Take a trip back to music's golden decade in Crawley
The Sensational 60s Experience brings a feast of golden-decade music to The Hawth Studio, Crawley on Thursday, November 25 at 7.30pm.
Lining up will be Mike Pender (original voice of The Searchers), The Trems (all former members of The Tremeloes), Dozy Beaky Mick & Tich, The Fortunes and The Dakotas.
Beaky is delighted to be back on the stage as we move on from the pandemic.
“You can either panic about it or you can just say it is what it is and just get on with it,” he says. “The last time we worked before this all started was March 12 last year, and that was our last gig. We had just started to hear about this thing called Covid that was coming and then suddenly that was that and everything was shut for a year and six months. We had some help from the government, and I got into gardening which I still hate because it’s a horrible thing to do but the garden looks good after you have done it! But I still think you just have to accept things and do what you can. You can’t change what was happening and there was no point just sitting and moping. Luckily enough after the lockdown when I could, I was able to do a bit of fishing in a lovely lake near Salisbury. It is not about catching the fish. It is just about being there so I did some fishing and I did a bit of golf as well but now it is wonderful to get back to the stage. I’m really enjoying it. I’ve always enjoyed it but now it is like a new thing again.”
Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich grew out of Dave Dee and The Bostons, a band which toured as a support act for The Honeycombs. And then one fateful night in Swindon, the band came to the attention of Ken Howard and Alan Blaikley who offered to take them on – and changed their name to Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich, after which they were signed to Fontana Records and enjoyed a string of hits between 1966 and 1969.
“We had been touring for two and a half years as Dave Dee and The Bostons and we had been building up the name so we weren’t happy about changing it. They said we would be Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich because those were our nicknames, and we thought ‘Flipping heck!’ or words to that effect! We thought that was far too long a name because all the other bands were things like The Who and The Merseybeats, but it worked.”
The band also had to change their style: “Before we changed the name we were like a Barron Knights type band. We were a comedy band and that’s what we were doing.”
When success came, they opted instead – Beaky laughs – to become sex symbols: “We decided to become a pop band. The audiences in those days were louder than we were! And we just changed overnight. We started touring on the Gene Pitney tour and within two weeks of that starting Hold Tight was released and shot up the charts to number two. That was 1966, but in those days we were contracted. We were doing gigs for £30 with Hold Tight in the charts, but there was nothing we could do. We just had to fulfil those contracts. But really it was that one night that changed everything, that gig in Swindon. If that hadn’t happened, we would probably have just gone home and thought ‘Let’s get a proper job.’ But it all happened and it was great fun, and it happened within two weeks. We were selling 270,000 records a day and the reason that Hold Tight didn’t get to number one was because The Walker Brothers outsold us by 10,000 records. But we had no security. We had no guards to get us in and out of gigs. We used to drive to the police station and get in a Black Maria and get out at the theatre and there would be all these girls screaming at you and you couldn’t get out.
“At first it was thrilling but then it became very dangerous. If you got too near the front of the stage, you would be pulled off into the crowd. At one gig Dozy had a polar neck on and he got too close to the edge of the stage and they pulled him off into the crowd and by the time the club bouncers jumped in and got him Dozy was choking because of the polar neck. You realised you had to wear clothes that could rip!”
Things are obviously different now: “All I see now is a sea of grey when I look out and that is great. Now I can come off stage and you can just chat without any hassle. In those days it was absolute hell to get on and off stage, in and out the venues I just could not go anywhere. We would get mobbed. I was thinking about what I could do to get away from it all and that was when I started fishing...”