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The Best Time to be a Teenager

Teenagers jiving to rock’n’roll music in the 1950s

Many baby boomers reached their teenage years from the mid-60s to the early ’70s, and what a glorious time it was to be a teenager!

In 1964, Adelaide really came of age when over 300,000 people turned out to welcome The Beatles, and the local music scene was bubbling with enthusiasm and talent. Every weekend there was a wide choice of dance venues with high-profile radio DJs as comperes, an even wider choice of excellent bands and a myriad of music styles from which to choose.

There were locally produced TV programs featuring home-grown talent, and national and international pop stars performed at Centennial Hall Wayville, or the Apollo Stadium in Richmond.

There was the Oxford Club, Miami Club at Brighton, Teensville at the Palais Royal, KT Club at the Kings Ballroom, Kommotion at the Australia Hall, The Scene, Club 123,The Basement, St Clair Centre at Woodville and the Catacombs in Kent Town.

Princeton Club at the Burnside Town Hall on Portrush Rd was also very popular. It had developed a reputation over time as an extremely well run venue and attracted teenagers from all over Adelaide with a strong line-up each week of local groups and top-rated national and even international guest performers.

Another of the most popular venues was the Palais Royal on North Terrace, right across the road from the Royal Adelaide Hospital. There was always something happening at the Palais, from ballroom dancing to rock ’n’ roll concerts on a Saturday afternoon.

Teen Time was a locally produced music show on Saturday afternoon, compered by Ian Fairweather and Glynnis O’Brien.

Teen Time was a locally produced music show on Saturday afternoon, compered by Ian Fairweather and Glynnis O’Brien.

Both Channel 7 and Channel 9 (and later Channel 10) presented a locally produced pop music show. Seven introduced Seventeeners compered by Peter Cellier and Angela Stacey which was shown before a live audience every Sunday evening at 5pm.

Nine had a similar program on a Saturday afternoon, compered by Ian Fairweather and Glynnis O’Brien called Teen Time. Both shows became launch pads for a number of local groups who went on to national and even international stardom.

At the same time, both channels were presenting live variety programs at night such as In Adelaide Tonight with Ernie Sigley and Lionel Williams on Channel 9 and The Late Show with Blair Schwartz and Roger Cardwell on 7. Local groups and singers again provided most of the musical content and acted as backing groups and support acts for visiting performers.

Artists included Judy Stone, The Twilights, Masters Apprentices, Barry McCaskill and the Drifters, the Penny Rockets, the Viscounts, John E Broome and the Handels, a young Kamahl and an even younger Johnny Farnham.

Adelaide had regular visits from international acts also. Apart from The Beatles’ two concerts at Centennial Hall there were concerts there from world class entertainers such as Tom Jones, Dusty Springfield, Chubby Checker, Roy Orbison and The Monkees.

Apollo Stadium was the other main venue for international stars and from 1971 to the early ’80s featured such pop music heavyweights as Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Kinks, Queen, Bob Dylan, Cat Stevens and Australia’s own AC/DC.

Its good fun to look back now on those years and reminisce about the great bands, the music and the dances.

Somehow it seemed a more innocent time, the music wasn’t as loud, you could understand the words, the majority of songs at least had a melody, and, in my opinion, it was the best time ever to be a teenager.

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12 Responses to The Best Time to be a Teenager

  1. Stephen J Lewis November 6, 2014 at 7:37 pm #

    they really were cool times…a total groove….and gas…an opportunity to explore alternative styles that were introduced through our beat older siblings…anyway peace to you brother…i’m off to a happening at bowmans arcade with hans poulsen as we plot an anti-vietnam moratorium…don’t freak out…stay cool…

  2. Don Callow December 2, 2014 at 7:01 pm #

    That photo brings back memories of square dancing, where one couple would have been swinging around while they other two clap in time to the music. There would have been 4 couples dancing together.

  3. william cotter November 16, 2016 at 4:17 pm #

    Used to go to the Princeton club on a very regular basis. Got to know a lot of the regulars and would meet upstairs or in the small booths either side of the dance floor .The club even organised a footy match ,b.b.q and a dance afterwards at a country venue [ cant recall where ] .I reckon it was a fantastic venue and have great memories of it and also the Oxford Club in the Goodwood Institute Hall.

  4. Colin December 13, 2017 at 10:35 pm #

    “Glynnis” O’Brien is surely Glenys O’Brien, who married Ernie Sigley.

  5. Mal Phillips March 3, 2019 at 8:45 am #

    Love your articles on the dance venues around Adelaide in the 1950’s and 60’s. I think that I went to all of them at one time or another. We really did have it all.

    However, unless I am losing my grip and memory when articles are written about the Princeton Club’s location I start to wonder.

    I am positive that in the late 1950’s that the Princeton Club was located at the Greek Hall in Franklin St., compared by Bob Francis on a Thursday nights, as I always had trouble getting out of bed on Friday mornings to go to work.
    But this venue is never mentioned.

    I would like someone to confirm my thoughts.

    • Barry June 28, 2023 at 8:49 pm #

      Hi Mal, you are right… The Princeton Club were at both locations… Crowded dances, lovely times & bands…

  6. Yuris Sterns April 25, 2020 at 12:41 am #

    The Kings room at Cnr Carrington street And King William street where we saw PJ Proby from New Zealand tear his trousers and made the girls gasp and want him for themselves. Only you can do it the best … ??

  7. Peter H February 23, 2021 at 11:44 am #

    I don’t think I saw the ‘Glenelg Town Hall’ mentioned. We used to go down there on the Tram. At half time, the Band had a break, so we would take a walk along the Beach, or around ‘Side Show Ally’. ‘Luna Park’ had been stolen by Sydney, but there were a few run-down remnants left.

  8. Cheryl Bennets October 17, 2021 at 5:51 pm #

    Went to the Princeton club they were the days . We would go overti the Deli & get a Coke .
    And remembering the bands Max Merrot & the Meteors & Jeff St John & the copper wine . Wonderful memories ❤️

  9. Zorro March 17, 2022 at 1:29 am #

    I saw AC/DC at Burnside Town Hall. $2.
    Don’t forget the Crypt disco in the basement off… Pirie Street?

  10. Philip Matthews May 27, 2022 at 12:12 am #

    I still have my membership card to the boomerang club from 1962, ( no. 747) at Brighton town hall before it became the Miami Club. From memory it was 4 shillings to enter on Saturday night. Membership saved a shilling. ‘Stubby’ Shearman was the main girl vocalist. The night finished at 11.45pm. Only drinks available were cokes. Met my future wife there. I have nothing but great memories of those wonderful days of 60’s music, Beatles, the Stones etc. Pity we didn’t know at the time what a musical revolution we were experiencing. I feel lucky to have lived through those times as a teenager..

  11. Ray Philp January 16, 2023 at 11:33 am #

    I.remember walking to and from the St Clair Youth Centre on Saturday nights from Flinders Park, because even if you caught a bus to go there, you.still had to walk half the distance. The music was originally 60/40, but changed to 100% rock and roll about mid 68 I think. Went to. The Princeton Club met my wife of 53 years and the rest is they say.

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