At one time second only to The Beatles in popularity in Liverpool, the Searchers, like the Fab Four, broadened their repertoire from its original R&B and rock 'n' roll base, but unlike The Beatles, they never really became writers and were unable to develop further. Thus after their initial success, which included a trio of British No. 1's, "Sweets For My Sweet" (1963), "Needles And Pins" and "Don't Throw Your Love Away", (both 1964), they were condemned to the club/cabaret/oldies circuit where they remained a major attraction through the 70's, 80's and 90's.
Formed in 1960 as the backing group for Johnny Sandon the group took their name from the John Ford film. Like other "Merseybeat" groups, they built up an extensive repertoire of obscure American R&B and rock 'n' roll songs, many learned from records brought home sailors who worked on the transatlantic liners that then docked in Liverpool. The Searchers were among those groups which perfected their stagecraft in the clubs of Hamburg. Sandon left early in 1962 to join another Liverpool group, The Remo Four.
Signed to Pye in 1963, they reached No. 1 with their first single, a cover of The Drifters' US hit "Sweets For My Sweet", making them the first Liverpool group from outside the Brian Epstein stable to become major stars. It was with the release of their third single, "Needles And Pins" that the band achieved their real breakthrough. The record featured a fuller production, tight harmonies and the famous jangly guitar sound that foreshadowed The Byrds.
At the height of their success, Jackson, disgruntled by the new gentle sound, left the group for a solo career. He was replaced by Frank Allen (born Francis McNeice, 14th December 1943, Hayes, Middlesex), from Cliff Bennett & The Rebel Rousers, and the Searchers continued in a folk-rock vein. Their hits included Jackie DeShannon's "When You Walk In The Room", and P.F. Sloan's "Take Me For What I'm Worth".
From 1965 on, their singles, although of a consistently high standard, began to lose some of their magic and met with decreasing enthusiasm by the public. Curtis quit the band at this point, claiming to be exhausted from the constant touring. He was replaced by John Blunt, (born March 28th 1947, Croydon). They only had one more minor hit "Have You Ever Loved Somebody", but remained very popular on the club/cabaret circuit.
R&B, beat, merseybeat
Mike Pender - guitar/vocals (born Michael Prendergast, March 3rd 1942, Liverpool)
John McNally guitar (born August 30th 1941, Liverpool)
Tony Jackson - bass guitar/vocals (born July 16th 1940, Liverpool)
Chris Curtis - drums/vocals (born Christopher Crummey, August 26th 1942)
This has been a tribute to one of the truly great bands of all time
" The Searchers"
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