The Bats

In the early 1960s Jimmy moved to South Africa where he took the role of lead guitarist and singer with The Bats, South Africa’s answer to The Beatles.

Paul Ditchfield, Barry Jarman and Eddie Eckstein knew each other well and had wanted to form a group for a long time. Barry suggested they form a beat trio with the express purpose of making records. Jimmy Dunning, who had played with them before, was unanimously nominated to fill the gap of lead guitarist – and he sang also. After finally getting together, they arranged an audition with Matt Mann, then A & R Manager at G.R.C. (and later owner of RPM Record Company), who signed them to the CBS label and produced their first single, “All I Got”. Apparently the members of the group were quibbling with each other about an appropriate name. In an attempt to restore order, Matt Mann yelled “You’re All Bats!” and so “The Bats” was born.

Jimmy toured with The Bats in the 1960s and appeared on albums including All I Got, Shabby Little Hut and That’s How I Feel.  Jimmy played a big part in the lyrics and music for many of the songs on these records.

In 1966 The Bats came over to England to try their luck. In December of that year Decca released a single: “Listen To My Heart” with “Stop Don´t Do It ”. They were on Juke Box Jury in December too and then in February 1967 Decca released their single, “You Look Good Together” & “You Will Now, Won’t You”.

In May 1967 they released another single: “Hard to Get Up in the Morning” & “Take Me as I Am”.
 In June 1967 The Bats appeared on TV on Dee Time but they returned to South Africa in August; Jimmy left the band to return to England that December.

Barry Jarman died a few years ago and the band still performs with members Paul, Eddie and now Pete Clifford & Derek Gordon.

  • Fixer1

    Great group. I remember you well.