October 31 2014 Latest news:
Friday, March 14, 2014
It was a dream come true for seven-year-old Jill Baker when she met her heroes in Norwich of 50 years ago during a pause in a night of screams.
Young Jill, of Somerleyton Street, Norwich, was a guest of honour when she met the chart-topping, foot-stomping Dave Clark Five in their dressing room at the Theatre Royal in 1964.
The Evening News photographer was there to capture the moment and we reported how shy Jill had bought the tickets for the show herself and mother with her birthday money in the February.
The one-night stands featuring the beat bands of the day attracted huge crowds when they arrived in Norwich with police and dogs turning out to control the audience, mostly screaming girls.
It had started when in the 1950s when Bill Haley – an unlikely-looking heart-throb – played the Carlton on All Saints Green. There was dancing in the streets – rock ‘n roll had arrived and was here to stay.
Then in 1963, our very own Ricky Lee & The Hucklebucks played the old Grosvenor on Prince of Wales Road along with another band known as The Beatles.
And life for the young and young at heart was never quite the same again.
But for many “grown-ups,” including our reviewers, the appeal of these bands was puzzling – and why would anyone want to scream?
Our review of the Dave Clark Five gig at the Theatre Royal half a century ago, which also featured the long-haired Kinks and The Hollies in their snazzy shirts sums it all up so well.
As the second house crowded into the Theatre Royal, Norwich, on Saturday some from the first were still screaming hopefully outside the stage door.
A row of policemen, a tail-wagging police dog and a small crowd stood waiting. Three lads in top hats marched up to the theatre steps shouting to their friends. A suspicious policeman came closer.
At the theatre the Dave Clark Five and other pop heroes were making a one night stand.
“It’s amazing the lengths they’ll go to,” said one lady.
“They pushed one boy against the railings down by St Stephen’s Church when he arrived. They don’t care who they get hold of. I think he was one of the Hollies.”
As soon as the house lights dimmed the screaming began. And it didn’t stop until the final curtain.
If the management had been unwise enough to play the National Anthem they probably would have screamed at that.
To the untutored ear, it all sounded the same and the performers differed only in their professionalism.
The Trebletones who should have been on tour with Russ Conway and Cliff Richard were the exception. They seemed an era apart.
The Kinks were recognisable by the length of their hair. The Mojos appeared pleasant boys who seemed to have rather less stage experience than the rest.
The Hollies were very smart with their horizontal-striped shirts and while collars and their vocalist seemed to have a double-jointed pelvis.
The only distinguishable words were sung by Mark Wynter who had a pleasant voice.
Frank Berry the compere was a young man with an old man’s patter.
The Dave Clark Five conducted the most relentless assault on the ear-drums.
Warned not to throw sweets, two girls eluded an usherette and put a box of chocolates on the stage.
One girl was carried out. Another had a scream like a referee’s whistle.
A middle-aged man smiled gently and kept repeating: “Good old Dave.”
The courting couple next door held hands and gazed round blankly.
It was a proper scream.
Do you have memories of this gig or others during the screaming 60s? Perhaps you were at the Carlton/Gaumont on All Saints Green when the bad boys of pop The Rolling Stones appeared back in 1964? Drop me a line at email@example.com or write to me at Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE.