Hedgehoppers (Anonymous)

Hedgehoppers in 1971, left to right: Alan Avon, Bill Honeyman, Colin Turner (and front) Mick Matthews
Tony Kaye (guitar, vocals)
John Askey (bass)
Dave Birkenhead (organ)
Bill Honeyman (drums)


October Original Hedgehoppers Anonymous lead singer Mick Tinsley and drummer Glenn Martin (who has joined after the top five success of “It’s Good News Week”) have participated in a swansong tour of Sweden and Lapland with bass player Howard Livett and guitarist Ian Atkinson.
(6) During their Scandinavian trip, the quartet play at the Cue Club in Gothenburg on a bill that also features Stoke-on-Trent band, The Colour Supplement. Singer Phil Tunstall will join a new version of Hedgehoppers Anonymous in December 1968. Comprised of guitarist Mick Nixon, bass player Paul Stevenson, drummer Ricky Ballan and future Climax Blues Band keyboard player George Glover, The Colour Supplement play another Swedish date with Hedgehoppers Anonymous, and further shows with The Troggs, before returning to the UK later in the month.
November On their return to England, Tinsley and Martin disband Hedgehoppers Anonymous. Tinsley establishes a solo career while Martin replaces Bill Honeyman in Sandie Shaw’s backing band, The Streamliners, which also comprises lead guitarist/singer Tony Kaye, organist Dave Birkenhead and bass player John Askey. Kaye, who began as a frontman with early 1960s Stoke-on-Trent band, The Huckleberries forms The Shandykins Four in October 1965. The following month, The Shandykins Four were chosen as Sandie Shaw’s permanent backing band and become The Streamliners. Askey and Birkenhead, who has previously played with Chris Ryan & The Crescents, The Scorpions and The Times, join The Streamliners in 1966.
December Phil Tunstall’s band, The Colour Supplement had travelled to Germany during November and spent about a month playing at the Star Club in Hamburg where they meet Ritchie Blackmore (soon to return to the UK and form Roundabout, which morphs into Deep Purple). They then play the Storyville Clubs in Cologne and Frankfurt for about a month before returning to the UK.

NME, November 26, 1965

The Colour Supplement, Phil Tunstall at top

January Sandie Shaw & The Streamliners appear at the MIDEM Festival in Cannes, France.
February After Martin leaves Sandie Shaw’s band, The Streamliners, Tony Kaye brings in Roger Keay briefly before former member, Scots-born drummer Bill Honeyman rejoins. Honeyman is a veteran of popular Stoke-on-Trent R&B band, The Marauders having started out in Alan Avon & The Presidents with future Hedgehoppers’ singer Alan Avon, guitarist Peter Birch, bass player Brian Birch and sax player Tony Bennett.
March With the original Hedgehoppers Anonymous defunct, Kaye decides to take over the name and put together an entirely new version of the band.
(3) Phil Tunstall’s band, The Colour Supplement appear at the Blue Ball, Risley, Staffordshire.
April (10) The ‘new’ Hedgehoppers Anonymous make one of their first, and possibly their debut, appearance, at the Bull’s Head, Hanford, Staffordshire.
(11) Hedgehoppers Anonymous play at the Crystal Ballroom in Stoke-on-Trent.
(12) The Colour Supplement begin a second Swedish tour.
May (12) After a disastrous tour, The Colour Supplement return to the UK and play their first show back on home soil at the Bull’s Head, Hanford.
(16) The Tony Kaye-led Hedgehoppers Anonymous appear at the Crystal Ballroom in Stoke-on-Trent.
(22) The Colour Supplement play at the Bull’s Head, Hanford.
June (1) After playing the Northern club scene for a few months, Hedgehoppers Anonymous are billed to appear at the Union Rowing Club in Nottingham but are replaced at the last minute by Legacy after it’s announced the band has split up. In reality, John Askey has left to join future Hedgehoppers’ singer Alan Avon’s new band, The Toyshop with Roger Jones and Tony Todd. Colin Turner from The King Pins (who have been working as The Ivy League’s backing band) takes over on bass. Turner joined the Manchester band in late 1966 prior to its relocation to the Stoke-on-Trent area and its signing with the Keith Fisher agency. He also appeared on the band’s final single for Columbia in 1967, “Summer’s Come and Gone” c/w “Another Tear Falls”.
(3) The Colour Supplement appear at the Basford Coronation Club in Basford, Staffordshire.
(12) Tunstall’s group return to the Bull’s Head, Hanford, Staffordshire.
(17) The Colour Supplement play at the Filleybrooke Hotel in Stone, Staffordshire.
(19) Phil Tunstall’s band The Colour Supplement appear at the Bull’s Head, Hanford, Staffordshire.
(21) The new Hedgehoppers Anonymous line up with Colin Turner appears at Bradford University with Fleetwood Mac, Blossom Toes and The Amboy Jukes.
(23) The Colour Supplement appear at the Clayton Lodge in Newcastle Under Lyme, Staffordshire.
July (24) Phil Tunstall’s band The Colour Supplement play at the Bull’s Head, Hanford.
August (7) Alan Avon (who will replace Tunstall in Hedgehoppers in 1970) makes an appearance at Bucknall Workingmen’s club in Bucknall, Staffordshire with his band Toyshop.
(14) The Toyshop play at the Bull’s Head, Hanford, Staffordshire.
(21) The Colour Supplement perform at the Bull’s Head, Hanford.
(29) Alan Avon’s band, The Toyshop appear at the Bull’s Head in Hanford.
September (6) Hedgehoppers Anonymous play at the Bull’s Head, Hanford, Staffordshire.
(18) Alan Avon’s band The Toyshop appear at the Bull’s Head, Hanford.
(26) The Toyshop perform at the Steelman’s club in Stoke-on-Trent.
(29) Hedgehoppers Anonymous play at Mr Smith’s in Hanley, Staffordshire.
October (4) Hedgehoppers Anonymous play at the Forest Folk Hotel in Blidworth, Nottinghamshire. Immediately afterwards, lead guitarist/singer Mick Matthews (b. 18 December 1946, Knutton, Staffordshire) joins the line up after impressing the band with his song “My Friend John Carter The Kind Magician”. Matthews, who started out in The Telstars, has been playing with Harvey’s Team with singer Ian Riley and bass player Graeme Bates. The new Hedgehoppers Anonymous line up embarks on a four-week Scottish tour with Dave Berry & The Cruisers.
(9) Phil Tunstall’s band The Colour Supplement travel to the Birmingham area and play at the Mackadown, Kitts Green, West Midlands with The Passion Forest.
(11) Future Hedgehoppers’ singer Alan Avon’s band, The Toyshop appear at the Harold Clowes Hall in Bucknall, Staffordshire.
(23) The Colour Supplement perform at the Chesterfield Club in Castle Bromwich, West Midlands.

The Colour Supplement, Phil Tunstall in front

The King Pins with Colin Turner, Star Club promo, Germany, late 1966.

South African sleeve from early 1969 showing a short-lived lineup, photo taken November 1968
Left to right: Bill Honeyman, Mick Matthews, Colin Turner and Dave Birkenhead
November Kaye, who wants to concentrate on a management role for the band, drops out and Matthews take over lead vocal duties briefly until Phil Tunstall joins from The Colour Supplement in December. Kaye’s sons will later write for Robbie Williams.
December Future Hedgehoppers’ singer Alan Avon’s band, The Toyshop record a lone single for Polydor Records – the Carter/Lewis penned “Say Goodbye To Yesterday” c/w guitarist Tony Todd’s “Send My Love To Lucy”. John Askey leaves after this recording and Maurice Cope takes over on bass.

After arriving in South Africa, March, 1969
Article from the Natal Mercury

January Hedgehoppers Anonymous are invited to play a three-month residency at Tiles nightclub in Durban, South Africa but Dave Birkenhead is unable to participate in the South African tour and stays behind to join The Look Twice Band.
February Decca re-releases Hedgehoppers Anonymous’ second single “Don’t Push Me” in South Africa with a picture sleeve featuring the short-lived line up from November 1968 depicting Honeyman, Matthews, Turner and Birkenhead.
(26) Remaining members – Phil Tunstall, Mick Matthews, Bill Honeyman and Colin Turner arrive in Durban to be feted as rock royalty.
March Hedgehoppers Anonymous start a three-month residency at Tiles nightclub. After playing a huge concert at the Kingsmead Cricket Stadium, they are invited to extend the Tiles residency until August.
August Following their resounding success at Tiles, Hedgehoppers Anonymous move on to Johannesburg where they hold down a residency at the 19th Level nightclub. Hedgehoppers Anonymous play at the club for three months before embarking on a short tour of Rhodesia where they appear at the Stork Club in Bulawayo and the city’s town hall.
December Hedgehoppers Anonymous return to Johannesburg to play another residency at the 19th Level nightclub before working at the Underground club below the Hotel Continental.

Left to right: Bill, Mick, Phil and Colin in 1970, shortly before Phil Tunstall’s tragic death.
Photo by Barry Oliver

January Hedgehoppers Anonymous sign a deal with the Highveld label to record three tracks.
March Linked with producer Tony Gibson, the group records Matthews’s “Mary Mary” backed by a beat version of Eric Morris’s “Humpty Dumpty”, which has been blended with an indigenous kwela sound, for their debut single. They also record the Matthews-Tunstall-Turner collaboration, “The Man Upstairs”.
April (10) Future Hedgehoppers’ singer Alan Avon’s band, The Toyshop play at the Cavern Club in Liverpool.
May (30) Hedgehoppers Anonymous are billed to appear at a huge rock festival to be held at Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg to mark Republic Day on Monday, 31 May alongside The Bats, Omega Limited, Sounds of Brass, The Rising Sons, The Peanut Butter Conspiracy, The First Aquaintance, Hawk and The Staccatos but Tunstall is killed in a road accident on the eve of the show.
June Devastated by their loss, Matthews, Honeyman and Turner return to the UK and go their separate ways. Over the next six months, Matthews works with a band in Germany before Honeyman contacts him about returning to South Africa where there is a demand for the band.
July In their absence, Highveld releases “Mary Mary” c/w “Humpty Dumpty” as a single, which peaks at #15 on the South African LM radio chart. Producer Tony Gibson has set up his own label Tojo with his wife Jo and in August issues “The Man Upstairs” backed by an instrumental version of the song entitled “The Man Downstairs” but it does not chart.
December The remaining members add singer Alan Dutton (aka Alan Avon), who has played with Honeyman during the early 1960s in Alan Avon & The Presidents and until recently was lead singer with Alan Avon & The Toyshop. Avon’s band has toured extensively throughout the UK and recorded the collectable single “These Are The Reasons” c/w “Night To Remember” for the Concord label.

1971, left to right: Mick, Colin, Alan and Bill

January To avoid any potential legal problems with Jonathan King who still owns the name, they drop the Anonymous tag and become Hedgehoppers.
February (27) Billboard magazine announces that Hedgehoppers have returned to South Africa after a spell in London. The revised line up resumes gigging at the Underground nightclub where they are booked for three months. Producer Tony Gibson’s Tojo label records a lone single combining two strong Matthews numbers – “A Song For Pete”, inspired by English guitarist Pete Clifford from The Bats (and one-time guitarist with Dusty Springfield’s band, The Echoes), and “Here’s To The Morning Sun”.
April The band opens Samantha’s, a new nightclub in Johannesburg. While there, Gibson negotiates a deal with CBS which allows the band to record an album mixing Matthews’ originals with covers of Buffalo Springfield’s “Rock ‘N’ Roll Woman” and George Gershwin’s “Summertime”.
(4) “A Song For Pete” on Tojo peaks at #5 on the LM Radio hit parade.
June Having given the others notice that he’ll be returning to the UK after their six-month contract is up, Avon completes a nationwide tour taking in Durban, East London, Port Elizabeth, Kimberley, Cape Town, Upington and Windhoek.
July After Avon returns to the UK in late July, Hedgehoppers bring in new singer, the late Andy Ionnides from Suck, who joins the band for a three-month residency at the Coq D’Or in Salisbury, Rhodesia.
August (29) “Hey!” recorded with Avon on lead vocals, backed by the non-album “My Friend John Carter The King Magician”, featuring Matthews on lead vocals, hits #2 on the LM Radio hit parade and tops the Rhodesian charts.
September (17) “Hey” peaks at #9 on the Springbok Radio hit parade.
October (2) Billboard magazine reports that Hedgehoppers are touring Rhodesia. After the tour finishes this month, keyboard player and singer Rupert Mellor from The First Aquaintence takes over from Ionnides. Hedgehoppers return to Samantha’s and hold down a residency until the end of the year. While there, the band records three new Mick Matthews’s songs for Parlophone Records – “I’m On My Way Ma”, “Blue, Blue, Blue” and “Young Man On The Road”, all featuring Matthews on lead vocals.
November “Blue, Blue, Blue” backed by “I’m On My Way Ma” is released.

1971, left to right: Mick Matthews, Colin Turner, Alan Avon and Bill Honeyman

March (4) Shortly after watching their beloved Stoke City beat Chelsea in the League Cup final at Wembley, Matthews leaves the band and returns to the UK. He later returns to South Africa and forms Ballyhoo, who will have significant success in the 1970s. Hedgehoppers carries on as a trio and back Wellington Count Judge on the Mojo single “Noma Kunjalo” c/w “Salani” as The Cool Cats. A few months later, Honeyman is killed in a road accident and the band splits with Turner returning to the UK.


I Started Out To Write A Song, by Mick Matthews and Adrian English (awaiting publication).
Strange Brew – Eric Clapton & The British Blues Boom 1965-1970, by Christopher Hjort, Jawbone Press, 2007
Tapestry of Delights Revisited by Vernon Joynson, Borderline Productions, 2006.

Information on the King Pins from the Starclub Hamburg site. The photo montage is their copyright.

Live dates sourced from Melody Maker, Birmingham Evening Mail, The Evening Sentinel, and Nottingham Evening Post.

Many thanks to Mick Matthews, Alan Avon, George Glover, Tertius Louw, Marq Vas, Benjy Mudie and Gavin Furlonger. Thank you to George Glover, Mike Nixon and Paul Stevenson for passing on details about The Colour Supplement, to Joe Toriati for the photos of this band and to Marq Vas for 45 label scans.

Thank you to Mick Matthews and Benjy Mudie at Fresh for permission to use the Hedgehoppers’ tracks. Keep an eye on Fresh Music’s website for the forthcoming Hedgehoppers CD: www.freshmusic.co.za

Mick Matthews and Adrian English’s I Started Out To Write A Song is awaiting publication.

Copyright © Nick Warburton, 2010. All Rights Reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced or transmitted in any from or by any means, without prior permission from the author.

I have tried to ensure the accuracy of this article but I appreciate that there are likely to be errors and omissions. I would appreciate any feedback from anyone who can provide any additions or corrections. Email: Warchive@aol.com

Visit: www.nickwarburton.com

From left: Alan Avon, Bill Honeyman (in back with glasses), Mick Matthews and Colin Turner. Photo by Gavin Furlonger

23 thoughts on “Hedgehoppers (Anonymous)”

  1. Do you mean the Bull’s Head, Hanley?

    Never heard of Hanford, but ‘Hanley’ is the central region of Stoke on Trent, and there is a ‘Bulls Head’ there as well

  2. Apparently when Glenn Martin joined The Streamliners in late 1967, he took over from Bill Honeyman, who had left to join The Ivy League’s backing band. After Glenn Martin left The Streamliners in ’68, Tony Kaye brought in drummer Roger Keay as a replacement to join him, John Askey and Dave Birkenhead in the new Hedgehoppers Anonymous. They toured quite a bit before Bill Honeyman returned and took over from Keay.

  3. Hey Mick
    This is quite a cool site also very informative – I didn’t know so much about you and the hoppers – all corrected now though
    Gona check out the other bands that were around at the time that I was involved

  4. Found some more live dates related to this version of the band in Stoke’s Evening Sentinel

    1) Two dates by Hedgehoppers Anonymous which reveal that Glenn Martin did gig with the band under this name.

    22 December 1967 – Hedgehoppers Anonymous responsible for grand opening of new concert room at the Potters Club, Stoke-on-Trent

    25 February 1968 – Hedgehoppers Anonymous appear at Clayton Lodge Hotel, Newcastle Under Lyme

    Glenn Martin told me that he was still with Sandie Shaw and The Streamliners when Sandie told the band she was marrying fashion designer Jeff Banks in March 1968. He said the band were playing at the Castaways Club in Birmingham at the time. The Birmingham Evening Mail reveals that Sandie’s stint at this Birmingham club ran from 4-10 February, which would suggest the second date above was probably one of Glenn’s last with the band.

    2) Ivy League with the Kingpins appear at Mr Smith’s Club in Hanley, Staffordshire (From 18-23 December 1967)

    The Kingpins at this time would have included future Hedgehoppers Bill Honeyman and Colin Turner

    3) Harvey’s Team.

    Two dates for Mick Matthews pre-Hedgehoppers band

    29 December 1967 – Greenways, Baddeley Green, Staffordshire
    19 January 1968 – Greenways, Baddeley Green, Staffordshire

  5. The Bull’s Head in question is indeed at Hanford, the pub with the same name in Hanley is a very small local type pub!

  6. Take a look at youtube Alan Avon – Peace a song written and video compiled by me and asking for the end of war. Enjoy kind regards. Alan

  7. in the 70s i was good friends with the boys when they played at the underground and would like to get back in touch, i have just found this web site by chance and having read its contents was sorry to learn about bill,if mick colin or noddy see this i would love to hear from you to catch up on old times

  8. Found a website advertising old gigs at the 76 Club in Burton-on-Trent

    It has these listings for bands related to the second incarnation of Hedgehoppers Anonymous

    25 August 1967 – Harvey’s Team (Mick Matthews’ band)

    10 March 1968 – Hedgehoppers Anonymous

    27 December 1968 – Toyshop (Alan Avon’s band)

    1. hello alan,
      yes i do remember you ,blonde hair.. i think…? i’m not able to communicate until new year .. lightening stikes.. system wiped out, but from then i’d love to catch up…mick

  9. Hi Mick, I hope this finds you well and still giging, get in touch when you can, you can find me on Facebook. Take care , John.

  10. I found the following gigs in the Birmingham Evening Mail which are missing from the list above

    15 March 1968 – Selly Oak, Station Inn, West Midlands with Bobcats (this would have been shortly after Glenn Martin’s departure)

    26 April 1968 – Charles Russell Hall, Erdington, West Midlands with Johnny Neale & The Starliners

  11. Found these gigs for The Toyshop (Alan Avon’s band) in the Birmingham Evening Mail:

    13 December 1968 – Chesterfield Club, Castle Bromwich, West Midlands
    21 December 1968 – 91 Club, Erdington, West Midlands
    22 December 1968 – The Swan, Yardley, West Midlands

    Also, another gig for The Hedgehoppers Anonymous (post Glenn Martin)

    12 July 1968 – Executive Club, Moseley, West Midlands

  12. Found a missing date for when the band, shortly after Glenn Martin left from the Northwich Chronicle

    14 March 1968 – Clockwork Orange, Chester with The Raynes

  13. Does anyone have information about “The Toyshop” or “Alan Avos Toysop” guitar player Tony Todd?

    I can’t find anything online but a list of musics that he wrote and/or produced!


  14. Interesting gig from Wolverhampton Express & Star that lists Harvey’s Team (Mick Matthews’s band) and Larry Avon’s Half Dozen (Alan Avon’s band) with joint booking at Connaught in Wolverhampton on 28 January 1967

  15. Found tonnes more gigs for the band from the Wolverhampton Express & Star newspaper. This is the line-up just before Glenn Martin left:

    18 November 1967 – Hednesford Civic Centre, Hednesford, West Midlands with The Scarabs
    22 November 1967 – Chubbs Social Club, Wolverhampton, West Midlands
    24 November 1967 – Queen’s Ballroom, Wolverhampton, West Midlands
    24 November 1967 – Bilston United Services Club, Bilston, West Midlands

    1 January 1968 – George Hotel, Walsall, West Midlands with The Mindbenders

    15 February 1968 – Kingfisher Country Club, Wall Heath, West Midlands with The Parchment People and The 4 Fit
    16 February 1968 – 3 Men in a Boat, Walsall, West Midlands with The Magic Roundabout
    17 February 1968 – Hednesford Civic Centre, Hednesford, West Midlands with Scarlet Religion

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