The Monotones and the Treetops

The Monotones in Holland, 1964: Brian Alexander, Gary Nichols, Jim Eaton and Pete Stanley
The Monotones in Holland, 1964
from left: Brian Alexander, Gary Nichols, Jim Eaton and Pete Stanley

If you’ve ever seen the 1964 documentary Seven Up you may have wondered what song the kids are dancing to during the party scene towards the end of the film. I learned from my friend Michael Lynch that the song was “What Would I Do” by the Monotones, a group from Southend-on Sea in Essex, about 45 miles directly east of London.

Monotones Pye 45 What Would I Do

Mark Lloyd and Jim Eaton singing the Everly's
Mark Lloyd and Jim Eaton singing the Everly’s
“What Would I Do” was the first of four singles they released on Pye in ’64 and ’65. To say this song has charm would be an understatement, even more so if you’ve seen Seven Up. The bridge is especially fine, with tremolo guitar behind the vocals “if I say that I love you, and you know that it’s true …”

The band gives a sharp performance on the flip, “Is It Right” though the song is less distinctive than the top side. Both songs on their first 45 were written by ‘Stanley Alexander’, actually Brian Alexander and Stanley Peter Frederick according to the BMI database. I didn’t know anything else about the band until Phil T. contacted me with the newspaper clipping and the following info:

During their early years, the group line-up changed many times but by 1964, it comprised Brian Alexander (lead), Jim Eaton (vocals and rhythm), Pete Stanley (bass) and Gary Nichols (drums) and I believe that it was these four who made the recordings. Their original vocalist, Nigel Basham also performed separately under the name Mark Loyd and was backed from time to time at local gigs by another Southend band, The Mustangs, who also originated at Westcliff High.

Sadly, I understand that The Monotones’ drummer, Gary Nichols, died in April 2007.

Photos of the band’s early years sent to me by guitarist Ian Middlemiss can be seen on this separate page.

Much more information about the band came when Jim Eaton and Peter Stanley left detailed comments about the band. To read the full history of the group and it’s change to the Treetops, read through the comments below. Jim also sent the photos seen here with this comment:

I have attached some photos of The Monotones in the early sixties and also some of The Treetops (our new name when we joined Mecca at the Wimbledon Tiffanys). You will note we added a female to our lineup, a great vocalist Martha Smith. We cut several records as The Treetops when the lineup comprised Brian Alexander (lead guitar and backing vocals), Jim Eaton (rhythm guitar and lead vocals), Pete Stanley (bass guitar and backing vocals), Mark Lloyd (lead vocals, vibes and harmonica), Martha Smith (lead vocals and piano) and Pete Trout our very fine drummer.

In the article about the band for The Southend Standard Jim Eaton also noted their appearance on Ready Steady Go, Thank Your Lucky Stars and Juke Box Jury, clips I’d love to see if they still survive.

The Monotones, 1962
The Monotones, 1962

Monotones Hickory 45 When Will I Be LovedThe Monotones had two U.S. releases on the Hickory label, one of which, “When Will I Be Loved” / “If You Can’t Give Me All” was not released in the UK. It turns out to be a demo recorded before their first Pye 45, released in the U.S. without the group’s knowledge!

Monotones Hickory 45 If You Can't Give Me AllJim Eaton recently heard these songs again for the first time in about 47 years! He wrote to me:

I received and played the record yesterday and it is definitely us. I now recall cutting both sides as a demo in 1963 at the Regent Sound Studio in London’s famous Denmark St. (also known as Tin Pan Alley due to the large number of studios, record publishers and musical instrument shops.)

Monotones 45 releases:

Pye 7N 15608 – What Would I Do / Is It Right (February 14, 1964)
Pye 7N 15640 – It’s Great / Anymore (1964)
Pye 7N 15761 – No Waiting / Like A Lover Should (1965)
Pye 7N 15814 – Something’s Hurting Me / A Girl Like That (1965)

Hickory 1250 – What Would I Do / Is It Right
Hickory 1306 – When Will I Be Loved / If You Can’t Give Me All

Monotones promo photo for "Now Waiting", from left: Jim Eaton, Brian Alexander, Gary Nichols and Pete Stanley
Promo shot for “Now Waiting”, from left: Jim Eaton, Brian Alexander, Gary Nichols and Pete Stanley
Mark Loyd backed by the Monotones with session musicians:

Parlophone R 5277 -I Keep Thinking About You / Will It Be the Same (1965)
Parlophone R 5332 – Everybody Tries / She Said No (1965)
Parlophone R 5423 – When Evening Falls / When I’m Gonna Find Her (March 1966)

Note that all his solo releases spell his last name “Loyd”

Treetops 45 releases:

Parlophone R 5628 – Don’t Worry Baby / I Remember (1967 – also released in the U.S. on Tower 388)
Parlophone R 5669 – California My Way / Carry On Living (Feb. 1968)

Columbia DB 8727 – Mississippi Valley / Man Is a Man (1970)
Columbia DB 8799 – Without the One You Love / So Here I Go Again (1971)
Columbia DB 8934 – Why Not Tonite / Funky Flop-Out (Oct. 13, 1972)
Columbia DB 9013 – Gypsy / Life Is Getting Better (Aug 3, 1973)

Mark Lloyd, 1964
Mark Loyd, 1964
Postscript, February 2011:

Jim Eaton: “I have just returned from Australia where I caught up with Mark Loyd who was for many years part of The Monotones before he pursued a solo career.

Update, April, 2012

I’m sorry to report that Mark Loyd (born Nigel Basham), the lead singer with the Monotones and Treetops passed away on April 4, 2012, after fighting cancer for seven years. Mark had been living in Sydney, Australia where he ran a successful event/management company. My condolences to his family, friends, and band mates.

Thanks to Phil for sending in the article from The Southend Standard, January 2006 and to Jim Eaton for his help with songs, photos and information for this page.

The Monotones at the Elms, 1964: Pete Stanley, Brian Alexander, Jim Eaton and Gary Nichols
The Monotones at the Elms, 1964
from left: Pete Stanley, Brian Alexander, Jim Eaton and Gary Nichols

Monotones Hickory 45 What Would I Do

Monotones at The Elms, l-r: Brian Alexander, Jim Eaton, Gary Nichols and Pete Stanley
At The Elms, l-r: Brian Alexander, Jim Eaton, Gary Nichols and Pete Stanley
The Treetops, 1966
The Treetops, 1966
The Treetops, 1967
The Treetops, 1967
The Treetops promo for "Don't Worry Baby"
The Treetops promo for “Don’t Worry Baby”
The Treetops, 1968
The Treetops, 1968

117 thoughts on “The Monotones and the Treetops”

  1. The Treetops……Final Memories

    Our residency at Tiffanys came to an end in the early part of 1974. At that time our final line-up comprised Brian Alexander lead guitar ), Mark Loyd ( drums and lead vocals), Tony Edwards ( Hammond organ and piano) Kit Rolphe ( our female vocalist) and myself ( rhythm guitar and lead vocals).
    Brian had purchased the property at Hampton Court which, with the help of a team of builders and carpenters, we had created a “mini Tiffanys” which was to be named “Alexanders”.

    Alexanders club was very small when compared with Tiffanys and the stage could hold no more than a trio of musicians. Brian stopped playing with the group as his businesses were commanding so much more of his time. Kit took a job with another Mecca band, which left Mark, Tony and myself as the new club’s resident group.

    Mark had also taken on the roll as the club manager, looking after the day to day running of the club. This meant that he had to be there during the days for deliveries etc and then jump onto the stage at night to play drums and sing. Occasionally he would have to rush off stage between songs to change a beer barrel or sort out some other problem. This obviously could not continue and it became necessary to find another drummer/vocalist. This was not an easy job as although there were plenty of drummers and plenty of singers, there were very few who could do both. The answer came along in the form of Ron Brown who was proficient as a drummer and had a fine voice. Mark would sometimes would perform some “guest vocals” when not changing a barrel, throwing out a trouble maker or stocking up the bars.
    It was while we were at Alexanders that Mark went to Gibraltar and won The Gibraltar Singing Contest, this was like a mini Eurovision Song Contest.

    Alexanders club was successful for a number of reasons. I felt that we provided good live music in an intimate atmosphere, and reasonably priced food was available from the upstairs restaurant. The success prompted Brian to seek another venue, which he found not too far away at Hook. The new club, which was to be called “Bentleys” was based on the same successful format and again required a trio of musicians. My organist, Tony Edwards was persuaded to leave me and form his own group, which he did. Once again I was searching for a replacement and found probably the best keyboard player I had ever heard. Pat Kirby ( always known as Paddy because of his Irish background) was selling Hi Fi in a local shop and somebody told me about him. He played a Hammond organ with a Lesley cabinet and had a bank of keyboards on top including a string machine, a synthesiser and an electric piano. He was like a group all by himself!

    The group did no further recording while at the club but in 1977 Paddy and myself set up our own recording studio on the side of my property. It was designed to be a demo studio and we quickly gained a reputation for quality recordings. It was at the height of the punk scene and accordingly all manner of weird looking people would turn up. One of demos we recorded was a song titled “ Nice Legs Shame About The Face” This demo found it’s way into the charts, I believe by a group called “ The Monks”. By 1978 the studio required more and more of Paddy’s time and he decided to leave the group to concentrate on it. This was the reason for the very last change of a group member. I took on another organist, but this time someone who could sing as well. Dave Brown was an amiable person who loved reggae and soul. This gave another string to our bow as I sang most of the current pop songs, our drummer Ron sang the Andy Williams type ballads, and Dave covered the soul and reggae.

    By 1980 I had been in The Monotones/ Treetops for twenty two years and was married with two children. My kids would ask me why I was never at home with them at night, a question I began to ask myself. I started to deputise a few evenings to another guitarist so I could stay home more. This of course meant giving away some of my earnings, clearly a situation that could not go on. I was constantly on the lookout for another occupation, knowing that my good education at Westcliff High School or all my exam certificates would count for nothing at my age. However, I managed to talk my way into a sales job and eighteen years later in 1998 I retired as managing director of that company.

    Brian, true to his entrepreneurial character went on to open two further clubs to add to his portfolio of businesses. I don’t see much of him nowadays which is a shame as it was him that started everything. I regularly see Pete Stanley and try to visit Mark in Sydney every year.

    I still have all my group equipment and occasionally, especially if I’ve had a couple of wines, take great pleasure in doing a session of sixties songs……just for my own “amazement”! We recorded our song “It’s Great”, but I can honestly say It’s Been Great.

    Jim Eaton January 2010

    1. Hi I have just found your website it was lovely to read your story of the group and where you all ended up after Tiffany’s – Wimbledon closed, I was a waitress in the 70’s there and have very fond memories of the group it was a great place to be and very much an eye opener for me. Miss it!

      1. Blimey! This wasn’t at all what I was looking for on the internet but did it take me back! The Monotones were the first group I ever saw live, in the hall at WHSB and I saw them many times after that, mostly at the Elms. Probably true to say that it was in part Pete Stanley’s sound that inspired me to buy an Epiphone Rivoli when I was playing with the Right Attitude. Alas all long since sold to pay the mortgage!

    2. To Jim Eaton from Germany:

      Dear Jim, please do give me your email address under, so I can send you more information. I am desperately trying to get in contact with Brian. As a matter of fact, we had contact via email a couple of month ago, and I kept informing him about the development of our re-producing of “It’s Great” which has reached the nearly final stages, and I want to TALK to him.

      I very much hope that this note will reach you and help me on my quest.


    3. Hi Jim.
      i wonder if you remember me, Malcolm Wilkins, often known as Max? I used to run a little garage business in Southend and frequently attended The Elms and other venues where you played.

      Reading your recap of the Monotones early years brought back so many happy memories for me and I’m a so glad to hear that you are still fit and well. I left Southend and went on to work in Oxford, before settling in Derby in 1970, where I opened a motor repair business which prospered well until I sold out in 1989.

      Now retired and enjoying the spoils!!

      Would love to hear from you if you have the time.
      Best regards. Malcolm (Max).

    4. Hi Jim,
      I regret that I was too young to see the Monotones at the Elms, but I knew you from when I was a pupil at Southchurch Hall boys school. You were my English teacher. Great times!

    1. The song “Book of love” was indeed performed by The Monotones, and it featured in the film “That will be the day” starring David Essex and Ringo Starr.

  2. The UK Monotones were a group formed almost exclusively of pupils/ex pupils of Westcliff High School for Boys, near Southend on Sea in Essex. The lead singer was a guy called Nigel Basham, classmate of mine between 1955-59. The bass player was a guy called Gus Chesney and the band played the local pub circuit, places such as the Elms Hotel in Leigh on Sea and the Cricketers at Southend. Can’t mention the Monotones without mentioning their great arch rivals at the time who were called The Whirlwinds, later renaming to The Force Five because of a name clash with another band. Unlike the Monotones who were all Grammar School boys the Whirlwinds were working class boys from nearby Canvey Island, not the most salubrious of places to live in as it was flooded in 1953 and over 100 people died. Both bands were really great live acts but I think the Whirlwinds edged them out if you had to say who was the best. Both bands had an extremely loyal following. Hope this sheds a little light on a time long ago but not forgotten.


    1. I was also a classmate of Nigel’s and Colin at WHSB and I can remember the very early times, in the small school gym., when Nigel was drummer Brian was guitar and If I’m correct the first lead singer was a boy (as we all were then) called David Tripcanny, not sure of that spelling. My memory has never been good but I’m blowed if I can remember Gus being in the group. I’ve just read on this site that Nigel passed a couple of years ago and all sorts of long forgotten bits and pieces jump out at you and one of the abiding memories of Nigel was the constant attention his hair required and his ability to do the best Cliff Richard lip sneer ever. Stop laughing. Cliff was big and cool then. Any body that knows me from then can e mail me at Happy days.

  3. So many of us have been driven nearly crazy for years trying to identify that song from that very (repetitive) scene. Even more, it looks like additional research confirms that you might be the only source on the Net that links these two together. Well done! A very grateful Seven UP following thanks you.

  4. Hi I used to go to Tiffanys nightclub in Wimbledon Broadway from 1971-1972 and the resident band was The Treetops. Brian Alexander played guitar as well as Jim (didn’t know his surname) Pete played piano and Nigel Basham was on drums and also was lead vocals. I then started to go to Alexander’s which was a reataurant owned by Brian Alexander near Hampton Court and the group played there. Brian had three other venues Scotts in Croydon. The Watermill in Surrey and Bentleys near Chessington just off the A3. I ended up working there in the box office at Alexanders until 1976. I last went to Alexanders Christmas 1985 and shortly after that Nigel went to live in Australia and Brian sold off the venues. I had some fun times.

  5. I used to go and see these guys at All Saints church hall in whetsone ( london) where they played many times and was a member of their fan club – (free autographed photo).
    I did own all of their UK records but unfortunately don’t have them anymore.
    Would love to know if they can be downloaded from anywhere.

  6. Hi I was manager of Alexanders night spot & also worked at Bentleys but had fantastic times at Alexanders, even though i didnt know Brian, Jim, & Nigel were in the Monotones but did know them from Tiffinys at Wimbledon & thats how I met them & eventually got the managers job at Hampton court they were wild times & the band were really good It would be good for a reunion if any are still kicking around, still would like to find out how Nigel got on in Aussie & any of the old staff from there.

  7. I spent many a great evening at Tiffanys dancing to the Treetops.
    In fact I liked them so much I even bought their single ‘California My Way’.
    I think I still have it stashed away somewhere.
    Places like Tiffanys are sadly missed but great memories.

  8. Mark loyd/ nigel basham is still going in ausse. he runs popset party ltd with his wife debbie graham. he manages some of the greatist performers in australia. he has only stopped performing himself in the last 5 years and now just manages. he also has some records floating about called ” mark loyd – licence to thrill” I am nigels/ marks great grandson, so any info wanted just ask.

  9. Hi Jim Eaton

    I wonder if you can help me…

    I’ve been asked to write a book about Southend’s music scene, from year dot to the present. It will include The Monotones, Paramounts, Procol Harum, Mickey Jupp, Dr Feelgood, Kursaals, Eddie and the Hot Rods (who I’ve already written a book on), Alison Moyet and so on, through to present day acts. The stuff on this site is great but I’d really like to talk with you. Would that be possible?

  10. Firstly, its great to see some comments relating to the band. The comment about Seven Up is brilliant and I am going to write to the BBC to try and find a copy, so thank you for posting. I know that Dad on a regular basis trawls the internet finding it hard to believe that kind people still purchase Monotones records from e-bay! Anyone else had some joy? Thought I would let you know that since the hay-days of the 60s, the band continued to meet up after Tiffanys. As a child with my bro and sis, I had great fun watching Dad, Jim and Brian play at Brians party’s, where even the Alexander (3) and Eaton (2) kids used to get on stage and drum/strum/vocalise too. The last re-union saw Dad and Jim “guest” play at my Sister’s wedding in 2007, where they grabbed the live bands instruments and rocked for a couple of songs…you’ve still got it fellas! The only touring Dad does now is baby-sitting the Grand-children in Surrey, West Sussex and Hampshire as a day to day part of retirement. There is still plenty of Monotones and Treetops memories that sit proudly at their home, so if anyone had anything they may be tucked away that I could get for Dad it would be a pleasure to hear from you (Autographs of the band recently went for £5 on e-bay! And I missed out on a Parlophone Promotional Copy of “Is it Right” only last week on e-bay. I have also recently managed to find a couple of their “hits” on a CD; Fab Gear: Beat Beat Beat Vol. 2:, that has Is it Right and What Would I Do on. I believe these can be found on i-tunes too, to download) Dad and Jim still meet up, plus other good friends from Tiffanys including Pam, Pat, Eileen and Danny. For those of you that may be interested and remember her, Christine Wilson who worked at Tiffanys on the door/cloakroom then, and as I now joke was a committed Groupie, I proudly call Mum! So, “What Would I Do” / have done without Tiffanys!

  11. Hi Jamie,
    Sounds like you had a great time with Mark during your recent visit to Sydney. I have spoken to Mark and he told me you made him feel pretty old by calling him your great grandfather when in fact you are his great nephew ie. his sister’s grandson. I have asked him to add any comments to this web page to bring everyone up to date on his life since leaving The Treetops. I am in the process of putting together a history of the Monotones/Treetops to include a few funny things that happened to us all along the way.Don’t hesitate to contact me if you need to know anything about your great uncle. All the best, Jim.

  12. Yes Matt,I’ve got a lot to thank Tiffanys [and The Treetops] for!I wouldn’t have met your Mum and it would have brought reality to our record ‘Without the one you love’.Instead,I could say ‘Life is getting better'[a bit late to be plugging our records!]Going back to the beginning,in 1959,when I asked my Dad for a guitar he replied ‘I’ll make you one’.He was a first class furniture maker and thought he could apply his skills to making a musical instrument.He did just that but although it looked good every time I re-tuned the strings the neck bent and eventually they were half an inch away from the frets.I believe he thought my interest would be short-lived but he went on to make speaker boxes and amplifier cases and the bands first ‘roadie’ was my brother-in-law….it was a family affair!To my Mum and Dads credit they gave their blessing to my quitting a secure job with Barclays Bank to play guitar full-time.I’m sure Dad’s skilled fingers were crossed behind his back!When we speak of school friends I can’t overlook the person who taught me my first chords,namely Dave Munday who sadly died in his teens.The memories start filtering through,despite the effects of ‘alco-ziemer’and I hope to contribute more anecdotes in the future.

  13. Hi Alan, yes I do remember the great times we had at Tiffanys and Alexanders….if you remember it was myself and Nigel who nicknames you Fugley ( because you were too good looking! )
    Nigel went to OZ in 1977 and I still visit him every year, he runs an event management company and still keeps busy although suffering a few health problems at the moment. I stayed on at Alexanders until 1980 and packed it in when I was being asked to sing Bee Gees numbers…..could’nt get tight enough trousers to hit the high notes.
    I still see Brian occasionally, he still owns several businesses and now and again we get together and play some of the oldies. Alexanders was fun and I can’t remember why you left, we had a succession of managers after you, no one quite as much fun.I think Tony was on keyboards when you were there, he formed his own trio and went to Benleys and I got Paddy Kirby on keyboards who was brilliant.
    When I left I went into business and officialy retired in 1999 and moved back to Southend where all the treetops went to school together. If ever your down this way would be great to catch up and exchange a few memries. Jim Eaton.

  14. Hi Colin,I was interested in your submission re the monotones.I still see Nigel each year in Australia and regularly see Brian and Pete.Most of your article was correct with the exception of Gus Chesney. I knew Gus at Westcliff High but he did’nt play bass for us. Our bassist was Pete Stanley who was in Brians class at school.
    We left Southend in 1966 and went to play at Tiffanys night club in Wimbledon.Our name was changed to The Treetops and we released several records under thet name ( these regularly appear for sale on e-bay along with Monotones records ). We stayed with Mecca for eight years adding a female vocalist to our line up and we won several awards as the best Mecca band.
    I retired from the band in 1980 and moved back to Southend in 1999. Glad there are people who remember those great nights at the Elms etc..
    Jim Eaton

  15. Brilliant stuff Chaz! Just discovered your blogsite here and it’s amazing. I had “Something’s Hurting Me” and the US only “When Will I Be Loved” 45 and always wondered who they were! Cheers and keep up the great work!

  16. Hi Bill
    I share your enthusiasm for the blogsite and was delighted to read you had ”Something’s Hurting Me”which we recorded in 1965. My fellow band-mate Jim is at present comprising a brief history of the band and should be posting that soon. It will contain a discography from which you will see that in fact we didn’t release ”When will I be loved ”. Could this have been the U.S Monotones ? Do you still have this disc or any recollection of when and how ? Look forward to your reply.

  17. The Monotones……….some personal memories Submitted by Jim Eaton.

    Hi Pete,
    I was interested in your comments about our supposed recording of “ When will I be Loved “ and as I am pretty much house bound at the moment due to the snow etc. I decided it was time to commit some of my memories of The Monotones to this website…………where to begin?

    Early Years.
    Although we all attended the same school, I first became aware of Brian during a school trip to Germany in 1958. We were travelling in a convoy of three VW mini-vans each carrying about six pupils. Brian had brought a penny whistle with him and was playing “Tom Hark” a popular chart tune by The Ted Heath Orchestra. I recall someone threatening to put that whistle somewhere “ where the sun doesn’t shine “ if they heard the tune one more time! I became friends with Brian and we found we had two common interests……guitars and girls. He said that he had some friends back home who strummed a few tunes together and I was invited to join in.

    Our first “ group “ consisted, it seemed, of anyone who could sing, strum, bang or blow an instrument. We would attempt to play hits of the day and I am sure that some of the sounds coming out of that garage would have been painful for the neighbours. My first vocals included Marty Wilde’s “ Bad Boy “ and a tear jerking performance of “ Ole Shep”
    I got to know Pete Stanley, Ian Middlemiss, Paul Dunning and Dick Vousden, who was only invited to join because he could play a reasonable version of Monty Sunshine’s “Petite Fleure” on a clarinet his mum had bought him.

    I met Nigel Basham (who later changed his name to Mark Lloyd ) during a performance of a school play. We were given the job of scene- shifters, and one of my tasks was to let the back cloths down on cue. These cloths were weighted by a twelve foot length of heavy timber and unfortunately I let a rope slip and the back cloth dropped like a stone. The timber hit someone on the head on the opposite side of the stage rendering him temporarily unconscious…….this was Nigel. During my blabbering apology, I asked him if he could play anything and he mumbled that he had once sung in a choir. We now had a lead singer !!
    Brian became the leader of this assortment of individuals by virtue of the fact it was all his idea to start with. This was to prove important in the future as he was adept at seeking new opportunities and with Pete as lyricist wrote several of our initial recordings.

    Our first gig in front of an audience was in Eastwood Church Hall and is best remembered for the fact that there were more people in the band than in the audience. Nevertheless we continued to mix the learning of new tunes with studying for our imminent O level exams. We did, however, reduce the number of people in the group. The only person not to attend Westcliff High School was Barry Davis our drummer. Barry had a unique drum style but more importantly he owned an old Austin estate wagon, which was perfect for transporting our few bits of equipment to future gigs. Our equipment was very basic, I can remember using RAF throat microphones, which made us sound as though we were attempting to sing underwater. We used to buy speakers etc from an army surplus type shop and Pete’s dad would make the necessary enclosures. Some of our first amps were not even enclosed, just a mass of valves and capacitors etc sitting in an open box. We eventually bought a couple of Selmer Selectortone amps and a Watkins Copycat echo unit….proper gear!
    Around this time we got involved with a guy, who I believe was a friend of Brian’s family, named Nick Kirby. He started to give us advice on how we should present ourselves etc. I think it was at this time that the name Monotones was suggested. I remember thinking that by virtue of it’s meaning it was not a good name, but for the want of a better suggestion it was the one we adopted. What I clearly remember is that it was him that suggested I stop playing the guitar, adopt a stage name along with Nigel and that the two of us should front the group as lead singers. Nigel was renamed as Mark Lloyd and I was given the ridiculous name of Thurston Crane!

    With the reformed group and with Ian Middlemiss taking over rhythm guitar we started to play more gigs in church halls, school dances, garden fetes etc with the occasional “ guest singer” such as Ian Tripcony who sang a couple of Freddy Cannon hits. During this period we built up a small following of fans who started to follow us about. It was time to find another place to rehearse and learn new numbers.

    The Elm Hotel was a popular pub with a dance hall on the side. We used to see various acts appearing there. Monday and Wednesday evenings were trad jazz nights with acts like Chris Barber and Acker Bilk. Fridays and Saturdays featured an assortment of pop acts such as Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders, Screaming Lord Sutch and the Savages etc. We approached the manager of the pub Roy Hughes, who agreed to let us rehearse in the dance hall on a Sunday morning.

    1962 – 1966
    We had made a number of changes in the group by this time. Barry, our drummer had left to pursue his career in the men’s department of a local store. Ian Middlemiss and Paul Dunning had moved on which left us with a line-up that would last for several years. Gary Nicholls was our replacement drummer, Brian on lead guitar and general group management, Pete on bass guitar, Mark as lead vocalist and myself, having dropped the ridiculous name of Thurston Crane, on rhythm guitar and shared lead vocals.

    We were asked if we would play on a Sunday night at The Elms, as guests of the resident jazz trio headed by “ Barry the Bass.” This wasn’t a dance, but more of a cabaret and we had to entertain a seated crowd who seemed more interested in their drinks than anybody on stage.We decided we needed “ an act” rather than just churn out pop songs. Mark sang his songs with huge epic endings such as I’m Gonna be Strong by Gene Pitney and Jezebel by Marty Wilde and Frankie Laine. Brian was great at playing like Hank Marvin whilst doing The Shadows steps with myself and Pete. Gary played a brilliant drum solo during The Shads number “ Little Bee “ which gave the rest of us a chance to get to the bar. I performed a number of songs by The Coasters such as “ Charlie Brown “ and “ Girls, Girls, Girls “ during which I remember clucking like a chicken as a solo! We would usually finish with our version of “ Who Wears Short Shorts “ by Freddie and the Dreamers, at the end of which we all dropped our trousers. I was working in an estate agency at the time and I will always remember the look of horror on the face of my boss, who turned up one evening and had no idea I was in a group!!

    I believe our first attempt at recording in a professional studio was around 1963 at The Regent Sound studio in Denmark Street. Brian had written a song called “ Another World” and I also vaguely remember recording our version of the Everley Bros “ When Will I Be Loved”

    By this time in 1963 we had attracted a huge following in Southend and were considered one of the town’s most popular groups. We were working four and sometimes five or six nights a week and still all had “day jobs”. The two other most popular groups were The Whirlwinds and The Paramounts ( later to gain fame as Procul Harem ). We each had a large and loyal following, and basically shared venues like The Elms, The Halfway House, The London Hotel and The Cricketers. I used to enjoy seeing the “ opposition “ which I did whenever possible. The Whirlwinds guitarist Bert Pullen achieved great sounds from his Fender Jazzmaster and their singer Ron Gent did a mean impression of James Brown. They were certainly more rhythm and blues orientated than ourselves.

    I was a good friend of Gary Brooker at Westcliff High School and remember sitting in on a couple of The Paramount’s rehearsals. Gary was an excellent pianist and vocalist and I particularly remember them rehearsing a couple of Ray Charles classics, “ What’d I Say” and “ Georgia On My Mind”.
    There were of course many other groups around the town, including Sounds Around, The Avengers, The Mustangs, Dave and The Classics, Micky Law and The Statesmen,
    Tim Gentle and The Gentlemen, and many others.

    In February 1964 we decided it was time to release a record. Brian arranged for us to record “What Would I Do” which he had co-written with Pete at Pye’s Marble Arch studios. This was the first of four releases on the Pye label. This record enjoyed limited air play as Radio One didn’t start until 1967. Nevertheless we had some air time on Radio Luxembourg and the pirate stations Radio Caroline and Radio London. We did several local promotional appearances and a number of photo shoots in London. The pop bible of the day, The New Musical Express, described the release as “promising”. Nevertheless we sold a good quantity locally and were reasonably happy with our first attempt.

    In May 1964, Brian, Pete and myself took a short holiday in Amsterdam. We booked in to some budget accommodation and went out to check out the famous red light district and clubs. In one of these clubs was a group playing the latest Beatles hits…..very badly! We asked if we could borrow their instruments, which to our surprise they agreed to do. What followed was interesting, as when we had exhausted our repertoire of Beatles and Searchers songs, we were asked by the club manager to play them again. Meanwhile he was phoning around and the club began to fill up. We were approached to return to Holland and play a four night gig at a club in The Hague which we eagerly accepted. We were on a high after this successful night and returned to our accommodation, in which we were sharing one room. It was a surprise when at around three in the morning, we were awoken by heavy banging on the door. The “manageress” told us that the room was needed “for business” and told us to wait in the hall, it was only then we realised we had booked into a brothel!

    When we came home the local paper ran articles about The Monotones successful tour of Europe together with several photographs of us. At this stage I was teaching in a secondary modern school with some very difficult pupils, it really was a tough job. However, following the article graffiti started to appear around the school such as “Jim for headmaster” and “What Would I Do without Jim”. This caught the attention of the headmaster who informed me that I was probably in the wrong job, he was right and I left.

    1964 saw the release of our second record “It’s Great” which once again took us back to Regent Sound studio for the recording session. During our final studio rehearsal prior to “the take” Gene Pitney dropped in to speak to Bill Farley, the resident studio engineer. He heard our run through and suggested that perhaps he could play the piano on the recording, which he did.
    This second recording, again released on Pye, was more successful in terms of airplay and TV. We appeared on a number of TV pop shows including Ready Steady Go, Thank Your Lucky Stars, Juke Box Jury and a number of others. One I particularly remember was recorded in Birmingham and hosted by Murial Young. In 1964 this type of show was not recorded but went out live. After rehearsing for sound and camera angles with many other artists during the day the programme went live on air. Having taken our marked positions we had less than thirty seconds before our cue to start. During this time Brian snapped a string while fine tuning his guitar. This immediately put the rest of the strings out of tune and
    likewise his guitar solo. After the show, in the dressing room, the lead guitarist of The Yardbirds congratulated Brian on his “progressive solo”, this was a compliment indeed from young Eric Clapton!

    Mark left the group in 1964 in order to pursue a solo career with Brian as his manager. He did however guest back with us whenever possible and we would be billed as Mark Lloyd and The Monotones. So, it was Brian, Pete, Gary and myself who did the TV work during that year.
    Sometime prior to the release of “It’s Great” our record company Pye arranged for us to meet with a young man who was promoting their artists. This was our first meeting at the Ilford Palais with Andrew Loog Oldham, later to become the Rolling Stones Manager. He decided we needed to change our image and accordingly we all went to Carnaby Street to be fitted with our new “ Beatle suits”. Our high heeled Baa Baa boots were bought from the famous Bond Street boot maker Anello and Davide. Our relationship with Andrew Loog Oldham seemed to fade after a while, but at least we had suits.

    In 1965 we became busier than ever and played several gigs at The Basildon Locarno as the support band to many chart bands. I recall we rigged up some fake gear to smash up at the end of our set when supporting The Who. They of course smashed the real thing, something we couldn’t afford to do.

    Brian organised a regular Monday night gig in north London at a pub called The Sparrowhawk. It was on our way home from one of these gigs that we stopped for a burger in The Mile End road, came back to the van to discover that most of our equipment had been stolen. The most valuable guitar was Brian’s gold plated Gretch which the police located some five years later. Sadly, it was kept by the insurance company.

    We also ran dances at the Southend Cliffs Pavilion and would support invited hit parade bands and solo artists who did guest appearances. The Ivy League who were enjoying chart success with “ Tossing and Turning” refused to go on stage if we sang any of their numbers which they had heard us rehearse. Tony Blackburn, a popular DJ on the pirate Radio Caroline sang several songs with us. During his last song, a number with an epic ending, he was mortified when we covered him with crazy foam. Little did we know that some years later we would apply to go on his Radio One show!
    It was in 1965 that we released our final two records as The Monotones, “No Waiting” and “Something’s Hurting Me”.
    Mark also released two records as a solo artist on which we provided the backing tracks and backing vocals.” I Keep Thinking About You” and “Everybody Tries” were produced by Brian and released on the Parlaphone label. His third single “When I’m Gonna Find Her” was released in 1966 and has since become a collectors item.

    1966 saw more changes in the band. Gary, our drummer, was replaced as he wished to concentrate on his printing apprenticeship. The first replacement was Brian Edgings, who had been drumming with The Barracudas and later joined The Continentals. He only stayed a short while due to marital difficulties, and our next drummer Pete Trout, was to be with us for a further five years. Although younger than the rest of us, Pete had gained experience with Denny Laine, and proved to be a superb drummer and an important member of the group.
    Pete Stanley also decided to leave and concentrate on the business he had started with his brother-in-law. We now needed a new bass player who we found in Rod Clarke who had been gigging with The Moody Blues.

    By this time Mark had returned as lead singer and with Rod Clarke now joining our vocals we became more of a harmony group, concentrating on numbers by The Four Seasons, The Beach Boys, The Ivy League etc. We then decided it was time to move on.

    In early 1966 we auditioned for a residency at the new Mecca Tiffanys which was due to open in April of that year. The audition took place at The Lyceum in The Strand in front of a couple of attractive young women sent by Mecca head office. Irene Donovan and her colleague Josie watched us nervously perform a cross section of our repertoire, which included ballads, four part harmonies and rock. We were under the impression that we may have to attend another audition, as the candidates for the job were whittled down. Brian said he would check this point and took the girls for a drink at the end of the day. He was obviously successful, as we not only got the job, but two years later he married Irene Donovan!

    In April 1966 we opened the new Tiffanys club and started a new phase in our career with a new name, “The Treetops”………but that’s another story to follow.

    Jim Eaton. January 2010.

  18. Hi De Hi Jim
    Well I think we’ve gone full circle.We started the band by rehearsing in Brian’s garage [his parents and gran must have been glad it was at the bottom of the garden!] and The Elms was responsible for many a hangover!!
    I havn’t got your ‘Instamatic’ memory but you certainly rattled my recollection-box. It’s surprising what you suddenly remember at 3 in the morning whilst spending a penny…and not always the good things….in fact a bit of a nightmare from a performance at The Elms!! Somehow,I was given the dubious honour of singing the falsetto in Rag Doll.It was OK at rehearsal but on the Sunday ‘cabaret’ night,in front of an unusually attentive audience,I dried up….the mouth opened but nothing came out!I must have been wearing the wrong trousers..not tight enough.I think it was Nigel that came to the rescue or did Brian take a solo and turn it into the only instrumental version of that song? Obviously so traumatic my mind switched off at that point but I do know that from that performance on I was relagated to singing background ‘oohs and aahs’and I imagine Brian’s infamous ‘twiddling with knobs’ was him turning down my microphone!
    Yes,I remember those ‘steam-driven’ amplifiers….we probably diced with death every tme we plugged in but somehow we even survived the wet field events…those bands at Glastonbury have it easy! And that does remind me.You left out one of our major appearences..namely the Darby and Joan Fete at Chalkwell Park where we represented the local ‘beat-combo’playing second billing to the Billy Cotton Band [ Wakey Wakey!] and alongside the country dancing and dog training display!
    Reference to the Seven Up TV series stirred some memories of a BBC film about youth of the day which featured us playing at The Elms but I don’t recall it being broadcast,do you? But I do know we each received a handsome reward of 25 guineas [for young viewers a guinea was £1 and 1 shilling…for younger viewers that’s £1 and 5 pence!]However they did broadcast a pretend band playing ‘It’s Great’ and ‘Anymore’ on No Hiding Place which was a very tame 60’s version of The Bill.And how can we forget the Juke Box Jury when the panel reviewed ‘It’s Great’ and Tommy Trinder,an octogenarian music hall entertainer quipped ”they may think it’s great but I don’t”,and voted it a Miss.Well I would like to point out that his version of Champagne Charlie is for sale on ebay for £4.99.A copy of It’s Great is on Musicstack for £26 not to mention a copy of What Would I do for £228!!!! So Rock On Tommy!!!
    Forgive me for recounting some negatives and lets remember the good things and all the nice people we had the pleasure of sharing a stage or sudio with…..Lulu,The Hollies, Hermans Hermits, The Dave Clarke Five,The Zombies and even The Pretty Things!We rubbed shoulders with many successful artists but although it didn’t rub off onto us,ok we didn’t make it big-time but we had a great time.
    Going back to my ‘nightmare’….I have to confess that having written the words ‘Somethings Hurting Me’,I decided to leave the band in 1966 so that Rod could sing Rag Doll with you for the Tiffanys audition and I knew he wouldn’t survive being called ‘Un Garcon’and it would only be a matter of time.Well,in fact there was ‘No Waiting’and Brian came knocking on my door…… be continued !!!

  19. THE TREETOPS….More personal memories by Jim Eaton. Jan. 2010

    Following our successful audition as The Monotones for the residency at the new Tiffanys in Wimbledon, the grand opening night was set for mid April 1966. We knew this was going to be an important night for us, as several Mecca directors would be there. These included Eric Morley and his wife Julia who also organised and ran the Miss World Beauty Pageant.

    We had a number of weeks to rehearse for that special night, knowing that if we didn’t get it right, it could be a very short residency. We introduced a set of vibes to our three guitars and drums line-up. Mark, who had for many years been a good drummer, was a natural on this new instrument. We rehearsed a lot of easy listening music to impress the Mecca directors, who would not have appreciated too much heavy material. With a line-up of Brian Alexander on lead guitar and backing vocals, myself on rhythm guitar and lead vocals, Rod Clarke on bass guitar and lead vocals, Mark Lloyd on lead vocals and vibes and Pete Trout on drums we felt ready for the night. I recall our first three opening numbers as “ Lullaby of Birdland”, the theme from “ A Man And A Woman” and “Let There Be Love”. As we got further into the evening we were able to perform songs we were more used to including material by The Mamas and Papas, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, The Byrds and The Beach Boys.

    Mecca had already indicated that they didn’t like The Monotones name ( I don’t blame them ) and as we were an all male group, some managerial genius decided we were to be called “Les Garcons”, the French for “The Boys”. This was even more horrendous than our last name and thankfully it didn’t last too long. 1966 was the year that the England football team won the world cup and Virginia Wade was the first English woman to win the Wimbledon Ladies Singles tennis championship. Mecca saw these wins as a cause for celebration at the club and were told to play one special night dressed in tennis gear. During Brian’s frantic guitar solo in “Route 66”, he kicked a leg up and unfortunately revealed a part of his “ lower region” down the side of his shorts. To most of the audience this was hilarious, but we were told that head office did receive one complaint! ( probably because it happened too quickly! )

    Tiffanys was designed in a Polynesian style with fake palm trees, lots of foliage and twinkling stars covering the ceilings. Our stage was set into a cave with a door at the back leading to the dressing room. I decided to buy a Hawaiin guitar, which would suit the setting. I was lucky enough to find one in a junk shop and learned to play “Moonlight Bay”, “Yellow Bird” and “ Aloha Hawaii”and a few more. Unfortunately I didn’t realise that the guitar had woodworm. After a few months I noticed all the dust on my band trousers, it was gradually falling apart and that was the end of our Hawaiin session.

    Around September 1966 Rod Clarke decided to move on, as he wanted to get back “on the road”. We approached Pete, our original bass player, and were delighted when he agreed to come back with us. About the same time it was suggested that we should add a female vocalist to our line-up and we started a series of auditions to find one. After listening to various girls screeching, singing out of tune and behaving like Prima Donnas, we were lucky to find Martha Smith. Martha had a great voice and could sing anything from Ella Fitzgerald to Tina Turner. As an extra bonus, she could play the piano!
    Thankfully, we could no longer be called “Les Garcons” and as there was an upstairs bar in the club called the treetop bar, we decided that The Treetops was an appropriate name.

    With the addition of Martha we could now tackle new material, which now included five part harmonies. In October 1966 The Beach Boys released the iconic “Good Vibrations” and I recall we rehearsed this number for hours and hours. The end result was a remarkable live cover of that difficult song, and we soon realised that other Mecca bands were coming to the club to hear us perform it.

    It is possible that our ability to emulate The Beach Boys harmonies prompted us to record a cover of another of their songs, which we featured in our live act titled “Don’t Worry Baby”. We recorded this at Abbey Road Studios with “I Remember”, a song written by Brian, on the B side. This was the first of many recording sessions at the studio made famous by The Beatles. The only Treetops record to be recorded in another studio, was “California My Way” which we did at the De Lane Lea Studios in 1968. In those days these studios, which were situated at The Holborn, were popular with many chart artists including The Stones and Jimi Hendrix who recorded his massive hit “Hey Joe”there.

    September 1967 saw the birth of Radio One and Radio Two. These came about following a request from the government to the BBC to broadcast popular music, following the ban and shutdown of the pirate radio stations. This was great opportunity for us and many other artists to be heard on national radio. Radio one, was launched by Tony Blackburn, playing “Flowers in The Rain” by The Move
    Following a successful BBC audition we began recording shows presented by the following DJs. Tony Blackburn, Pete Brady, Dave Cash, Pete Murray, Dave Symonds , Jimmy Young and a few others. There were a number of BBC studios we used including The Paris Theatre in Regent Street, The Aeolian Hall in Bond Street and the huge Maida Vale Studio.
    Typically, we were required to record five numbers in a three- hour session. These were the broadcast one a day on one of the presenters shows. Normally these sessions took place in the mornings, and after a late previous night at the club some of the higher notes were a little difficult. This obviously did not deter the BBC, as during 1968 we could be heard every weekday throughout the whole year!

    Following the release of “California My Way” in 1968 we did not release another record until “Mississippi Valley” in 1970. We were however, building on our success with Mecca, which resulted in the award of a number gold cups for “best band on the circuit”. It also meant we were chosen to play at many prestigious gigs. We played “The Great Room” at the Grosvenor Hotel in Park Lane. This was for “The Grand Order Of Water Rats” and was attended by a couple of hundred celebrities including pop stars and film and TV actors. I recall being on a circular stage with The Joe Loss Orchestra and as they disappeared, around we came singing our first number. This meant there was no break in the entertainment.
    Our favourite gigs were those we did for The Miss World Ball at The Lyceum. Never before, or since, have I been surrounded by so many beautiful women.

    There were problems at Tiffanys during the first couple of years. London had a great many criminal gangs including The Krays and The Richardsons. Protection of businesses such as night clubs was rife and it wasn’t long before they moved on Tiffanys. We had a guy named Joey Pyle, who was a professional criminal and associate of both The Krays and The Richardsons. He used to come in the club most Friday evenings and was possibly the cause of a number of problems we suffered.
    As part of our contract we were required to play the tune “There’s No Business Like Show Business” if a fight or a fire was to break out. Then would then alert the rest of the club’s staff to man their pre-appointed stations. The first time a really serious fight started we realised we hadn’t rehearsed this tune and I can remember frantically trying to whistle and sing this into the microphone while trying to dodge flying glass etc.

    1971 saw the release of our next record, ”Without The One You Love” backed by “So Here I Go Again”. It was during this year that Mark and myself did a number of sessions singing radio and TV adverts. Mark had also sang a number of cover versions of hit songs for the “Music For Pleasure” label. I particularly remember his versions of Judy In Disguise ( a number by John Fred and His Playboy Band ) and “Something’s Got a Hold of My Heart” by Gene Pitney.

    1972 saw a number of changes in the group. Pete Trout left and emigrated to Australia in search of new horizons. Mark took over as drummer and continued his role as lead vocalist. Following the recording of our next record “Why Not Tonite”/ “Funky Flopout” Martha also decided to move on. This meant more auditions for a replacement female vocalist. We took on Kit Rolphe, who was later to represent Great Britain in The Eurovision Song Contest in 1984 singing with Belle and the Devotions. Finally during the year Pete Stanley also decided to leave to concentrate on his business. This was a radical change, as we decided to replace Pete with a Hammond organist who played pedal bass….welcome to Tony Edwards.
    During the year Mark, Tony and myself were asked to appear as a holiday camp trio in a film being made at Elstree Studios. The lead roll in the film, titled “The Best Legs in the Business” was played by Reg Varney. This proved to be very tiring for us, as we had to be on set at Boreham Wood before 8am every weekday for two weeks. We didn’t get away from the club until after 1am and had to leave for the studios by 5.30am.
    When we arrived on the first day, a very officious commissionaire at the studio gates, checked his artistes list and told us that we were “male small parts”…certainly no good for our street credibility !!

    In 1973 we cut our last disc as The Treetops, a song arranged by Harry Robinson and produced by Bob Barrett, “Life is getting Better”. Mark and Kit sang lead on this and I sang lead on the flipside, a cover of The Moody Blues “Gypsy”

    Towards the end of 1973 Mecca were releasing more and more live bands in favour of DJs. as disco music was becoming increasingly popular. Brian informed us that our days as resident band at Tiffanys were probably numbered. As a result of this he decided to create a club of his own, took over a large Chinese restaurant in Hampton Court and re-created a mini Tiffanys called Alexanders. Around mid 1974 I left Tiffanys and with Mark and Tony we opened at the new club as a trio. Little did I realise that I would be working there for another six years…but that’s another story.

    During my stay at Alexanders, Mark left for Australia where he met up with Pete Trout again. Mark went on to create a successful event management company with the help of his wife Debbie, called Popset. It’s worth checking out his website on

    Treetops Discography.

    Don’t Worry Baby/ I Remember. Parlophone R5628 1967
    California My Way/Carry On Living. Parlophone R5669 1968
    Mississippi Valley/A Man is a Man. Colombia DB8727 1970
    Without The One You Love/So Here I Go Again Colombia DB8799 1971
    Why Not Tonite/Funky Flopout. Colombia DB8934 1972
    Gypsy/Life Is Getting Better. Colombia DB9013

    Just a final few memories to add of my time at Alexanders before I got “a proper job”. These are for another time.

    Once again, sincere thanks to Chris Bishop for his website which allows us all a wander down memory lane.

    Jim Eaton.
    January 2010.

  20. Hi De Hi Jim
    Thanks for more anecdotes.You’ve blown away some more of the cobwebs clouding my memory.For most Brits 1966 remains special because we won the World Cup but for me it was the year I was lucky enough to return to the band at Wimbledon and at Tiffanys to meet the future Mrs Stanley.It seems that every other photo I have of the Treetops captures us in fancy dress. I’m either a blood-stained ghoul on Halloween Night or a schoolboy in short trousers [a la AC/DC]!And the ‘revealing’ story of Brian in tennis shorts will haunt me every time the umpire calls for new balls!!
    1967 brought the release of “Don’t Worry Baby” and although nothing compares with the excitement of our first release,for me it represents our best recording.I’m a big Brian Wilson fan and I like to think we did a worthy cover version although it’s intriguing to re-read an old review of our record,including the B side “I Remember”,being described as “a pair of passionate RUMBAS with glorious vocals”. I look forward to hearing them on Strictly Come Dancing! Incidentally,I remember “I Remember” [apologies] was chosen as an A side by The Three Bells,a UK soul girl trio but have had no luck in tracing it. The other big event of 1967 was the formation of The Treetops Appreciation Society where the membership fee of 5 shillings would provide you with information about the band for a period of 6 months… it would appear the secretary,Joyce Bell,was not anticipating a long and successful career for the band! Are you out there Joyce? Did you make a fortune out of us?
    The next release,in 1968,”California My Way” brought the following review from a music critic…..”I’ve heard more than enough about California..especially with my chances of ever getting there” I wonder what he thought of the B side “Carry On Living” which was an homage to Whiter Shade Of Pale, with organ intro and the opening line “Let the moon turn to cheese and the stars garden peas”!I suppose he would have said our follow-up “Mississippi Valley” goes to prove the influence,on us,of America and it’s music.Which brings me full circle again as I also take the opportunity of congratulating Chris Bishop on his excellent website without which we wouldn’t have discovered the release of “When Will I Be Loved”. I have ordered a copy from Musicstack and look forward to playing it and hope it will rekindle more “blasts from the past” as DJ Tony Blackburn would have said!!
    Hi De Ho…..Pete

  21. Hi Pete,
    I recently sent a copy of “When Will I Be Loved” and “If You Cant Give Me All” along with several Treetops recordings to Chris. He said that when he finds time he will upload a selection onto this website, I look forward to that.
    I suppose the only remaining members of “The Treetops Appreciation Society” are ourselves and families! Good memories.

  22. Hi Jim
    I doubt you remember me – howeveer in the early -mid sixties, I was one of the crowd who frequented the Elms and the Halfway House to see you guys. I actually went to school with Gary Nichols, now sadly no longer with us, and also with Robin Trower. I remember Gary always getting out his drum sticks betwen classes and giving a drum solo on his desk.
    Anyway I happened to find this site and could not beleive all the information etc which takes me back to that era.
    I remember Brian Clarke who used to transport your gear around and I used to help him on many occasions – in fact I went with him to Brian’s 21st birthday party in Mill Hill if recall correctly. It’s amazing that you still keep in touch with him and Pete. As regards Nigel/Mark – I used to work at an air cargo company at Southend Airport – in fact I am still in the air cargo business even at 65 – but Nigel was always looking for a bit of extra cash and he used to drive our van to collect cargo from all over Essex on various occasions. I occasionally bump into the sister of Nigel’s girlfriend at the time, Sandra – and she had a video of Nigel singing on Oz TV – still signing Jezebel would you beleive.
    The Elms was our local haunt – Tuesdays and Thursdays and every other Saturday as I recall – 1 shilling and sixpence om Tuesdays and two bob on Thursdays.
    I read your information above – What about your final rendition every evening –
    MONEY !! i also went on several occasions to Treetops at Wimbledon –
    I see you h ave come back to the Southend area – I remember you working in an Estate agent in Rochford ? Model Homes??
    I still live in Rayleigh and go past the Elms on many occasions and never fail to remember those days – and nights.
    Thanks for the memories.
    Chris Green
    PS I still have the 45s of What would I do and Its Great.

  23. Hi Chris,
    So good to hear that someone remembers us!! It was so sad to lose Gary, I had only been back in Southend a few months before he died. We had just began to get together, as he lived just around the corner from me. What a shock when he went.
    You mention Nigel’s girlfriend Sandra, myself and Pam were with her yesterday. You could get my telephone number from her via her sister and give me a call. Might be good to meet for a pint at The Elms.
    I do have a very vague recollection of you, did you ever join the police force?
    My days as an estate agent came to an end when we went to Tiffanys.
    Thanks for your memories, hope we can meet sometime.

  24. Hi Jim,
    I doubt you will remember me but I used to come to your gigs. I was a ballet dancer engaged to Brian at one time and remember sitting with Sandra and the other girlfriends at a table in front of the stage! Such fantastic memories… will probably remember my brother Tim Gentle of Tim Gentle and his Gentlemen. He played at the Elms and The Halfway House and also with Jo Loss and his Ambassador Band. Tim still plays in a duo and a group in the north of England…..he also has played with the Commitments and the Hit men / Class of 64.I went on to become a founder member of the Scottish Ballet Company and toured the world dancing with Rudolph Nureyev and sharing roles with Margot Fonteyn! I now live in the beautiful Adelaide Hills and go back to Essex every Christmas to see Mum. Every time I drive past the Elms I remember you all and the wonderful times we had.
    I am sorry to hear of Gary’s death and I hope Nigel is well now……how amazing he lives in Sydney….small world.Please say Hi to the “boys” when you see them….and if there is ever a reunion I would love to be there!( even if it’s on a zimmer frame!)
    Thanks again for the memories,

  25. Hi Jim
    I will try to speak with Sandra’s sister Carol – would be good to have a pint – and the Elms must be the place to go !
    Hopefully will be in touch.
    Regards Chris

  26. Hi Sally,
    It was so good to hear from you, Pam and I were so pleased at your obvious success and of course Tim’s also.
    You will remember that Pam ( Sandy’s best friend ) was my long time on/off girlfriend who used to help with carrying amps etc! She was too good to miss and we married in 1967 and are still so happy together, although I have finally stopped her carrying equipment about!
    I see Pete regularly and Brian on rare occasions. We all played together at Brian’s 40th anniversary bash and Pete and I did our thing at his daughter’s wedding. Seems like riding a bike, you never forget.Believe it or not, I have only just sold a load of my gear that I used use at the Elms.
    We try to get to see our daughter every year in Sydney where she is happily married to a great Aussie. We passed through Adelaide a few years ago on a journey from Perth to Sydney.
    Glad to hear that your Mum is still around, perhaps next time you visit you could look us up. I have found where Tim’s business is and will try to make contact. I still have his recording of ” Someone’s In The Kitchen With Dinah”
    Keep well,

  27. Hi Chris,
    Sounds good,which one of us is going to wear a rose in the hair to assist recognition after forty odd years?

  28. Hi Jim
    Still trying to contact carol – hopefully will be successful and be in touch.

    I’ll let you wear the rose !

  29. Thanks for all the memories…that was great! Wonderfull to have found this site. I was at WHSB with Pete Stanley, Brian Alexander, Ian Middlemiss, Richard Vousden, Paul Dunning, Jim Eaton, Nigel Basham and many others. I remember being part of the crew that practised in Brian’s garage…mainly Everly Brothers numbers at the time. Brian was so accommodating and encouraged anyone and everyone who played anything to be involved. I think I had a uke-banjo at the time, but due to Brian’s enthusiasm graduated to acoustic guitar and then my first semi-solid Selmer. We also had a Vernon J. Smith who played the G-banjo in those days. This would have been late 50’s. At that time, a group that included Paul Dunning, Ian Middlemiss, Adrian Phillpot and myself formed a group called “The Counts”. On one of the few occasions we actually played a “gig”, it was at Victor Sylvestor’s Dance Studio in Southend and after the first number (Willie and Hand Jive, I think), we fused all the lights and had to cut short the set. Adrian went on to play with the Mustangs (which included Phil Thomas, Mike Reed, Roger Dupuy, Keith Chesher). There have been several reunion gigs of the mustangs in the last few years, which I attended, and one coming up this August, 2010. I moved to Canada in 1967. It would be great if there were to be a “Monotones” reunion at the Elms…..I would be there!!!!

  30. Hi Jim hope this finds you well, sorry for the delay in replying but lost the site never mind, computors arent my best media tool, have problems with remote controls to the video, you can contact me on, hope to hear from you soon.


  31. I was invited to join The Treetops in the late-seventies as keyboard player. This was the first ‘group’ I played regularly with and it was great fun.

    Having recently left Selmers music store in Charing Cross Road, I was doing daytime recording sessions, and evening gigs with an organ and drums duo called The Organisation.

    The drummer and vocalist (also from Selmers) was John Bell. John married my sister and soon after moved to Southampton. Dino Coccia, a session drummer and occasional dep, took over. We got our gigs through agencies, doing eight or more sessions a week in pubs and clubs around London.

    Most venues only had a licence for two musicians, and playing chart covers wasn’t easy with only two band members. So I built ‘a wall of sound’, combining a Lowrey organ with a Hammond organ, a string synth, Roland synth and Hohner Clavinet, pumped through 2 massive JBL studio monitors and a Leslie rotary cabinet in the middle. I must admit, the result was pretty awesome!

    Jim Eaton and Tony Edwards turned up at one of our gigs, and after auditioning the ‘wall of sound’, offered me a residency at Alexanders Club, playing four nights a week, sometimes five.
    This was an offer I couldn’t refuse, being worn out from travelling to different venues each night for some six years. The small matter of transporting the heavy organ each night definitely had a big bearing on my decision!

    Jim Eaton, Ron Brown and I rehearsed our main set – a mix of chart covers, evergreens, Ron’s jazz spot, and of course Jim’s wunderbar ‘Ol Shep’ rendition. Nigel, the club Manager, guested most nights with a big ballad or two, and we each took turns to play records in the break.

    Through Selmers, I had got ‘dep’ jobs with bands such as Joe Loss, Dizzy Gillespie, and the infamous Geraldo cruise ship bands. Since I play by ear, these gigs could be tricky, remembering each set! So joining The Treetops was a breath of fresh air, with freedom to cover a wide variety of styles – even new songs I had penned for the band.

    As Jim mentioned, whilst working at Alexanders, we built a recording studio together from scratch, which had a solid sound and a good reputation with south London bands. Incredibly, we would often record, mix and master a complete album for clients in a day! Personally I put this down to Pam’s amazing tea, pork pies and pickle!

    It’s good to read all the happy recollections you all have of the early years, and I would definitely be up for a ‘jam’ session with the lads sometime, especially if Fugley brings his spoons!

    I have a few demo tracks of Jim, Ron and I, and a few special photos of Alexanders beautiful waitresses! Jim has my number.
    Best regards to all.

    Pat Kirby

  32. After years of living abroad I was so glad to be home and find this webpage about the Monotones as I often did a little spot with them at ‘The Elms’ in 1964 under the name of Jimmy Dingo and later worked with Jim Eaton’s brother Freddie doing security work at venues.It has been a nice walk down memory lane for me and glad to know that some of us are still going.

  33. Hi Jim I stumbled on this webpage by accident! I dont suppose in a million years you will remember me, but I remember the Treetops and knew your wife, Pam. My name is Judi and I was a waitress at Tiffanys. The manager was Gordon Hall (I was his girlfriend, and I smashed up his E-type jag!) When I left Tiffanys I went to New York and ended up working for United Nations – joined UNICEF which spawned a fantastic career as an aid worker working all over the world culminating in 10 years in China in the 80’s. Quite a world away from a waitress in Tiffanys! I didnt get to Alexanders as by that time I was in the states. I am writing a book about my travels and adventures and was sorting through some papers and found photos of you guys! I also worked at the Lyceum on the Miss World gigs, by that time I had formed a dance group with two other girls, we were called “The Revolution”. We werent good but we had a lot of fun! Great to find your site, which I stumbled on accidently. I dont suppose you know what happened to Gordon? We were engaged at one point, but I got fed up and went off to the States, lost touch.
    Regards Judi

  34. Hi Judy,
    Good to hear from you. I haven’t visited the web site for some time so apologies for the delay in my reply.
    Yes, Pam and I do remember you and of course Gordon. Can’t tell you too much about him except that I was told he became a car dealer in South London.
    I don’t remember your dance group but have fond memories of the Miss World gigs ( probably something to do with the contestants ! ) .
    After Gordon left Tiffanys we had a selection of managers until we left in 1974. You probably remember Mark’s wife Bobby who emigrated to Australia and we have seen once when we visited oud daughter. We catch up with Mark in Sydney every couple of years.
    Congratulations on your worthwhile and fulfilling career and we would like to read your book when you publish.
    Take care,
    Best regards,
    Jim and Pam.

  35. Hi Jim,
    Good to hear from you after all these years. I do remember you joining us for a few numbers and also working the door with my brother. They certainly were fun times and I know sometimes you and my brother had your work cut out keeping out the ” un-desirables “.
    Glad to hear you are well,
    Jim Eaton.

  36. Hello Steve,
    I would be pleased to talk with you. Can you reply to this with an e-mail address and I will contact you.Hope to hear from you,
    Jim Eaton.

  37. Hi Jim,
    My memories go back to when I was a teenager at school, and going home, having to pass The Elms, I could hear a group practicing, and having just taken up the drums at that point, stopped and tried to look under the rotating front door of the dance hall at The Elms. As I was listening, a great big guy with a beard, apparently the manager of the pub, with an Alsatian dog came out and asked what I was doing? I said I was trying to listen to the group, he said “Its no good trying to listen out here, you had better come inside” and took me in the hall to meet you all. I was in heaven seeing all the gear you had, Selmer Amps Linear Concord Bass Amp massive 2×18 bass cabinet, which my band subsequently bought from you, and a Ludwig Super Classic Drum kit of Gary’s. Gary asked me have a go on the drums, and then started to show me better ways to play the drums and teach me new techniques, and I had only been in there a few minutes, I was amazed you lot even spoke to me! I went on to play guitar and form a band called Tim Gentle & His Gentlemen, and under the guidance of Brian, and only 14 years old, released a single called “Someone’s In The Kitchen With Dinah” in 1964. At that time my sister Sally was going out with Brian as well.

    Both bands used to play regularly at St. Clements Church Hall and other places but St. Clements brings back fond memories of the Mums and Dads dropping their kids of at St. Clements to see what was usually 4 or 5 bands on in one night, only coke and crisps were served and the place was always packed. I still have some flyers for the St. Clements gigs, very sad but I seem to keep everything.

    I remember having an important gig to do but our equipment was very sad, and when I mentioned this to Brian, he said “That’s OK you can borrow our equipment” I was yet again over the moon. When I collected it from the Elms to take on the gig, it was all covered in beer stains and quite battered, so I spent the next day cleaning it all up and gluing back the bits of covering that had come off the amps, an when I returned it you all thought I had brought back someone else’s gear. That was a good move for me as Brian had bought a Gibson 175 semi acoustic guitar and he loaned that to me as well, I could not put it down it was fantastic to play, you must have been very trusting, but I can’t tell you how chuffed to bits I was to get to use some great gear at the time.

    Jim, I also have what seems to be the 12inch 15ips NAB copy master tape of Tim Gentle & His Gentlemen and The Monotones recordings at Regent Sound Studios in Denmark Street in 1964, the songs on the tape are, Someone’s in the Kitchen With Dinah, Something’s Hurting Me, So Sad, When Will I be Loved, The Fix, 1st take, The Fix 2nd Take, Heaven Fell Last Night, Let Him Go, Little Roses, Words of Love, I’ve Been Thinking About You, and That’s My Song. This has never been played since it came out of Regent Sound, probably no good now, but should play it to find out?

    I am sorry to hear Gary died, the last time I saw him, his Son came into my shop to buy some drums, I think in the 80’s, saying his Dad would come in and sign the HP forms to buy them, and later that day in walks Gary, apparently his office was one block up from my shop, it was great to see him.

    I still play in a 70’s Rock band and a duo in the North East of England I am the one with the long hair playing guitar and keyboards, I am still running Tim Gentle Music, but now mainly as an online store. I also manage a band called The Hitmen with Mick Avory drummer from the Kinks and Eric Haydock original bass player with The Hollies. And my eight year old son Theo, has started playing guitar and already has done a few small gigs with another eight year old drummer Sam, and is very proud of being thrown out of a pub we were playing in, because he was still there after 9 o’clock, he feels very Rock & Roll, such fun.

    The Monotones and The Whirlwinds later to become Force 5, were the two bands everyone looked up to. It goes without saying that it seems like only yesterday, and I could go on and on but will stop now, we must try and get together sometime.
    It’s only Rock & Roll, but I love it!

    Regards to ALL,
    Tim Gentle.

  38. Hi Tim,
    Good to hear some of your recollections , glad we treated you kindly! With regard to the Regent Sound tape. Would it be possible to have that transferred to a CD, as I know we would love to add it to our collection. Hopefully the contents of the tape have survived the years.
    Does your group ever play down this neck of the woods, would be great to meet and hear you.
    Take care,

  39. My wife spotted the letter from Jim Eaton in the Southend recorder, November 19th, 2010.

    I rarely read the local rags now, owing to lack of time! We had been staying at our home in France and the mail and papers had stacked up, meanwhile.

    Anyway, encouraged, I wound back my mental clock to the early 1960s……….

    Having played in various groups (In those days, a band was a large group of people who played a large variety of disparate instruments!): also as an Ex-Westcliff High School pupil, albeit, somewhat more elderly than Brian Alexander and crew, music was then something rather different from the violin lessons I grudgingly took – on Saturday mornings would you believe! – as the times, they were a changing.

    My first attempt at assembling a group of like minds, included my then bosom pal, Ian Gregory: Ian was the only one to find relative show biz fame and fortune later and what’s more, cut a single which made it to the charts! The Ailsa Five used to meet and practice (If the caterwauling noise could be so dignified!) at Ian’s parents home in Ailsa Road, Westcliff.

    What’s more he was tone deaf and couldn’t hold a note to save his life!

    Tells you summat eh?

    However, discarding a career in London’s Stock Exchange (Different then: stockbrokers wore top hats and striped trousers!), Ian attended Joan Greenwood’s Method School with such later luminaries as Olly Reed, John Leyton (Think Great Escape) and other up and coming thespians.

    Part of the then right of passage seemed to be TV work: and naturally, becoming a “Pop Star”.

    Ian is now an eminent ceramicist. See:

    Not much singing required in sculpture and pottery: fortunately.

    A few years back we held a re-union. Ian wasn’t able to come and another was missing. It was hosted by original member, Cliff Messiter, who had enjoyed success as a very accomplished graphics artist and owner of a design studio.

    BTW, Tim: Cliff still owns the Swedish Strat look-a-like Hagstrom he purchased from you! Bit too much weight for the dear old boy to lift now, though. Boy! Were they ever bloody heavy!

    Later on I worked in the City with a guy who became my closest chum, for a while: and we formed a new group.

    Later, I opted out as my career was more important. They later went from strength to strength and he became, eventually an agent.

    I formed another group in Southend, afterwards and we used to practice on Sunday mornings at the Shades: which is how I came to know Rob Trower. And many years later Rob became, accidentally, a customer of mine. Another tale.

    Somehow, I was introduced to Brian Alexander, as Paul Dunning was leaving the Monotones and they needed a bass player: bit of a challenge as I’d actually never played bass, only lead and rhythm. Thus, for a couple of gigs, (Whitehall off of Clatterfield Gardens, Westcliff and the community hall, in Snake’s Lane Eastwood, I became the Monotone’s Bassist. The instrument was an unwieldy home-brewed effort as was the amp.

    Brian and I fairly quickly decided I was not going be the next Jet Harris and I would be far better as manager.

    At the time, Southend’s live gig focus was the old tired Victorian pub, The London Hotel, in Tyler’s Avenue; next to the old main fire station and the band of the moment were the Barracudas, distinguished by the lead cum rhythm guitar, Teddy Knott, who possessed then, a rare animal indeed: a double neck guitar. This had been made for him by his Dad, who had a tiny shop in West Street, Prittlewell: which all self-build fanatics of Strat look-alikes repaired to for machine heads, pick-ups and other bits.

    Thursday evenings were the night: and hundreds of kids in Southend beat a path to the London.

    Ted Hughes (Who also ran the Old Leigh pub, The Smack), had taken a lease on the Elm Hotel. (It’s not and never has been the “Elms” by the way).

    Brian had struck a deal with Ted that the Monotones would rent the hall for a modest sum: and Ted would benefit from the bar take. Ted has visited the London and seen how much beer was shifted on a Thursday and wanted some!

    The Elm was then a venue for mainly jazz: Kenny Baxter and the SMJQ were Sunday afternoon regulars.

    Problem was, how could a then little known group fill the venue, on a Thursday evening when it was in any case competing with the London?

    Well: this was my chance: after all, I was supposed to be the Manager! Ever the entrepreneur, I came up with the concept of a Twist Contest: at the time, Chubby Checker and the Twist were the latest rage to hit the World of pop and dance.

    We all clubbed together and risked our wages on a huge (for us) ad in the local Southend Standard: and, thank goodness, it was a sell-out.

    And remained a sell-out for the few weeks we ran the contest; which from memory was won by a young guy called Phillip Nostle and his girl: Philip later became a successful local solicitor.

    Someone (Probably Brian: he seemed to specialise in knowing more strange characters than even me!) knew a guy called Phil, who played in a local group. Phil’s elder brother was a Bluto lookalike, called Lionel.

    Lionel looked like a sort of overweight lump: how appearances can be deceiving! He was a fanatical weight lifter and the star of the old Estuary Gym: his party trick was tying knots in six inch nails, with his bare hands: I kid you not! Sorry about the pun.

    Lionel became our “Bouncer” at the Elm for Thursday evenings.

    Unfortunately, one young guy over-tuned on beer decided to misbehave and after Lionel had warned him a couple of times, this fool decided to get physical: rather large and stupid mistake. He had to be taken way in an ambulance as he didn’t recover from the one short whack Lionel rendered.

    This was the opportunity Hughes needed! The group were “Banned”: but invited back after a week or two, however the deal was different. Hughes wanted not only the beer sales but the gate too.

    Still, I am glad to have fond memories, of not only helping the Monotones on the early path, but also being somewhat instrumental in putting the Elm on the local map as a live gig venue.

    It didn’t look back for many years.

    Marriage and business called me: and I became a husband in early 1964.

    I met up with Paul Dunning again in the mid 60s when we both worked at Ford Europe and used to take it in turns to drive.

    I restored and set-up a Strat for Paul, which looked as if it had been used by Pete Townshend to try and destroy a granite amp! It possessed more lumps than a giant toad!

    Last time I met Paul, was at the retirement bash for Westcliff High’s famed head, Henry Cloke at the Southend Cliffs Pavilion in circa 1972, when we enjoyed sitting together during the formal meal.

    The early 60s were a fantastic time for fans of live music: the “Southend Sound” led to a number of serious legends.

    Easy to forget the other top local bands and how good they were.

    The Premiers, who played in the interval at the old Kursal ballroom, when the Howard baker strict tempo band took a break. Christ Stevens and his brother, Graham still play: Douggie the lead guitar was the only bloke I knew who actually then owned a Baby Binson disk echo.

    The Palace Hotel was another busy live gig venue: Mickey Jupp and The Orioles; the Klansmen. And that’s where one evening I saw Johnny Kid and the Pirates live, with the legendary Mickey Green, then.

    Later, I worked with Arthur “Jim” Smith, the Klansmen’s drummer: and he also played in our abortive “Shades” band: as did Douggie, ex Premiers.

    And years later in the early 70s, Gerry Poore, the Klansmen’s bassist came to work for me. Small world.

    The Whirlwinds, later Force Five and then (or before?) Crocheted Doughnut Ring. Who dreamed up all these maniac names?

    The Paramounts, of course: who totally eschewed whatever was “In” and continued with their focus on R & B. From which Robin (As he is now known) Trower developed his style and much sought after skill.

    Invariably forgotten is Pete Wilsher, probably Europe’s leading exponent of pedal steel guitar and later the manager of Sound City in Shaftesbury Avenue, in the West End and the emporium every aspiring rock musician would gravitate to and drool and dream. Pete was originally a local barber, working in Milton Street, which no longer exists.

    I do believe the origins of the Southend Sound led to evolution for later 70s musicians, such as Kursal Flyers and Dr Feelgood.

    It was a rich and much missed era of genuine live sound and great gigs, now smothered in miming, electronic sound manipulation and image above ability.

    These days I too play here and there for my own “Amazement” as well.

    Not enough time, however.

    Michael C Feltham
    December 4th 2010

    1. Hello Michael

      Just found your 2010 account of the music scene in Southend in the 60s. What a memory you have, you’ve jogged mine into life again. Although I was never in a band, I followed the Southend groups around the local venues and it was great to be reminded of them – The Elm, The London, The Palace, Whitehall and Snakes Lane, Eastwood. I had totally forgotten the last two.
      I too was at the Palace when Johnny Kidd and the Pirates did their gig – I can remember some of the local guys getting jealous because the local girls were in love with Johnny, and they started to chuck ha’pennies and pennies onto the stage.
      I remember Lionel from the Estuary Gym, as I trained there. I had forgotten he was the bouncer at the Elm. He used to be billed as Britain’s Strongest Teenager at local fetes and carnivals.
      My pal always had his hair cut by Pete Wilsher and I did have one cut from him (not too impressed with it I remember) just before he left the barber trade.
      Saturday night at the Kursaal – that brings back memories. At the time, there was no other rock ‘n roll on locally so me and my girlfriend had to endure the Howard Baker Band just to get a short shock of rock ‘n roll. I remember the floor was packed with youngsters, who all melted away when the band returned. Thank God The Palace opened up on a Saturday night about that time and I remember going there regularly on Sunday nights too, but they relied on people feeding the jukebox for music and there would often be long gaps between the songs.
      I loved the Barracuda gigs at The London, and it was you who jogged my memory – I had forgotten their name.
      Another local venue was The Halfway House pub (if I remember the name correctly) by the sailing club at Thorpe Bay on the Esplanade. I regularly watched the Whirlwinds and the Monotones there – and I’m still downloading Robin Trower albums!

      Thanks for all the memories.

      Tim Wainwright

  40. Apologies.

    After a very pleasant email exchange with Jim, the landlord of the Elm, way back, was of course ROY and not TED Hughes.

  41. Hi Jim and others

    I was most interested to read your memories and the other contributions on this site. I am also ex-Westcliff High School (1955-1960) and was for a time in the same class as you, Jim, and Andrew Rainbow who has corresponded recently.

    In 1962 the Mustangs were formed with Phil Thomas (lead vocals), Bob Church (rhythm), Adrian Philpott (lead guitar), Keith Chesher (drums) and myself (bass guitar and keyboards). The following year Pete Stanley of the Monotones sold me his homemade bass guitar. The band performed right through to 1977 all over the South-East, London and East Anglia with only three changes in personel: Bob Church was replaced by Roger Dupuy in 1964, Phil Thomas left the following year, and my brother Keith Read took over lead guitar from Adrian in 1973. For several years after 1967 we also had three girl backing singers known as the Mustang Sally (Jane Gordon, Barbara Moorfoot and Doreen Martin). After Phil left in 1965 we backed Mark Loyd on quite a few gigs.

    In the 1960’s the band were regulars at The Elms, The Halfway House in Thorpe Bay and the Kursaal Ballroom but we also played all the yacht clubs in the area and many times at the Cliffs Pavilion. Although we didn’t “make it bigtime” or cut any records, unlike the Monotones or Force Five, we had good steady work with three or four gigs every week and had a great time which I wouldn’t have missed for anything. As supporting band to the likes of Billy J Kramer, Brian Poole, the Platters, Kenny Ball, Acker Bilk and Chubby Checker we also got to play at some great venues such as the Savoy Hotel, the Cafe Royal and the Talk of the South.

    All the members of the band have kept in touch and playing re-unions were arranged in 2001, 2007 and most recently in August 2010 which involved Adrian and Bob travelling from Australia where they both now live.
    Phil Thomas and myself still perform in the Rayleigh based band “Full Circle” and Keith Chesher occasionally deputises on drums. I should also say that in the 1960’s, Keith (who had a recording studio at the time) produced records for the brilliant local guitarist Pete Willsher, who is mentioned elsewhere on this site.

    I hope this sparks a few memories and fills in some gaps in the Southend music scene.

    Mike Read

  42. Hello Mike

    Great to read your contribution which confirms my belief that Westcliff High should errect a monument to it’s old pupils that helped to create ‘The Southend Sound’. Though,seriously,I did lobby them to recognise the achievements of Garry Brooker,as they now have a new Music Department. They said it would be raised at their next AGM but to date have had no response.

    That’s great to hear you had a reunion recently,it’s something we are unable to do following the sad loss of our drummer Gary,but Jim and I sat in with the band at my daughters wedding………..brave of them!……but I think the audience reaction,though biased,convinced them it was worth taking the risk. You can’t go wrong with ‘Blue Suede Shoes’ and ‘Tell Me What I Say’..!!!!

    Mention of the bass guitar I sold you brought a tear…….my Dad made it.How long did it survive,and have you any photos ?

    Good to ‘talk’…regards Peter Stanley

  43. Hi Michael

    Like many other contributors, I also attended Westcliff High School for Boys (from 1954-61) and, apart from being lead singer with the Mustangs from 1962-65 (see Mick Read’s email of 11th January) I’m also the older (and much smaller) brother of Lionel Thomas who, around the time he was a “bouncer” at the Elm Hotel with Terry Latter, was Britain’s strongest youth, with an 18 inch collar size and 46 inch chest. Lionel subsequently joined the Essex police force, reaching the rank of Inspector and, during his early years of service, became national police weight-lifting champion; not such an overweight lump after all!

    I’m pleased to say that all members of the Mustangs are still alive and kicking – a third playing reunion of the original band members was held at the Creeksea Ferry Inn on Wallasea Island on 14th August 2010 and, as Mick Read’s indicated, our present Rayleigh-based band (called “Full Circle” for obvious reasons) which I joined as lead singer on my early retirement from international banking in 1995, includes two, and occasionally three, members of the Mustangs, Mick, Keith Chesher and myself.

    As veterans of the Southend 60s scene we limit ourselves to about four local gigs a year, now playing only to raise money for charity; just wish I had the energy to play more but those (nearly) fifty years have taken their toll. However, on the positive side that we can now afford reliable equipment we could only dream about in the early ’60s, when much of our gear was home-made, including the bass guitar built by Pete Stanley’s dad, which Mick subsequently replaced with the Burns Vista Sonic Bass he still plays today. Ah – such happy times!

  44. Hi Jim, Pete and others
    I note you see Nigel Basham in Sydney on occasions. Would you have an e-mail address that I might write to him at? Good to see two of my fellow band members have made contributions to this site. As ex-WHSB I too have lots of memories of those days generally, and of our association with the Monotones, mainly Nigel and Brian.
    Adrian Philpott, “The Mustangs”, Queensland Australia.

  45. Regarding the Mustangs, here’s an article from the Southend Standard that Phil Thomas sent to me in 2009 along with the Monotones article that’s posted above. Click on the image for a larger version:

  46. Hi Adrian,
    Sorry for the delay in answering, but have just returned from another couple of months in Sydney where once again I caught up with Nigel ( Mark Loyd)
    He is doing well and can be contacted via his company website
    Hope this finds you well in Queensland and you did not suffer during the awful floods.
    I was pleased and interested to hear about The Mustangs and hope maybe we could all meet up.
    Westcliff High has a lot to answer for !!
    Best regards,

    1. Hi jim hope you and pam are well it was a shock when i read about mark passingaway last year as it was gary some years back one article in echo paper a while back you asked if some of us met our wifes at the elms i met my wife through freinds who went there we have been married 38 years now we live in rayleigh just out of southend if any of the monotones remember one xmas or newyear eve you had just said one last no before a break half way through gary hit the cymbals and they fell and hit my freind on the head maybe sometime if possible to meet up and catch all for now roy

  47. Hi Mike, It’s been a while since I looked at the site as I have just returned from Australia on a visit to my daughter and family. Of course I also caught up with Mark as I try to do most years.
    He is still in the entertainment industry but retired from singing a few years ago. He now,with his wife Debbie,runs an events management company and also represents several acts in Australia. This year he has been given a ” Lifetime Achievement Award” for his contribution to the Australian music industry.
    I see you still play the occasional charity gig with ” Full Circle”, I think I am right in saying I have seen you a few time at the Priory Concert in the Park. I must say I get envious as I would love an opportunity to join such a group so if ever you need a vocalist/rhythm guitar….let me know.
    Long time since we were at Westcliff High but I do remember you from the photograph and was pleased to hear that you enjoyed many successful years with The Mustangs.
    This website has brought us back in touch with so many old friends which is really great, maybe we could touch base sometime at one of the old venues. My e-mail address is
    All the best Mike,

  48. Just a few names which I haven’t seen mentioned from the Southend scene of the early/mid 60s.
    In one version of the Paramounts, Chris Copping of Southend High was on bass and Mickey Brownlee of Wentworth (or Eastwood) was on drums and he was a cracking little drummer. He used to swim competitively as did I and I met him a couple of times around the County.
    Another very good group was Mickey Law and the Outlaws. He had probably the best rock voice of the time along with Ronnie Gent.
    The Whirlwinds were an excellent live band. Bert used to knock my socks off when they did Buddy Holly’s ‘Look at Me’ and Bert would play Chet Atkin’s ‘Peanut Vendor’ as the solo!

    Can anyone remember a 7-piece group with two girl singers that used to do Four Seasons and Beach Boy covers?

    Finally, can anyone remember an excellent guitarist who used to play with Pete Willsher in a cafe on the Southend East sea front.
    He used to play a Hofner Club 60 (the one with the pearl inlays and the carved back). He could play Merle Travis stuff while we were trying to get the hang of Apache! He was a quiet modest sort of chap.

    I will be putting in my own Garage Band story soon.

  49. Just an addition:-
    I remebered the name of the very good guitarist that played with Pete Willsher – it was Johnny Short.

  50. Phil:

    Of course! The Mustangs. How memory plays tricks on us all.

    I used to see you also at the old London Hotel for the Barracuda’s gig on Thursday nights: everyone really was there, ‘cos Teddy Knot and the boys were the leaders of the pack at that time.

    Later in the 60s I often used to bump into Lionel: and in 1968> for a bit, I also used to train at the old Estuary Gym.

    Almost everyone’s gear was home brewed in those far off days: my first serious amp was constructed from an old radiogram, given me by a relative: and the case was made of massively solid ply of about 1/2 thick, which was old partitions – dating back to the 1930s – from the building I worked in in the City from circa 1958 for a spell. Somehow I carried these sheets back on the mainline train from Fenchurch Street.

    Could have done with Lionel’s help to simply carry the amp around!

    Good to hear you are still playing.

    All the best,


  51. Hi Roger,
    The name of the seven piece group you mention was The Continentals. They used to play The Elms on Wednesdays and the occasional Saturday.
    They left Southend for a residency at The Trocadero just off Piccadilly Circus which was to become the first of many Tiffanys clubs, run by Mecca, to open throughout the country. Their leader at the time was Jimmy Mack the keyboard player. Their drummer was Brian Edgings ( originally with The Barracudas ) who joined us for a while before Pete Trout took over when we took the residency at a new Tiffanys in Wimbledon. When The Whirlwinds morphed into The Crocheted Doughnut Ring, their guitarist Bert joined The Continentals at Tiffanys in the west end.
    Incidentally, I spoke with Pete Willsher a short while ago and after spending time abroad he is now back in Southend. We remembered when he tried to teach me the Chet Atkins style of finger picking he was so good at, sadly he failed miserably!
    Hope this clears this clears up a few things for you.
    All the best,
    Jim Eaton.

  52. Hello, I am presently writing an encyclopedia of 60’s U.K. Groups and was doing research on Tim Gentle & His Gentlemen when I came across this wonderful website and saw a message from Tim’s sister. This volume covers UK bands who released at least one single between January ’62 and December ’66. I am striving to ensure the accuracy of information before committing to paper and it is in that regard that I’m hoping you might be able to help me with some information about this group. I am trying to find out when and where they formed, when they disbanded, and who the founding members of the group were and what instruments they played, and who also contributed to the vocals. Lastly, I’d like to know how I might obtain a photo of the group for inclusion in the book. I’d be very grateful for any information you can provide, and any and all information used will be acknowledged and credited. Thank you for any help you might be able to give, and look forward to hearing from you. Best Regards, Bruce Welsh, Victoria – British Columbia, Canada

  53. Hello to Jim Eaton , Brian Alexander, Nigel Basham, Pete Stanley and Andy Rainbow. I am Ian Middlemiss, playing really bad rhythm on an out of tune Hofner Club 40 for the Monotones in the Elms days circa 1960-62.

    I left in 1961 to go to University to read Engineering as I could not see that music was a profitable career. (Hmmmmm!) Worked for Ford Research and Perkins Engines in their Consultancy Dept. Got a couple of patents granted, wrote half a dozen papers and messed about on emission control and invented the DI passenger car diesel engine. Latterly consulted for Rover, Honda and Toyota. Retired in 2005, had the regulation heart attack, recovered and bought a Strat/Roland Jazz Chorus and currently trying to play Joe Pass/Li’l Darlin properly……failed. Now based in Peterborough with an amazing wife and an eccentric German Shepherd.

    And now the lowdown on the early years of the Monotones.

    Brian Alexander : This guy was a totally useless WHSB academic and just had to be a musician as he would not have made it in a 9-5 job. He did however try with Wiggins Teape but I surmise that he never was too comfortable in an office. Played a Futurama / Selmer(?) setup with a Watkins Copycat tape driven echo device turned up to infinity such that it did not really matter what notes he played, it was just white noise at a volume setting that made your ears bleed. His solos were often intense and quite unintelligible. He also had an ear fetish, which was just too annoying. A born business man always on the look out for the next opportunity. Am not at all surprised that he was commercially successful.

    Jim Eaton : Jim replaced me as rhythm guitarist when I left for University and was 10 times a better player than I was. Also a very proficient vocalist. I was responsible for his stage name…Thurston Crane. I guess he would want to forget this. A fairly decent snooker player….I never did manage to beat him.
    Never buy anything from his cousin Mike, it will be your downfall.

    Pete Stanley: The bass player and quiet man of the group. His Father was a very accomplished carpenter and made Peter’s first bass. I remember this had 4 strings but an unplayable bottom E. Peter always turned up for practice knowing the bass line of any new song. He was in the desk behind me at WHSB. Stole (inherited?) my girlfriend. I have only just forgiven him for this, Maxine, where are you now?

    Nigel Basham : I was responsible for his Mark Lloyd stage tag. First came across him at WHSB Sports day when he putt the shot for a school record, throwing the shot far further than the existing record. He was about 6’ 2” and 15 stone at the time, which was not too bad for a 17 year old. An accomplished naturally talented drummer and a versatile vocalist. Ran a Vespa and was much sought after by the ladies.

    The only play set I can remember are……..

    Apache……..with the daft dance steps
    Chubby Checkers Twist Again
    Anybody seen my gal?
    Move It
    Big Bad John
    Give me Money (Ray Charles?)
    Georgia or was that the SMJQ?
    There was a load more copy stuff but I do not remember. All this was fairly dreadful by today’s standard, bur remember this was before Clapton/Hendrix and Bert (Play in a Day) Weedon was a demigod.

    The blog makes no mention of the White Hall gigs and St Cedds. I remember them well and the plethora of delightful ladies to whom I owe a debt of some gratitude. I still have a scrap book of all the early Monotones press releases and pictures and will publish this if you really want to be embarrassed?

    Gigging paid for my motor bike and first car. Whilst I am thankful for my time in the Monotones professional full time musicianship was not for me. Playing a piece many times over bored me and the more you play it, the less likely is that you can make an improvement. A Pavlov Dogs learned behaviour situation. I sold all my gear prior to Uni and have only just treated myself to a Strat. One thing is very certain, I will never ever gig again. Jam with friends but no paid work.

    The greatest respect for Gary Brooker and Procol Harum, one year earlier than I at WHSB. Whiter Shade… still an evocative, innovative arrangement of Bach’s work and still works for me in 2011.

    If there is ever an Elms reunion, count me in.
    Strat cranked up.
    Amp on 11.
    67 years old and still cannot act my age

    1. Hi Ian
      I am putting on an evening with Brian in Derbyshire in September and am wondering if you have any ‘publicity-style’ piccies for Monotones/ Treetops. They would need to be of high-ish resolution, probably not copied from the Garage/Treetops website.
      Brian knows I am looking for some visuals and so I hope he won’t mind me getting in touch in this way! The reason for ‘doing it now’ is that my application for the evening event to be part of the Wirksworth Festival has to be in by May 2nd.
      I hope you can help. Even after all these years Monotones/Treetops memories are still going strong….

  54. Hello Ian ….. great to read your entry….it brought back many memories which at 67 I’m finding increasingly difficult to recall!
    I wanted to acknowledge your blog just briefly at this stage, in the hope that you can send any press cuttings as mentioned. The reason being that Jim and I are meeting,this weekend, with a guy who is writing a book on the music of the 60’s which will include bands that came out of Southend.
    I have photos of you on stage with us and a press cutting of the musical event of the year…………..St. Peter’s Girl Guide Dance !! You may have these but if not I can send them……if I can remember how to !
    Jim or I will contact you during the weekend and as I am now in Surrey perhaps we could find a common meeting ground. [and I’ll give you the ‘low-down’ on Maxine!!!!]
    If you wish I can be contacted on
    Good to ‘talk’…regards Peter

  55. Been trying for some years to make contact but recent events have really prompted me to up the anti. After reunion with Peter and Jim in May we have vowed to keep in touch from now on. Think the last time we saw each other was at my 21st party in Westcliff before you married Veronica. Did Peter really steal me away? I didn’t get the crown or the furs from him either!! Most of working life has been in aviation but now looking after sheep. Look forward to hearing from you and filling in some blanks. Peter and Jim have my contact email so please get in touch soon. Maxine

  56. Hi Max,

    Pleased that you were able to respond. Pete and Jim were unable to forward your email address and I am very loath to post my email address into public domain blogs as there are some nasty harvesting software that could give me a hard time. If you contact Peter, he has my email address and I would appreciate a ‘hello’. We have to organise a reunion before we all fall over.

    Looking forward to hearing from you.

    Best regards, Ian

  57. Jim, I still remember fondly all those happy nights at The Elms ( and sometimes The Halfway House ) If you remember, I used to stand in for Mark occasionally – You always wanted me to sing Only Make Believe and that blasted Trains and Boats and Planes. So sorry to hear about Gary – he was a brilliant drummer. I have STILL got that first recording of What Would I Do but sadly my copy of Somethings Hurting Me got ruined. It was great to hear it again after all these years. Please give my kindest regards to all the other group members when you see them.

  58. What a blast finding this site nearly 50 years down the track. I worked at the Elm in those days and can add a little to the comments to date. I remember both Lionel and Jimmy Emmons, but as well as Terry Latter, Larry Laidlaw often worked the door and I recall a bit of aggro happening with some London boys one night who wanted a return fixture having been bounced the previous week – that didn’t end too well for the home team… I also remember Maxine and her sister Michelle from my day job at the airport – lovely girls – and I’m sure they still are! I lived just round the corner from Nigel – was Brian the Brian Clarke who had the second hand shop next to Nigel’s house? I’m pretty sure he was.
    As I recall we had music every night – Modern and Trad jazz Mondays and Fridays, Pop Tues – Thurs and Saturday and the lounge combo on a Sunday evening. Alway busy and must have taken the national debt of Belgium through the till most weekends.
    On the subject of Pete Willshire, he played with Pete Nye and Norman Hull as the ‘Marksmen’ behind Houston Wells, who cut a few discs – they worked some pub on the Blackwater I think.
    So thanks for that, I am a nostalgia junkie and so enjoyed being reminded of those good times – keep the music playing folks!

  59. On the subject of Pete Willshire – I recall going with Bash to rehearsals to do the backing of one of his records where Pete was one of the backing guitarists. Pete played a tune, possibly Trambone, Chet Atkins style followed by Bash and him doing Jezabel together. After they finished, all the other musicians broke into spontaneous applause.

  60. This was a great article and brought back so many memories of the 60s when i was in such bands as the flowerpots with wilko johnson,the krestas,my first band,and the spooks,great days.

  61. Hello Jim you old f**ker,

    Are you still alive? You must be 107. How’s Pambo? I expect you’re at least a Grandfather by now! Somebody did a website on me a couple of years ago. So if you go onto You should find a section on the Monotones.

    I cannot use a computer and I do not text but my contact details can be found on the Moody Blues website.


    Rod Clark

  62. There is some sad news, I’m sorry to say. Jim Eaton reports that his friend Mark Loyd, the lead singer with the Monotones and Treetops passed away today, April 4, 2012, after fighting cancer for seven years. Mark had been living in Sydney, Australia where he ran a successful event/management company.

    Mark Loyd in 1964

  63. After nearly 45 years,today I finally tracked down and met up with Jim Eaton at the Elms only to be greeted with the tragic news that Mark Lloyd had lost his fight with cancer.As a singer myself with another local group and who was frequently invited as guest singer with the Monotones in Mark’s absence, I admired him tremendously and counted him as a good friend.He was supremely talented with a powerful voice, capable of singing anything from good old rock and roll to ballads and everything in between. R.I.P Bash and entertain the great manager in the sky with your rendition of Jezabel.

  64. His talent undeniable
    His humour ceaseless
    His resistance immeasurable
    Towards his cruel illness,
    That’s robbed us of an artist
    A gentleman,a friend
    A memory that’s endless,
    A song without end.

  65. Mark Loyd (Nigel Basham) was the loveliest person one could meet.
    He was not only a great singer musician but had so many other talents. He was a sportsman and in his youth competed at National level for the shot-put. He was a very fast sprinter, a good Rugby player and even when the band was playing six nights a week he managed to play in goal for a London Football team. He always had time for everyone.

    Most of all was his sense of humour. During the time of the Monotones and Treetops Jim, Peter, Nigel and myself just never stopped laughing and enjoying ourselves on stage. I am sure the fun was shared by all others around us. I know that the former band members throughout the early years will be sad to know that he has passed away.
    Such wonderful memories! End of an era!

    Brian Alexander

    1. Dear Brian: I wrote the following some time ago.

      I would very much like to get in touch with you!

      Best wishes – Jonas


      Oh, yeah.

      I spent a year at the Anglo Continental School Of English in Bournemouth in 1963/64.

      At the school actually more or less. More less. But it was the YEAR Of MAGIC music wise: The BEATLES were about to explode, Meseybeat took over and everything changed completely. And me right in the middle of it!

      Having been musically socialized by the AMERICAN FORCES RADIO (a definite “underground radio station” in Nuremberg of the fifties) ELVIS being my awakening obviously.

      For years I kept following the English program of RADIO LUXEMBOURG and I think, I was the only person in the southern part of Germany holding a subscription of the NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS.

      Hanging around with bands in my German school days was logical.

      There was not much for me in the English charts then – the stuff sounds so dated today! I much more got into American pop. With all the great SONGS, plus singers and, as I found out later in my life, singer-songwriters.

      From the very beginning of me buying records I always looked at the words in brackets under the song titles. More information was not contained in those days.

      The band I used to follow was called THE BLIZZARDS (ahem), specializing in THE SHADOWS and softer rock things.

      At my first month in Bournemouth I saw THE BEATLES at THE GAUMONT for two shows a day for five or six days. In a numbered seat!

      I have to stop me now from getting carried away: let me say so: In this year I saw them ALL. All but Elvis who did not come. But all the other rock’n’rollers came – thanks to the plugging by the new English groups.

      Up to five concerts per week, and watching EVERYTHING on popmusic on TV – and there was some!

      “Rock’n’Roll, I gave you all the (best) years of my life” – well yes. I stayed with it – with some slight detours – and I am still in it at 70.

      OK, cut it shorter:

      In 63 / 64 I saw a crime program on TV with a Beat Band involved in some way. They had a song I liked. So I went to my trusted record dealer and ordered it. They knew me as “Mr. Hitparade – always in front of it”.

      Well, the song was “It’s Great”. On PYE. It was a flop.

      When home I could not help becoming “manager” (in no way what that word implies today!) of a group that had formed out of THE BLIZZARDS plus two other projects.

      They called themselves JONAH AND THE WHALES, me being paternal (??) since my name is “Jonas”(Jonah).

      We had huge local success.

      And I pressured (??) the band into perfoming “It’s Great” which became the high spot of every performance.

      I even could get a recording contract with DEUTSCHE VOUGUE – funnily enough the distributors for PYE in Germany. But they were not quite at the pulse of the time – like PYE in England in way too, were they not?

      Vogue sold a couple of records locally and soon dissolved. So did the band not much later.  

      Ever since that time I have been wondering who “Alexander” was. I settled with the conviction of it being Dave Alexander, an American blues singer, or Arthur Alexander, an Ameican songwriter – though I could never find the title in either of their work.

      Hans-Jürgen Klitsch, THE German authority on sixties Pop or Beat music who got my singles from that time for his archive and research (he should be professor on that – and in America, even England, he would!) knew right away that it had been Brian Alexander of the MONOTONES – but even he never heard of that title.

      Is Brian still in this world? Could I get in touch with him?? This would please me enormously – I would be even thinking about going to England again…

      Sorry for my faulty English – part of it got lost through age, haha.

      Best wishes –


      Jonas Porst
      Public Relations

    2. Hi Brian, it’s good to hear and remember all those times. I am Pat, was Harper,praps you remember me from Bridgewater Drive. Glad all still goes well with everyone,sorry to hear about Nigel. Regards pat

      1. Hi Brian
        This is my second attempt at a catch up be good to have a reply. I now am resident in Spain. Have had contact with Pete but love to hear from you.


  66. Hi Jim,
    Somewhat belatedly I found your reply to my posting as a result of hearing of Nigel’s untimely death. Sorry about the confusion with Gus Chesney, my memory must be playing tricks on me or the Watney Mann’s IPA was, at the time, too strong for a young lad like me. As a result of my earlier posting I was contacted by his son in law from the USA who told me that Nigel now lived in Sydney and at that time we lived in Australia too. I emailed him and still have his reply on file and we agreed that if ever I was in Sydney I would look him up. Sadly the opportunity never arose. He was a great guy and my memories of the nights at the Elms are still as strong as they ever were. Best wishes, Colin

  67. Dear Brian,
    It was extremely sad to learn of the recent death of Nigel/ Mark Lloyd and my condolences go to his wife,family and close friends.I had only just found this site(as I am not computer literate,haha ),having discussed the monotones in recent months with my sister,looking back at our teenage + years.Many a drunken night was spent at the Elms and other local events.You could say I was a bit of a “groupie”,but I also helped the “roadie” Brian on occasions with the moving of equipment when you were supporting, the Who,Manfred Mann,Hermans Hermits and talent show winners “Bow Street Runners”.The last time we met was on a Thames river evening cruise with the Leigh Young conservatives,as I was then working in hampshire pursueing my career as a Chef.Unfortunately, I was never able to see you as the Treetops in Wimbledon, due to my unsociable working hours,having progressed to head Chef of a restaurant in Chichester, west Sussex.
    Once again, my sincere condolences for the sad loss of Nigel,as he will be greatly missed.

    Yours sincerely,

    Barry Williamson

  68. Just picked up a local rag and learned, with much sadness, of Nigel’s passing.

    A gentle and nice guy.

    My wife also reminded me (We both used to commute to the City) Nigel’s late father was the stationmaster at Chalkwell, on the Fenchurch Street Line.

  69. As you know I played with The Monotones / Treetops at The Elms and Tiffany’s in Wimbledon in 1965/66 and Mark was a good friend and a great chap.

    I often stayed with him and his parents as I didn’t live in the Southend area. I last saw Mark when I was travelling by train from Lowestoft to London in 1986. I fell asleep on the train and woke with somebody tapping me on the shoulder and saying ‘Hello Rodney’. I opened my eyes and there he was looking me in the face and I hadn’t seen him for 20 years. We had a long chat and he was on his way back to Australia. We both promised to keep in touch but unfortunately we didn’t.

    I was browsing the Monotones website in February 2012 and found Mark’s contact details and gave him a ring. We had a long chat and I sent him my latest CD and wondered why he had not replied and it was only Tuesday of this week that I heard the bad news. A great person whom I had a lot of respect for both as a singer and musician but I’m so glad that I had that chat with him in February.

    Also I apologise to Jim for asking about Pam as my last message on here was before Mark told me that she had sadly passed away.

    Condolenses to Mark’s family and relations.


  70. Hi Rod,
    Yes, I am still around but fast approaching my 107th birthday, you cheeky sod.
    It was good to hear from you and so pleased you stayed in the business, I thought you would as you were so passionate about your music. Please don’t worry about your comment re Pam, you were not to know.
    I am in Australia at the moment, primarily to visit my daughter Alison but also to visit Nigel. I have been coming to Sydney every year since 1996 and saw Nigel every time I was here. I arrived this time just a few days after he passed away,he had phoned me the day before saying he was looking forward to my visit. He said that he had survived for seven years with the illness and a few more weeks would be no problem…sadly he didn’t make it. His funeral was a huge event set up by his lovely wife Debbie with over 400 people attending.
    I had a look at your website and was impressed with your CV, would love to hear any of your CDs. I will be home mid May and we should get in touch. You can reach me on jimboeat [at]
    I’ve had a remarkable change of fortune since I lost dear Pam, tell you when we talk.
    Anyway, you must be pretty ancient by now, did you stay with Julie?
    Take care Rod, hope for contact soon,

  71. Hello

    I would first like to acknowledge your kind message on behalf of his
    family and friends. A great loss but some great memories! Your
    recollections are very coincidental as, at present, there is an
    exhibition in Southend showcasing the bands that came out of the area.
    Details on….
    ……. and I was asked to provide some memoribilia for display. I
    produced 4 boards with records, photos and posters, one of which is for
    the gig you mention at The Locarno, where we supported Herman’s Hermits
    ….I think he’s still touring isn’t he? I’m meeting up with Jim to
    visit The Beecroft Gallery to see where they have hung them…..probably
    in the loos, but if so hopefully the ladies !! My son Christopher
    trained at Westminster College and has created a successful catering
    consultancy. Are you still head chef or retired?

    Good to ‘talk’ to you, regards Pete Stanley

  72. Hello fellow GARAGEHANGOVER enthusiasts……….

    Having compiled a “home-made” CD of all our recordings for my most loyal fans, namely my kids, Matt, Chris and Chloe and their families, it occurs to me that some people logging onto this website may be interested in obtaining a copy.

    It features 9 tracks by The Monos, 6 by Mark and 12 of The Treetops. Most of the tracks were converted by Jim’s good friend John Corless, a computer expert, and the remaining few by myself, which explains the occasional sound of a stylus hitting the vinyl! My excuse is that it adds to the nostalgic atmosphere and if like me you lament the passing of visual, “hands-on” music collections, at least you will have a solid version to hold and feel !

    There is some cost involved and having factored in all concessions such as Senior Citizen and Loyalty Discount, I have calculated that at £3.00…[ I resisted £2.99 as it looks like a marketing ploy ] …to include UK p&p.

    If you are interested please ‘drop me a line’ [ more nostalgia!] at

    Many thanks……….Pete Stanley

    1. Good to read about you all after so long a time great times at the elms and other places you played can you send details on the cd and who and where to send payment i am just learning how to use a pc

  73. Hi,
    I have just heard off the sad passing of dear Nigel my thoughts are with his family, I worked with Nigel,Jim,Brian at Alexanders night club as well as being a regular at Tiffanys Wimbledon.


  74. Hi Pete,
    Thankyou for your reply and information regarding Southends rich musical heritage.It is amazing how many musicians come from the area ( and still do !! )Hopefully I shall be visiting family in Chalkwell and Leigh-on-Sea in the next few weeks and endeavor to take a nostalgic look down memory lane at the beecroft ( as long as they,re not hung in the ladies!! hehehehe )
    Also ,I would be very interested in your compilation CD of the Monotones/Treetops/Mark Lloyd,as my partners son wants to know the music of my teenage years.He used to attend the Arts Education school in Chiswick and is now studying politics at Canterbury Uni. He is frontman for a local group in Dorset who,s genre is punk/heavy metal/rap (OH,IT MAKES ME FEEL SO OLD!!! hehehe)
    In answer to your question,I am retired (66yrs)having spent the last eighteen years looking after Officers at a military unit.However I still chef occassionally at various venues when asked and I make and decorate wedding cakes from home,so kept busy. Glad to hear your son Christopher is doing well and my regards to Jim and Brian as and when you contact them.

    Very Best Wishes,

  75. Hi Barry

    Just to let you know that Jim and I went to The Beecroft Gallery and I’m pleased [ and relieved….toilet joke ] to tell you that our display is not hanging in any of the loos! In fact , if you take the logical route we are the first exhibit, which may suggest they are saving the best to last!! We are in the company of some excellent musicians and ground-breaking bands such as Doctor Feelgood and Tha Bonzo Dog Doo Daa Band. And if you do visit, you may get the chance [ if the attendant’s not looking ] to touch Gary Brooker’s silk cape. He was there last week so we missed the chance to ” bundle ” him as we used to at Westcliff High.

    We met up with Rod Clarke, who replaced me temporarily in 1965 and he was able to put names to so many faces [ my memory fails me too often these days ]……now where was I….ah yes, if you have time [ no excuse as you’ve retired ] check out his CV at http;//……..I’m always impressed by those who made music their life.

    With regards to our CD, please contact me direct at with your address.

    Kind Regards ….Pete

  76. Hi Jim,

    Thanks for the kind mentions on this page. We had a lot of fun and accomplished a lot during my tenure with The Treetops and I have many fond memories from that time. I didn’t emigrate to Australia though. I took a gig at Surfer’s Paradise and decided to stay there on the 22 miles of glorious beach where the traffic wardens walked around in gold bikinis! I don’t want any Aussies thinking I was a ‘ten quid tourist’ 🙂

    I had a lot of fun with the band and look back fondly at the people, the accomplishments and the high spirits that made the five or so years I was with the band so memorable. One amazing facet of Martha’s abilities was her sight reading, which enabled her to play the most complex of pieces flawlessly, yet she couldn’t take a solo in Johnny B Goode! Mark’s sense of humour got us through many trying times, Brian’s business acumen kept the band employed, and yours and Peter’s talents glued everything together.

    Does anyone know what happened to Billy Butler who guested with us from time to time? Rod thinks he’s in Vancouver.

    1. Yes, I do live in Vancouver on Canada’s Pacific Coast.
      Does anyone have an e-mail address for Rod Clark?

      1. Hi Billy,

        You can get in touch with Rod via Jill. Rod often asks about you and whether you still lived near The World’s End

      2. Billy, if you contact Chris, the webmaster, will pass along your info to me or Jill so Rod and I can get in touch.

  77. I too went to westcliff high school and left in 1960. I used to love the end term dances with the Monotones playing. I’m sure Gary Broker played keyboard with them at one time and played a superb version of Canned Heats “On the road again” and well remember Thurston Crane singing vocal after Basher a throat operation. I was friendly with the Whirlwinds when they were Johnny Gale and the Whirlwinds playing at the Kursaal on Saturday nights.Sid Plappert was playing guitar with them at that time. These are treasured memories of my teenage years and still talk of Friday nights in the boys gym. Mr Brownlee was the boys P. E. teacher then and he spent many hours with me at the school pool and Chalkwell beach trying to take up diving again after I dived in the pool and knocked myself out on the bottom. I never did get over the fear of doing it again.I only found out yesterday of Basher’s death and was really sorry to hear it. I live in Torbay Devon now and the music scene is quite good here. I don’t go to South end very often now but was there last year and showed my husband some of my old haunts and told him about the White all and the London inn. Thanks to the boys for giving me some happy memories Sue Ryder

    1. Hi Sue,
      Really nice to read your post and to refresh those memories of the end of term dances, and familiar names and places. We live in Surrey but my wife hails from Exeter and her sister is a keen dancer and regularly attends Rock ‘n’ Roll evenings at Beverley Park, Torquay. We were all very lucky to experience and enjoy the 60’s !

      Regards……..Pete Stanley

  78. hi jim of treetops tiffinys wimbledon, you prob wont rememeber us brothers 4 of us use to come to tiffinys with others & great times , my younger brother always had to much to drink & go out back & set the alarms off, & the bouncers said not you again. we use to go to the broadway pub in them days before we came to tiffinys . but great reading all the forums,also we use to go to orchid ballroom purley. anyway hope this reaches you regards mick. ps we were from guildford surrey

  79. Leigh local (WHSB 61-67) often see John Wilkinson walking in Westcliff (God bless & keep him) & Jeff Chapman. Recently met Rodney Clark & shall soon see him & Peter Trout (facebook friend) in concert. They are pals of my cousin Mick Wilsher, which brings me to the meat of my enquiry. He played in the Pack who had Wednesdays in the Elms Hotel while the Monotones had the rest. Anybody got anecdotes or info on them? thanx in anticipation, Pete Day

  80. Hi Adrian,

    I understand you know my father Elliott Burchmore, I am trying to reach him.

    Can you help?

    Marc Morley (Burchmore)

  81. Great to read about these guys who were a complete mystery to me. I had their two U.S. 45’s on Hickory and the killer final Pye one (“Something’s Hurtin’ Me”) and they were rocking.

  82. That certainly brings back memories. The original bass player was, I believe, Graham Davidson (or Graham Dee), a friend of mine. He lived in the same road as we did in Westcliff and I would go to the occasional band practices with him as well as a few of his gigs. I recall that the group used to play at The Elms and also at The Halfway House on the seafront in Thorpe Bay. I lost contact with Graham long ago but I believe that he went into music production. I wonder how many of those members of local bands went on to musical careers.

    1. Hello David
      Glad you found us and made contact . Time flies but the memories linger.
      The Elms, The Halfway House and also The Cricketers and London Hotel.
      We started when school friends at Westcliff High in 1960 and I played bass until 1974 when we had become The Treetops.
      Jim broadcast two interviews with BBC Essex last September recalling ”the good old days” in Southend and if you are interested he is doing another two on 11th and 18th June recalling events and recordings during our period as The Treetops. His memory is better than mine ! It is The Mark Punter Show on Sundays and the interview is usually around 13.30. Good to ”talk” !

  83. met a chap in Rayleigh High Street today, he reminisced about a group called Force Five or Whirlwinds, there were 2 Pete’s in the group, one was a drummer, can anyone throw some light on them? They used to work in a factory called Herrmanns (making cabinets) during the 1960’s and did quite well during their time together x

  84. Hello Mike
    Yes happy memories of Tiffanys and the nice girls…. I was lucky enough to meet my wife there .
    If you’re interested Jim is broadcasting 2 interviews with BBC Essex recalling our period as The Treetops. It is the Mark Punter Show on 11th and 18th June and usually around 13.30 . Nice to ”talk” !

  85. Hi Peter – Have just come across this web site to learn of the interesting paths that so many of Class 5B at Westcliff High took! I left without going further with my guitar efforts and headed to sea for 12 years and then New Zealand for 28 and now Australia for 16. I would not have traded it for anything else but often think of the early days in Leigh/Westcliff! If you are ever in Australia look me up – the only Payze in NSW! – Mick

    1. Hi Mick
      Thanks for getting in touch……from the other side of the world ! Yes there are good memories of the old days at Leigh and Westcliff. It’s good to hear that you and others have enjoyed and made a success of their lives.
      I’m not a good ‘flyer’ but perhaps one day Christine and I will take a slow boat !
      I will, however, contact Jim who has a daughter in Australia that he visits.
      Take care……Peter

      1. Hi Peter –
        Sorry I did not pick up your message and thus reply earlier and it was only when looking for a url about the Monotones to send to a shipping contact that I came across your response.
        I still fly a fair bit working as a shipping and port consultatnt so the music I listen to is mainly that of the Pacific which is interesting in itself!
        Trust life has been good for you too – we are set to continue to travel for a while with 10 grand-children spread between Wellington (NZ), Queenstown (NZ), Melbourne and closer to home (Lake Macquarie) at Manly, Sydney.
        I am easy to find as the only Payze in NSW!

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