The Searchers where a four piece Liverpool pop band formed in 1960 was named after the John Ford film starring John Wayne.
Originally they were the backing band for Johnny Sandon. John McNally, Mike Pender, Tony Jackson and drummer Norman McGarry were the original members.
The drummer was replaced by Chris Curtis in 1961 when Johnny Sandon left and joined ‘The Remo Four’.
Star Club in Hamburg
Following in the Fab Four’s footsteps they played all the local clubs and tightened up the band at the Star Club in Hamburg (1st appearance in July 1962).
Almost a year later having signed with Tony Hatch as manger and Pye Records they released their first single ‘Sweets For My Sweet’ a number one in the charts.
When You Walk In The Room
Between 1963 and summer 1964 their hits included ‘Needles and Pins’, ‘Sugar and Spice’, ‘Don’t throw your Love Away’ and ‘Some Day were Gonna Love Again’.
At this high point Tony Jackson decided to leave and was replaced by Frank Allen a great front man who had worked with ‘The Rebel Rousers’ Cliff Bennetts band.
Success continued with ‘When You Walk In The Room’, ‘Goodbye My Love’ and other hits. But in 1966 Chris Curtis left to pursue a career as a producer and was replaced by John Blunt who in 1969 was also replaced by a Scot named Billy Adamson.
The band had also moved to Liberty Records and continued touring on the strength of their number one hits. In the seventies their activity slowed greatly as they pursued the Cabaret Clubs where there was still good money to be earned.
Mike Pender split
The eighties gave way to a period of sixties revival and in 1985 Mike Pender split to form his own ‘Searchers’ much to the dismay of the rest of the band. But the original band did some major tours without him releasing a 25 year anniversary album of their music.
The band have continued to work extensively at sixties music festivals, clubs and other venues worldwide. I was lucky enough to catch them on The Liverpool Arena in 2008 and they were excellent along with old friends ‘The Fourmost’ and ‘Gerry and The Pacemakers’.
Although the drummer has been replaced again after 29 years the band is still working solidly and I hope they continue for quite a bit longer.