The Rattles plus support Johnny and The Spirits – Hastings Pier 18th April 1964



Andre Palfrey-martin collection

Andre Martin…Well for us in Hastings today it’s just coming up to the start of the Easter Bank Holiday Weekend 2014 – but for your history lesson from 50 years ago, it’s Saturday April 18 1964 in the Happy Ballroom. You can truly say that we are going International and top of the bill are the Rattles from Hamburg West Germany. Let me till you a little about this band -The Rattles performed in Hamburg, and played at the same venues as The Beatles on several occasions in 1962. In 1964 the group recorded “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah”, which charted in the UK.
The supporting group – Johnny & The Spirits, which after extensive research has shown no details, images or stories, it’s as if they have just disappeared in the great world of rock and roll, never to be seen again.
From reports on the gig, from several who attended, “ it was one of the worse nights that I have ever attended in The Happy Ballroom” “ the band were awful” “why did I waste my money going to see them” “ hardly anybody turned up” “after 5 minutes, I thought enough is a enough and I went back to the PamDor”
So all in all, not a good Saturday Night. – We should have better entertainment next week – but that’s for the next History of the Happy Ballroom.

Alan Esdaile…..I bet Swinging Blues Jeans were good, the following week.

Andy Qunta…..Yes, Swinging Blues Jean had some good stuff!

Jim Hobbs…..The Rattles had a great single called ‘The Witch’ in 1970, played a lot on Luxembourg.

Malcolm Bucket… With reference to Johnny And The Spirits, I personally to date know of the bass player and Malcolm Bucket now live in Littlehampton West Sussex and are still both actively playing in a Shadows tribute band workshop in Barnham Village Hall. The band still meets once or twice year and the reunion with Bill Dayman and Pete fro lead guitarist. They made a demo disc record called Guess Who with Emi archives unknown but was recorded pan music company Waldorf Street London. Era 64/65. The singer John Mccload of the band passed away 20 years ago.

Alan King… Saturday, April 18th , 1964 Hastings Pier THE RATTLES (billed as The German Beatles on the poster) anyone remember this one ? was it the inspiration for The Rutles ?

Lloyd Johnson… I was at that Gig!…they were awful, a really mediocre group and not at all stylish….a none event for me!….I remember a band on the Pier that formed a human pyramid and played …I think they were called something like The Wild Angels…..I wonder if anyone else remembers them….to confirm I’m not going nuts!…

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.

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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.