In March 1965 Paul Crowland decided he was leaving the group so we had to find a replacement. We found a guy called Cliff Franklyn and started to rehearse with him. One of Paul's last gigs with "THE CORTINAS" was at The Hermitage Ballroom in Hitchin on 29th March 1965 when we supported "SCREAMING LORD SUTCH AND THE SAVAGES" with "RITCHIE BLACKMORE" later to be a member of "DEEP PURPLE" and "RAINBOW", on lead guitar.

Cliff"s first gig with us was on Monday12th April 1965, the day after I had been to "NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS POLL WINNERS CONCERT" at Wembley to see "THE BEATLES" "THE ROLLING STONES" and many other top names appearing live. We played at The Community Centre, in Welwyn Garden City (known as The Hop) and once again supported my old mate TONY RIVERS and THE CASTAWAYS. Tony had found a new guitarist called Tony Harding (H) and they were great as always.

Between May and August 1965 we appeared at The Wimbledon Palais in The Melody Maker Beat Contest. We got through our heat and semi final but were unlplaced in the final, and didn't deserve to be as we played quite badly on the night.

On 23rd October we played at The California Ballroom, Dunstable and supported another legend,"BILLY FURY" and on 11th December Nigel and I went to see "THE BEATLES" at Finsbury Park Astoria (later to become The Rainbow). The Beatles would play two shows a night one at 6.30pm the other at 8.40pm. There were usually about four or five acts on the Bill and "THE BEATLES" would play for 30 minutes. Things were so different then. We had tickets for the first show but when we came out bourght two tickets for the second show from a ticket tout and saw them again. You could never hear that much because of the girls screaming and "The Beatles" always used the Theatre pa systems which in general were not very good. Even the smallest pa system that you can buy today is probably bigger than "THE BEATLES" ever used. It is hard to describe the frenzy around the theatres when "THE BEATLES" were playing. If anyone opened a window in the theatre or the shadow of a person was seen seen the girls would go crazy.

1966 saw a lot of comings and goings in the group. In February Cliff Franklyn decided to leave the group and was replaced by Mick King, who himself only lasted until August. From August until November Alan Shacklock and Mick Taylor (a few months later he replaced Peter Green in JOHN MAYALLS BLUESBREAKERS) both acted as stand ins when commitments allowed, and occasionally we performed as a three piece. Our drummer was now Dave Cooper (Transfered from local group The Op Scene) replacing Roger cook who had hung up his sticks in July. In November we played in St.Albans with a group called "THE INSECT" and promptly stole their rhythm guitarist Rick Williams.

(Click on picture to enlarge)

The Cortinas 3
The Cortinas 3.