The Hop

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Please email your memories and pics of The Hop. Click on the link below

In the 60's, on a Friday, Saturday or Monday night the place to be was .... at The Hop.


A HOP REUNION was held on
SATURDAY 16TH JUNE 2007
Click here for photos and info


We have added 'The Hop' to 'Friends Reunited' (http://www.friendsreunited.co.uk). Search for "Dance Clubs" / "South East England" / "Hop". Why not add your name to the list. (There is no charge to join Friends Reunited)


The Hop was held at the Woodhall Community Centre, Cole Green Lane, Welwyn Garden City. Seth Rees, of Harmer Green Lane, Digswell, organised and ran The Hop dances. Don's Disco provided the interval music. Don, from Codicote, was also the manager of Wenk's Record Shop, Wigmores North, WGC. As a consequence he had the best record collection in the area. He sadly passed away in 2004. He was assisted by Eddie (Hoyle?) from WGC. Each week a different live band provided the music.

The most popular artists were the local groups; The Cortinas (Octopus), Herbal Remedy, We Shake Milk, Mixed Bag, Bumps In The Night and The Trekkas.


Herbal Remedy on stage at the Hop in 1967. Photo provided by Ian Adamson

 
  WH Times Ad 02 Sep 1966
 


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Hop Memories

I went to 'The Hop' when it first started which was in the fifties. It was the highlight of the week and was always heaving If you couldn't get on the dance floor we used to sit around the edge of the floor and do the 'hand-jive'. All the boys would turn up in their Italian jackets, the girls in their flared skirts with layers of net petticoats, some had hoops and when they sat down their skirts would rise up! Perhaps that's why the boys always sat on the opposite side of the room!
My husband Noel Boland gigged there in a skiffle group, he played guitar, his brother Jimmy played the big tea chest bass made from a wooden chest, broom, handle and rope, someone played wash-board, and others I can't remember. They all sang and Big Willie would really get the place going with his own version of singing. There were also various other amateur groups. One other group, I don't recall the name were very good the lead singer was a local lad called Mick Meadows. I have Chas McDevitt's original washboard complete with rusty thimbles.
Seth Rees ran the Hop and another Huge man by the name of Mario (an Actor) also was in attendance. Seth used to look after us all and make sure we were safe. Happy days! Margaret Boland < 04 Aug 2008 >


Hello Dave, I don't even know how I came across the site - you know you go on one site, link to another and bingo! How amazing to look at all those photo's! What I remember most is coming around to your house at lunch time from Attimore School. There was the biggest record collection, and we all sat listening and singing to - yep - The Monkees! I really do not expect you to remember me, I was at school with your brother Peter.
The Hop, yes I was there, and swooning over The Cortina's, especially Paul Griggs, although I think Rick won my heart in the end because he was so funny, such a character! There was Eddie doing the disco while The Cortina's had a break, and Steve Garrigan sitting on the corner of the stage singing every word to every song, whilst the rest of us danced all night.
I even remember Don's Disco, which is scary, and the Eddie mentioned on the web site married Susan Cundale, who we went to school with as well. Sadly, that did end in divorce, and I don't know what happened to Eddie after that. I had no idea that Paul was with Guys and Dolls, as I had probably moved to Australia when they were famous, and I did not know that Nigel was (or is) with Split Enz (not my kind of music). To look at photo's of my old friend Del Woolsgrove made me smile. I bumped into Del in 1977 on a trip back to the Garden City, and that was great, and I saw him briefly in 2001, still wearing his white jeans, and a teeny bopper on each arm! Oh, the memories! Thanks Dave, and keep up the good work! Jenny Johnson (was Jeanette Read) < 26 Jan 07 >


Hi Dave, The site seems to be growing now with all the memories and I find the whole thing quite fascinating as I'm sure others are too!! A recent addition from Ian Adamson about the dodgy electrics on stage at the hop flushed an old memory from the back of my mind. If fact I could have changed the course of rock history.... On the night The Ultimate supported The Birds, while setting up, I poked the wires from our extension lead into the socket on the side of the stage, but I think I had a round pin plug instead of the favoured match sticks. Pushing the bares wires into the socket then pushing the round pin plug in to hold the wires I got a shock plus some crackles. I ran to the other side of the stage to tell John Wallace, our vocalist. We both look over to see Ronnie Wood approach the socket. We shouted out "No Ron!" Too late, he pushed home the plug. A shower of sparks engulfed him as he shot back. He was unharmed but more worried about spark burns on his white pure wool polo neck jumper. Still, it did the trick and we had the power and the show went on. Don Fowler (Ultimate lead guitar)

  WH Times Ad 21 Oct 1966


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The first time I sang in a band at The Hop was with the "Zeroes" in which Mick Casey played lead Guitar. I think it was Hallowe'en in 1963. I was 15 at the time and had just been recruited by the group as singer on the basis that I could do a passable impersonation of Bobby Vee singing "Baby Face". It was my first public appearance and we had decided that the opening number was to be the Contours "Do You Love Me", but as the curtains opened and I saw a sea of expectant faces before me I froze: I opened my mouth to utter the immortal words "You broke my heart 'cos I couldn't dance etc" but nothing came out. To say I was s*** scared would be an understatement. Fortunately I managed to pull myself together in time to begin the song. My career with the Zeroes was short-lived as they got themselves another singer and guitarist without telling Mick (who was only 14!) or myself. Luckily for us I was working at Lincoln Electric at the time (don't believe what Martyn Day says about my welding jacket and toetectors) and Ron Baird who also worked there asked if we'd like to join The Trekkas. That was the start of a beautiful friendship and one that has lasted for 42 years. Mick (The Vocalist) Simmons < 14 Dec 06 >

I enjoyed Geoff Rees' piece on Rod Stewart playing at the Hop (below). The band he was playing with that night was Jimmy Powell and the Five Dimensions, an outfit from the West Midlands who he played with for about a year. Although at the time he was just a supporting player and virtually unknown Rod Stewart was beginning to mark a mark on the scene both as a harmonica player - he had a card table on stage with him covered in 'harps' - and as a mod stylist with the nickname "Rod the Mod". He left Jimmy Powell after disagreement about his limited role as a singer and took some of the band with him to do a support tour with Chuck Berry. I remember the night well. A week or two earlier there had been an article in NME or Melody Maker about Rod the Mod which concentrated more upon his dress sense than his musical abilities. Rod Stewart was probably the first full blown 'mod' that we had seen with a bouffant hairstyle, checked jacket, tight trousers and a pair of those trendy shoes that we all went on to wear - 'Annello and David' or 'Ravel'. Martyn Day, rhythm guitarist with The Trekkas < 14 Dec 06 >

I first started going to the hop with Herbie 45 years ago...... Eric Clapton signed the 'BEANO' album for me there while he was buying a Coca Cola. I was with Mick Taylor the night he played for John Mayall. The DJ was DON'. So many memories. JAB (former Herbal Remedy guitarist)

On The night in question I had gone to the hop with ex school/band mates Mick Taylor (Ex Juniors), Alan Shacklock (Ex Juniors / Hi Numbers) And it was after John Mayall had finished his first set without Clapton, that during the break a group of local musicians which included myself, Jab and Herbie and few others along with three Local Guitarist's (Alan Shacklock, Mick Casey (Ex Trekkas) and Mick Taylor were informed that Eric Clapton was in fact not going to make it ........ It was at this point that the three were offered in turn the opportunity to play the 2nd set ....... Two declined and one accepted ...... And that was the night Mick Taylor filled in for Eric Clapton (Never to be forgotten) and if I'm not mistaken I think you'll find that Mick Taylor actually used Clapton's Les Paul, as his Marshall stack and guitar were already on stage awaiting his arrival ....... What a night Mick played like a Bandit.
Ex Hopper Danny Bacon
Mick Simmons liked to wear his Lincoln Electric welding jacket and toe-tectors on stage! Martyn Day

My only memories of playing at The Hop are, I think the guy who ran it was called Les? and when we played there, our extension lead had a 13 amp plug on it and the socket at the back of the stage was a round pin 15 amp one. We had to remove our plug and push the bare wires into the plug socket and hold them there with matchsticks!!! We were doing songs by Sam and Dave, Wilson Picket, Otis Reading and Hendrix in the early years. Danny Bacon has a very good memory for things like that, Yes played there and I have a copy of one of the songs they were performing at the time, they were doing covers! The English Birds were regulars at the Hop and I have all three of their records, the only member of the band to go on to bigger things, as far as I know, was Ron Wood.
Ian Adamson bass guitarist with Herbal Remedy < 01 Dec 02 >
Thanks for this - It's bloody amazing !
How did you get the info. for The Hop gigs ? I remember Seth Rees very well, and his sidekick " Albert " who sold me a car. Did you know that the Herbal Remedy also played at the Cherry Tree on Sunday nights? - In fact we were the 'Stand-by' band in the event of other bands failing to turn up............. Must contact you again for more reminiscing.
Cheers Jab guitarist with Herbal Remedy
I almost had a heart attack when I saw the website about The Hop at Woodhall. It was such a long time ago that I thought it had been forgotten... and yet here it was. I was once a proud member of The Trekkas, along with Ron Baird (bass), Mick Casey (lead guitar), Mick Simmons (vocals), Angela Penketh (organ) and Ken Caylor (drums). My time playing in and around Welwyn Garden City was probably the happiest period of my life and its influence remains, because I am still playing. This time it is bass guitar in a rock band and the accordion in a Cajun band. I even got to play at Glastonbury last year. Although we did manage to get one record out- "Please Go" which has now become a collectors item, (80 for a mint copy!) The Trekkas never added up to much, mainly because we were not writing our own material. For all that we did get to play with some top bands of the time including The Who, The Small Faces, Wilson Pickett, Amen Corner, Zoot Money, Manfred Mann... a rather spotty Reg Dwight before he became Elton John, Jeff Beck (with The Tridents) and many others whose names have disappeared into history ...oops and of course Chris Farlow and Lee Dorsey at The Hop.
I'm still in touch with the remaining Trekkas - sadly our brilliant lead guitarist Mick Casey died tragically young - and we still dream of reforming, if only for one number. Then we start arguing about what that number would be! Things never change. Thank you for the happy memories of a great time. We will never see the like of it again.
Martyn Day rhythm guitarist with The Trekkas
  WH Times Ad 18 Dec 1969
 

The mystery unravels. I always remember Paul being a collector of information even in those days. It used to be nice when Paul's family would come over from Hatfield to see The Cortinas perform. Sorry. There aren't any photos and because I didn't keep notes at the time, I don't remember everything. I do remember the Barron Knights. The first time they played the fee was 10! They soon increased it to 20. They used to arrive in a 29 seater coach, straight from their day jobs and my mother used to make them sandwiches! I don't think that today's youth would be happy with a bottle of Pepsi and a flat paper straw as their only source of refreshment, do you?
The night the Rod Stewart played was with, I think Long John Baldry. A band member was ill and he asked if Rod could stand in. I remember watching this guy of about 19, long RAF Great coat, standing stage left, but with no stage presence, belting out raw blues vocals and harmonica. Some of the patrons didn't rate him. But I watched and could see a lot of unharnessed talent. As time revealed! I don't remember him being ill in the dressing room as I was probably too busy dishing out the Pepsi! I'll be pleased to make notes about all I remember. It was amazing just discovering your site. Either email me, call me or send your phone number, and try and fill in a few gaps. By the way. I haven't seen Don for a while, but the last I knew he was living in Codicote. I used to bump into him in the shop there. I'll find out if he's still around.
Geoff Rees

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Photo provided by Don Fowler



The Cortinas on stage at the Hop in December 1964. Photo provided by Paul Griggs

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Max Baer & The Chicago Setback. Photo provided by Alan Davies

The Hop 1965-1969 Dances

Fri 28 May 65 Paul's Disciples & The Cortinas 5/- -
Sat 16 Oct 65 Hamilton's Movement - -
Mon 18 Oct 65 Son's Of Fred - -
Mon 25 Oct 65 Mark Four - -
Mon 01 Nov 65 Tony Rivers & The Castaways - -
Mon 06 Dec 65 Tony Rivers & The Castaways 4/- -
Mon 13 Dec 65 The Mojos 5/- -
Sat 04 Dec 65 The Hideaways plus The Breed 4/- -
Mon 03 Jan 66 The Paramounts - -
Mon 10 Jan 66 The Birds - -
Mon 14 Feb 66 John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers 5/- -
Mon 21 Feb 66 The Birds 6/- -
Mon 28 Feb 66 The Mike Cotton Sound 5/- -
Mon 07 Mar 66 Paddy, Klaus & Gibson 5/- -
Sat 12 Mar 66 The Trespassers plus The Blues Five 4/- (8-11 pm)
Mon 14 Mar 66 Chris Farlowe plus The Trekkas 6/- (7.30-10.45 pm)
Mon 04 Apr 66 Tony Knight's Chessmen - -
Mon 18 Apr 66 JOHN MAYALL'S BLUESBREAKERS  with ERIC CLAPTON 5/- (7/- at the door)
Mon 25 Apr 66 The Alan Price Set plus The Op-Scene 6/- (7.30-10.45 pm)
Fri 29 Apr 66 Mick's Lot (WGC's latest ravers) 3/- (8-11 pm)
Mon 02 May 66 Cops & Robbers plus The Trekkas 5/- (7.30-10.45 pm)
Fri 05 May 66 The Mastersounds 3/- (8-11 pm)
Mon 09 May 66 Zoot Money 7/- (7.30-10.45 pm)
Mon 16 May 66 The Birds 6/- (7.30-10.45 pm)
Mon 23 May 66 Shot Gun Express (ft ROD STEWART)
plus Peter B's Lunars
5/- (7.30-10.45 pm)
Sat 04 Jun 66 The Trekkers 3/- (8-11 pm)
Mon 06 Jun 66 The Jimmie Brown Sound 4/- (7.30-10.45 pm)
Sat 11 Jun 66 The Ultimate 3/- (7.30-10.45 pm)
Mon 13 Jun 66 Diana Ferraz & Nicky Scott 5/- (7.30-10.45 pm)
Mon 20 Jun 66 The Gass 4/- (7.30-10.45 pm)
Mon 27 Jun 66 Geno Washington 6/- (7.30-10.45 pm)
Fri 05 Aug 66 The Trekkas - -
Mon 08 Aug 66 Geno Washington & His Ram Jam Band 7/6 (7.30-10.45 pm)
Fri 12 Aug 66 The Various Others 3/- -
Sat 13 Aug 66 The Prowlers 4/- (8-11 pm)
Mon 15 Aug 66 Dave Anthony's Moods 5/- (7.30-10.45 pm)
Fri 19 Aug 66 The Trekkas 3/6 (8-10.30 pm)
Mon 22 Aug 66 The Gass 5/- (7/6 at the door)
Fri 26 Aug 66 The Ultimate - (7.30-10.45 pm)
Mon 29 Aug 66 The CREAM (ERIC CLAPTON, Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker) + The Chicken Shack 6/- (7.30-10.45 pm)
Fri 02 Sep 66 The Cortinas 3/- -
Mon 05 Sep 66 The Artwoods 6/- -
Mon 12 Sep 66 DAVID BOWIE 5/- (7.45-10.30 pm)
Sat 17 Sep 66 The Trekkers - (8-11 pm)
Mon 19 Sep 66 The Power House (Top Manchester Group) 4/6 (7.45-10.30 pm)
Mon 26 Sep 66 The Gass 5/- (7.45-10.30 pm)
Mon 03 Oct 66 The Koobas 5/- (7.45-10.30 pm)
Fri 07 Oct 66 The Next In Line (AB Recording Artists) - -
Mon 10 Oct 66 Bobby Johnson & The Mighty Atoms 4/- -
Fri 14 Oct 66 Long Tall Short 3/- (Girls free)
Mon 24 Oct 66 Lee Dorsey, The Gates Of Eden
& The Trekkas
10/- (7.30-10.30 pm)
Sat 03 Dec 66 The No Names 3/6 (8-11 pm)
Tue 13 Dec 66 The Ultimate 3/- (7.30-10.30 pm)
Sat 24 Dec 66 The Cortinas & The Creepers 5/- (8-11 pm)
Sat 31 Dec 66 The Trekkas plus Support 6/- (8-12 pm)
Fri 14 Feb 67 The Cortinas & The Creepers 4/- (Valentine Dance)
Tue 22 Jul 67 The Creepers 3/6 -
Fri 25 Aug 67 The Cortinas 4/- -
Fri 01 Sep 67 The Creepers 3/- (1/6 before 8)
Fri 08 Sep 67 The Cortinas - -
Fri 29 Sep 67 The Cortinas 4/6 -
Sat 30 Sep 67 We Shake Milk (Formally The Creepers) 3/- -
Fri 13 Oct 67 Stacey's Circle 4/- -
Fri 20 Oct 67 Derek Savage Foundation 4/6 -
Fri 27 Oct 67 The Cortinas 4/6 -
Fri 03 Nov 67 Max Baer's Chicago Setback 5/- -
Fri 10 Nov 67 Stacey's Circle 4/6 -
Mon 13 Nov 67 The All Night Workers 4/- -
Thu 16 Nov 67 Paper Blitz 4/6 -
Fri 17 Nov 67 No Dance - -
Mon 20 Nov 67 The Impact 4/- -
Fri 24 Nov 67 The Cortinas - -
Mon 27 Nov 67 We Shake Milk - -
Fri 22 Dec 67 Stacey's Circle - -
Sat 23 Dec 67 The Cortinas & Herbal Remedy 5/- (7/6 at the door)
Fri 29 Dec 67 Jackson Overdrive 6/- -
Sat 30 Dec 67 Sioux Nation & We Shake Milk 7/6 -
Sat 29 Jun 68 Herbal Remedy 5/- -
Fri 06 Sep 68 The Cortinas 5/- -
Fri 11 Apr 69 The Motion Picture - -
Fri 22 Aug 69 Octopus (Formally The Cortinas) 5/- -
Fri 29 Aug 69 Mud 5/- -
Fri 05 Sep 69 High Tension 5/- -
Fri 12 Sep 69 Mixed Bag 5/- -
Mon 08 Sep 69 The Orange Rainbow (Soul) - -
Fri 03 Oct 69 Octopus - -
Fri 14 Nov 69 Octopus 5/- -
Sat 29 Nov 69 Watt Tyler - (Blues Workshop)
Sat 06 Dec 69 Twilly (Don, Jez, Steve & Gary) 5/- (4/- before 8)
Fri 19 Dec 69 Disc Nite 2/6 -
Tue 23 Dec 69 Octopus 5/- (Xmas Dance)


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Photo provided by Don Fowler



Enjoying live music in the late sixties. Photo provided by Paul Griggs


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Links To Other Top Local 60's Band Pages
| The Cortinas | The Mixed Bag | The Trekkas | The Ultimate |

Links to other similar sites
| Herbal Remedy | Cortinas (Octopus) | Radio London 266 |


Cortinas Videos
Phoebie's Flower Shop | Too Much In Love

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