60's & 70's Local Music Scene

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The Ultimate - Top Local 60's Band

The Ultimate photographed in 1966


It was Bob Downer who got in touch with me. We were both co-founders of The Bluenotes. Bob lived next door to me in Howlands. Maybe Bob has recalled his memories already to you. Even after Bob left the group The Bluenotes carried on with various replacements. One was Kenny Plows (aka Hollywood) who took us to Joe Meek's who recorded us. I'm sure this was in '64. Nothing became of it but looking back I think, what a privilege to have done that!! Unfortunately there is no legacy left behind only four individual snap shots I have taken outside Ludwick Club old house where we rehearsed. By early '65 a group called Johnny Haven and The Just 5 where up and coming and rehearsed also at Ludwick. I thought that they were really good. Also they had Fender amps and played Strats .... By the early summer of '65 I quit the group ...... After a couple of months I saw Derek Simms, the drummer from Johnny Haven, in the Welwyn Garden City town centre and he asked me if I was interested in joining the Just 5 as their lead guitarist was leaving. I couldn't believe it! Soon I was to meet up with the group and the first rehearsal was in a side room off The Hop main hall. A new song list was put together and a new name. It was to be ULTIMATE. Soon we were on the road. We were all ex Heronswood schoolboys so we got on real well. We did so many venues including Marquee Club, Eel Pie Island and turned pro in Sept '66 which took us to South of France. Back home we would play The Ludwick Club etc.

I was so pleased to see a gig guide on your site. Bowes Lyon House, Stevenage. Sat'May 14th 'Merseys'. We supported them on that night. The listings for the hop also gave 3 dates for ULTIMATE. I remember one of the nights we supported "The Birds". Ronnie Wood being their lead guitarist. Amazing to think two Rolling Stones came through the good old Hop. I have some memorabilia from the ULTIMATE days and still in touch with John Wallace (aka Johnny Haven). I hope to meet up next June.. I hope you have found this of some interest. I enclose a couple of pics .....

Actually before I joined John Wallace's group re Ultimate, they also went to Joe Meek's with Kenny Hollywood ... When I went I didn't see any of The Tornadoes ... but, later with Ultimate we played one night on the same bill as Heinz (he used our PA system). Also on the bill was Eden Kane. He had big top ten hits with "Well I Ask You", "Get Lost", Forget Me Not", "I Don't Know Why" and "Boys Cry". His brother Peter Sarstedt was in the band and later had a big international hit with "Where Do You Go To My Lovely"!! We met so many stars in those days. It was a wonderful time!

Best Regards Don Fowler

The Ultimate photographed on 16th June 2007
The Ultimate - John Wallace, Don Fowler and Geoff Hobbs together for the first time in 38 years ! Photo Karen Fowler
In all the excitement of recent events I forgot to tell you that John Wallace (vocals) and Geoff Hobbs (rhythm/vocals) of The Ultimate were at the Hop Reunion. I enclose a photo my wife Karen took... I hadn't seen those two since about 1969, though I had spoken to John on the phone over the years, so quite a night for me along with playing in The Blue Notes.. Unfortunately the drummer Derek Simms passed away a few years back, and Colin Kevans (Bass) has disappeared. By the way John came down from Royston and Geoff travelled from Portishead to be at The Hop. The pic reads left to right... John, Don, Geoff

The Ultimate

The Ultimate

The Ultimate.
Colin Kevans, Derek Simms, John Wallace, Don Fowler, Geoff Hobbs

Don Fowler photographed in 1966

All photographs and comments kindly provided by Don Fowler

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