Teenbeats at The Disc Jockey Hastings 1979

Paul Gray… I was there and got my copy signed. Sadly long gone

Stewart Rockett… I came across Tommy just t’other day. Still cool.

Alan Esdaile… doesn’t change, still looks the same!

Mike Mitchell… You’re letting the side down there, Ken with that smile

Ken Copsey… More of an uncomfortable smirk than a smile! How did we manage to end up on the other side of the counter?

Allan Mitchell… Awesome!!

Dave Nattress… Always much revered and respected the Teenbeats, great band name, great image, fitted the time, (so-called Mod revival), and simply because they were on the face of it, the most commercially successful and “known” band to come out of the Hastings music scene since Stallion.

Stewart Rockett… From the book, ‘American Idol: The Untold Story’ By Richard Rushfield, referencing Simon Fuller, the Teenbeats’ manager…

The Disc Jockey Hastings – advert June 1979

Sheila Devine… Found this carrier bag in my attic recently

Pauline Richards… I remember big Al

Simon John Paul Ham… I redrew Big Al.

Jane Dorsett… I worked in Chelsea girl, which was opposite Disc Jockey, was always in there

Ralph Town… Al was a lovely bloke and his wife even more so. A real tragedy.

Dave Nattress… Hi Jane – you OK. Catch you soon. Chelsea Girl – remember it so well.


Hastings Carnival 1973


supplied by Hastings Old Town Traders via Matt Thomas

Maureen Fuller… 1973 was the year l was Hastings Carnival Queen the Carnival Parade started from the Bathing Pool with a band leading the way and all major stores had floats Debenhams, M&S ,Philpots,Wards, KB electicians and more to the fountain roundabout and then up Queens Road to Alexandra Park for fireworks and dancing

The Disc Jockey Press Ads – from Andre Palfrey-Martin Collection

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Andre Palfrey-martin collection

Phil Gill….My grandfather bought me my first electric guitar from the Disc Jockey in 1969 – a Vox Super Ac, 27 guineas…wish I still had it.

Pete Fisher….bought my first singles here, later albums, sheet music, and my first decent acoustc, a 12-string, which was pretty hard to play.

Alan Esdaile ….I used to ring up all the time and see if any jobs were going but was unsuccessful, as Alan mainly wanted girls working in the shop. Mind you thinking about it now I was also turned down by Woolworth and The Green Shield Stamp shop!

Jim Breeds….Some of my vinyl LPs still have their plastic zip lock sleeves with “The Disc Jockey” printed on them.

Pete Fairless….I used to go to Woolies record dept. to buy singles from Louise (Illman?) but with the Disc Jockey, Stylus, Record Shop, Smiths aand Boots all selling records, there was usually never a problem getting a new release. For albums, The Disc Jockey and Stylus were best but with the back up that Jack would always be able to track down anything obscure. Remember this guy?


 Andre Martin…..Having looked back in archive – I think this Big Al character did not appear until 1974, that’s the earliest record that I have, round about Christmas that year. I am sure if I had come across [him] it before I would have saved.

Jim Breeds… I was at school with Tony Harris. I used to ask him in the shop what he thought I should buy this week 🙂

Dave Luck… Us oldies certainly remember the Disc Jockey, a proper record shop, and always packed on a Saturday.

Philip Meston… I  used to work with Tony Harris, not seen him for ages!

Andre Martin…  It would be good to he a Blue Plaque on the site of the Disc Jockey shop at the Memorial end of Queens Road to remember Alan and all that he did for young people in the 1960s & 1970s. I know he was a business man, but a very generous man as I am sure we have all experienced.

Mick O’Dowd…. Totally agree

John Storer… Remember going in there and asking for “Sticky Fingers” and everyone bursting out laughing! Also remember buying “New Rose” by The Damned in late 76 … Alan had heard of “punk” but had decided to keep the 3 or 4 punk singles he had in a tupperware box behind the counter for some reason. However, once he realised there was a market for this stuff, he would get in just about any single you wanted, even though most were being released on obscure indie labels. Most Saturdays I would leave with 3-4 singles and bought classics from Slaughter & The Dogs, Ed Banger & The Nosebleeds as well as the more “established” punk bands. Bought “Anarchy In The UK” there the day it came out (I do hope my sister still has it … an acquaintance recently sold his copy for an astonishing£12,000) and remember playing the Buzzcocks “Spiral Scratch EP” pretty much non-stop for 48 hours 🙂 Tony Harris became a good mate around that time. Last heard, he was living in Cambridge.

Peter Gladwish… As well as going to the Disc Jockey on a regular basis, to listen to all the latest records, I bought my first 12-string guitar from Big Al (c.1968) and I’ve still got it. Yes, he started selling a few musical instruments to supplement the lack of income from record sales!!!

The Disc Jockey & Cobweb Top 20 chart – 1969


supplied by Jozef Maxted

Nigel Ford… Never heard of “Return to Diango” by the Upsetters, track or band…. and yet everything else is very familiar!!

John Storer… From a time when the singles chart actually meant something. More classic 45s than not on the list, especially “Sweet Dream”, probably my favourite Tull track. I feel a Spotify playlist is in order. Nostalgia is a wonderful thing. Listen to The Archies “Sugar, Sugar” today and you realise it was actually a quality pop song! Can someone complete Nigel Ford’s musical education and link to a video of the wonderful “Return of Django” by The Upsetters.

Andy Qunta… Great memories! Great times at the Disc Jockey too!

Jim Breeds… He Ain’t Heavy – The Hollies. Got into a huge row with my Dad when he saw them perform that on TOTP. He said “Look at the length of their hair!! What nonsense they should sing that when they look like people who would beat you up in a dark alley for your wallet”. Always insightful, was my Dad :-/ He just was of the generation who thought we “Should turn down that bloody racket and go get a haircut”. The Generation Gap.

Nigel Ford… the very next day to me posting this, Tony Blackburn started his Pick of the Pops Radio 2 show with it and of course I recognised it immediately!…. but somehow never knew what it was called,….but am I bovered??!!

The Disc Jockey – Poly Bag , chat & 8 track cartridges


Pete Fisher… spent a lot of time in the listening booth on Saturday afternoons, 1968-74!

Virginia Davis…  I think I still have some of my records in the Disc Jockey bags

Jim Breeds… So do I 🙂

Nick Prince… I  like Big Al, comes to mind.

Clare Bennett… I think we all must have spent some time in there.

Alan Pepper… Can I go back in time to about 1973 and buy a dozen albums from big Al’s Disc Jockey shop ? I know which ones I’d buy – what about you ?

Kevin Towner…I spent far too many hours – and far too much money here over the years!!

Anyone remember 8 track cartridges…

A-primo-selectionsupplied by http://doyouremember.com/happy-national-eight-track-tape-day/

Anyone got any photos of The Disc Jockey?  Here’s a partial shot with Wards next door. Photo by Chris Meachen.


photo by Chris Meachen 

Phil Gill…Bought my first electric guitar from the 2 Queens Road shop, a peach coloured Vox Super Ace. 27 guineas in 1969. Roger Carey and Chris Meachen will remember it. Life doesn’t get much better than a peach coloured electric guitar when you’re 13 years old.

Jane Hartley… Loved that shop, but my guitar came from Stylus, never did learn to play it!!!!!

The Disc Jockey – cutting from 1975


Andre Palfrey-Martin Collection

Diane Knight…..Fond memories of “Big Al’s” and ofcourse Tony “the hair “Harris !!!

Philip Meston…..Ah, Tony; the massive Rod Stewart fan. I used to give him a lift to work & probably heard him sing along to most of Rod’s airplay!!

 Ralph Town…..indeed Phil.I loved your Vauxhall Viva

Philip Meston….You used to be a massive T Rex fan…

John Storer…..Where are you now, Tony Harris? Very fond memories of his 18th birthday … me, Tony and Rob Gallop were heading off into the Old Town to meet up with others but decided to stop off at The New Central for a drink first, as I knew the landlord pretty well. Rob was 19, I was 20.  When we entered the pub, the landlord (Carl?) wasn’t there and the woman behind the bar refused point blank to serve us because she said we were all under age. It was the first time I’d ever been refused service in a pub. I think we eventually persuaded her to serve us but it was an inauspicious start to what turned out to be a bloody good night.

John Wilde….I frequented the DJ and purchased many many great records and laterly casettes there. It was always an enjoyable visit. I clearly remember John Lennons Tw Virgins poster and many others displayed for our visual feasting.
I didnt know how “Big Al” died and I am saddened to learn the facts. He was an extraordinary man and historicaly one of Hastings own. Thank you Al for being the conduit to my own musical growth. A hero.

Chris Baker…..Alan was a lovely bloke. Always smiling and happy to see customers in his shop. I remember they had a branch in the Old Town in High Street and being a little averse to spending money they would make a phone call first thing in the morning and leave it off the hook all day. He would whistle and shout down the phone to attract the other shop’s attention and only pay for one call a day. Those were the days!

Andre Martin…..That sounds like the business man AJ – but a nice one at the some time who would do all he could to help us get started – RIP.

Alan Esdaile…My parents bought me a pair of maracas from The Disc Jockey and that was down to seeing Mick Jagger with some.

Andy Baldock…..I practically lived in that place in the late 70’s early 80’s.RIP,Big Al

Perri Ann Haste…..I bought my first Vinyl albums in there – still have them all in the loft going back to the early 70’s.