Photo courtesy of The Gants, via their website, which see.
Presenting -- The Gants! Radio Station WJMB in 1966 sponsored their much ballyhooed appearance in Brookhaven.
A garage band that originated in Greenwood, MS, The Gants were discovered by the The Animals' promoters during the height of the British Invasion. (Originally called the Kingsmen, the band adopted the name of a button down shirt manufacturer to avoid confusion with the group known for the hit "Louie, Louie.")
In what had to be a dream come true, in 1965 and 1966, The Gants, as high schoolers and college students, were hired to tour America as opening acts for the Animals, the Yard Birds and the Dave Clark Five.
Their ability to climb higher in the world of musical fame was limited by their relatively young ages and their unwillingness to drop out of school and risk being drafted during the height of the "conflict" in Vietnam -- this, according to Wikipedia.
They are pictured above with the WJMB DJ Murray Cain. Murray came to Brookhaven from Durant, MS, and during his stint in town, he also worked at WCHJ. He left Brookhaven after a short time and landed a part-time gig at a radio station in Jackson, according to those who knew him.
Back to the photo: On the far right with Sid Herring, who was said to resemble Peter Noone and to sound like John Lennon on vocals. He was considered the group's "leader" and acted as a "derivative" songwriter for Liberty Records.
I believe next to him on his immediate right, is Don Wood, their drummer, who died in 2011. (I fully admit, I could be wrong -- help on these two identities is most welcome!)
The band's performance in Brookhaven was held in an empty building somewhere between the Purity Ice Cream store and the Inez. The group stayed at Della's Motel for the evening and were transported back and forth, sardine fashion, by Bill Hickman in his Corvair.
The band is still active today, though the members have fluctuated through the years. Original to the group were Herring, Wood, Johnny Freeman, and Vince Montgomery.
Johnny Freeman was not allowed to tour by his parents early on, so he was replaced by Johnny Sanders. Later, Freeman rejoined the group. Montgomery died of natural causes in 2001 at his home in Clarksdale, MS. Montgomery was replaced by Charles Hall on bass.
Danny Dickey reports that Johnny Sanders went on to have a successful career in OB/GYN medicine, operating the Sanders Clinic for Women, and is now retired in Tupelo.
I have yet to determine the names of the first two, left to right. You help is welcome!
Please visit The Gants' website for future information on the then and now of the group.