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Pacemakers geting ferry to Lowestoft's Marina Theatre

PUBLISHED: 10:00 29 April 2011

Gerry and the Pacemakers current line-up.

Gerry and the Pacemakers current line-up.

Archant

THEY WERE one of the biggest names in pop during the early 1960s. But the return of Gerry and the Pacemakers to Lowestoft's Marina Theatre tomorrow has brought back special memories of when the Merseysound stars appeared at another iconic venue in the town.

On Thursday, November 14, 1963, Gerry Marsden and his band topped the bill at the Royal Hotel Ballroom on Lowestoft seafront – following three consecutive number one hit singles.

The hotel was demolished in 1972 and the East Point Pavilion now occupies the site.

In the 1960s, however, the Royal Ballroom was a popular venue and many of the country’s up-and-coming acts played there. That particular evening the Liverpool chart stars were supported by The Ramblers, who were made up of musicians from the Lowestoft and Beccles area. Neil Watson, who played guitar in the band, recalled that historic evening of live music.

“It was a night that I will never forget and was a great experience for The Ramblers” he said. “Things were very different in those days and we were able to meet Gerry and his band and learn from them. I remember all of them being really friendly and helpful.”

At the time of the Lowestoft concert, Gerry and the Pacemakers had just released a single which was to become an anthem for Liverpool Football Club.

And when the band began to play You’ll Never Walk Alone it “sparked off a storm of screaming and the crush by the stage increased”, according to a report in that week’s Journal.

Mr Watson believed there were more than 1,200 music fans at the Royal Hotel for the concert.

“There were so many people in the hotel that not everyone could get into the ballroom where the stage was.

“Concert organisers had to set up a closed circuit television so that people in the bars of the hotel could see the stage, and that was something almost unheard of in those days,” he said.

Tickets for the concert cost 8/6d (42.5p) and represented great value for money. “It was a great time to be playing and listening to music as a lot of bands who were to go on and become big stars played at smaller venues including those in Lowestoft,” said Mr Watson, who later became a photographer and journalist and covered many concerts all over East Anglia for The Journal and other publications.

Gerry and the Pacemakers stayed overnight at the Royal Hotel before leaving early the next day and The Journal’s report said hundreds of fans “besieged” the building hoping for a glimpse of the stars.

Were you one of the hundreds of music fans that saw Gerry and the Pacemakers at the Royal Hotel, Lowestoft, in November, 1963? We would like to hear your memories of the night. Write to: Turning Back the Clock, The Journal, 147 London Road North, Lowestoft NR32 1NB or email max.bennett@archant.co.uk

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