The band was formed in the autumn of 1961 as The Avengers, with an initial line-up of David Flack (rhythm guitar), Dave Price (vocals), Pete Adams (lead guitar), Rog Wholey (drums) and  Vic Jupp (bass guitar) and gave it’s first performance at the Methodist  Church Youth Club in Dagenham, Essex. The set was rather on the short  side as the band had only rehearsed two numbers - Driftin’, an  instrumental that had been recorded by The Drifters (they subsequently  changed their name to The Shadows) and the Buddy Holly Classic, Everyday. A few weeks later Vic Jupp left the band and was replaced on bass guitar by Bill Plaskett.

The band quickly realised that a set which lasted barely ten minutes, including encores and fictitious requests from the audience, would not  produce a flurry of offers of work and the remaining months of 1961 and  the early part of 1962 were spent, therefore, in building up the  repertoire. Songs such as Forty Days, I’m A Hog For You, Peggy Sue, Got A Funny Feeling, When Will I Be Loved, My Babe and Now’s The Time To Fall In Love were quickly added, together with a number of instrumentals including, Apache, FBI, Peace Pipe and a version of The Teddy Bears To Know Him Is To Love Him, which was arranged by the band and featured a duet using the guitars of Pete Adams and David Flack. The hard work paid off and the band began  to play regularly at pubs, clubs (a favourite venue was the St. Andrews  Church Youth Club in Goodmayes), and dances around Essex and as they  became better known decided that the time was right for a change of  name.

Whilst everyone agreed that they no longer wished to be known as The Avengers, it didn’t prove easy to come up with a suitable alternative. At the time, most of the bands who had made it favoured an approach which used  the name of the lead singer followed by the name of the backing band eg  Cliff Richard and The Shadows, Mike Berry and The Outlaws and local celebrities Brian Poole and The Tremeloes. The band were, however,  looking for something that was different and, in that respect, were  attracted by Unit Four Plus Two, the name of a new band that was gaining national recognition with their first hit single, Concrete And Clay, and a local band from Dagenham called Group Five. Suitable alternatives to the words ‘Unit’ and ‘Group’ were considered and out of those  deliberations came the word ‘Section’. It would be easy to think that,  as all of this was happening in 1962, that is why the ‘62’ was added but as David Flack recalls: ....at the time, the M1 Motorway was under  construction and, due to it’s length, was being built and opened to the  motoring public in sections. Section 62 had just been opened and as it  was also, coincidentally, 1962 we finally agreed to call ourselves Section 62.

Section 62 carried on from where The Avengers had left off and a few months later came their first brief flirtation with  fame when they were approached by Kangol to participate in a national  advertising campaign to promote the sale of their berets in the UK. The  campaign used as it’s catchphrase ‘A Kangol beret’s chic from every angle’ and focussed on a jive competition to find ‘the most beautiful girl in a  beret’ in which the girl dancers had to wear a beret. Heats were to be held at a number of major venues in and around London, with the grand  final at the Cafe de Paris, also in London; Section 62 were asked to provide the music for the jive competition by playing two songs and  were to be dressed for the occasion as French Matelots with blue denim  jeans, striped tops and black berets. The band were also asked to compose a short advertising jingle, relevant to the competition, to play at the beginning and end of their set. Dave Price recalls: “....we  actually wrote most of the jingle at a pub in Goodmayes, Essex during a  break in rehearsals. I think I came up with most of the lyrics based, in part, on some of the phrases from the advertising blurb that was to be  used in the campaign, we then went back to David’s parents house and all contributed to the music and the arrangement. As far as I can remember  the lyrics went something like this:

Pretty awful and corny, I know, but the Kangol people seemed to really like it and it probably only took us about thirty minutes to do from start to finish.” The band also took the opportunity to upgrade their equipment - Rog Wholey bought a new drum kit, Pete Adams and David Flack both  replaced their existing guitars with Fenton-Weill Triplemasters and Dave Price bought new microphones and stands. Kangol arranged for the band  to be photographed wearing their Matelot outfits, for publicity  purposes, at photographic studios in Oxford Street. Sadly those  photographs, with the exception of one that appeared in The Dagenham  Post, have not survived the passage of time.

The Kangol campaign was  scheduled to commence at The Hammersmith Palais on what was traditionally a ‘disco night’ and the band visited the venue on a number of occasions prior to the event in order to ensure that their  contribution went as smoothly as possible. Unfortunately that wasn’t to be the case, as Pete Adams explains: “There were about 2000 people in The Palais that night. We’d never played before that many people before and, as you can imagine, we were as nervous as hell! The Palais had a  revolving stage and they set things up with the disc jockey on one half of the stage and us on the other. When the time came for the jive  competition to start, the disc jockey announced that he was taking a  short break, they revolved the stage and we emerged into the spotlights. As soon as the stage stopped moving, we played the intro to the  jingle, Dave Price stepped up to the microphone and started to  sing... and nothing came out - they’d forgotten to turn the PA System on!  They quickly ushered us all back onto the revolving part of the stage,  turned us through 360 degrees whilst they got the microphones working and we started the set again. We were all really embarrassed but could  see the funny side of it afterwards and in the end we played really  well. We did, as the opening number, Twist Little Sister  which  Brian Poole and The Tremeloes had at the time just released as their  first single, and finished off with a Cliff Richard song, Now’s The Time To Fall In Love. The night was a resounding success and the Kangol people were delighted.” The next heat was due to be held at the Ilford Palais  several weeks later and the band visited the Palais on several  occasions, as they had done at Hammersmith, in order to rehearse.  However, due to a disagreement between the band and Kangol over unpaid  expenses, the band didn’t play at the Ilford heat and the whole venture  came, from the band’s point of view, to a rather disappointing and untimely end.

Fortunately, there was  plenty of other work around and the band quickly eased themselves back  onto the local circuit and continued to play regularly, including a  couple of concerts at Barking Abbey Grammar School, until the summer of 1963 when Bill Plaskett announced that he would be leaving to go to University and Rog Wholey also left to pursue a career with the RAF. The three remaining members of the band decided to carry on and immediately set about the task of finding replacements. Dave Baggalley, who had  been steadily building a solid reputation as a drummer with another local band, The Cossacks, was approached and (with both arms firmly up his back) agreed to join. All that was now needed to complete  the line-up was a replacement for Bill Plaskett and an advert was placed in the local press for a bass guitarist. There were a number of  responses, and auditions were held, but it really became something of a  ‘no contest’ when Dave ‘Pip’ Levy walked in - everyone was instantly  impressed with his playing and his personality ( the fact that he played a Fenton Weill bass guitar also helped!) and he was asked to join. The  new line-up immediately began rehearsing together and, heavily  influenced by the revolution in popular music that had been started by the arrival on the scene of The Beatles, quickly replaced most of the older material in the set with newer, more up to date songs with a greater emphasis on melodies and vocal harmony. The band also decided  that it was time to smarten up their image on stage and purchased  matching stage suits (dark blue for Dave Price and light grey for the  other members of the band), white shirts and silver lame ties - how  fashions have changed!!

It was, therefore, a new look and a new sound with which Section 62, with Dave Baggalley and Dave Levy now firmly established in the  line-up, appeared together for the first time in public at the Ford  Sports and Social Club in Goodmayes. They opened the set with The  Searchers Sugar and Spice and closed it with the Drifters Sweets For My Sweet, another song that The Searchers had also taken high into the UK charts. The band played really well and former bass guitarist Bill Plaskett,  who was home on leave from University at the time and came along to the  ‘gig’, couldn’t believe how much the band had changed in such a  relatively short space of time- he never did say, however, whether or  not he thought it was a change for the better! The band continued to work regularly in the local area and occasionally travelled further afield to such places as the USAF base at Wethersfield in Essex. David  Flack remembers only too well that on one such occasion “we couldn’t get anything to eat or drink all night because they only took American  dollars in the bar and, of course, we didn’t have any! I also seem to  remember that the girlfriend of Bobby Elliott (he was and, in fact still is, the drummer with The Hollies) was there on the night and spent some time talking to Dave Baggalley.”

It was during this period  that the band experienced it’s second brief flirtation with fame when  David Flack received a phone call from the organisers of an All Essex  Beat Contest inviting the band to participate. The contest was to be held at Abbs Cross Technical School in Hornchurch, Essex in order to  raise funds for an old folk’s centre. The band accepted the invitation  but almost didn’t make it when one of their amplifiers decided to stop working at rehearsals on the Tuesday night prior to the event.  Fortunately, friends in another local band who weren’t involved in the contest agreed to help out by lending them an amplifier. Seventeen bands from across Essex entered the contest and the day was organised in two  parts with heats in the afternoon and the finals at night; for the heats, each band had to perform two songs before an audience and a panel of judges and, if successful, repeat the process at night for the finals where the bands could, if they wished, perform different songs.  Dave Baggalley recalls that “we weren’t quite sure what to expect but,  as the event had been described as a Beat contest, we felt we should do two up-tempo numbers for the heats and, if we got through to the finals, change them for songs that had harmony vocals since, at the time, we felt more comfortable doing that sort of material. We went, therefore, for You Know He Did, which I think was the B side of one of The Hollies singles, and My Babe, which just about every band in the Country did in those days. Just before we went on stage Dave Price realised that his microphone wasn’t working. He quickly grabbed one of the other mics and we did the set - maybe the problem unsettled us a bit and we didn’t play as well as we could have done, but we must have done enough to satisfy the judges  as we got through to the finals. Most of the other bands that got through were doing fairly heavy stuff and we did wonder whether changing to songs with harmony vocals was the right thing to do - after much deliberation we convinced ourselves that it was and that it would, at the very least, make us a bit different to everyone else. We got Dave  Price’s microphone working  during the break between the heats and the  finals and were all feeling much more relaxed when we went on stage  again. We did The Beatles All My Loving and a slow ballad that David Flack and Dave Price had written called Why Can’t I Walk Away. Both songs went down really well and when, at the end of the evening,  the judges announced the results, we were placed second.”

Flushed with success, the band returned to playing at local pubs, clubs and  dances with renewed enthusiasm and, having learned a valuable lesson  when Dave Baggalley and ‘Pip’ had joined, were now constantly looking  for new material in order to not only keep the set up to date and  relevant but also to find songs that other local bands might not be  doing. Songs such as Ecstasy; Ride Your Pony; Jump Back; In The Midnight Hour; My Girl; I’ll Go Crazy; Something You’ve Got; Dancin’ In The Street and an old Coasters classic called Thumbin’ A Ride were, over time, added to the set. Thumbin’ A Ride went down particularly well with audiences and when the band decided that it was time they made a private recording, Thumbin’ A Ride was chosen as the A side, backed with, an old favourite, My Babe. ‘Pip’ takes up the story, “I was living in Chadwell Heath at the time  and, once we’d decided to make a record, one day I just sort of stumbled across Denglow Recording Studios which were near Chadwell Heath Railway Station. We were all pretty naive in those days about recording  techniques so weren’t particularly bothered when they said they were  going to record the band live; we didn’t know enough to realise that the recording would have been so much better if they’d recorded each of us individually and then mixed the results to get the right balance. We were only there for a couple of hours and listened to the master tapes  before we left - to be honest we thought they sounded pretty good and  couldn’t wait for the studios to transfer the songs onto 45rpm discs so  that we could each have a copy. When the discs finally arrived we were  all really disappointed with them. Although we couldn’t fault our  playing and singing, the clarity and sharpness of the recording that  we’d heard on the master tapes had not been reproduced on the discs and  the beginning of Thumbin’ A Ride was preceded with quite a loud  hum. We can all laugh about it now, particularly when we remember  that  Denglow Recording Studios doubled as a restaurant during the day and the recording studios at night, and any mention of ‘The Denglow Hum’ is  guaranteed to bring a smile to our faces!”

As time went by so the individual members of the band got married and/or  started to pursue more ‘normal’ careers and the amount of time available to them for playing with the band decreased. Whilst they continued to  play together, it was no longer with the same frequency as had  previously been the case although during this period they did play  support act to a number of well known bands such as The Artwoods, The  Fenmen and, what was the biggest thrill of all, Tony Rivers and The  Castaways, who they all greatly admired. The Tony Rivers ‘gig’ was held at Romford Technical School (‘Pip’s’ old school) and was particularly memorable as Keith Moon from The Who, Bruce Johnston from the Beach Boys and Kim Fowley (co-producer of The Hollywood Argyles hit single  ‘Alley Oop’) turned up and joined Tony Rivers on stage. The liner notes from The Tony Rivers Collection Volume 1 - Castaways CD contains Tony Rivers recollections of the evening:

We were doing a gig at  Romford, East London when in came Keith and Bruce. I announced over the  mic that a couple of our friends had come by. The audience was knocked  out. They came up and we did a long version of Brian Wilson’s ‘The  Little Girl I Once Knew’. Bruce played bass and sang. Keith was really  full of it, and wanted to go on and on. Mind you he wasn’t quite right as a drummer for harmony music! Bruce didn’t know all the songs, but he  was well able to follow us.

Reference to this evening can also be found in Keith Moon’s biography, ‘Dear  Boy’, where it is erroneously recorded as having taken place at a Catholic girls school and that the promoter requested an additional  charge for the appearance of Keith Moon and Bruce Johnston.

This performance, in May 1966, was pretty much the last time the band played together and brought the curtain down on what had been an enjoyable and memorable five years. The reference to the band on the ticket for the event provides an interesting insight, all these years later, to the state of flux they  were in at the time, describing them not as Section 62 but simply as ‘the usual’.

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This biography would not be complete without a massive thank you to all  those people who helped, supported and encouraged us between 1961 and 1966, particularly our parents who also allowed us, despite the  deafening noise, to rehearse in their homes, - particularly David  Flack’s parents whose attic became the regular practice venue - and the  Dad’s of Dave Baggalley and ‘Pip’ who ferried us and our equipment  around, at all times of the day and the night and in all kinds of  weather, until we were old enough to drive and had transport of our own.

When the band finally stopped playing in 1966, the members of the final line-up agreed that they would still try to keep in touch with each other and, as a result, continued to meet socially at least bi-annually for the next 41 years. On those occasions they often talked about reforming the band and then in January 2002, the turning point came from an external source; at a Barking Abbey Grammar School reunion attended by David  Flack and Dave Price a number of comments were made along the lines that “it would be good if the band was able to play at the next reunion”. This event was, at the time, provisionally planned for 2007 to  commemorate the 50th anniversary of Dave Price’s year starting at the school.

Nothing much happened on that score until the autumn of 2006 when David Flack and Dave Price met at Eaton’s  Coffee Shop in Braintree, Essex and over lunch agreed to contact the other former members of the band with a view to getting back together again. Everyone was enthusiastic about the idea and a session was  arranged at Pete Adams’ house in Upminster, Essex as this was about the most central location. The music didn’t induce any complaints from the neighbours or an instant rise in the number of properties for sale in  the street and it was decided to persevere although it was felt that a more suitable practice location needed to be found. Local halls etc. were investigated before the band finally found what they were looking for at The Farm Studios in Upminster, Essex. The band started rehearsing on a regular basis at The Farm in February 2007 and continue to do so.

 

 

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