Hedgehoppers Anonymous


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)

1963

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.

1964

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.

1965

February (7) The Hedgehoppers play at the Alley Club in Cambridge.
March (14) The band returns to the Alley Club for another show.
July (17) The Hedgehoppers appear at the Dorothy Ballroom in Cambridge with Bob Ludman and His Orchestra, The Seminoles and Ben Elliot and The Klan. Alan Laud (b. 13 March 1946, Whittlesey, Cambridgeshire), who is a civilian living near the RAF base takes over from Cockayne on rhythm guitar after meeting the musicians in a local pub.
August The Hedgehoppers are playing at the Corn Exchange in Cambridge when they are spotted by Trinity College student Kenneth King (aka Jonathan King), who is working as a producer for Decca Records through his own company “Jonathan King Enterprises”. The aspiring producer is about to release the single “Everyone’s Gone To The Moon” under his recording name Jonathan King and approaches The Hedgehoppers to see if they will record another of his songs – “It’s Good News Week”. King, who is keener on becoming a producer than a singer, suggests that they add the Anonymous tag so that they can keep their fan base but protect their anonymity from the RAF, which is unaware of the recording. The band records “It’s Good News Week” under the musical direction of Arthur Greenslade, who adds session players, including guitarist “Big” Jim Sullivan, to back Tinsley on the track.
September King’s tongue-in-cheek protest song, “It’s Good News Week” backed by “Afraid of Love” is released. The single’s success generates a huge amount of publicity but also creates problems with the RAF, which has not given the musicians the proper authority to find employment outside the Armed Forces. Hedgehoppers Anonymous make their debut TV appearance on ITV’s Ready Steady Go! They also appear on BBC TV’s Top of The Pops to plug the single.
October Tinsley successfully submits an application to the RAF for a discharge.
(15) NME reports that Dash, Honeyball and Stewart have applied to the RAF for a discharge but it is not known whether these will be accepted. Behind the scenes, London session musician Glenn Martin (b. 22 January 1946, Wembley Park, Middlesex), who is the resident drummer at the Ad-Lib club and has been playing with Ayshea Brough, takes over from Leslie Dash for live gigs while the drummer tries to gain a discharge.
(29) With Martin onboard, the new line up plays at Parr Hall, Warrington, Cheshire. On the same day, NME reports that the future of Hedgehoppers Anonymous is still in the balance as it is uncertain whether Dash, Honeyball and Stewart’s applications will be accepted. Soon after, Stewart successfully gains a release from the RAF. Meanwhile, the group is forced to turn down an offer to join the Gene Pitney tour because of the travelling involved.
(30) Hedgehoppers Anonymous perform at Altrincham Stamford Hall in Altrincham, Greater Manchester.
(31) The group makes an appearance at Peter Stringfellow’s Sheffield Mojo club, Yorkshire.
November (2) The band performs on Rediffusion’s Five O’Clock Funfair.
(3) Hedgehoppers Anonymous play at the Kingston Cellar in Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey.
(4) They perform at the Swindon Locarno Ballroom in Swindon, Wiltshire.
(5) Hedgehoppers Anonymous play at Leighton Baths, Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire.
(6) “It’s Good News Week” peaks at UK #5 and also reaches #48 in the US Billboard chart. On the same day, the band are billed to appear at Rawtenstall Astoria, Rawtenstall, Lancashire.
(7) Hedgehoppers Anonymous perform at the Carlton in Slough, Berkshire.
(8) The following day, the band plays at the Atalanta Ballroom in Woking, Surrey.
(10) Following a show at High Wycombe Town Hall the previous day, the group performs at the Stevenage Locarno in Stevenage, Hertfordshire.
(11) They perform at Wisbech Rose and Crown, Wisbech, Cambridgeshire.
(16) Hedgehoppers Anonymous appear at an All-nighter session at the Cavern in Liverpool with The Baskerville Hounds, The Verbs, The Drifting Sands, The Richmond Group, The Dresdens, The Almost Blues, The Harpos, The Masterminds and The Fourmost.
(18) The band plays at the 100 Club in Oxford Street, London.


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
1966

January Having signed up to Chris Peers Promotions the previous year, the new line up starts to pick up steady work around the country.
April Martin suggests that Hedgehoppers Anonymous cut a version of Chip Taylor’s “Wild Thing”, which is recorded and prepared for release. However, according to Martin, Kenneth King is not convinced about the song’s merit and persuades the musicians to record “Baby (You’re My Everything)” (a Little Jerry Williams ballad that Jonathan King had the rights to) instead. Shortly afterwards, The Troggs top the charts with their own version of “Wild Thing”, allegedly after hearing Hedgehoppers Anonymous’ unreleased version. However, Jonathan King relates “the demo of Wild Thing was first played to me by the publishers; I loved the song and allowed the guys to play on it but their version wasn’t even as good as the demo so I passed and the song was given to Larry Page who produced it with the Troggs.”
May Having appeared on ITV’s Ready Steady Go! Hedgehoppers Anonymous return with a third single, “Baby (You’re My Everything)” c/w “Remember”. The band’s poppy sound, however, increasingly sounds dated, and the single does not chart.
June (10) Hedgehoppers Anonymous play at the California Ballroom, Dunstable with The Felders.
(11) Melody Maker reports that Mick Tinsley has been ordered to rest for a week after being injured by fans at the Star Rink Ballroom, West Hartlepool last weekend. The band appears on BBC Radio’s Saturday Club this weekend.
July (23) They appear at St Mary’s Hall in Bognor Regis, West Sussex with Listen.


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
1967

January (6) The band plays at the Winter Gardens, Droitwich, Worcestershire.
(7) Hedgehoppers Anonymous appear at the Marine Ballroom, Morecambe Pier, Lancashire.
(14) NME reports that the current Hedgehoppers Anonymous will split up on 11 February but that Martin and Fox are planning to form a new group, which will probably use the same name. On the same day, Mike Tinsley releases his debut solo single, “Let It Be Me”, produced by Kenneth King, on Decca. The publication also announces that Alan Laud and John Stewart will be forming a trio with ex-Overlanders’ member Terry Widlake but the collaboration never happens. Alan Laud later moves to Spain where he runs a bar in Torremolinos while John Stewart, who is intent on pursuing a career as a songwriter, subsequently relocates to the United States. He currently works in a recording studio in Tennessee. Rather than keep the Hedgehoppers Anonymous name going, Glenn Martin and Tom Fox get a job with blues singer Kenny Barnard, who is opening at the Bag O’Nails club after resident band The Peddlers have moved on.
(22) Martin (on his 21st birthday) and Fox back Kenny Barnard at the Bag O’Nails club. Soon after The Peddlers return to the Bag O’Nails and Barnard’s band finds itself without any work. The musicians go their separate ways. Tom Fox disappears from the music scene but allegedly commits suicide years later.
February (11) Hedgehoppers Anonymous officially disbands.
March Having moved to Halifax, West Yorkshire in February, Martin revives The Hedgehoppers Anonymous name and brings in lead guitarist Ian Atkinson from The Morton Fraser Harmonica Gang. Atkinson recommends his friend from Leeds, bass player Howard Livett. Keyboard player Vincent Crane joins for a few gigs but soon leaves to form The Crazy World of Arthur Brown. Atkinson contacts his friend organist/singer Chris Lazenby, who has previously worked with the guitarist in Bradford band, The Del Rio 4. They also recruit a second lead guitar player from Oldham. The new version mixes band originals – “It’s Good News Week”, “Don’t Push Me” and “Daytime” with covers material.
April The new line up embarks on a busy schedule of nation-wide gigs that takes in venues as far flung as Glasgow and Leicester.
September Lazenby and the second lead guitarist depart when Martin convinces original singer Mick Tinsley to return to front the band. Lazenby joins the house band at Butlins in Minehead and reunites with Glenn Martin in 1970 when their band works the summer and winter seasons at the Butlins Hotels in Cliftonville near Margate, Kent.


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
1976

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.

2009

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.

2010

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.
December (4) Tinsley will be appearing at the Amersham Rock and Roll Club with Chris Farlowe, Vanity Fair, The Searchers and Honeybus.


Mick Tinsley, May 2010
Sources:

The Best of The Cellars – The Story of the Cavern Club by Phil Thompson, Tempus Publishing Limited, 2007.
New Musical Express, 1 October 1965 (page 9), 15 October 1965 (pages 9 and 13), 29 October 1965 (pages 6, 9 and 10), 26 November 1965 (page 9), 17 December 1965 (page 6), 14 January 1967 (page 8).

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

Visit: www.nickwarburton.com

18 thoughts on “Hedgehoppers Anonymous”

  1. While looking through the Bradford Telegraph and Argus for gig listings, I stumbled across this one for Hedgehoppers Anonymous: Queen’s Hall, Bradford on 27 January 1967. It suggests that Martin had a new version of the band with Ian Atkinson, Howard Levitt and possibly Vincent Crane planned before the originals split, unless this was with Tinsley before the first break up.

  2. According to the Camberley News, the band appeared at the Agincourt Ballroom in Camberley on 31 October 1965 but they were also booked to play another venue on this day unless they did two shows.

  3. Was going through the Fabulous 208 magazine this weekend and found tons and tons of gigs for the first incarnation. These two popped up as some of the last ones with Mike Tinsley

    21 January 1967 – Rainbow Suite, Birmingham
    2 February 1967 – Embassy Suite, Colchester

  4. Found an article in the Southeast London Mercury newspaper from 13 August 1965, which details Glenn Martin’s pre-Hedgehoppers band at the Ad-Lib club.

    Kenny Bernard & The Wranglers:

    Kenny Bernard – vocals
    Alan Reeves – organ
    Trevor West – rhythm guitar
    John Taft – lead guitar
    Colin McKie – bass
    Ian Saunders – tenor sax
    Glenn Martin – drums

  5. Found this gig in Birmingham Evening Mail for the line up that Glenn Martin put together in 1967.

    12 July 1967 – Mackadown, Kitts Green

  6. Another gig from 1967 with only Glenn Martin from the originals:

    29 April 1967 – Warmingham Grange Country Club with Harry Brown and His Band of Renown (Northwich Chronicle)

  7. Found some interesting information in regional newspapers:

    MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS:

    Hedgehoppers Anonymous played at Sbycsuperscene in Withington on 16 June 1967

    WARRINGTON GUARDIAN:

    Billed as Hedgehoppers, they played at Warrington’s Carlton Club with the Expressions on 18 August 1967

    YORKSHIRE EVENING POST:

    Hedgehoppers Anonymous opened for The Move at the Boogaloo in Castleford on 25 August 1967

    According to an article in the same newspaper on Saturday, 19 August, page 3, the Mike Tinsley, Glenn Martin, Ian Atkinson and Howard Livett line up came together in August and not September 1967. They apparently had a single due out.

  8. I met Mike Tinsley while I was working in Purchasing for a company in Northants. He was a salesman for a well known national company with a mass of cheaper competitors, but he did a great selling job on me. He established in no time that one of my great passions was music, and that I lived as a youngster through the sixties, associated with a band. He also found that I met my wife in Norfolk, where her father was stationed in the RAF at Marham. This led to him telling me he was in HA and of course I didn’t believe him. The proof, I said would be in him standing on my desk in a well staffed office, and singing IT’S GOOD NEWS WEEK!!! I never believed for a minute that he would do it, but on his next visit, there he was on my desk, with all the girls swooning! Great guy, hope he’s still gigging!

  9. Some more missing gigs from Eastern Evening News:

    10 February 1966 – Washington Club 400, Washington, Norfolk with Helen Shapiro, Unit 4 Plus 2 and others

    30 March 1966 – Tower Balllroom Great Yarmouth with Continentals

    4 September 1966 – Orford Cellar, Norwich

  10. I am trying to locate Les Dash. We were both 35th Entry at RAF Cosford, and then served together at RAF Valley. I understand that he now resides in South Africa. I would be most grateful if anyone knows of his current whereabouts and contact details.
    JR.

  11. Looks like the Glenn Martin line-up prior to Mike Tinsley rejoining played around the Wolverhampton area a fair bit in the summer of 1967. These are all from the local paper, the Express and Star:

    6 July 1967 – 3 Men in a Boat, Walsall
    9 July 1967 – Staffs Volunteer, Wolverhampton
    15 July 1967 – Hednesford Civic Centre, Hednesdford with Birds ‘n’ Bees and British Standard
    17 July 1967 – Civic Centre, Wolverhampton with 7/8 Set
    22 July 1967 – Bridgenorth RFC, Swancote Pavilion
    26 July 1967 – Watersplash Night Club, Walsall Wood

  12. Hello, I am trying to locate any information on a band called The Pines from approx 1966-1968. My Dad was the drummer and according to my Mom they opened for Hedgehoppers anonymous, the Moody Blues and Mud. She remembers them playing at the Wolverhampton civic hall and the Hen and Chickens in Langley.
    If anyone has any info at all it would be so gratefully appreciated!
    Many thanks.

  13. John Stewart last seen in the USA do you know if Christen came home with the family? Ex RAF mate now in OZ.

  14. Found some more missing gigs from the Glenn Martin led band in summer-autumn ’67.

    Hartlepool Mail lists the following:

    Queens Rink Ballroom, Hartlepool on 28 July 1967 with Sky Type and The Tony King Sound

    Peter Lee Jazz and Folk Club, Hartlepool on 20 August 1967 with Turm

    From the Middlesbrough Evening Gazette:

    The South Bank, Middlesbrough on 5 September 1967

    From Redditch Indicator:

    Warwick Arms, Redditch, Worcestershire with The Motivation on 7 July 1967

    Cofton Club, Rednal, West Midlands with Samantha’s Moods on 21 July 1967

    From Northampton Chronicle & Echo:

    Rave Nite, Irchester on 8 July 1967

  15. Mick Tinsley played with my band called Unit Six from Milton Keynes as a cabaret artist at some of our bookings back in the 70s, plus we backed him on some demo records he did at local recording studios

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