Days when Des O'Connor really dug the Shindigs

The town's answer to Paul McCartney has hung up his bass guitar after 57 years in the music business.

Monday, 14th October 2013, 9:59 am
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 6:43 am
Crawley History - The Shindigs with Des O'Connor
Crawley History - The Shindigs with Des O'Connor

When the 60s were in full swing, Mick Platt was a member of Crawley band The Daltons - who later became The Shindigs.

Now Mick, 71, has called it a day – and his family and former bandmates threw a party in his honour to celebrate his decades-long career.

His musical career has seen him rub shoulders with many a celebrity over the years, including Des O’Connor, Lonnie Donegan and Brian Jones, of The Rolling Stones.

Crawley History

In 1964, The Shindigs had earned a place on Ready Steady Win - a TV talent show which was on the lookout for a group to rival The Beatles.

But their dreams of the big time were scuppered when a low vote from Brian saw them knocked out in the heats.

Mick’s friend and fellow musician, Mike King, penned a tribute to the man he called Mr Bassman.He wrote: “Mick began at the age of 14 in skiffle music, being a founder member of Essex group The Saxons.

In 1958, The Saxons were through to the final stages of the National Skiffle Group competition, which meant they appeared for three consecutive weeks on the hit pop show The 6-5 Special.

Crawley History

The Saxons finished second out of over 1,000 skiffle groups which led to a recording contract with Decca and the opportunity to appear in live shows supporting the skiffle stars of the day, including Chas McDevitt, The Vipers and Lonnie Donegan.

From their skiffle roots, in 1959 the group moved with the times into Rock ‘n’ Roll and Rhythm and Blues as can be found on their Decca album Meet The Saxons.

When Mick moved to Crawley in 1961, he reluctantly had to leave The Saxons.

Then, in 1963, he was introduced to top local band The Daltons, when they were practicing at Hazelwick School, and was asked to join them.

Crawley History

The Daltons gained a recording contract with Parlophone but were forced to change their name because of an American band of the same name.

The Daltons became The Shindigs, after the popular pop show of the time.

The Shindigs became a top London band, playing functions at The Dorchester, The Grosvenor House, The Hilton and Fairfield Halls.

They became the initial resident band at the newly opened Gatwick Manor and also appeared on the popular ITV show The Five O’Clock Club.

Two singles by The Shindigs were released by Parlophone - One Little Letter and A Little While Back - both of which were produced by Mick Hurst, of pop-folk trio The Springfields alongside the legendary Dusty Springfield and her brother Tom.

The Shindigs disbanded in 1967 and Mick Platt spent four years as a freelance bass player, working mostly in London for dance bands in the Mecca dance halls.

Then, in 1971, another top local band, The Consorts, asked him to join them. They were resident at the Russ Hill Hotel and Mick played with them for 14 years until 1985.

From 1985, Mick did freelance work in particular with the Barrelhouse Blues Band and a trio called Phase Three who were jazz tinged.

In 1990, a new venture! Mick was asked to join Fairtrade, a five-piece Irish folk band who developed into a duo called Real Strings - with Eddie Hurdman on fiddle, guitar and vocals and Mick on guitar and bass.

Frank Scully, a top local drummer, was added and the final line-up still perform today at Irish functions and Irish festivals all over southern England.

Mick also found time to form a retro skiffle and Rock ‘n’ Roll group with Allan Bailey called The Soho Leg-Ends. They play at London’s famous 100 Club and were part of the 6-5 Special 50th anniversary programme on BBC Radio 4.

They also sold out their show at The Hawth, in Crawley, for their show in October 2009.

After a magnificent career in music, Mick has decided to step back but will continue to play on special occasions, such as he did recently for the OxJam charity in Haywards Heath and with vintage grammar school band The Sabres at their recent sell-out reunion at The Bridge 

Thanks for the memories, Mick.”