I suspect many in the the audience where there for the pop. I seem to remember they finished on Blockbuster, the house went wild. The manager told me he enquired about re-booking Sweet but they were now way too expensive for a small venue. The group asked for a six foot safety area between the stage and the audience but were persuaded it was not necessary in sleepy Hastings. Instead, a large friendly doorman (can’t remember his name) stood centre front of the stage watching the crowd. A weird image that has stayed with me!

Andre Martin… OMG another good night on the Pier – playing to 2.00am !!!!!

Jan Warren… Loved The Sweet. I remember most of their “b-sides” of the singles were good rock music!! They “cleverly” put out the pop music to get in the charts, but us rock fans always listened to the b-sides ……… just listening to a SWEET cd now and I remember “Burning” was one of my fave b-sides, yeeee Haaa!!!

Janet Cruttenden… I went to see them recently at del la warr bexhil

Sue Goddard…me too, what a great night.

Year End Episode of the History of The Happy Ballroom 1964 by Andre Martin

Here we are at the end of the year episode of the History of the Happy Ballroom for 1964; we have just experienced the Christmas and Boxing Day entertainments, and all the additional activities that would have been included on the Pier for your entertainment, the Bingo, the Coffee Morning Dances and not forgetting the Fishing. The next big date will be NEW YEARS EVE featuring the resident band – “The Percy Howe Orchestra “the Pier Company had offered some special rates for the 3 days: 6/- single and 10/- ALL DANCES. – That does seems very reasonable for what’s on offer, or is the competition very strong from alternative venues? Only time will tell.
So what else have the youngsters been up to over the Festive Season – please tell us in no less than 100 words c/o The Hub, White Rock, Hastings via email – we will select the best answers and publish later in January. I will speak with the CEO[Simon] and see if we cannot get a small prize to be given out.
Of the published activities, we would have started off the weekend on the Friday 25th, with an hour long Ready Steady Go, not bad – on the show this week – Dave Berry & The Cruisers, Wayne Fontana & Mindbenders, The Four Pennies, Herman’s Hermits, The Nashville Teens, The Searchers and Sandie Shaw and complete with Keith Fordyce and Cathy McGowan. But it would have been a different night, as there were very few places to go I can only recall one pub in the old town – The Anchor, and clubs and ballrooms, with the exception of some hotel, where it would have been for guests only. The Witch Doctor did follow with tradition and open for a few hours around lunchtime on Christmas Day for a Record Spin, and it was FREE 12.00noon-2.00pm
Boxing Day saw the Pier and Witch Doctor back in full swing, at Marine Court it would have been a festive day, starting with Junior Spin at 10.00am – 2.00pm : 2.30pm-6.00pm Live Music with the Outcasts. 7.30pm – The Unit 4+1 and local attractions The Talismen. All day ticket from 10/- and that would cover till 11.45pm as it was a Saturday Night, and no late extensions. The Sunday Club featured the Voodoos, Wednesday was the visit from The Mindbenders – if my memory serves me correctly, there was a good crowd in the club that night, and the Mindbenders came out on stage and as they struck the first note there was a bang, all the electrics went, and we were only left with emergency lighting. They were unable to reset anything for that night, and the show has to be cancelled. The Big problem was that Thursday Night was New Years Eve, and the problems had to be resolved so that 24 hours later everything would be geared to that – it was on 31st December, the acts at the clubs that night were John L Watson & The Hummelflugs + The Blues Creatures plus records 7.30pm – 01.00am all for 7/6d. Friday Nights 1 January 1965 – The Migil 5 took centre stage.
BBC Light Programme for the Boxing Day did a classic Saturday Club wityh Brian Matthews including Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames, Joe Brown & The Bruvvers and The Beatles. Saturday Swings [2.00pm] Gerry 7 Pacemakers, The Searchers, Sheila Buxton, The Vicounts, the Seekers, and the man they cannot keep off our Radio – Wout Steenhuis – rumour has it that some fans of his keep writing the Controller General of the BBC and request this artiste to be included!!!!
Juke Box Jury that weekend on BBC TV – the Panel Alan Freeman, Nyreen Dawn Porter, William Rushton and Susannah York.
The next episode will take us into a brand new year – 1965 – and all that was going to change – but more about that as we tell the story of the Happy Ballroom on Hastings Pier.
On a personal note, New Years Eve 1964, I spent with several friends from the town in Trafalgar Square, we had gone up in the afternoon of 31st December in 2 cars, from memory I recall that amongst the party were, Dave Bargioni, Lester Tilbury, Hans Herald, John Gillies also I thought the 2 Pats from Bexhill, but I cannot recall any other names – it was an experience.
Till next year – take great care on NYE……..
2014© Andre Palfrey-Martin

Andy Qunta… Great write-up, as always, Andre! Just about every artist you mentioned I loved, even the Juke Box Jury panel! In those days I loved every record I heard! Not so now!

Alan Esdaile… Agree Andy, Andre makes it really interesting and brings back so many memories. I used to love Juke Box Jury and remember most of the time disagreeing with my parents on what was going to be a hit.

Andy Qunta… See, I even like this! Of course, it sounds like The Shadows, so I’m bound to like it!

Mick O’Dowd… Well done Andre on a fascinating and informative series of posts this year. Memory joggers and nostalgia rolled into one. A big thanks to you and keep your pen sharp for 1965!