What Was Your Favourite Year In Music? asks Colin Bell

Colin Bell… Alan (Johnny Mason) and I were discussing our favourite year in music, it turned out that both of us said 1967! He asked me my reasons why for a thread on SMART site. I guess its impossible to sum it up without relating it to your own personal circumstances, so forgive me the personal rambling bit! I was 15 loved music and wanted to get into it somehow, so spent my weekends hanging about on the Pier waiting for the bands to turn up then helping them and their roadies lugging the gear up to the ballroom in exchange for staying free for the gig. This was to prove invaluable and give me a start in ‘the business’. The music on the radio (London & Caroline) I loved hearing was to name but a few coming from The Who, Small Faces, The Move, The Troggs etc etc. I was therefore in awe to meet The Move in person in May 67 when they turned up to play the Pier. They turned up in an old van mid afternoon Roy was shy, Carl lively, Ace & Trevor scary(particularly Ace who was very erm stroppy!) Bev however was very friendly and wrote down his address and said if I was ever up North i’d have somewhere to stay. It was a great gig as I’m sure those of you who were there would agree. And so the pattern went on each weekend and all those bands i’d heard on the radio I mentioned earlier I got to meet and form in some cases lasting friendships with, Dave Dee (r.i.p mate) in particular who helped me a lot over the years. In no particular order just some of the records from that year I loved were ‘Night of Fear’ ‘Waterloo Sunset’ ‘Itcychoo Park’ ‘Excerpt From a Teenage Opera’ ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ ‘I Was Made to Love Her’ ‘From The Underworld’ ‘I Can See For Miles’ etc etc etc. August of course saw the ‘festival’ in the Pilot field with The Kinks, Dave Dee, Arthur Brown, Geno Washington etc another highlight of 67. October back on the Pier and having the priveledge of being backstage with Jimi Hendrix and touching that white Strat! and seeing the Experience play! It was of course the year of Sgt. Pepper which changed and influenced bands for evermore and is no doubt remembered as the musical highlight. Much as I love the Beatles it was another band that issued an album in November that  year that for me is the greatest album ever made and that was Love ‘Forever Changes’ to this day I play it at least once a week its just sublime ‘Alone Again..Or’ pure perfection. These are just some of the reasons for my choosing 1967 as my favourite year, I hope its brought back some good memories for fellow Smarties, and over to you for YOUR favourite year for music and why. Off you go Alan it was your idea!…………..

Peter Fairless… On the pier? Has to be 1977…

Jim Breeds… Impossible to have a favourite year.

Alan Esdaile… Since I started helping out with The Conquest Hospital Radio, I noticed that most records I love are from 1967. Previously I would have thought  my favourite year for music was 1969 or the massive disco period in the mid seventies. 1967 the year of flower power. Remember buying a hippy bell from Carnaby Street, a few months later Woolworth and even WH Smith were selling them! Friends arriving at my house with beads on and flowers painted on their shoes. Hippy tie dyed clothes. Joss sticks were all the range and the message of peace and love was definitely for me. Scott McKenzie, Procol Harum, Small Faces, Beatles Sgt Peppers, Magical Mystery Tour on TV, Our World TV Programme with The Beatles All You Need Is Love,  Jimi Hendrix, The Doors,  Cream, Vanilla Fudge, Electric Prunes, David McWilliams, Privilege Paul Jones, pirate radio, the launch of Radio One and loads more.

Reg Wood… Yes 1967 for me too

Wendy Belton… I have always been stuck in the flower power era and the Motown and disco eras. I am true 60s and 70s. Love it. Just think you can’t beat those years…nothing compares to it now. Great to have you on board at CHR Alan.

Pete Prescott… Wow ! Tough one ! So many years to choose from. I was aware of music from as long as i can remember. 50’s and 60’s music. I remember when the Beatles exploded into our lives. My parents told my brother Steve and I we were leaving out home to move to upper Belvedere and I want to hold your hand was being played in the radio. I agree with 67. But 68 was big for me (My brother Chis gave me sgt Pepper).i became obsessed with Glenn Miller. music became very important to me. In 69 Chris gave me 19 albums he bought from a guy on his ship (so many albums ! Santana 1/abraxus and 3, Woodstock and more) and I saw my first concert in 71 (Hyde park. Grand funk/ humble pie/ head hands and feet) a very big deal for me. Music became everything ! I joined a band in 72. what do I choose ? I’ll go for 68 (with all the other years mentioned in dispatches !) I forgot 1970.I saw Free playing alright now on T.O.T.P’s. My life changed and 71, I saw The Who at the Oval. I’ll be thinking all day about this !

Stephen Moran… 1971

Judith Monk… All the above!

Andre Martin… It has to be 1966 for me

Clifford Rose… 1972 when I first started taking an interest in pop music after watching Telegram Sam on TOTP.

Nick Prince… 1967 for me.

SMART 35 report

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picture discs The Beatles 12 IMG_0521

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last 2 photos thanks to Sarah Harvey

Smell The Vinyl! Our 35th meet and lots of vinyl, tour programmes and rare slides of Hastings Pier were on display. Tim McDonald arrived with a whole bunch of picture discs and promotional 12” singles from Tina Turner, Lene Lovich and  others and a 12” single of The Beatles Love Me Do. Mick O’Dowd had with him The Sweet In The Mix CD while I brought along vinyl albums from Babe Ruth Amor Caballero, Tasty compilation, Cupid’s Inspiration Yesterday Has Gone and Fleetwood Mac Greatest Hits. Jim and Allyson Breeds arrived with an impressive collection of tour programmes and tickets including Chris Rea, Paul Simon Gracelands, Wings In Concert, John Martyn, Queen, Elvis Costello, Hastings Scout Shows plus loads more. Also they had with them some very rare Hasting Pier slides from the 1870’s which people were eager to see on their binocular stereo viewer. I expect some of these will appear on Jim’s popular HAPP Hastings and Area Past and Present Facebook page at some stage. Pete Prescott had with him loads of albums including Nick Drake Five Leaves Left, Wishbone Ash Argus, Humble Pie Performance  Rockin The Fillmore, Montrose, Bad Company Straight Shooter, Cactus One Way or Another and Focus Moving Waves. He also had the album from Johnny Mars ‘Life On Mars’ which featured Ray Fenwick, Pete Shaw, Terry Pack, Colin Fox and others. Brian Wood was asking, does anyone know the whereabouts of drummer ‘Gordon Reid’ who played with him in the band ‘The Flirts’? Lol Cooksey and John Petrie where chatting about early auditions, basic band equipment back in the day and talking about The Springbeats, King Rod and others. Other chat was about Hastings Pier and how to bring in more funds and the suggestion of donation boxes as you enter the pier and a themed wishing well, the great success of Beatles Day, the recent unearthed pier photos of Marc Bolan, The Jazz & Blues Fest in June and the sad news of Ray Elgar’s death. This is just a small bit of what I remember, pleased feel free to add anything I missed.

Jim Breeds… Good to see you and the other SMARTies. It was a good session.

Mick O’Dowd… Great Meet as usual Alan. Nice chat with Tim McDonald. Interesting chap!

Jan Warren… Oh WOW, I sooo wish I could get to your meetings, I have so much to share with you lovely “Hastings Music” people!! 🙂

Pete Prescott… It was great!

Terry Pack… Who brought Johnny Mars along, Alan? Recorded in one session, mostly first takes, with a couple of overdubs (guitars mostly). Not the strongest material but a lot of energy. Johnny needed better songs to show off his great singing.

Pete Prescott…It was me, I hope your well. I thought the performances were great. The songs as well. Standing in line is “slow down” with a different vocal (I remember singing it at a gig with the band in London. Dave Storey said “how does slow down go ?” Ray said quietly “just play standing in line”). There is “need your love so bad,” “do it again” and “Caledonia ” (is that back door man?)
When one of the guys asked if the band would get away with it he was told “it will be fine. It won’t sell enough to be a problem “. I still think it’s a good album.the playing is great and Johnny plays and sings at his best. I do remember the wonderful lyric “standing on a desert island baby. Nothin round me but a lot of sand” brilliant !

Jan Warren… I’ve got “Nice Enough to Eat” and the silver Motown album!!

Jim Breeds… Forgot to show Sarah the Steeleye programme from Congress Theatre with a page about Gryphon who were the support.

Hastings Sound – Kings Road St Leonards-On-Sea Christmas 1975


Harry Randall… That was a great place to hang out and get amps repaired bought my JTM Marshall 45watt for £90.00 I think they fetch about £3000 now wish I’d kept it!

Jan Warren… Oh them prices??!!

Tony Qunta… Yes wish I could buy an electric guitar for £16.50!

Kevin Burchett… Im sure hastings sound supplied some of the lights and disco gear for Scalliwags

Dave Nattress… Memories…bought my first PA there – HH MA100? 5/6 channel 10 mixer/amp and a 100w slave, AKG D1200ES mike, HH speakers on stands, then a pair of Carlsbro bass bins, then another mixer/amp. Hastings Sound was a good hang-out.

Kevin Burchett… this is a full page spread in The Observer and Hastings Sound are in it, when they opened Scalliwags


supplied by Kevin Burchett

Dave Weeks… Whatever happened to Leisure Music in Silverhill?

SMART 30 coffee meet report.

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Unfortunately we couldn’t use the Seafront Room as normal and were moved to the conference room upstairs. I did put up a sign but was not ideal and spent a lot of the time running up and down the stairs to ferry people to the correct room. Apologise to anyone who turned up and could not find us.

Among the newbies this time were Alan Oliver and Tom (Paul) Thomas.  Alan was talking about his successful Facebook page “How can we make Hastings Pier a great tourist attraction?”  Lots of ideas were discussed.  While Anita & Ray Medhurst were discussing the opening day on the pier. Tom (or should I call him Paul I’m still never sure) Thomas was happy reminiscing with Mick O’Dowd about the Teenbeats gigs that Mick promoted, also Paul had a few interesting memories of working with Samantha Fox. John McCallion was talking about bands he would like to see reform. Andre & Sarah were talking about the success of Carnival FM Radio and Chris Sambrook was going through some more unknown photos from the Eddie Hazell Collection and trying to find names, with the help of Phil & Ann Gill. Congratulations to their son Miles who is doing extremely well on tour with ROAM. Laurie  Cooksey was talking about Die Laughing and some interesting news, watch this space and I brought along a selection of old sheet music. Anything interesting that I missed in conversations, please feel free to add here.

Mick O’Dowd… It was interesting to see Paul Thomas of the Teenbeats and chat to him about the gigs they did for me.

SMART Coffee Meet 23 – White Rock Hotel Friday 23rd October 2015.



The next SMART coffee meet is Friday 23rd October 2015 – 3.30pm till 6.00pm – The Seafront Room, White Rock Hotel.

Please bring any photos, cuttings, records etc that would be interesting to see and please mention it to others. New people are most welcome to join us.

Mick O’Dowd… I think we just may have a guest appearance from Phil Thornton’s Hat! Where the Smarties meet. New Smarties welcome.

Yvonne Cleland… This Smartie will still be on crutches and unable to drive to Hastings. 🙁

Jim Breeds… We’re in the hotel now. Are we too early? 🙂 Perhaps I’ll just go back to bed until Friday instead of going home! 🙂

Children Of The Revolution – Eastbourne band.


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Welcome to SMART, Eastbourne band ‘Children Of The Revolution’ which are dedicated to the sensational seventies and by what I hear are rather good.  For more information and gigs go to the Facebook page…


SMART 19 coffee meet 17th April 2015 report


Another great afternoon. Among the newbies this time were Kevin Burchett, Tony Davis, Dan Large, Natasha Kasschevsky and Iain Cobby. Iain brought along two rare Melody Maker newspapers from 1976. One featuring Stallion on the front cover and the other special edition 50 years of music. Pete Prescott had some more great photo albums featuring many local musicians. Paul Sleet had a very rare ticket from the Rolling Stones Earls Court gig in 1976 as well as some great photos of Paul and friends with guitars in the early 70’s. Colin Bell had a copy of his On The Record column when he reviewed the Canterbury sound cd’s and reminded me of when I went to Blueys club which was a popular haunt for Caravan. Wendy Weaver had some great photos of lots of dj’s that have appeared on Hastings Rock. Its back on air on the 2nd May and Sarah Harvey is organising a music fest on 31st May. Lots of talk on the announcement of the pier opening next year and who we would like to see perform. Also chat about the excellent Beatles Day, Scalliwags reunion, Factory, Carnival FM, record store day, late night cafe’s when on the road, Percy Sledge, vinyl sales rising, the recent hub talks, The Damned coming to St Mary in the Castle, Hastings Folk Fest, Pam Dor coffee bar, sheet music, Chris Farlowe coming to the White Rock, P.P. Arnold in Eastbourne, the beach concert, Genesis, The Dekorators plus lots more. This is a very small part of what went on and can remember! Anyone else, please feel free to post what they were talking about.

Kevin Burchett… had a great afternoon at the SMART group meet at the white rock hotel discussing the scalliwags reunion and catching up with people i hadnt seen for a long time.

Sarah Harvey… Another lovely afternoon with wonderful people!

Mick O’Dowd… Well done again Alan. All that running around at the Meet sure works wonders. How do you keep coming up trumps with this? Another good one although did not have time to speak to all I wanted to.

Jon McCallion… Great photo of Jed Nigel and Paul, seeing Jed soon I hope

Tony Davis… Really enjoyed my first afternoon with everybody. Nice to catch up with old friends and make some new ones. Work permitting I hope to make this a regular event.


Mick Mepham At The Carlisle


The Carlisle – Sunday 5th May 2013




One of the hardest working musicians around. When he’s not busy performing up and down the country with rock band ‘90% Proof’ or playing with the more traditional folk sounds of ‘Titus’, Mick takes to the stage for a solo outing. Mick and his guitar but don’t be fooled, nothing mellow about his performance.  The powers up, die hard fans are in place and the sweat is flowing. Rock classic after classic are played from  Bryan Adams ‘Summer of 69’, Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Oh Well’, ‘Prince ‘Sign O The Times’ and the stand out version of ‘Canned Heat’ ‘On the Road Again’ with a bit of ZZ Top thrown in for good measure!  As well as some new original songs which went down well. Catch him soon at one of his many gigs listed on his website www.mickmepham.com

Reviewed by Johnny Mason

 Featured in Hastings Observer 10th May 2013

Tapestry Of Delights

Tapestry Of Delights guide to bands from 1963 – 1976.        

Recommended by  Barry Taylor



Lists bands with record releases from this era and details of band members. I did find the mention of ‘Factory’ in here. Pity it only goes up to 76.