History of The Happy Ballroom – 21st Nov 1964. Get ready to take your partners by Andre Martin

10547676_10204095448124502_4066866254095513285_n 1653370_10204095449724542_7645068548928301565_n

Andre Palfrey-martin collection

Andre Martin…History of the Happy Ballroom, reaches Saturday 21st November 1964 and we have signs that something is about to happen – The Pier Company have announced that from 5th December, the regular Saturday Night Dances will resume, with The Percy Howe Orchestra being the resident band. These changes have been brought about by demand, as the management have realised that changes were needed and new decorations to the Ballroom & Stage will enhance the venue and attract a different clientele looking for romance, music and togetherness. We will have to wait and see, I have posted the write up from this week’s Hastings Observer as this also shows other attractions that are available for the patrons on The Happy Ballroom and the rest of the Pier.I wonder if the changes were hastened by the arrival since July in the town of The Witch Doctor with is very effective décor, compared to the austere and cold ballroom on the end of the pier, I am sure that we all have memories of “ the Aircraft Hanger” and just how cold that could be even in the summer if the wind and rain were lashing the Pier.
Along the prom, and I know that some of you decided to ride your Bikes and Scooters along the lower Prom – naughty, naughty. When we reached the Witch Doctor, what do we have booked in for this week, some of the best attractions in the club scene?
Saturday Night sees one of the best Liverpool bands – The Playboys, supported by the Exblusive Outsiders; no doubt their name gives you some idea of the music they play. Sunday Club present the excellent Long John Baldry. Mid week attraction on Wednesday is The Radio Caroline Roadshow featuring Chris Sandford and Gay Singleton [ I am sure that she ended up on BBC TV with Blue Peter]and on Friday to start off the following weekend, Shorty & Them.
Friday Night [20] would have kicked off on ITV with Ready Steady Go, and this week it was a bumper package including – The Plebs – “Baby I’m Going to Leave You.” –Paul Williams – “Gin House Blues.”–Zephyrs – “Wonder What I’m Gonna Do.” –Marvin Gaye – “Can I Get A Witness?” –Simon Scott – “My Baby’s Got Soul.” –Kenny Lynch – “My Own Two Feet.” –Jerry Lee Lewis (backed by The Plebs) – live performances of “High Heeled Sneakers” and “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On.” –Marvin Gaye – “How Sweet It Is.” –Them – “Baby, Please Don’t Go.” –Samantha Jones – “All Because of You.”
–The Rolling Stones – “Off The Hook,” interviews with Brian Jones & Mick Jagger, “Little Red Rooster” and “Around And Around.” With Keith Fordyce and Cathy McGowan.
BBC Radio & TV was living up to its reputation, on Saturday we had Saturday Club with Brian Matthews, this week the show was Tony Sheriden, The Tornados, Gus Blackhouse, The Rattles,, Johnny Phillips, Gunter Fuhlish Orkestra – the show this week came from Hamburg c/o NDR [ North German Radio] In the afternoon on Saturday Swings the line up was Swinging Blue Jeans, Mark Wynter, Julir Marlowe, Spencer Davis Group, Val Doonican, The Raindrops, Barbara Law and Wout Steenuis. Music backing by The NDO and The Bernard Hermann Orchestra. In the chair Don Wardell.
Easy Beat on Sunday featured Jackie de Shannon, Russ Sainty & The Nu Notes, Julir Rogers, The Overlanders, Johnny Howard Band, with Keith Fordyce in charge. Television on Saturday Night – 17.15hrs Juke Box Jury – David Jacob with guests – Alma Cogan, Spike Milligan, Liza Minelli and Pete Murray. Later that evening, we could have seen, if we had stayed home – Dr Who, Dixon of Dock Green, The Black and White Minstrel Show and later night viewing featured part 4 or a 25 part documentary The Great War [ remembering that 1964 was the 50th anniversary of the start of WW1]. Amongst the Sunday attractions, 16.40hrs Z Cars and a little later Pinky & Perky ! The count down to Christmas continues and we can see that the Pier Company are now making an attempt to make use of the Happy Ballroom – some might have thought they were turning back the clock and trying to return to the days of the Big Bands away from the Pop Groups – only time will tell, and we will continue to tell that story here on The History of the Happy Ballroom [ revamped } ?????   by Andre Martin


SMART coffee meet – 7th Nov 2014

The next SMART coffee meet is Friday 7th November, 2014 – 3.30pm White Rock Hotel.
Please bring any photos, cuttings, records etc that would interesting for others to see and please mention it to other like minded people.

Mick O’Dowd… This is always a welcome post!

Yvonne Cleland….  If I can’t go, here’s a hug Alan ))))))))))))))))) x

Suzy Hill… will try and attend x

Tony May….My article on our group is included in this new issue – out now!


Colin Norton… I hope that everyone has a great time!

Nick Prince…  Finally got the November Hastings Town. Great write up on SMART

Tony May…. Thanks Nick! I always do my best to try and capture the best in an event. Alan and the SMART group are a good lot and I think the subjects they are talking about and archiving on the net would make a great coffee table book.

Dusty Springfield with Brian Poole 1963


photo Irene Draper  via Mick O’Dowd

Dusty with Brian Poole during her time as guest presenter on Ready, Steady, Go! 1963

Andre Martin… Dusty was such a great artiste -its a shame that TV at the time did not do more Motown style programme with her as the compere/star of the show.

Phil Gill… Dusty rocks! What a voice.

Andy Qunta… My Dad bought Losing You for us for Christmas that year. I think it was because he liked it, because I don’t remember hearing it before that! I have it on my iPod now! Great stuff!

Jon McCallion… Lovely lady and singer too, fantastic voice.

Tony Qunta… My all time favourite female vocalist!!

John Storer… Three words – “Dusty in Memphis”


Shelley – The history of the happy ballroom – Sat 3rd Oct 1964 by Andre Martin


Andre Palfrey-martin collection

Andre Martin… The History of the Happy Ballroom continues into October, and we are now at Saturday 3rd October 1964 – there is a mood of change taking place, and we will see more about this in the coming weeks. Back to this Saturdays offerings – Top of the Bill, Brighton Based Shelley, a name that you recognise as they were regulars and in support Earl Sheriden and the Housebreakers, again a group that had appeared many times over the months.
The Shelley, had recently changed their name and were known locally for many years as The Sabres, and if it am to be perfectly correct, were both a Eastbourne & Brighton based outfit. The line up included James Hazelden, Stuart Hinchliffe and Geoff Cooper. The type of music that they were playing was a mixture of Soul & Motown plus chart covers of both UK and US acts. They were shortly to move to Denmark and become one of the Names on the Continent, but more of that later.
Times are changing, and there is a policy of cutting prices, still only 5/- for the nights entertainment but no longer booking name attractions – watch this space.
Friday night would have started well for all the Teenagers in Hastings with Ready Steady Go, and on the schedule for 2nd October, were — John Lee Hooker –Lulu and the Luvvers –Keith Powell.
The west-end entertainment centre aka The Witch Doctor, continues to grow, and the line up for this week included – Saturday The Voodoos, shortly to go on tour with Dionne Warwick & The Isley Brothers, plus from Thank your Lucky Stars – do you remember that one on ATV with Brian Matthews as the compere – The Beat Merchants. Sunday it was the turn for the Mark Four, from the Star Club in Hamburg, and Wednesday – Thee Little Richard Show. Friday would see the Beat Chicks – so a good weeks entertainment on offer, plus the usual record shows on the other nights and Saturday and Sunday afternoons.
That’s all to report for this week’s lessons – How much longer will “ The Happy Ballroom “ be the centre of the dance scene in the town, what is new on the horizon ? keep following my blog and you never know what might pop up !!                                                                    Andre Martin

Rolling Stones – Hastings Pier 1964 – Memories wanted

stones 1st

Richard Houghton… 50 years ago this month the Rolling Stones played a show at the Pier Ballroom in Hastings. I’m compiling a people’s history of the Stones and if any of your readers would like to share their memories of the concert I’d love to hear from them. I can be contacted via email at richardmhoughton@gmail.com or by writing to me at 32 Manor Avenue, Preston, PR2 8DN.

Mickey Finn and The Blue Men – Hastings Pier 15th Aug 1964 by Andre Martin


mickey finn

all cuttings Andre Palfrey-martin collection

Andre Martin… Are we sitting comfortably, now is the time for the next episode of the History of The Happy Ballroom on Hastings Pier, its Saturday 15th August 1964, the excitement of the Bank Holiday has now gone, although the moaning and groaning of the authorities still continues. Bt we have 2 groups on the Pier tonight – headlining are Mickey Finn and The Blue Men, and in support, another of our regulars Earl Sheriden and the House Shakers. 8.00pm – 11.45pm all for 6/- [ 30 pence in todays money] plus the benefit of the breezy walk to and from the ballroom, and the use “of the Longest Bar in Town”
Here is some background to the headliners – Mickey Waller, also known by the stage name Mickey Finn, was an English guitarist. He started out with instrumental band “The Strangers” in Bethnal Green, East London, in the Summer of 1961. In 1963 Waller adopted the name Mickey Finn – after having heard about the drummer named Micky Waller – and joined with John “Fluff” Cooke (keyboards), John Burkett (bass), Alan Marks (lead vocals) and Richard Brand (Drums) to form “Mickey Finn & The Blue Men”, who released their debut single in January 1964. Jimmy Page recorded with the band over the following months. With Burkett replaced by first Mick Stannard in late 1965 and then Rod Clark, the band were renamed “The Mickey Finn” in 1966. They released four more singles, the last of which, “Garden Of My Mind”, is their most well known song and has become a cult favourite despite failing to chart at the time.
Over in the Kingsway Studios in London RSG was well received last night – Friday 14th August, with a really good line up. Including – scheduled guests: –Georgie Fame –Swinging Blue Jeans–The Naturals – “I Should Have Known Better” –Alexis Korner and Blues Incorporated –Johnny Milton and the Condors –Julie Grant.
Along the prom at the Witch Doctor, the crowds were still being pulled in by the 7 nights a week programme Saturday – Denny Saten & The Sabers with The Hustlers : Sunday – John Best and The Challengers : Wednesday – Grant Tracy & The Sunsets and Friday The Discs. Plus – Records on the other nights. Ticket prices between 1/6d and 6/- and everybody out to catch the last bus home ! How things have changed.                                            Andre Martin

Robert Searle… A good find.

The Creation

Will Cornell from America posted the question….. the more I hear them on the Nuggets II box set, I can’t figure out how The Creation was not as huge an import over here as Small Faces, Yardbirds, The Who, any number of other Brit bands of that time. Wonder what went wrong? They were awesome what little I’ve heard.

Alan Esdaile……They only had one big hit here was ‘Painter Man’. Later recorded by Boney M. Never were that massive here but featured on loads of compilation albums.

Will Cornell….Apparently the youtube posts say they should’ve been bigger over there too….I’ve not heard Painter Man, maybe I need to find a whole Creation CD.  Maybe the Shel Tamy connection was an impediment–he was too busy with the Kinks and Who. People forget other stuff Andrew Loog Oldham and George Martin did too, ya know. Ah well, found me a collection of their stuff (maybe the “compleat”) that has both mixes of “How Does it Feel…” and the aforementioned “hits” and it’s on my wish list.

John Storer…..What a coincidence …. shortly after this single was released, Kim Gardner from The Birds (see post ante) joined The Creation on 1967 and his best mate, Ronnie Wood, joined in 1968 after he, too, left The Birds

Will Cornell…..Cue up the Theremin music –that IS weird. I didn’t know Wood joined them so late. Here’s another weird thing–there is a fellow licensed products sales rep over here like myself named Kimm Gardener who was/is bassist for S.Calif punk band Channel 3. (theremin: Oooooh ooh ooh ooooooh! ) They were on the great late Enigma/Restless records. Gee wonder why no one has bought up that roster and reissued some of it. They truly had some great bands. One of the cutout lines I sold bought their remaining stock in the early 90s and I had a field day going thru their Little Rock Arkansas warehouse pulling stuff they sold to me for cost–Game Theory, Mentors, Tex & Horseheads, Mojo Nixon, Dead Milkmen, 45 Grave, Plasticland many more….they were up there with 4AD in the 80s, I tell ya..

The Cobweb – more of April 1968 from Nigel Young Archives


Nigel Young Archives

Nigel Young….Thursday, 18.04.68 St Leonards-on-Sea The Cobweb
The local Purple were back the following week for another gig (admission again four shillings, five shillings for guests), this time with a ‘Stereo Disc Show’. Taste played The Cobweb in May, as did The Iveys (pre-Badfinger). 1969 started strongly with The Episode, Kippington Lodge, Simon Dupree And The Big Sound and Status Quo over successive weeks, Trapeze played there in May and Episode Six returned for the last time in June. A fire in the Dolphin Ballroom bingo hall (below the Cobweb) caused serious damage and brought the club to an end in December 1970.
© Nigel Young (from the forthcoming book, Deep Purple: Day By Night)


Nigel Young Archives

Nigel Young….Marine Court, an imposing Art Deco apartment block, fourteen storeys high, on the seafront at St Leonards-on-Sea in Hastings, in East Sussex, was built just before World War II, completed in 1938, lavishly modelled by architects Kenneth Dalgleish and Roger K Pullen on the Queen Mary, the Cunard-White Star Line’s new liner. (Cunard and White Star had merged during the financial difficulties of the Great Depression.) Now a Grade II listed building, it contains flats and restaurants, with shops at ground floor level. By 1968 it was home to The Cobweb with a capacity of 350, previously known from July 1964 to October 1967 as the Witch Doctor.
© Nigel Young (from the forthcoming book, Deep Purple: Day By Night)