Notes and queries: Syd Dean

Regent Dance Hall, Queen's Road, Brighton
From a private collection

Submitted by Carol de Rose on 3 August, 2002
“I’m afraid I can’t add any information about the place I’ve chosen – on the contrary, I’m seeking information and hope that there is someone connected with the site who can oblige.

I grew up in Hove in the 1950s and 60s, and my mother, who died earlier this year aged 96, spent much of her life in Brighton and Hove. She often used to talk of her times dancing at the Regent Ballroom where Syd Dean and his Band were particular favourites and I can remember hearing this band on the radio (‘Music While You Work’) when I was young. My partner has a relation (now in his 80s) who played in the band and I am trying to locate some archive material if there is anything available. I’m particularly interested in the era of the 40s and 50s, but would also like to know something of the ballroom before and since.

My name is Carol de Rose, I’m now in my mid fifties and I’m a secondary school teacher in East Kent.¨

Response by Pat Benham, 3 August, 2002
“My neighbour in Addison Road, Hove, Fred Haith, used to play tenor sax with Syd Dean at the Regent Ballroom. He would blow through a few scales and phrases to warm up before going out of an evening. I remember him taking me down to Tommy Barton the local Musicians’ Union secretary, to sign on in 1957 (I am a guitarist). Another man I knew slightly was a kindly old gentleman called Lionel who had been an MC at the ballroom.

In the late 1970s I heard Marc Bolan with his T-Rex group and Status Quo on the same billing at the ballroom, so the place was moving with the times.

There were always advertisements for Syd Dean in the Argus and Brighton and Hove Herald, so a visit to the archives in Brighton would be worthwhile.”

Comments about this page

  • My uncle, Fred Craig, played the double bass with Syd Dean in the Regent Dance Hall in Brighton in the 50s. He was one of three brothers and a sister. One of the other brothers was also a musician and played with the Squadronaires during and after the War.

    By Craig (02/04/2003)
  • I worked at the Regent cinema in the late 60s: saw the musical ‘Oliver’ about 90 times and, unfortunately, ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ about 120 times. My band (Lodestone) had a practice room in the basement. The manager was a band member’s father. The Regent Dance Hall hosted some very big pop/rock bands, including the Rolling Stones. The venue was called the ‘Big Apple’.

    By Joe Crew (05/04/2003)
  • Tony Hill says that ‘Lionel’, the kindly old gentleman that Pat Benham remembers from the Regent, was Lionel Preager, brother of Lou Preager, the bandleader. I don’t think so, as Lou Preager didn’t have a brother called Lionel. They were Alf, Len and Ronnie – my two uncles and father Len. Lionel sounds too old to be any of them, so if his name was Preager or Prager he was not related to Lou. My father, Len Preager, incidentally, did manage the Brighton Aquarium Ballroom but I don’t think he had anything to do with the Regent. I remember it as a cinema and a first outing there to see ‘The Sound of Music’. I also remember the Essoldo cinema and a small cinema that showed cartoons, both around the corner in North Street.

    By Paul Preager (17/04/2003)
  • I saw the Rolling Stones at the Big Apple on, I believe, 10 March 1971. I was 15 at the time, and had travelled down to Brighton from Crawley in the back of a friend-of-an-older-friend’s van. My friend, who knew I was a fan, sold me a spare ticket at face value for 18 shillings (90p). We were clearly above a cinema, but it did not become obvious that we were also in a former dance hall until the Stones went off stage and the chanting for an encore began. That was when the jumping in time with the hand-claps started, and the floor, being sprung, must have flexed by at least a few inches as the whole audience jumped up and down in unison. I thought we were going to end up in the cinema! A lot of cushion-throwing took place, but I’ve no idea where they came from. I’m pretty sure there was a seperate Pink Floyd show (or some similar band) on immediately after the Stones.

    By Steve Mayne (25/04/2003)
  • Ref: Tony Hill’s comment of 4.3.2003 re Syd Dean’s Band: he lists Johnny Woodersen as lead trumpeter. Should read Johnny WOOLLASTON – he is my uncle, now living in East Wittering, Chichester.

    By David Pearce (02/11/2003)
  • I’ve only just revisited this site, hence the delay. I’m sorry, Paul, to have mis-identified Lionel at the Regent. It’s not that I’m losing my marbles, simply duff gen given to me 50 years ago. I can see how it probably came about with Len Preager at the Palais (Aquarium) and Lionel at the Regent. Also for mis-spelling Johnny Woolaston. By the way there’s an interesting site by the daughter of Harry Bolton, (vocals & trumpet) giving more information. I also remember that Sammy Bryant played the drums and vibes in the small group before joining the big band. The pianist in the small group was Frank Booth. The bands would change over part way through a tune, starting with the piano. I played semi-pro piano at the Montpelier Hotel, which entitled me to free admission at the Regent. I would push-bike in from Southwick. Draught cider was 7 old pence a glass making it economical for an impoverished student!

    By Tony Hill (05/02/2004)
  • The following link might be of interest: .This is what the British bands were doing on Friday, June 17th, 1953, and who was playing in them: SYD DEAN’S BAND (Resident Regent, Brighton) Saxes: Les Williams, Rufe Bernstein, Harry Strain, Johnny Nicholls, Dennis Beard. Trumpets: Johnny Woollaston, Ronnie Simms, Harry Bolton. Trombones: Billy Richards, Dennis Thorne. Piano: Frank Harlow. Bass: Freddie Craig. Drums: Dennis Delaney. Vocals: Vickie Anderson. Harry Bolton, Billy Richards. Staff Arrangers: Les Williams, Frank Harlow, Johnny Woollaston.

    By Ed Noone (20/03/2004)
  • Ed Noone’s June ’53 line up of the Syd Dean band brought back some familiar names and faces. By 1955, when I worked there, Jack Chivers had taken over the piano chair, Eric Noble, 2nd trombone from Dennis Thorne and Frank Ireland joined the band playing tenor sax. Rufus Bernstein moved over to lead the quartet, which included Mike Mullins (piano) and Brian Anthony (drums), and which played when Syd’s Band took a break. Sammy Bryant took over the drum chair and thrilled the Saturday night crowd of 1500 or so with his powerful ‘Skin Deep’. Vicki Anderson, Harry Bolton and Billy Richards took the vocals whilst Harry was often assisted by Frank Ireland for the comedy stuff. The manager’s name was indeed a Mr Lionel Stewart whose daughter was born around 1955 and could still be living in the Brighton area. Going back to trombonist Eric Noble — he was my best man but we lost touch around 1981. I rather feel he could now be living in Spain. Can anyone help me track him down? Thank you for the memories.

    By Desmond Jones (London) (10/10/2004)
  • Just read the note from Des Jones regarding reaching my father, Eric Noble. My parents are happily living in Tenerife. I know they would love to hear from Des so please email me with your address so I can pass it on to them.

    By Jane Noble (22/11/2004)
  • With reference to my plea in October 2004 asking for information concerning ex Syd Dean trombonist, Eric Noble — an eagle eyed reader spotted it and brought it to the attention of Eric’s daughter who lives in Las Vegas. She in turn told Dad who now lives in the Canary Isles! The result? — a reunion scheduled for 2005 in Tenerife! My grateful thanks to everyone concerned for helping reunite two 70 year old ‘oldies’ — who were both in our twenties when we worked at the Regent!

    By Desmond Jones (Sidcup, Kent) (23/12/2004)
  • My name is Eric Noble, I was the trombonist in the Syd Dean Band when we played at the Regent Ballroom. Frank Ireland (now living in Ireland) was on saxaphone and we are the only two ‘still breathing’ from the Sid Dean Band of 1953. Thanks to this site I will be meeting up with Des Jones later this year.

    By Eric Noble (08/03/2005)
  • Has anyone got any information relating to the Wally Dewar Dance Band who played at the Regent mid to late 1930s?

    By Alan Mullins (22/04/2005)
  • I am at the beginning of a search for information regarding Gerald and Sid Bright (Geraldo and twin brother). If anyone can help with some info regarding family / offspring please email me at : . Many thanks!

    By Richard Wheeler (24/05/2005)
  • I spent my formative years in Brighton and Hove, and during my teen years was an active member of The Brighton and Hove Amateur Dancers Association. We would meet most nights at The Regent where we had a reduction in the admittance price and paid I think only 1/6d. I remember The Sussex Cup being competed for there, and my partner (Kipperfeet Gene!) and I were knocked out in the second round. Does anyone else remember these gatherings? Also the wonderful Tea Dances on a Saturday and Sunday afternoon. Good old Syd Dean, we all thought he was wonderful, especially when they played strict tempo! My maiden name then was Hoad, now Palmer and I have been living in New Zealand for nearly 40 years, but have the fondest memories of my birth place, particularly those War years. I attended The Sacred Heart School up by the convent and then went on to what was Hove County Secondary Modern. What is it called now, it does not appear on your list of schools?

    By Patricia Palmer (16/09/2005)
  • Can anyone tell me what Syd Dean’s signature tune was? My neighbour asked me if I knew because my mum occasionally sang with him when he worked at the Top Rank Suite – her name is Brenda.

    By Sharon Blackman (30/09/2005)
  • My mum, Gladys Barnes, was the first person to dance on the Regent’s new sprung floor – she was a ballroom dance teacher at the Regent.

    By John Summerfield (03/10/2005)
  • Thursday evenings was rock ‘n’ roll dance evening at the Regent during the late 50’s early 60’s, as I recall. I could not wait to get there and dance on the wonderful sprung floor. I believe the music was DJ-organized records. ‘Save the last dance for me’ was my favorite with then boyfriend Alan C. We would jive throughout the evening, and then……slow dance the last tune, it was ‘our’ song! Thank you for the memories.

    By Bonny Cother - Veronica Bentley (18/11/2005)
  • In reply to Sharon Blackman’s query dated 30/9/05: Syd Dean’s ‘signature tune’ was a piece called ‘It’s Tune Time’. Whilst many other dance bands of the time used ‘standards’ viz. Joe Loss, Harry Leader etc, Syd’s was ‘original’. In fact, at a pinch — even 50 years later, I can still knock out the first eight bars!

    By Desmond Jones (03/12/2005)
  • My Dad’s name is Terry Heath, and he played lead trumpet for Syd Dean in 1957. Dad’s best friend was Johnny Brown who played 2nd trumpet. Johnny later formed his own band called John Brown’s Bodies. We have lived in Australia since 1970 and I am thrilled to have found this site as Dad is now very ill. Would love too hear from anyone who remembers Terry playing.

    By Stella Heath (28/12/2005)
  • I went to the Regent ballroom during the late 50s and early 60s. Syd Dean was the resident bandmaster and his Saturday afternoon tea dances were a ‘must’ for the local youngsters. The highlight was always a drum solo by Eric Delaney of either ‘Let there be drums’ or ‘Skindeep’. I courted my first wife (now sadly passed on) during that time and have happy memories of an institution now sadly passed the same way as many others.

    By Robert C Munro (21/02/2006)
  • My late father, Jack Firman, played piano in the band and I have a great photograph of the band with Jack at the ivory keys. There is even a newspaper cutting attached to the photo. Priceless photo. Priceless dad. He left us 13.2.79. How time flies. Thank goodness for the memories.

    By Milton Firman (07/05/2006)
  • My mum and dad (Jackie and Barry Wilson) met here 45 years ago. I’m trying to get photos of the place to put in a memories book for their ruby wedding. Can anyone help?

    By Kelly Baker (12/06/2006)
  • I was interested to see one comment regarding visiting bands to the Regent Ballroom, and that indeed `this rarely happened’. Syd Dean`s band did an annual tour of other ballrooms in the UK for many years and as a result various bands played for a week or more: Johny Dankworth Seven, Joe Loss, Ambrose, Geraldo,Lew Stone, Ted Heath and others.

    By Tony Bird (10/07/2006)
  • For the person intrested in the Wally Dewar dance band, I have just found in my attic some original scores by Wally Dewar. One is entitled ‘Melody’.

    By Matt (10/11/2006)
  • I am not the person that Matt mentions in his comment, but Wally Dewar does appear on my family history tree and if Matt can contact me I would like to see anything he has about the pianist and bandleader Wally Dewar.

    By Terry W (02/03/2007)
  • Hi My father, Frank Booth, was the pianist for a while in Syd’s band and then he went on to form his own band. He passed away in 2001 but would really love to hear from anyone that knew him. I am currently tracing his family tree. Thank you Elaine ( I have just read that someone remembers him. It was quite a moving experience. I miss him terribly. He my Mother at the Regent

    By Elaine Fairfax (27/10/2007)
  • My neighbour in Ireland is Frank Ireland who played in this ballroom. Frank still blows with the Cork City Jazz Band and still speaks with fond memories of that time. He plays Sax and sadly his wife Magaret died just before Christmas.

    By Ed Cotter (01/11/2007)
  • I remember Syd Dean at the Top Rank in the late 60s / early 70s. Always popular but times were changing as the band shared billing with a DJ.  Who was the brilliant drummer with the band at that time (circa 1970-1972)? He was A1.

    By Steven Gascoigne (Perth, Western Australia) (15/11/2007)
  • Frank Ireland was a good friend`of mine, he and I regularly went to the Red Lion in Patcham to the musicians club, also to any other venue he might be playing at, we lost touch when he moved to Ireland and I moved overseas, he moved to Ireland with Margaret as his doctor had told him he had to stop blowing or it would kill him, his reply to me was, “If I stop blowing I will die, so I might as well keep on blowing” A true musician, I was delighted to see on your web page that dear old Frank is still blowing, if there is any way you can give me his contact in Ireland I would love to contact him again.

    By John Hemming (25/11/2007)
  • Regarding Frank Ireland: If John Hemming wishes to contact me ( I will put him in touch with Frank. He has been in hospital in recent times and a contact like this would act as a great tonic.

    By Ed Cotter (06/12/2007)
  • I used to dance at the Regent in the 1960s; had my own dance studio called Studio One till 1987. Dorothy Charlewood used to dance at The Regent too.

    By Kenneth Lee (23/12/2007)
  • Regarding The Wally Dewar Band. In 2004 I interveiwed former professional musician Mr Jack Clay for the Leicester Mercury for a nostalgic music feature. Jack, now 93 was vocalist/drummer with the Wally Dewar Band at Brighton in 1939. He has a photo of the band I believe at Regent Dance Hall. He remains proud they were a BBC broadcasting band. Particularly him giving the first live radio rendition of a famous song My Prayer, before actress Annette Mills. He believes this was broadcast from Brighton Odeon. I can supply a copy of my story if required. Jack also provided these details when I interviewd him for BBC Radio Leicester about 14 years earlier.

    By Michael Clarke (16/01/2008)
  • I am trying to locate any music by the Syd Dean Band in any format for my mum’s birthday. She is 83 soon and would love to be able to hear them play once more! Vinyl, CD, anything! Please e-mail me or contact me on 07876 646252. Thanks.

    By Rob Drummond (17/01/2008)
  • Further to my entry of 17/01/08 about Wally Dewar Band.
    Vocalist/drummer, Jack Clay who fronted the band under his profesional name Johnny Cotton, confirms the band played at the Regent Dance hall for summer season 1939.
    His progressing music was halted by Mr. Hitler, resulting in Jack enlisting in the Royal Marines. In respect of the first broadcast of the song ‘My Prayer’, in my 2004 interview, Jack said, “Annette Mills handed the newly-penned music and lyrics Wally’s band rehearsed the number in the morning and in the evening played the number live on BBC Empire Service.”
    Despite claiming the first live broadcast of ‘My Prayer’ and making a demo recording the band never scored a hit with the Boulanger-Kennedy song. That was left to the likes of Bing Crosby, The Ink Spots and later The Platters.
    Jack, an active Rotarian, says the broadcast was from The Regent Dance Hall and not The Odeon as previously stated. He is keen to know if any other of Dewar’s musicians of the time are still alive and if any one has a copy of the record?

    By Michael Clarke (24/01/2008)
  • I have a connection with the Syd Dean band, through Johnny Woollaston, that I’m trying to follow up. Like Rob Drummond, I’d love to get some of the band’s recordings. If anyone out there has information as to where I might locate these I’d really appreciate it.

    By Julie Howley (09/02/2008)
  • I met my wife Wendy at the Regent in 1945 it was love at first sight, we are having our aniversary in April her bridesmaid Pat Wade will be there. Happy memories.

    By John Glover (11/03/2008)
  • I was interested to read about Johnny Wollerston and the Majestic Ballroom in Leeds. In the early 60s I was a regular there, and with my wife (still current) we would go every Saturday night. I am also interested to hear of anyone who knows about the 2nd band, the Dave Dalmour quartet. Dave was the base player. We now live in Melbourne, Australia.

    By Donald Rhodes (10/04/2008)
  • With great sadness I have to tell of the death of Frank Ireland in the Cork University Hospital on Sunday 4th May 2008. Frank had been very ill for the last several months and passed away very peacefully . The Cork City Jazz Band will play a tribute session in memory of Frank in Actons Hotel Kinsale on Sunday 11th may.Frank played at this venue for many years.

    By Ed Cotter (05/05/2008)
  • It was with much sadness I have to report the death of ex Syd Dean sidesman, Frank Ireland. Frank, who was in his eighties, joined Syd’s band around 1954 and in addition to being a fine tenor sax player, was a larger than life character and funny man of the Band, along with trumpeter/vocalist Harry Bolton. As reported elsewhere, Frank spent his twilight years in Ireland, losing his beloved Margaret some two years ago. Nevertheless, although unwell himself, he still insisted on blowing tenor until very recently! I had the great pleasure of having ‘digs’ at Frank and Margaret’s house in Lansdowne Street, Hove around 1955 when I worked at the Regent. ‘Digging’ with me was Syd Dean trombonist Eric Noble, who has lived in Tenerife for many years (and whom I was reunited with through your website), along with his lovely wife Glen (whom he met at the Regent, as did I with Joan, my wife of 52 years) What times we had! Eric is now the only surviving member of the mid 50’s Orchestra although we would desparately like to catch up with Vicky Anderson, Syd’s great girl vocalist. Does anyone out there know where she is nowadays? Tell her Eric and Des are enquiring! Syd Dean, the Regent, BBC ‘Dancing by the Sea’ broadcasts, Frank Ireland — seems like only yesterday. Where did those years go?

    By Desmond Jones (05/05/2008)
  • Goodbye to my Friend of over 50 years, Frank Ireland. I joined the Sid Dean Band in 1953 and was with the band for three years; for anyone interested I will give you the Line Up during those three years. Frank Harry Strain. Les Williams. Stan Vickers, and Johnnie Nichols on Saxes. Johnnie Woolaston, Harry Bolton, and Ron Simms on Trumpets. Bill Richards, myself and Eric Noble on Trombones. Frank Harlow on Piano, Freddie Craig pn Bass,and Sammy Bryant on Drums. Frank Harlow left and was re placed by Jack Chivers. Sammy Died young at 50 and the Drum chair was filled by my Great friend Frank Marshall. All the above have now died. I am still around not blowing trombone but at least still Breathing. Now Vickey Anderson sang with the Band all that time, she had come in to replace Jill Day. Some Brighton people may remember Jill. Vickey did not sing with the band on any of the many Broadcasts we did, Rita Williams came in on Vocals. Interesting to note we went up on the early train before 7 a.m. Brighton to Victoria, Fare three shillings and sixpence Return, no joking  Yes we did do Saturday afternoon dances for children and Big Band Nights were started on Sundays, With Guest Stars; Petula Clarke came one night as I remember, she was very young. A big feature every Sunday night was Sam’s drum solo ‘Skin Deep’.

    By Eric Noble (10/05/2008)
  • Regarding Donald Rhodes 11th April 2008 enquiry about Dave Dalmour who appeared at the Majestic Ballroom, Leeds in the early 60’s, I have a ‘Yorkshire Evening Post’ cutting dated 15/2/07 reporting that Dave had died in Leeds General Hospital a few days earlier aged 81, from a brian haemorrhage. Among the tributes was one from Sir Jimmy Savile OBE, who started as a DJ at the Majestic. Incidentally, when Syd Dean went on tour, he always included the Majestic in his itinery. There has been comment elsewhere on the ‘guest’ Bands who appeared at the Regent when Syd was away, but I don’t think mention has ever been made about that fine outfit from the Sherwood Rooms, Nottingham — Peter Fielding and his Orchestra. I remember he had an arrangement of ‘Chopin’s Polynaise’, which was so good that dancers would stop dancing — and just listen! Ah! those wonderful Brighton days of the mid- fifties!

    By Desmond Jones (11/05/2008)
  • Ref Steven Gascoine’s question: the drummer with Syd Dean in the late 60’s was Ray Du Val who had played with Emile Ford previously. I played in various rock bands at the time and on the same (revolving!) stage as Syd Dean’s orchestra who also had a great bass player.  We supported a number of other bands at the suite too – anyone recall Orange Bicycle?

    By David Foster-Smith (20/06/2008)
  • I remember seeing the Orange Bicycle at Lewes Town Hall. The other members of my band had told me how great they were and I had to agree after seeing them. Their Beach Boys numbers were on a par with the originals who I had seen a few weeks previously a the Dome. Actually their version of Good Vibrations was better (well we thought so anyway).

    By Dave Cresdee (27/08/2008)
  • The highlight of my week in the early 1970’s was going on a Saturday morning to Sammy Bryant for drum lessons (and later vibes lessons) in Brighton. He was a really great guy and I learned a lot from him, and he also helped me get my first summer season at Butlins in Saltdean with Pat Redmond on piano and George Levy playing bass and sax. I also remember Frank Ireland and all the other players at the Musicians Union meetings in Brighton, as well as Dougie Campbell and Charlie Pude at the Hotel Metropole. Does anyone have any news on any of these guys?

    By Vic Bragman (29/08/2008)
  • Just by chance living in the past as I do I typed in Sid Dean. So many memories of the Regent 1948 to 1953. I lived in Holmes Avenue, Hove. Has anyone got a hanky?

    By John Kemp (10/09/2008)
  • I too have only just found this wonderful Syd Dean site
    whilst looking for Jill Day! Born and lived in Brighton and I went to the Regent dancehall in the 50s and 60s. Happy days! I would love to have some Syd Dean records; can anyone help please? I am now living in Western Australia and have been since 1970.

    By John Starley (20/09/2008)
  • My mother, Ellen Moore, used to sing with Syd Dean, along with her two friends Doreen and Yvonne -known as the Deanagers. They appeared on Opportunity Knocks when it was a radio programme and made some discs as well. They are all still in touch with each other and have many happy memories of those days in the 40s/50s.

    By Melodie Baines (21/09/2008)
  • I just put up a page about my dad Lionel Stewart and his time at the Regent. He was manager there for over 30 years. If anyone can identify the people in the photos or add any new anecdotes about Lionel I would love to hear from them.

    By Sarah-Jane Roome (25/09/2008)
  • I have just been introduced to this web site and would like to say that I, with two other girls, sang with Syd as the Deanagers on a BBC recording in London on the 7th July 1951. I live in Lincolnshire, Ellen lives in West Sussex, and Doreen is in Australia, perhaps somebody may remember us? I am at present trying to get my local radio station to see if the BBC Archives in London can trace this Recording. Very interesting Web Site, Happy Memories.

    By Yvonne Hayler (30/09/2008)
  • Hi, this is for Vic Bragman. If anybody knows him please pass this on. I remember seeing him at the Metropole in those early years as we were school mates. I have tried searching for Vic for many years online presuming he’d be famous by now. Anyway, please contact me Victor contact”at”

    By David Chessell (06/11/2008)
  • Hello Victor Bragman, I hope you remember me. We became friends as I was living in Brighton. I’ve lived in Germany since 1989, I am married and have a son. How about you? I would love to hear from you and your life. I was looking for some old friends in England, as I saw you name. I hope you write back.

    By Patricia Tapia López-voß (13/11/2008)
  • I don’t know where to start but here goes. I don’t really know Frank but was introduced to the Cork City Jazz Band in Actons Hotel, Kinsale, by my wonderful lady Rose who is now my partner (Rose from Cork, as I call her). The story goes that I loved the Cork City Jazz Band and whenever I went to Ireland to see Rose we would try to get to Kinsale on Sunday to see the band. Now as a regular about at least once a month, we would start chatting to Marco the band leader about (70+ years of age) who knew Rose’s mam & dad from years ago. Anyway Frank used to say this joke – anyone from England, the first time I would put up my hand, Frank would say hope it’s not from East Ham as my brother is working tonight and he’s a burgler. I lived about 8 miles from him in Romford. God bless you and your dear wife Frank rest in peace mate. Much love from me and Rose. PS I’m looking for a Sax. And to move to Ireland.

    By Jim Murray & Rose McCarthy (13/11/2008)
  • This is for Patricia Tapia Lopez. I certainly do remember you from when we were in Brighton. It’s great to hear from you after all this time.
    Please e-mail me at

    By Victor Bragman (17/11/2008)
  • I was fortunate enough to sing with Syd Dean and his band for the last year at the Regent Ballroom in 1964. The following 9+ years we played at the Top Rank until Syd retired, well from the the Top Rank anyway. He played on for many years doing gigs at top places like Brighton Centre, Metropole, The Grand, King Alfred and so on. What a lovely man he was. l was so grateful to him for giving me the opportunity to sing. l never realised just how great the job was for some months. l just kind of went through the motions, not believeing l had this job. The musicians, were fantastic. When l joined the band in 64 the line up was: Teddy Gunn drums, Freddy Hooper Bass, Jimmy Stewart keyboard, Joe Hunter Trumpet, Mel Fagan trumpet, Bill Guy trombone, Les Williams Tenor, Don Pashley Tenor/clarinet /flute and Jimmy Paxton Barritone/alto
    singer/guitarist Ray Sinclair and Nat Hale vocals. A fantastic job for a 16 year old to land. A week before that l was a machinist at Kayser Bondor making bras for £4 a week. The boys were all so supportive and kind but above all, so much fun. l never stopped laughing. l get a bit miffed when l read articles about Syd and his band. l am never mentioned yet l sang with him for (by far the longest) some 15 years leaving briefly to have my 2 children and back within weeks. l would like to hear from anyone who has any recordings or photos with myself and the band. l never really had any pictures taken with Syd and the boys. l would love any copy. l used to stand on the stage, especially Monday nights, (dancers night) and look at the vast age group dancing by (18 to 80). We used to call them “swoopers”. There were a lot of great dancers, big frocks, and scrubbing their feet in resin before taking to the floor, very serious they were and competitive. l remember thinking “that will be me down there dancing one day when l am too old to sing!”. What did they do? They pulled the Regent down and turned the Top Rank into a disco…a travesty. l am 61 now, and there hasn’t been anywhere like the Regent/Rank or similar to go dancing, for years. For those of you who don’t know, Ronnie Smith puts a big band in at Shoreham Airport, the 2nd Tuesday of every month, it is fantastic, with Ronnie Keene on keyboards and Chris Carrington on drums, and a huge line-up of brilliant musicians playing all the great “big band tunes”. My time with the Syd Dean Band? The best years of my life…thank you, Syd xxxx

    By Barbara Hermans (19/11/2008)
  • My first journey to the Regent Ballroom was with my mother to attend a Sunday tea dance in the 50s. I feel sure she wanted to re-live some of her favourite memories as well as introduce me to the Regent.
    Later, in my early teens, it was the Thursday night pop night that became the draw. Waited all week for Thursday to come around. It was enchanting, daunting and exciting. Although still shy, I felt very grown up being in such a grand place. The sprung floor was the REAL thing of course.
    Thank you so much for all your hard work creating this web site.
    I wonder why the past memories are so exciting. Were times really better in those days?

    By Sandra (03/12/2008)
  • Just a short comment re. Lionel Stewart Manager at the Regent Ballroom around 1950 (See Above). Des Jones who was Assistant Manger at the Ballroom at the time is coming to visit me here in Tenerife where I have lived for many years.  I add that I was playing with Sid Dean on trombone for three years, I’m Eric Noble (See above comments of the band at that time). I guess Des and myself are maybe the only people around who are still breathing and remember that time of the early fifties at the Ballroom. I do know all the Band Members are long gone…anyone remember us ???

    By Eric Noble (30/12/2008)
  • Have not long discovered your site and am reading all the comments on the Regent. My early memories were of being taken to the tea dances and learning ballroom dancing! I remember Syd Dean, Vicki Anderson, Frank Ireland and Laurie Newby who played double bass. I am writing a history of dancehalls, clubs and coffee bars in Brighton between 1963-1970 and would love to hear from anyone who remembers the following (and any I have left out). If you have any stories that would be great:
    Starlight – (Montpelier Rooms)
    Pop In
    The Barn
    Florida Rooms
    Whisky A Go Go


    By Geraldine Adams (06/01/2009)
  • Geraldine, I virtually lived in coffee bars in Brighton in the 60’s. The Bar J, the Bamboo Bar, the Cottage, the Hi Lo, the Ballad Tree, La Place Pigalle, the Chateau Rouge, the Istanbul, Tingy’s, the Little Chef (no, not one of those, a bikers’ coffee bar just along from the King & Queen). These are some that come to mind without much effort. If you want more detail let me know.

    By Andy Funnell (12/01/2009)
  • Although I never saw Syd Dean, I often heard him on radio and taped his ‘Music While You Work’ Broadcasts. On radio (at least after the late Fifties) he used a band of about nine or ten players (one trumpet, saxes, piano, bass, guitar and drums). I was interested to read a letter referring to Ronnie Keene, who I had no idea was still around. He led an eleven piece band in the late fifties but later reduced to an octet. I had always believed him to be a sax player so was surprised to read that he also plays keyboards. There’s an article about Syd Dean and other bandleaders in my book “Music While You Work -An Era in Broadcasting” or on my

    By Brian Reynolds (22/02/2009)
  • I think I saw Syd Dean in the Top Rank in the summer of 1969. I remeber an incident when the drummer (doing a long solo) stood up after finishing to receive applause and then- when he wanted to sit again- missed his stool and fell backwards behind the stage. He was placed quite high so this was a severe fall. I am not 100% sure that it was Syd Dean but it was a big orchestra.
    Dieter from Düsseldorf

    By Dieter petzold (25/02/2009)
  • Hi Geraldine, I was in Brighton in the summer of 1969 and my favourite places were The Montepelier Rooms and Pop In (although it might have closed down in 1968) and the Top Rank. I would be interested to read your book about bars and discos. Please leave the information here on where and how I could get hold of the book.

    By Dieter, Düsseldorf, Germany (01/04/2009)
  • I haven’t looked on the site for some time and have only just found the comments made by Barbara Hermans. Barbara you have every right to feel miffed at being unmentioned. For what it’s worth I think that you were a great (and versitile) singer. Obviously Syd fealt the same. The last time that I saw you was in the early seventies when, for a while my band shared Thursday nights at the Top Rank Suite with Syd. Please let us know, did you pack up when he called it a day or did you continue singing with other bands?

    By Dave Cresdee (24/05/2009)
  • Can anyone tell me anything about Sam Bryant? He was the drummer. Is he still living in Brighton? Did any of his children follow in his footsteps in music?

    By Charrisse Matthews (10/06/2009)
  • Had many happy hours dancing to Sid Dean’s band in 1949 to 1955. If you couldn’t dance very well it didn’t matter as the Regent had a lovely bouncy floor.

    By Joan Mallett (27/06/2009)
  • Response to Charrisse Matthews 11/06/09:  Sadly Sammy Bryant is no longer with us. Back in the 70s his son worked with me at A & T Music, but I cannot for the life of me remember his name. Certainly Sammy was around in the 70s playing gigs with bands led by Jack Hazeldene and Dougie Campbell. The last time that I saw him he was backing Wayne King at the Congress Theatre in Eastbourne. Sammy was a superb and versatile percussionist. Keep watching this site Charrisse, I’m sure that more Brighton musicians will respond with the missing name and date.

    By Dave Cresdee (17/07/2009)
  • Hiya. A bit unrelated but I noticed a Tony Hill had posted on this site. It might be a coincidence but could you please email me, if you were involved in a big band or managed.I am searching on behalf of a relative. Thanks

    By Clare Swift (07/09/2009)
  • In response to Dave Cresdee, I do remember Sammy Bryants’ son’s name was Adrian Bryant. I recall seeing him playing drums with Sammy on the vibes one time – I don’t know if Adrian stayed in music or not.

    By Vic Bragman (11/09/2009)
  • To David Pearce (my cousin) – David, I’ve just caught up with this site, and want to say thanks for your posting re my father. I hate to be pedantic but, as you’ll see, the spelling is Wollaston. 🙂 Thanks again, Michael. (PS if you want to get in contact about anything, Pat / Brian will be able to provide details).

    I noticed that a couple of people were interested in connections about Johnny Wollaston ? As his son, I might be able to help?! The site correctly has a privacy policy but I can easily be found in the phone book – I’m in Edinburgh.

    By Michael Wollaston (14/09/2009)
  • Great to read about Syd Dean,and others, but does anyone remember the man who threw out naughty boys? We used to call him ‘Monkman’, we were all scared of him.

    By Duffy Newman (08/01/2010)
  • Does anyone remember the Eric Rogers Rhythm Group who played alongside the Johnny Woolaston band in the late 50s? I played piano and vibraphones in the group and I would love to see if the small combo was remembered.

    By John Whitehead (11/02/2010)
  • My father, Bill Turner, used to play trumpet in Sid Dean’s Band, I understand. Can anyone tell me more?

    By Kelvin Turner (11/02/2010)
  • I am trying to find out more about Les Williams. I think Les was a boyfriend of my mum Eileen from Thornaby in the early 40’s. She often spoke about Les and the Syd Dean band and we used to have 78 records. I also think Les may have been in the RAF.

    By Anthony Fox (08/04/2010)
  • My father knew Sid very well and played with him regularly. His name was Sammy Lambert and my mother was Doreen. I spoke with Sid shortly before he passed away and he was very complimentary about Dad. Dad was the chairman of the Brighton Musicians Union and I have fond memories of the meetings at the Red Lion, Patcham. In answer to the question regarding Sammy Bryant’s kids and whether they played or not – I went to school with his son Glen and I seem to recall that he was a very good piano player. If any of you remember Dad or Mum I would love to read your comments.

    By Phil Lambert (09/05/2010)
  • Hi Phil,I remember your mum and dad very well. I remember dad’s band at the Aquarium and your house in Arundel Road and also great evenings at the Black Lion. Drummer Phil Seaman guested there and spent the night at our small terraced house and all Sam’s students turned up the next morning just to pick up a few tips.I still have a few old tuition books if anyone should want them.Your mum and Dad were great. Bass player Ronnie Stones’ widow Beryl also knew them. Glenn remembers you from school and now works for Royal Mail and still loves music.

    By Joan Frankie Bryant (20/06/2010)
  • Joan Thanks for the nice comments and I am pleased that you and Glen are well, please say hello from me. I remember Sam’s drumming well and always enjoyed hearing him play he had so much energy. All of these old memories from great times give me a lot of happiness. Are you all still in Brighton?

    By Phil Lambert (25/06/2010)
  • Hello Phil, Sammy was a great character, full of energy and enthusiasm. I and the rest of my band (The Polygons) remember him with fondness, not only at the Musicians Club get-togethers at the Black Lion, but at many other functions in the town. Great sax player.

    By Dave Cresdee (23/07/2010)
  • I was the drummer that fell off the stage after drum solo! I hope this will answer question by Dieter Petzold, 26/02/2009

    By RAYE DU-VAL (30/08/2010)
  • As a professional vocalist for some 20 years with the Sydney Lipton Orchestra at Grosvenor House, I was privileged to also work alongside dear Sammy Bryant and Jimmy Stewart. Freddie Hooper also – ex the Syd Dean Band – and myself worked with SD towards the end of his career. Sammy, Jimmy, Freddie – and now I read Frank Ireland – bless you sweethearts and enjoy that Great Gig in the Sky! And regards to Eric and Glen Noble – I remember Tenerife!

    By Joy Launor Heyes (31/08/2010)
  • About Johnny Woolaston before he joined Sid Dean he played with Wally Dewar’s band at Sherrys Brighton. They came from Birmingham. It was 1938 or 9. I joined the band also on trumpet and we became good friends. I was 17 yrs he was I think 18yrs. Years later I became a theatre conductor and met up with him in Leeds where was playing at the Majestic ballroom. Last time we met was on the Isle of Man where I was playing at the Villa Marina with my own band. Johnny had a pub near the Laxey wheel and played great organ what else. later i became MD for Pontins. I am 87 years old – any musicians around who I knew?

    By Paul Gold (17/12/2010)
  • I wrote about the Regent Ballroom and was with Syd Dean for three ears around 1952. Frank Ireland and me were the only survivors of that band. Frank has gone to the ‘great beyond’. I am living in Tenerife.

    By Eric Noble (20/12/2010)
  • Does anyone recall a William Johnstone who played trumpet? I’m told he played with the Syd Dean band. It may have been when they were in the Derby area (visiting perhaps?).

    By John Bowden (10/02/2011)
  • Hi. My name is Jasper, I played in the Sid Dean Band on Trombone + Bass Trumpet for 15 yrs at the Top Rank. There is still a few of us left. It was a great band + Sid was great to work for. Jasper

    By Jasper Franklin (25/02/2011)
  • I was with Syd Dean from 1957 to 1959 on trumpet. Also at the Orchid Ballroom, Purley. From there I was with Bill Collins’ Band back at the Regent, Brighton. Syd asked me to join him at the Gaumont, Kilburn, where I played for 2 years, 1 trumpet, 5 Saxes. Then to the Astoria, after which I joined Jack Nathan at the Pigalle, then Sidney Lipton Orchestra.

    By Roy Garman (10/04/2011)
  • Bands and musicians very highly spoken of in our family home from a decade earlier, included Syd Dean, Art Gregory, Hedley Ward Orchestra, Norman Nankervis Orchestra, Jack Stone Orchestra and many more all made up with first class musicians. Years of enjoyment as a young boy was spent listening to all these bands, musicians and arrangements, in Brighton, Folkestone, Scarborough, Whitby, and Manchester etc. Then while coming across this site I was thrilled to see an entry from Paul Gold. Paul led many popular bands through the late fifties to the early 70s  at Pontin’s Middleton Tower Holiday Camp, in Morecambe Lancs. and overseeing the Paul Gold Orchestra at Blackpool Pontins. During this period he employed many excellent young musicians who later became some of the most highly respected names as well as numerous seasoned professionals. Whether in the theatre, ballroom or even doing his own band show, his professionalism always shone through. Thanks for the memory Paul and giving me my first start as a professional musician. The transition from a young export clerk to my first season at Morecambe, was arguably one of the most exciting times of my life.

    By David Miles (15/04/2011)
  • In 1967 I joined the Johnny Wollaston band at the Top Rank Suite in Leicester- we were there for 18 months then finished and Johnny went to the Savoy Hotel, Blackpool with drummer Artie Mack and bass player Trevor Horn( now a multi milionaire record producer). I rejoined the Wollaston band for two years in 1970 at the Top Rank Suite, Preston and from there we went on to a summer season on the I O M at the Villa Marina. I lost touch with Johnny after that but knew he stayed on the island and took a pub near Laxey. He was a fine musician and one of those rare people who could write a full arrangement in the pub during the band break. I am still working as a pro singer but nothing is like the days of the ballrooms and the big bands.

    By Mike Sears (27/04/2011)
  • I moved to Brighton in Jan 1959 from a small town in Kent. When I first went to the Regent, it blew me away. I’d never been to anywhere as lovely before. Bill Collins’ Band was there at that time and I can still remember the smell of perfume when the lift doors opened upstairs into the ballroom. I met my husband the first night I went there and we have now been married for 51 years. Such special memories – so VERY sad when they pulled it down!

    By Hazel Vane (08/05/2011)
  • Anyone who would like to contact me re The Syd Dean Ork’ please feel free to do so. Regards…..Raye.

    By RAYE DU-VAL (12/05/2011)
  • Hi, I started going to the Regent when I was 15 yrs old. I met my husband at the Regent in 1966. It was a great dance hall with a bouncy floor. Sid Dean was there and Jimmy Saville who had a record shop I believe in East Street. It was a great meeting place; I was sad when it closed. I had to go down to the suite in West Street to dance but it was never the same - never had the same feeling as the Regent.

    By sue adams(nee cole) (04/10/2011)
  • Barbara Hermans, you were a fantastic singer, I am very surprised you didn’t go on to be famous!

    By Tony Clevett (09/10/2011)
  • I wrote a note in April 2010 with regards Les Williams, a long standing Tenor Sax player with the Syd Dean Orchestra. I am very surprised that no one knew of Les, I’m reasonably sure he is my father and only want to know something about him.

    By Anthony Fox (03/11/2011)
  • To Mike Sears, Paul Gold and others. Thanks for your memories of my dad, Johnny Wollaston. I still live in the Isle of Man after Dad introduced us to the place and have fond memories of his time at the Villa Marina in Douglas. If you have any photos of him I would love to hear from you.

    By Lynn Mayers (29/11/2011)
  • My email address:

    By Lynn Mayers (01/12/2011)
  • I am wondering if Syd Dean’s saxophonist Les Williams was the same musician and arranger as my colleague of the same name, in his later years. Les died some 5 years ago, and during our 10 years as musical colleagues, (we both used to arrange and copy), he only mentioned spending his RAF days on clarinet. He never mentioned the Syd Dean Band to me – I didn`t think to ask at that time, as I`ve only just come across this web site relating to the line up of the band, which inclused Les. All I know of my colleague is that after leaving the RAF he took up a position as a staff arranger at one of `Tin Pan Alley`s` music publishing houses. He went on to become MD for the Simon Dee TV series, after which he went back to West Wales to care for his dying mother. Upon his return to London to pick up his musical career, living in Kingston he found the popular music business had musically degenerated into the gutter, and it became difficult for all arrangers to survive as before. It`ll be a long shot of course now, but to hear of Les` days with the Syd Dean Band would be very interesting to me. I possess some of his scores, notably the `Bach for Band` music he arranged for the London Symphonic Band album. I don`t have the means or the time now, but it would be good if the scores could be recopied and made available to the many concert wind bands we now have. Thanks for any info on Les. He was a fine musician, if his own worst enemy towards the end. Best wishes.

    By Tony Wakefield (20/12/2011)
  • Hi, I am Emma Bryant. Grand daughter of drummer Sammy (Samuel) Bryant. Although I never got to meet him- he passed before my time but my Nan (Sammy’s widow) and dad (Glenn Bryant- Sammy’s son) have told me all about the Regent and Syd Dean. I only wish I could have been around to meet my granddad.

    By Emma Bryant (22/12/2011)
  • Hi Emma. Your Grandad was a lovely man and a great drummer. My father, also Sammy, spoke very highly of him and I remember listening to him play at the Black Lion Patcham when I was young. Say hello to your uncle for me, we were at school together.

    By Phil Lambert (23/12/2011)
  • Hi Phil. My dad (Glenn) remembers you from Junior School? You went to Queen’s Parks Secondary School with my uncle Adrian?

    By Emma Bryant (23/12/2011)
  • My great uncle Fred used to play the double bass with this band. His name was Fred Berkshire. Does anyone remember him? He was also a great guitarist.

    By Michele Kawik (09/01/2012)
  • May I add a few lines here, a message for Paul Gold. I believe I have got this right, memory is somewhat jaded . 1966 Pontins Middleton Towers. On Sunday nights there was an evening of live music in the Bergaria Theatre. One of the highlights of the evening, the Paul Gold Orchestra would play the Dambusters March, the lighting technician lit the ceiling with a roving spotlight, to imitate a search light, really added to the theme of a great piece of music. As I worked a night shift in the Photographic Darkrooms at the camp I always made sure I went in to the theatre before I started the nights work. There were two websites for Pontins and Middleton Towers; One has disappeared, the other seems to be a little quiet these days. As someone else said “Thanks for the memories” trust you are well. Regards Frank.

    By Frank Davey (21/06/2012)
  • Is the drummer Artie Mack the same person who played with Teddy Foster at Butlins, Filey in 1958?

    By Ian Wright (28/06/2012)
  • I remember The Paul Gold Orchestra at Middleton Towers. I was a dancer there in 1967.

    By Lynne Morrison (19/08/2012)
  • In response to Barbara Hermands. Was all before I was born but put my dad’s name into Google and ended up on this page! Fanastic! I will tell my dad about it! His name: Teddy Gunn (drummer).

    By Kirstie (21/08/2012)
  • I have many fond memories of the time when my dad, Mel, was with The Syd Dean Orchestra.

    By David Fagan (05/10/2012)
  • I sang with Johnny Woolaston in 1967 till 1969. My name is Fay and I did not know anybody when I went to the Top Rank in Leicester, but Johnny was very good to me; I was only seventeen years old and from Bristol Top Rank to Leicester. I still have some tapes of the band and Mike Sears singing and have spoken to Mike Arty and Trevor a few years ago, so have some lovely memories. I can still remember the first letter I had from Johnny just before I left the Top Rank in Bristol and have still got the photos I had to send to him for the front of the ballroom outside. 

    By Fay Ridd (30/10/2012)
  • To Fay Ridd. Hello Fay – lovely to see your comments about my father Johnny. If you would like to exchange emails etc please get in touch with me. I believe I cannot put my email address on here (?) but you can find me on Linkedin or Facebook, ensuring you contact the Michael Wollaston at Edinburgh! My brothers and sisters would love to hear your tapes if we could find a way of copying them.

    By Michael Wollaston (03/12/2012)
  • Just read some great letters. I dated Johnny Nichols’ daughter Judy, beautiful girl, became good friends with Johnny and his wife Nancy, had some good times with them in NY and the UK. Sammy Bryant gave me drum lessons but I wasn’t very good, cost 2 shillings for 1 hour Sunday mornings (when I got up after Saturday night). Re Tony Bird letter 10/07/06: it was the Aquarium when Syd played there and the visiting bands (Ted Heath, and Dankworth, Ivor and Basil Kurchin, Eric Delaney, Joe Loss to name a few). Even Lionel ended up at the Aquarium finally at the Montpelier Jazz club. I could go on but that’s enough for now. One last thing – I still owe Dennis Slade a slap – the big bully! Cheers all. The good old days.

    By Rick (Ginger) Thompson (29/01/2013)
  • Johnny Nicholls, sax player for Syd Dean’s band, and daughter Judy moved to Denmark I think. Granddaughter Nancy Edwards lives in Brighton, John & Nancy thought the world of her. Any info appreciated.

    By Richard (Ginger) Thompson (29/01/2013)
  • What a lot of familiar names from my childhood. My dad was the late Charlie Adams, who played trombone with Syd on many occasions, mainly later on in life. He also played with other local band leaders like Ken Lyon, Roy Affleck and others and was in the band of Brighton musicians formed around 1930s bandleader Harry Roy who made his comeback at Sherry’s when it re-opened as the Dixieland Show Bar in the late 1960s. My Dad died at the age of 94 and carried on blowing almost to the end! I’m 61 now and still playing guitar in the Desperate Dan Band and the rock duo MicRo.

    By Roger Adams (11/02/2013)
  • With reference to Tony Wakefield’s comments. Hi Tony, my father, Les Williams, whom I never met was in the RAF during the last war and around the period 1941-1942 was stationed at an RAF base somewhere in the Midlands. I am led to believe he went on to play with Syd Dean but not absolutely positive, it could well be he was the person you describe. If you can let me know any information or if you have any photos I would be very grateful. I am not out for any gain whatsoever, just curious.

    By Anthony Fox (09/03/2013)
  • Last night we lost from our midst one of the best loved bandleaders Brighton has ever known. Jack Hazeldine born in Throckley, Newcastle, on 22nd November 1930 to a loving musical family, moved South in his twenties’ to enlist as a Redcoat alongside Des O’Connor and soon established himself as bandleader working the Brighton and South coast circuit. I first met Jack when my agent, Sydney Lipton, placed me as vocalist for a summer season at the old Ringmer Hotel Cabaret Restaurant. That was over forty years ago. And the line-up was superb: Jimmy Stewart (keyboards/arranger) Sammy Bryant (drums) Freddie Hooper (Bass) Foggy Little (guitar); Norman Evans (sax) and Jack, of course, fronting with accordion and velvet vocals. Long after Mike Bamber’s Ringmer closed for the last time, Jack continued to work here and on the Spanish Costas developing a unique solo act, combining his music with stand-up comedy. And in later years, Jack favoured work in Eastbourne – met his wife Sue there – and only retired two years ago. It was whilst working on Tenerife just two years ago that Jack suffered a disastrous stroke that left him without speech. Yet he was able to communicate through song. It was quite extraordinarily beautiful. And although barely mobile, never once did he complain but smiled and laughed and displayed unimaginable bravery. Today, our daughter, Laura, called me from a mountain top to tell me she had heard her ‘lovely, lovely Daddy’ had passed away in his sleep in Eastbourne Hospital last night. Jack’s talent and sense of fun are carried on in our daughter Laura who is a professional singer and indeed in her children Maia-Rose (10) and Joshua Jack (8) who sing superbly with perfect pitch. Anyone reading this, who knew and worked alongside Jack, cannot fail to recall his qualities: Jack showed generousity; warmth and unfailing kindness to everyone he met. So we all say, God rest you Jack Hazeldine. And may your love ever live on in your daughter and grandchildren. And we send thoughts to wife Sue who cared for him so well and to his stepsons. And thanks to his brother Eddie and family who travelled from Hexham to be with him at the last. He ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother. Jack Hazeline…an amazing, incredible and very loving, very brave man.

    By Joy Launor Heyes (21/03/2013)
  • In reply to Vic Bragman: My dad is George Levy. He played the summer season at Butlin’s Ocean Hotel for practically all my childhood and beyond. He’s now 81years old and still teaching and gigging! Among other places, you can find him in the Brighton Saxophone Quartet, Jazz at the Albion pub in Hove. He also sometimes plays with the Jazz trio at the Havana restaurant in Brighton.

    By Susan Levy (07/06/2013)
  • Replying to Ian Wright: Yes Ian, Artie Mack did play in Filey with Teddy Foster’s band and continued to have many wonderful years doing what he loved best, playing his music! He played with great bands all over the country, ending his career in Blackpool, Lancashire. He only retired from full-time drumming about 5 years ago, filling his time with his beloved golf! Artie passed away on Tuesday June 25th in Preston Hospital and will be laid to rest, with his loving wife Maureen, on Wednesday July 3rd at Fleetwood Cemetery. He was a special man, kind, genuine, honest and funny…a fantastic musician. Will be sadly missed!

    By Frankie Kennedy (28/06/2013)
  • Artie Mack, a great drummer with Teddy Foster, Harry Leader, Johnny Woolaston and other bands has recently passed away in Thornton Vleveley, Lancs. We worked together with the Woolaston band in Leicester at the then new Top Rank Suite. Artie was a lovely gentle funny man and worked right up until a few years ago. Happy memories of an old friend – he will be buried with his lovely wife Maureen who passed away some years ago.

    By Mike Sears (30/06/2013)
  • Susan Levy. My dad Sammy used to talk about George and set me up for lessons with him which I didn’t attend unfortunately. So nice to hear that he is still playing and doing well.

    By Phil Lambert (02/07/2013)
  • So sorry to hear about the news of Artie Mack the drummer who played with Johnny Wollaston’s band in Leicester top rank suite. He was a lovely kind gentle man who took me under his wing when I was the girl singer there for two years in the late sixties. I hope you are still singing ‘where or when’ and ‘honey’ my two favourite songs you used to sing. God bless.

    By Fay Ridd (30/07/2013)
  • If Barbara Hermans (vocalist) or indeed anyone else (musicians, friends etc) who knew me when I was the drummer with the Syd Dean Orchestra in the late fifties/early to mid sixties would like to rekindle contact with me I would be very happy to hear from you.  Kind Regards. Please reply to:

    By Teddy Gunn (28/02/2014)
  • I have just stumbled across this site – some fascinating stuff. I played with Syd Dean during his ‘retirement’ era in the late 1970s, as bass guitarist (double bass not fashionable then although thankfully since re-emerged). By then Syd had taken gigs for dancers at King Alfred, Hove. I also spent some 10 years with Ronnie Keene at the Top Rank Suite – when Ron retired Steve Lewis took over and this handy professional gig finished with the Don Pashley band in 1980. By then, disco was king. New bandleaders tended to re-employ the same musicians, as they were the best around – and probably still are! Warm regards to former colleagues Ron himself, Barbara Hermans, Gavin Jones (singers), Chris Carrington (drums), Jasper Franklin (trombone), Joe Hunter, Ronnie Smith (trumpets), Andy Taverner (guitar). We knew how to slay ’em! – I’m still playing at 65 and earning money, a pretty rare occurrence these days.

    By Dave Edwards (24/03/2014)
  • Hi, I was searching for Sammy Bryant, and have posted elsewhere, so forgive me if I repeat myself. I went to school at Worth Abbey – they wanted me to play snare drum in the school orchestra, but I had a burning passion to play the kit. I was fortunate enough to have Sammy as a teacher for four or so years in the early 70s, and he gave me a good grounding in jazz technique. I was curious at to what became of him but reading the above posts, my questions have been answered. RIP Sammy. I loved you. A truly inspiring teacher, a great piano player too, and the only one to give me good reports. I’ve had another career meantime but I am now back gigging and doing some drum lessons as well. Love to everyone on this page

    By Jon Franks (28/03/2014)
  • Artie Mack. To Mike Sears, Fay Ridd, Ian Wright and anyone who may be interested! I do have some photos of Artie with his drums and also a few CDs of him singing many of his favourites.

    If you would like to have one, you can contact me by email or on Facebook. June 25th is the 1st anniversary of Artie’s death, we miss him.

    By Frankie Kennedy (14/06/2014)
  • For Mike Sears. Mike, just read a comment from Dieter Petzold regarding a drummer who fell off the stage after a drum solo; was that Artie Mack?  I know he did have a bad back resulting from a fall off stage!

    By Frankie Kennedy (14/06/2014)
  • Regarding the lovely tribute to Jack Hazeldine who died in March last year by Joy Launor Heyes. I have just read this and thought I would add to it. Jack Hazeldine was always my idol. I first met him in 1959 when I went to work with him in the British and Continental Rail dept at Hove Travel Agency in Church Road, Hove. I was just 16 and I have to say I spent more time running to the music shop in Western Road picking up music for him and listening to him singing new arrangements of all his songs, than I ever did selling rail tickets! It was great. At the time he was a member of the Ken Lyons’ Band, and I remember going to a lot of dances where they played. Also, as you said Joy, he was so funny and we had such a lot of laughs. He made coming to work a joy. I am incredibly sad to hear of his death. The last time we saw him was at the Queens Hotel in Eastbourne a few years ago before we moved away from the area and he taught my husband and I how to do the Lambarda, so if I ever dance it now, I remember him with love.

    By Wendy Thompson (11/07/2014)
  • Just back from Costa del Sol where I met up with my cousin Paul Gold and his delightful wife Margaret. He is a spritely 91 years old and living in Fuengirola. Several people have mentioned him before on his page.

    By Della Hart (08/08/2014)
  • Hi Wendy, I just wanted to say thank you for your lovely comment. I’d love to hear more about my Dad!  Laura Hazeldine.

    By Laura Hazeldine (04/11/2014)
  • Dear Wendy Thompson: With regard to your comments on Jack Hazeldine. I have a lovely tape that I believe is Jack. It is entitled ‘sing and Dance’ with Jack Hazeldine. I have sent an email to Laura to see if it is her dad. It is a lovely melody of old songs like Pal of my cradle days etc, there are 57 songs in all. I play it all the time and I thought I would try and find something out about Jack. By doing so, I came across this forum. As this must be a rare tape, I am sure you would like a copy. I can be contacted on Best wishes to all connected with Jack. Tom

    By Tom Benfield (25/12/2014)
  • This is for Barbara Hermans. I remember you Barbara at the Top Rank in 1970. I used to go to Brighton by train every Friday and Saturday evening from Haywards Heath with my friends Jackie and Linda and a few others who I can’t recall at the moment. We had to leave at 10.30 to get the last train back to the Heath as none of us could drive then. We hated having to leave so early as we really loved to dance. I remember the drummer Ray Du Val and Bobby Sansom who sang. I can remember talking to you and Bobby Dure in the breaks when they had a female DJ on stage, Antoinette St Claire as I recall. Sid Dean was a lovely man, always happy and chatty. I can remember a few of the other band members but can’t remember their names. I stopped going in 1972 when I got married and started a family. Great days and lovely memories.

    By Audrey Cook (29/01/2015)
  • There has been many comments referring to my friend Frankie Ireland, long time tenor sax player with Syd Dean. My band had the great pleasure of him playing with us many times. Truly a great character and musician. I have uploaded a recording to youtube for anyone who is interested in hearing him. This is not a professional recording but is good enough to hear what a great sound he made. Still miss him.

    By Dave Cresdee (09/05/2015)
  • Does anyone remember the Australian film star that came to visit the Regent, and what year it was? My mother worked as an usherette and was tasked with making a presentation to him but sadly she can’t remember his name!

    By Alison Barclay (07/06/2015)
  • Does anyone know much about Rufus Bernstein? He was my grandad. 

    By Ange N (10/07/2015)
  • Stumbled across this page. Knew of Syd Dean, but played with the Ronnie Keene Band in 1973 as my first professional gig. Grateful for the experience of working with such first-class musicians. Best regards to you all.

    By Adrian Farrar (21/11/2015)
  • hi my name is victor hoare i would like to get in touch with barbara hermans to invite to our regent reunion gig in may my wife and i had chats with her during her breaks at the regent so if you are out there barbara give us a call

    By Victor Hoare (26/01/2016)
  • My name is Steve Lewis, I had my band in the Top Rank in Brighton during the mid 1970s. I live in the United States now but I would love to get in touch with some of the members in the band – Don who took over the band when I left, Jasper trombone, Michael bass player, Joe trumpet – or any of the guys that played in the band. Please contact me at

    By Steve Lewis (25/10/2016)
  • I came down to Brighton from working at the Top Rank in Birmingham, and joined the Ronnie Keene band in about 1970. Super outfit!  Great rhythm section with Chris Carrington (drums), Tony Paterson (keyboards), Dave Edwards (bass) and Andy Tavender (guitar). Worked for several years with the lovely Barbara Hermans. At one stage we were doing six nights a week with a rehearsal on Saturday afternoon. That’s dedication for you! The great thing about the suite and the band was that during the week we played strict tempo through to all the top hits, hence the regular rehearsals. Bumped into Ronnie the other day, struggling a little bit with mobility but still bright as a button. It was a great apprenticeship for a young singer. Love to hear from any band members.

    By Gavin Jones (13/05/2017)
  • To Frankie Kennedy re Artie Mack. I don’t remember Artie falling off the stage, but I do remember in a band break at Top Rank Preston he had a embarrassing accident with a zip and a certain part of his anatomy. He had to go to the Royal Infirmary bent double, very little sympathy from the band leader Johnny Wollaston! Fay Ridd if you see this I have lost your email address.

    By Mike Sears (11/10/2017)
  • Just found the link to this page. Craig, who made the first ‘Comment’ in it on 02/04-2003 mentions an uncle of his, Freddie Craig. Well, the youngest of my sisters, Mary Elizabeth Kelly, married Freddie. The band were just starting off for a three-week tour of Scotland, when Mary turned up to get on the coach. None of the band knew that Freddie was about to be married. According to the article in The Evening Argus (as it was known then) Syd Dean said: “Freddie’s been with me for 10 years and he’s quite a character. It is like him to say nothing about it.” Mary and Freddie were divorced, while they were living on Guernsey. I started looking for information on the band, after Mary died suddenly, on 8th December. 

    By Edward Kelly (02/01/2018)
  • Would Kelvin Turner who put a comment on here in 2010 about his father Bill Turner who played trumpet with the Sid Dean band like to make contact with me on I may be able to give him information. I am researching Bill’s ancestry for a member of his family.

    By Richard Yates (18/02/2020)
  • My Great Grandad was Norman Nankervis if anyone remembers him and his band I’d love to hear from you. Thanks.

    By Jodie-Marie Sparks (04/10/2020)
  • @ David Pearce, it should read Johnny Wollaston. I am his Granddaughter, that means you are directly related to Ada (my Grandmother). Lovely to know I have an extended family out there.

    By Natalie Wollaston (05/08/2022)

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