Status Quo – The Cobweb 1st Feb 1969


1st Feb 1969 - status quo.

poster source:  Ad supplied by Sarah Harvey

Sarah Harvey… Must admit this one rather took me by surprise when I came across it. February 1st, 1969.

Phil Gill… From the words ” personal appearance” It looks like that might have been a Status Quo meet and greet rather than a gig.

Mick Knights… Status quo did play there not sure if it was the witch doctor or cobweb, but it was when pictures of matchstick men was a hit.

Sarah Harvey…  I was wondering the same as you Phil about the ‘Personal Appearance’ bit…..but it would be nice to clear this one up….did they play or did they just show their faces?

John Storer… I’m thinking that the words “Personal appearance by” was an attempt to make the Quo look a bigger, more popular, band than they actually were at the time. By Feb 69 they had had top ten hits with “Pictures of Matchstick Men” and “Ice in the Sun”, but their next single “Technicolour Dreams” (released in September 1968) had flopped miserably, failing to reach the Top 60. Feb 69 saw the release of their 5th single “Make Me Stay A Bit Longer” and that also failed to chart. Those were the days when you were only as big as your last single. Like many bands, they were on the road pretty much non-stop. In January 69 they had been the support band for Small Faces on a short tour of Germany. Their set list still included a fair number of cover versions of songs by other acts, including Little Richard and The Beatles. They even did a cover of Vanilla Fudge’s cover of the Supremes “You Keep Me Hanging On”. Two days before the Cobweb “appearance””, they had been in Manchester recording a session for the BBC. During the week after, they played gigs at Wolverhampton, Birmingham and Ross-on-Wye. Later that month they were 3rd on the bill to The Move and Spencer Davis Group at the Royal Albert Hall It would be another 13 months before they had another hit – “Down The Dustpipe” – which marked a change in their image from psychedelic dandies to denim-clad rockers. 1970 also saw the release of the rather excellent “Ma Kelly’s Greasy Spoon” album, followed in 1971 by “Dog of Two Head”. Neither album, however, caught the attention of the record-buying public and both failed to chart. The change in their fortunes came in 1972 with the “Piledriver” album and the “Paper Plane” single. This started a 17 year run of unbroken hit singles and albums, by which time they had almost become a self-parody.

I was only 12 in Feb 1969 so what do I know, but I’m guessing that their appearance at the Cobweb was a gig. It certainly features in their gigging history. Like many others, I tend to regard Quo as a bit of a joke these days, but those 3 early 70s albums mentioned above still sound bloody good today … and their cover of The Doors “Roadhouse Blues” on “Piledriver” is, for me, better than the original

Caz Simpson… I remember the GoGo competition, I even remember the semi finalists but I can’t remember the name of the winner. The prize was a holiday in Spain and she asked Ginger for the £30 instead! He obliged.

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The Manish Boys – with Davy Jones (David Bowie) – Witch Doctor 30th Jan 1965



manish boys david bowie

leaflet source:

supplied by Rod Smith Hastings and Area, Past and Present Facebook Page and Ad supplied by Andre Martin

Rod Smith… “Apparently, David Bowie never played in Hastings but did play four times in St Leonards, at The Witch Doctor, Marine Court. On 13th Nov. 1964 and 30th January 1965 as Davy Jones & The Manish Boys. On 17th July 1965 as Davy Jones and The Lower Third. The final time was when he had become David Bowie and appeared there as David Bowie and The Buzz on 3rd September 1966. This is the leaflet from their site for 30th Jan.1965”

Jim Breeds… Good stuff.

Mick O’Dowd… This should help clear the fact that he didn’t appear with The Konrads on Hastings Pier with Tony Rivers & The Castaways.

Peter Fairless… True story

Gerry Fortsch… I got to know John Watson the bass player in the Manish Boys, what a nice and talented guy, he lived in Maidstone at the time, does anyone know what he has been up to since?

Graham Matthews… Gerry, there was a John Watson playing bass in the original line up of 999 formed in London, don’t know if it’s the same one.

Gerry Fortsch… Graham, Hi mate, the last thing I heard about John was that he was training to be a concert pianist, I remember 999 I am sure that wasn’t him, cheers.

All Things Bright – Witch Doctor St Leonards 29th January 1966

Tony Court-holmes… we won the world cup that year never do it again well not in my life time

Mick O’Dowd… Amboy Dukes were more well known and were a nice little band.

Dave Nattress… Noticed the bottom said “The Birds are Coming” – would this be “The Birds” a band several years pre-Faces that featured Ronnie Wood? This is topical for me right now as I’ve finally got round to reading “Had me a real good time” – The Faces biography by Andy Neill and it seems like The Birds were a very hard gigging band. As yet the Witch Doctor hasn’t been named and maybe anyway, I’m on a bum steer here!! I’m only on page 95 of 500 odd. Also, there was an “Amboy Dukes”, from the USA – the name I recall well and I’ve looked them up and they featured Ted Nugent and are described as acid rock and psychedelic rock, would this be the same Amboy Dukes who played the Witch Doctor supporting “All Things Bright”?

Mick O’Dowd… Did the Birds not compete in Ready Steady Win! along with The Bo Street Runners?

Alan Esdaile… Are ‘All Thing Bright’ the group that became The Moody Blues?

Stewart Grimes… I think the Birds where Ronny Woods band saw them at the De La Warr, they just had a hit with No Good without Baby I believe, thay were good too, supported by UTD local band!

Nashville Teens – The Witch Doctor 17th July 1964.



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all cuttings Andre Palfrey-Martin Collection

Andre Martin…..OK Mick – time to wallow in memories – from the Hastings Observer July 1964

Mick Knights….I was there, a innocent 15 year old!!! The first steps I ever took on a dance floor were there, the tune was Pretty Woman and the young lady didn’t hang around for a second one!!!!

Andre Martin… For those of you who follow The History of The Happy Ballroom – Hastings Pier on “Bands we’ve seen on Hastings Pier “you will know that we have moved to the start of a period of change and great competition, and I could not let this week go, without posting something of what was going to happen – The arrival of The Witch Doctor. I do not intent to write a weekly blog of who, what, where and when – but this was the weekend -17th/18th July 1964, FIFTY YEARS AGO. These had been some simple trails posted in the Hastings & St Leonards Observer, but I don’t think that many people had any idea of exactly what the Witch Doctor was going to be. We were soon to find out – in simple terms it was very difference to what we had experienced in the past in Hastings & St Leonards, it brought the entertainment potential right bang up to date. The ownership of the club can be traced back to Manchester and the Chain of nightclubs called Mr Smiths, these were expanding into the South and in particular around London, operating under the name of The Witch Doctor, and for whatever reason, we end up with one in St Leonards, in Marine Court, above the Dolphin Ballroom. The Opening night featured The Nashville Teens as Top of the Bill, but what was to make even more publicity, that went national the next day, was the story of a young lady from Hastings, the daughter of a well know lawyer who ended up in London with the lead vocalist from the group and being returned home by the Metropolitan Police – have withheld the names and the file is sealed. If the readers want to find out more, I will leave that to you. With this new venue in place the entertainment scene in the area would change quite dramatically and we would become all part of this change, leaving us to this day with memories both good and bad, happy and sad.Above are a few images from the local newspaper from all those years ago, I apologise that some of the images are poor – but this was 50 years ago, and the quality of newsprint in those days, does not survive well.

Peter Fairless… Was it open long enough, with enough visiting acts, to sustain it’s own group? What do people think?

Andre Martin…The Witch Doctor 17 July 1964 – 7 October 1967 – it was closed for refurbishment and Opened as the Cobweb till Dec 1970. Lots of visiting acts, etc small compared to the Pier, maximum around about 450 [ slightly more when using the Bob Knights method counting attenders !

Peter Fairless… Is the space still there, Andre?

Andre Martin… Converted back to offices in the 1970s, when the club was moved in name to the old town and re opened as the Aquarius – the site in Marine was badly damaged on NYE 70 with a bad fire.

Terry Wallis… I think I saw Nashville Teens and may have been opening night? Mind you I would have only been 15 then, perhaps I dreamed I went! 😀

Alan Esdaile… interesting they are advertising a band 4 plus 1, is this the same as unit 4 plus 2 which one less musician?

Steve Maxted… what a gem, to see a billing of the opening night of the Witchdoctor. Andre has a wealth of information, well done.

Ronald Burgoyne… I was there.

Lloyd Johnson… I went to that gig…and Sue Penry -Davey run off with one of the group.It made the National Newspapers and she was finally tracked down to Earl’s court at his flat…They came straight from Ready! Steady! Go! for The Witch Doctor gig and they hung out in Hastings over the weekend…


Regal Cinema St Leonards-on-Sea Mid 60’s

shared  by Chris Perrior. Photo: Nick Prince

Chris Perrior… this image comes courtesy of Nick Prince and cinema treasures web site,it shows the Regal cinema mid 1960’s a decade after it closed ,demolition began 1973 and the office block that replaced it was known as Gundolphus house and then ocean house, in the foreground is the tin building that was the sorting office for Royal mail, with a glimpse of the station forecourt

David Fussell… I remember the empty cinema in the seventies before it was knocked down.

Roger Simmonds… Me too such happy memories!

Mick Knights… I have no idea why but I remember my parents taking me there to see Eddie Calvert. (aka the man with the golden trumpet)

Mick O’Dowd… The building bottom left was the GPO sorting office that my Dad was based at.

John Busbridge… I remember going there!

David Kent… We lived just up the road from here. There was a poster on the front of the cinema that said “Tonight, Syncopating Sandy will attempt to play the piano” – or something very much like it.

Patrick Turner… The Flea Pit in my day

Nigliv… Went there often in the 50s: remember seeing the marvellous ‘Forbidden Planet’ (1956) there. At that time, we also had the Curzon, Roxy Continental, Gaiety, Orion, Ritz, De Luxe.

Kev Perry… I started my job as a postie in that old tin hut,great memories

Mods and Rockers at The Lido and Beachcomber Eversfield Place St Leonards

photos supplied by Leigh Kennedy

Chris Meachen… Ah, the Lido.. One of my favourite hangouts in my early teens, they had a great system where you could do washing up in exchange for food or drink if you were broke. One tray got you a coffee, another two earned a hot pie. Met some great people there, many of whom I’m still in touch with today..

Lloyd Johnson… Wasn’t the Lido a bikers /Rockers hangout later…I know I never went there back then…

Chris Meachen… it was a bikers hangout when I was going there in the late 60s, though in those days we were called ‘greasers’..

Paul Durrant… Yes def a bikers hangout late 60s- and a proper cafe / coffee bar. Just as Chris says re the washing up exchange. Pinball machines on the upper level at the back then through to the kitchen for washing up which also knocked out a full cafe menu as required for those with money. Also the cold milk machine, Lyons apple pies etc.  They also owned the late night drinking club upstairs and a few doors to the west. Used to have some VIP gangster London folk down for all night card games in that club too I think. Lots of nights to remember in the Lido….when the fair was in town on the oval a bunch of the Lido folk would go up and work there…..a few sombre days and nights after various bike fatalities over the years too. If you were a newbie someone would say ‘free drinks at the Yelton tonight’ and you’d go with them and be ushered through the revolving door first only for those following to hold the door shut and bang on the glass from the outside leaving the stranded person to face the wrath of the hotel staff! There were some magnificent days with bikes lined up outside as far as the eye could see. Lots of visiting bikers too. Next door (out of shot) was a bomb site car park (now built on) where you could scramble up the steep bank towards White Rock Gardens.

Harry Randall… definitely a “Rockers” Bar!

Eric Burgess… Was a biker back then and the lido was my second home

Rat Barry… Doesn’t ring any bells with me , where was the Lido?

Jenny Power… Ray, On the seafront opp. The pier where the Indian restaurant is now

Sue Strong… Used to go to the Lido until it shut down, we were all lost and didn’t have anywhere to go

Jenny Power… I moved down here in 1968..with my own bike. I hung out at the Lido where I met a fellow rocker and married him.

Bookham Ally… Is that somebody ‘helping the police with their enquiries’?

John Randall… Beachcomber for me we had car police or bike police and parking. Lido for rockers beachcomber for mods all future leaders of community

Barry Carey… Spent many late nights in the beachcomber fabulous place in its day.

John Randall… One day the Juke box in the beachcomber wouldn’t stop playing records for free. In the café in those day’s you could joke with the bobbies, perhaps not these particular ones.

Ron Keesing… I thought the Beachcomber used to be Nicks caff, where bikers hung out! There was a caff run by Nic along that area, bikers parked outside and went into caff