April 18th, 2015

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Jack Murray was the manager at Bay Shores. There were two stages, one in the back by the dancefloor that stretched over the bay and the other by the front bar, with a partition that separated the two, and older folks staying in the back and younger kids upfront where the loud music was played. Early rock & roll was born at Bay Shores with the dance bands like Mike Pedicin, Sr., the Carroll Brothers and Roco and the Saints. Pedicin had a regional hit with “Shake A Hand,” his signature song, while Pete Carroll was known for playing “Sweet Georgia Brown,” and Roco and the Saints had a 16 year old drummer named Bobby Rydell and a kid trumpet player Frankie Avalon. Bobby Rydell recorded a song called “Our Faded Love” that was written by George Katsakis, and me with lyrics by TV host Wink Martindale. I also played behind Frankie Avalon on Midnight Special. After the show he told me I played the guitar part to “Venus” just like the record. Since the music in Somer’s Point had to be off by 2 am and the bar cleared by 3 am, the owners built the Dunes nightclub out on the marshes on Longport Blvd., where the liquor licenses were permitted to operate 24 hours a day. We went from Bay Shores to play at the Dunes after hours to make extra money and most of the crowds went there too.

Somer's Point on the Jersey Shore

Somer’s Point








The Royaltones played all summer at Bay Shores. Two Detroit bands called The Sunliners (Rare Earth) and The Headliners played there too. We played one matinee and then played again at night. The stage of the club was in the back over the ocean. The windows were usually open and you could feel the ocean breeze and smell the fish and seaweed when we played. I noticed that the moisture from the ocean breezes had badly warped the neck of my Gibson Byrdland guitar when we got ready to go home. At that time the Gibson Guitar factory was located in Kalamazoo, Michigan. I used to drive up there for a free factory tour and the Gibson craftsmen who could also play would put new strings on my guitar and adjust the neck for free. When I got home to Detroit, I sent my Byrdland to the factory and Gibson completely rebuilt the neck at no cost. I still play that guitar today along with the Gibson 355 they gave me after I played with Les Paul and Larry Carlton. I also bought a used Gibson L4 which I also play.

Gibson Byrdland Guitar

Dennis Coffey and Gibson Byrdland Guitar









A lot of stars from the fifties played in Somer’s Point. Bill Haley sat in with us and did “Rock Around the Clock”. He turned to me after the song was over and said, “You played that guitar solo just like my record. That was great!” I learned that solo playing with The Pyramids in the teen clubs. Gary US Bonds also sat in with us. We were young and had a lot of confidence. We even played live on the radio and sang a song by The Four Seasons.

Bill Haley and the Comets

Bill Haley










We were working night and day and the stress and other issues caused tension between the band members. The Royaltones disbanded when Bay Shores closed for the summer and we all went back to Detroit to join other bands. We had a great time, made a lot of money, and met many great music fans in Detroit and in New Jersey. The Royaltones was a great top forty band and I enjoyed working with them. I also enjoyed recording with them and writing songs with George Katsakis. Here is a video of “Our Faded Love” by the Royaltones.

The Royaltones

The Royaltones


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Dennis Coffey