Music in Crawley in the 1960s

I was lucky enough to be 16 in 1964 and I lived in Crawley . . .

My friends and I were out every night of the week, I can’t remember the days but we used to go every Friday to see the bands play at Hazelwick, I don’t remember any outstanding group. My friends and I were there the Friday night that it was announced that President Kennedy had died from the bullet wounds he had received earlier in the day.

We went a few times to the Mojo Club which was held at Three Bridges Junior School – I remember seeing Eric Burden and the Animals and Long John Baldry.

The Boys Club at Popes Mead was another night out, nobody famous but good records. I think Frankie Vaughan was a visitor there once.

The Civic Hall (Town Hall) used to have bands play one night of the week – I saw the Searchers and the Mersey Beats there.

The Grasshopper at Tilgate was another great venue, Desmond Dekker played there and Mike Berry. Along with another famous Crawley group called the Evergaldes, their vocalist was Monty Cavan.
The Railway in Crawley used to have good bands – I remember seeing Screaming Lord Sutch, The Downliners Sect, and a male solo singer, I can’t remember his name.

The Starlight Ballroom was the best place to see groups – I saw The Who, Roger Daltry stood next to me at the bar, Cliff Bennett and the Rebelrowsers, and Jimi Hendrix and more, maybe Herman and the Hermits, Showaddywaddy.

My younger brother John was a founder member of Brett Marvin and the Thunderbolts, a Crawley group, who had a hit record in 1972 under the name of Terry Dactyl and the Dinosaurs.


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Barbara Ellis

2 years ago

My older brother, Dave Ward was the ‘manager’ of the Everglades for a short time and a friend of Monty. My wonderful brother sadly died in February this year from prostate cancer. He was 77. He always had an eclectic taste in music and inspired in me the same love of many genres of music. I was also lucky enough to see the Who at the Starlight and the Hollies. Gino Washington and the Ram Jam band was one of my favourites though. Saw also Lulu at the Civic hall and Desmond Dekker at the Grasshopper. I was 13/14 in 1964 and had just moved from Tilgate to Poundhill when president Kennedy was shot. Crawley was a brilliant place to grow up at that time. Full of hope and surrounded by beautiful countryside.

Crawley Museum

2 years ago

Thanks for sharing your memories, and we’re sorry to hear about your brother.

David Stoker

2 years ago

I agree that Crawley had a great music scene in the mid-1960s. ‘The Who’ played at the weekly Rhythmn & Blues sessions at the Northgate Community Centre (also later at the Civic Centre). Another regular at Northgate was the Graham Bond Organisation with Graham Bond (vocals, keyboards), Jack Bruce (bass), Ginger Baker (drums), Dick Heckstall-Smith (saxophone) and John McLaughlin (guitar).

The Railway Hotel used to have a Saturday night Rock ‘n roll session featuring, among others Screaming Lord Sutch (brought on stage in a coffin). On Wednesday nights there was ‘Uncle Bonny’s Chinese Jazz Club’ which featured (among others) Acker Bilk and Humphrey Lyttleton.

tony jones

1 year ago

Hi, I remember everything so well. I was at Hazelwicks upper school social club the night Kennedy was shot.

Robert James Piers-Leake

1 year ago

O.K., I used to frequent the Starlight ballroom in the 60s and one of the support groups was I believe Jo Jo Gunne.

There was a lot of brass in the band and they opened with the same song every night…
…what the he’ll was it…
…it was a cover song.

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