August 15th 1965

The headline- and shirt-grabbing occasion was 'Beat Time', the Melody Maker National Beat Contest at the Wimbledon Palais. Big L's Pete Brady got pulled off the stage by over-excited fans, bent on ripping off his clothes! They got his shoes, socks and suede jacket, before he was rescued. Whether or not this mobbing was a reaction to Pete's recent TV appearance as a panelist on ITV's, 'Sing a Song of Sixpence', (see photo below) is not known.

The regular Radio London nights at the Palais had only commenced on July 10th. (Caroline, of course, also staged regular shows there. Steve Young met Lady Godiva there!) By early September, Saturday night audiences at the Palais had increased by 400%!

Big L had been promoting the Melody Maker National Beat Contest since the beginning of the month, giving daily updates. The judges listed for the August 15th final were Kenny Everett, Muriel Young and the Hollies' Graham Nash.

On the previous day, the hard-working Pete Brady had already hosted the regular Saturday Marquee Club afternoon, followed by the second of the new Wimbledon Palais Radio London Nights. Pete was already planning to leave Big L and a replacement DJ who was working at the Palais was interviewed there in late September. Graham Wallace was only too happy to take on the name of Mark Roman, which had been offered to, and rejected, by Tony Blackburn.

Photo caption reads: Disc Jockey Pete Brady, shirt gaping open, is pulled back on stage last night
Click on the picture to view a legible version of the text.

'Sing a Song of Sixpence'was a prerecorded show, transmitted on August 6th Virtually nothing is known about the programme which was shown as an ITV 'summer replacement' for Take Your Pick, and was hosted by Annie Nightingale. (source:





Beat Time Finalists – The Chevrons!

Gary Songhurst has very kindly sent these photos of his youthful band The Chevrons participating in the final heat of the 'Beat Time' contest on August 15th, where he recalls that they were placed third. Gary believes the young lady in the pink suit in the photo to the left, is pop star Twinkle.

Paul Griggs and his band The Cortinas, were 'Beat Time' competitors. Paul has very kindly supplied the photos below and the above newspaper photo of all the finalists, with Pete Brady (light coloured clothes) in the centre of the front row. (Good to see some girls in there too!) As Pete is not in the dark outfit he wears on stage in the Daily Mirror photo, maybe he had to borrow clothes to replace his ripped ones?

It is not known how many heats were held at the Palais (note the specially-enhanced curtains!) and on what dates. The band reached the finals, but it is possible the photo (below right), was taken on an earlier occasion, during one of the heats. Paul does not recall the earth-shattering Pete Brady event at the final!

The top photo shows the Cortinas' original line-up, l to r, Nigel Griggs, Roger Cook, Paul Griggs, Paul Crowland.

Says Paul:

"In March 1965 Paul Crowland decided he was leaving the group so we had to find a replacement. We found a guy called Cliff Franklyn and started to rehearse with him."

We appeared at The Wimbledon Palais in The Melody Maker Beat Contest. We got through our heat and semi-final but were unplaced in the final, and didn't deserve to be placed, as we played quite badly on the night. The contest was eventually won by St Louis Union.

The Cortinas also played at one of The Radio London Nights at Wimbledon Palais on 4th December 1965"

Paul and his brother Nigel have been involved in the music scene since they were quite young. A photo of them taking part in a Butlin's talent contest can be found here.

Paul's website tells of all the bands in which he was involved and shares fascinating background stories and great photos. He currently plays under the name of Paul David. Nigel, now living in Australia, is renowned as the bass player for Split Enz.

Cortinas photos copyright Paul Griggs, used by kind permission

Brian Long, author of 'The London Sound', has kindly supplied a clip from Melody Maker from earlier in the National Beat Contest, when St Louis Union won heat nine. They beat an unknown outfit called Pink Floyd, who were unplaced and failed to go forward to the semi-final on July 25th.

Net sources listing Floyd gigs reveal that the band appeared in heat nine on June 26th.

Click on the picture to read the text.

A couple of links to features concerning the famous Palais. This one with a photofeature from the Beatles Fan Club Southern Convention 1963.

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