1965, from left: Mick Tinsley, Alan Laud, John Stewart, Ray Honeyball and Leslie Dash
|Mike Tinsley (vocals)|
John Stewart (lead guitar, vocals)
Tony Cockayne (rhythm guitar)
Ray Honeyball (bass)
Leslie Dash (drums)
November Former Electrons lead singer Mike Tinsley (b. 16 December 1940, Portsmouth, Hants), guitarists John Stewart (b. 18 March 1941, Torphins, Kincardineshire, Scotland) and Tony Cockayne; bass player Ray Honeyball (b. 6 June 1941, Whickham, County Durham) and drummer Leslie Dash (b. 3 April 1943, Hillingdon, Middlesex) are all Royal Air Force ground crew based at RAF Wittering in Cambridgeshire, England. Captivated by the beat scene exploding in the UK, they decide to form a band, The Trendsetters. The quintet performs initially in the officers’ mess at RAF Wittering but then ventures out, debuting at the White Lion pub in Whittlesey, Cambridgeshire. After receiving a positive reception, they play at the Dorothy Ballroom and the Corn Exchange in Cambridge.
The band changes its name to The Hedgehoppers; a nickname for the “V” bombers, which can fly a few hundred feet above the ground, under enemy radar to avoid detection and ground-to-air missiles. A local agent spots The Hedgehoppers playing the local pub scene and arranges live gigs to showcase the band at weekends. By June, The Hedgehoppers have opened for Unit Four Plus Two, The Hollies and The Kinks among others.
February (7) The Hedgehoppers play at the Alley Club in Cambridge.
Leslie and Ray go “part-time”New Musical Express, November 26, 1965
(26) NME reports that Dash and Honeyball are likely to be temporarily replaced because their applications to buy themselves out of the RAF have been turned down a second time. The magazine goes on to say that Dash and Honeyball will return to RAF Wittering today and their availability for appearances – as close as next week – is still uncertain. The band’s agent Chris Peers tells NME that the two musicians will work on as many dates as possible, but for some bookings replacements will have to be brought in. Behind the scenes, however, Dash decides not to continue with the band and will later move out to South Africa where he currently resides. Glenn Martin takes over but will not be officially announced as Dash’s replacement until December.
West End Promotion Ad,
New Musical Express, October 1965
Tour dates announced,
New Musical Express, October 15, 1965
Opportunity to open for Gene Pitney lost
New Musical Express, October 29, 1965
1965, from left: Ray Honeyball, Alan Laud, Mick Tinsley, and John Stewart
|December Decca rush releases a second single to capitalise on the success of “It’s Good News Week” but the Kenneth King written “Don’t Push Me” c/w “Please Don’t Hurt Your Heart for Me” sells poorly. Like Dash, Ray Honeyball cannot get a release from the RAF. Former Von Dykes bass player Lee Jackson is brought in and put on a retainer. The idea is that he will fill in for Honeyball whenever the bass player cannot honour an engagement. While on a retainer, Jackson plays some shows with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers.|
(1) The band plays at Stourbridge Town Hall, Stourbridge, West Midlands.
(2) Hedgehoppers Anonymous perform at the Blue Moon club in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.
(3) They appear at Trowbridge Town Hall in Trowbridge, Wiltshire.
(4) The group plays Redhill Market Hall in Redhill, Surrey.
(6) Hedgehoppers Anonymous appear at Bridgewater Town Hall, Bridgewater, Somerset.
(8) They play at Kidderminster Town Hall, Kidderminster, Worcestershire.
(11) Hedgehoppers Anonymous appear at Nelson Imperial in Nelson, Lancashire.
(12) The group plays a show at Manchester Oasis club.
(17) NME announces that Keith Jackson and Glenn Martin have formally replaced Ray Honeyball and Leslie Dash who have been unable to obtain discharges from the RAF.
(22) Record Mirror announces the new line up, introducing Lee Jackson. However, Jackson only appears in a few publicity photos before finding work elsewhere. He subsequently joins Gary Farr & The T-Bones and then The Nice. Londoner Tom Fox takes over on bass from The Beat Boys and Barry Edwards and The Semi-Tones.
Keith Jackson and Glen Martin replace Ray Honeyball and Leslie Dash
New Musical Express, December 17, 1965
January Having signed up to Chris Peers Promotions the previous year, the new line up starts to pick up steady work around the country.
1966 Danish release
August (26) The band moves towards a more harder-edge rock sound, which culminates in the mod/freakbeat classic “Daytime” which is backed by “That’s The Time”. Unfortunately, the single is not a chart success. “Daytime” is an adaption of Les 5 Gentlemen’s “Dis-Nous Dylan” (originally co-written by Jean Fredenucci of Les 5 Gentlemen and T. Saunders) with English lyrics by John Stewart. Les 5 Gentlemen also record “Daytime” with Stewart’s lyrics for a release on the Major Minor label as Darwin’s Theory.
September (10) Hedgehoppers Anonymous record for BBC Radio’s Saturday Club with Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich, The Fortunes and Glen Dale.
October The band plays at the Lyceum Ballroom in London on a bill that includes Tom Jones.
(12) Hedgehoppers Anonymous appear at Tiles nightclub in London with The Excels.
December (9) Final single Alan Laud’s “Stop Press” c/w “Little Memories” is another chart failure.
Lineup after late ’65, from left: Tom Fox, Glenn Martin, Mike Tinsley, Alan Laud and John Stewart
Hedgehoppers, summer 67 photo with Pete, Ian Atkinson, Glenn Martin, Chris Lazenby and Howard Livett
January (6) The band plays at the Winter Gardens, Droitwich, Worcestershire.
New Musical Express, January 14, 1967
Sweden, 1967, from left: Ian Atkinson, Mick Tinsley, Glenn Martin and Howard Livett
|October Hedgehoppers Anonymous featuring Mick Tinsley, Glenn Martin, Howard Livett and Ian Atkinson embark on a short tour of Sweden and Lapland.|
(6) While playing at the Cue Club in Gothenburg, Stoke-on-Trent band The Colour Supplement open the show. The band’s singer Phil Tunstall will join a new, completely unrelated, version of Hedgehoppers Anonymous in December 1968.
(18) Liseberg Pop In Club in Gothenburg.
November On their return to the UK, Tinsley resumes a solo career. He later becomes a co-writer for songs covered by Joe Dolan and Kelly Marie. In the late 1960s/early 1970s, Livett works on the Mecca scene with the band Huckleberry and spends over 10 years playing the Leeds City Varieties but passes away in August 2005. Martin joins Sandie Shaw’s backing group, The Streamliners, featuring Stoke-on-Trent musicians Tony Kaye (guitar), Dave Birkenhead (organ) and John Askey (bass). While with Sandie Shaw & The Streamliners, Martin will appear at the MIDEM Festival in Cannes in January 1968. When Martin leaves The Streamliners in February, Tony Kaye decides to use the Hedgehoppers Anonymous name for a new, completely unrelated, band, which with a modified line up will continue into the early 1970s, recording in South Africa as Hedgehoppers.
Swedish tour, 1967, from left: Mick Tinsley, Howard Livett, Glenn Martin and Ian Atkinson
Mick Tinsley sings “Wrap Me in Love” co-written with Peter Hawkins of Pickettywitch as a soloist for the UK at the Yamaha World Song Festival in Tokyo 1976. He co-writes songs with Peter Yellowstone for Joe Dolan and Kelly Marie.
October Tinsley’s solo album My Surival is released on the British Academy Songwriters Composers Authors’ label. The album is produced by Tony Swain, who has previously worked with Spandau Ballet, Alison Moyet and Bananarma among others.
June Prism Leisure Records re-release two CDs featuring Tinsley singing on the songs “Songs That Won The War” and “English Street Party” recorded in the 1990s. Glenn Martin, who has worked as a session drummer over the last 40 years is drum chair at the Surrey Jazz Orchestra.
Mick Tinsley, May 2010
The Best of The Cellars – The Story of the Cavern Club by Phil Thompson, Tempus Publishing Limited, 2007.
Many thanks to Mick Tinsley, Glenn Martin, Jonathan King, Chris Lazenby, Mick Cockayne, Lee Jackson, Jenni Livett, Christopher Hjort, Tertius Louw, Paul Green and Tony Walter for providing further details. Thank you to Paul Tinsley for the photo of Mick Tinsley in May 2010. Thanks also to Samuel Coomans for one of the sleeve scans and to Hans Olof Gottfridsson.
Mike Tinsley’s “My Survival” is available on the BASCA Academy Recording Digital label and can be purchased on Amazon.
Copyright © Nick Warburton, 2010. All Rights Reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced or transmitted in any from or by any means, without prior permission from the author.
I have tried to ensure the accuracy of this article but I appreciate that there are likely to be errors and omissions. I would appreciate any feedback from anyone who can provide any additions or corrections. Email: Warchive@aol.com