This came from Martyn Pettifer (Civil Engineering, 1964) and is titled: "The Hustlers - the University's first rock group" - over to you Martin!
"It’s not just the rosy lens of nostalgia that suggests the 1960s were the best of times for pop music. They really were. Even on campus. Dances on Saturday nights in The Portland Building had been dominated until then by the Len Mason Orchestra, a fine bunch of musicians, but performing ‘strictly’ in the Bump and Glide tradition. However, the coming era of Merseybeat was to change this dramatically. None of us there will forget the huge excitement generated at The Elizabethan Ballroom above Cooperative House on Parliament Street on 7 March 1963 by four little known groups from the Brian Epstein stable - The Big Three, Billy J. Kramer and The Dakotas, Gerry and The Pacemakers and The Beatles - playing their first live gig in Nottingham.
"Little more than two years before this musical revolution, two second year engineering undergraduates, Richard Eldridge (Mechanical) and Martyn Pettifer (Civil), found during shared lectures (especially Maths!) a common interest in Buddy Holly, Elvis, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Eddie Cochran, Billy Fury, and “Moody Guy” Shane Fenton.
"Soon they were jamming, with Richard on rhythm guitar, Martyn on bass guitar and Paul Winchester (Mining) on drums. They went on to establish The Hustlers in the autumn term of 1961, recruiting Bill Walker (Geography, later Dip. Ed) on lead guitar and a fresher Stuart Hamilton (Zoology) on vocals, who was found after advertising for a singer on the Students’ Union notice-board.
"The group name was chosen after rather too many pints in tribute to the super-cool Paul Newman film “The Hustler” then much in vogue. Initial bookings were in Halls of Residence at undergraduate parties where conditions could be a bit primitive (it was not unknown for amplifiers to be plugged into the ceiling). Later came a long-term residency alongside Len Mason at Union hops in the Portland building.
"Other appearances included a Saturday morning show at The Theatre Royal, gigs at Bramcote, The Mansfield Town Football Supporters Club, The Trent Bridge Inn (occasionally sharing the stage with The Jaybirds starring the virtuoso guitarist/singer Alvin Lee, later of Ten Years After fame), The Cock at Ripley, Summer Balls at Florence Boot, Florence Nightingale and Hugh Stew, as well as an amusing mis-booking for a formal dance at The Air Training Corps in Beeston, where the group was asked to play the valeta!
"We managed to stumble through the evening by endlessly performing in waltz time “Walk - Don’t Run” by the Ventures. Also memorable, but for the wrong reasons, was the 21st Birthday Party for Bridget Page (Soc. Admin.) on November 22nd 1963 when the dreadful news came through about President Kennedy’s assassination.