We’ve now received the following from local expert and DJ, Eddy Falcon, whose show At the Hop: 50s Hot Wax Show can be heard on Riviera FM Torbay Community Radio on Mondays 4.30-7pm. Eddy also presents a Rock & Roll Jive Hop at The Farmhouse Tavern on the Newton Rd on the last Wednesday of the month 8pm till 11.15pm, admission £1, with everyone welcome.
Incidentally, Eddy got his stage name as he was an Eddy Cochran fan, and also a fan of the 1950s Do Wop group The Falcons. Take it away Eddy…
The Rock & Roll place I most used to go in the late 50s was the Co Op Hall in Torquay. It was in around 1959/60 that I saw the late Johnny Kidd and the Pirates there. All these events were run by Lionel Digby.
The regular Rock & Roll bands who played at the 400 Ballroom on the Harbour Side included Gary Kane and The Tornadoes and the Telstar’s. We also had regular Rock & Roll bands at the Town Hall and sometimes we would have American Rock & Roll legends. One who I can remember was the late Gene Vincent who appeared at The Princess Theatre in around 1963/64.
From Teignmouth came The Vampires who played at the Ford Hall in Newton Abbot in 1960.
In 1963 the local coffee bars were the ‘Silver Wing’ which is where Tesco’s is in Castle Circus. It had a juke box and for one shilling you could get three plays. Another place I remember was The YMCA in Castle Rd every Friday in the early 60s. We paid around three shillings to see local bands like The Mustangs, Mel Fear and the Phantoms.
Another great Rock & Roll band was The Cougars from Exeter, formed in 1959 and regular visitors to Torquay. All these bands were booked by Promoter Lionel Digby who now owns a Costume Fancy Hire Shop in Market Street.
Of all the bands that appeared in Torquay, many would rate Gary Kane and the Tornadoes. Formed back in 1957, they were a Skiffle group.
As the early 70s came there was a big revival in the UK, with 50s Rock & Roll coming back. It was played regularly on the radio on Saturday evenings. Leading the way was Stuart Coleman. I loved the music and had a great Rock & Roll collection of 50s music. I decided to buy some disco equipment and approached the Golden Butterfly on the Newton Rd in 1974. We had regular Rock & Roll Jive Hops every Friday for nearly two years with people coming from as far as Bristol, Cornwall and Plymouth.
They were fantastic times. The place was jumping and jiving with over a hundred rockin’ fans.
Around this time there was a band formed in Torquay called Rocket 88 who played regularly around The Bay from 1974 onwards. They are still rockin’ today. On Drums was Dell Ray, Buddy Gee on Vocals, Henry Teardrop on Bass. Various members left over the years there are still two original members still there today, which are Dell Ray, Buddy Gee and myself, Eddy Falcon.
I’m still active, having ‘guested’ on TV and I was interviewed by Judi Spiers in 1984. I’ve been interviewed on various radio shows over the years, and I’ve worked with some great Rock & Roll legends from America, such as Charlie Gracie and Frankie Ford. From the UK there were Terry Dene, John Leyton, Screaming Lord Sutch and Wee Willie Harris.
They were just happy times and the rest is Rock & Roll History.
• Here’s Screaming Lord Such and the Savages with Jack the Ripper in 1964
(We’re not sure if the clip features Kerry Perry, laterly Alan “Howling Laud” Hope, who was a back-up singer for Screaming Lord Sutch in the 60s and who became the Official Monster Raving Loony Party’s first candidate elected to public office when he won a seat on Ashburton Town Council, later to become the stanary town’s mayor, and leader of the OMRLP.)