Rock hitmakers The Searchers show no signs of slowing down

The Searchers. Picture by Brian Crump
The Searchers. Picture by Brian Crump
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The Searchers – who play Martlets Hall in Burgess Hill on Saturday, October 10 – searched and found what works years ago.

Non-stop work – but work which isn’t really work because it is still so enjoyable.

“We never stop really,” says Frank Allen, a Searcher who goes back pretty much to the band’s very earliest days.

“It’s just one of those things that carries on and on. We are not one of those bands that does a big tour and then doesn’t tour for ages. It’s week to week for us. It’s just manic.

“We just enjoy what we do. Everyone has to justify what they do, and it still seems to be going from strength to strength.”

With such classic hits as ‘Sweets For My Sweet’, ‘Needles and Pins’, ‘Don’t Throw Your Love Away’ and ‘When You Walk In The Room’, The Searchers have contributed enormously to the British music industry, with record sales well in excess of 30 million. They’re showing no signs of slowing.

“It caught us all by surprise (when it first all happened)”, says Frank. “I don’t think any of us really took it that seriously.”

They were having a great time, riding the crest of The Beatles’ wave: “It was The Beatles that woke everyone up. Without them, it would have been a totally different story. It was the era of the solo singer until then. There were very few bands that made it.”

But The Beatles changed everything: “There were a lot of reasons,” Frank reckons.

“First of all, there was their song-writing ability but there was also the gall that they had. There was something about them that had an impact on people. They were talented, but they also impressed by the total force of their personalities. They were very strong, confident people.

“And it was the first era where the stars really manipulated the media. They had the confidence. There was a wall around them. The four were impenetrable. They had the charisma and it put them head and shoulders above everyone else. It made them the toast of the world.”

The Beatles began as a skiffle band, and so too did The Searchers. Both were products of their era in that sense, but both outgrew it. The attraction of skiffle was that anyone could do it. You just needed to know three chords.

“The skill came in later on. We really wanted to play rock and rock. Rock and roll was a much more complicated affair.”

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