The Searchers are a veteran English Merseybeat group that became famous during the mid 1960s. As one of the most popular acts of the British Invasion, they are best known for such era-defining hits as "Needles And Pins," "When You Walk In The Room," and their cover of The Clovers' "Love Potion Number Nine."
Formed as a skiffle group in Liverpool in 1959 by John McNally (b. August 30, 1941) and Mike Pender (b. March 3, 1941), The Searchers' original members also consisted of Tony Jackson (July 16, 1940 - August 18, 2003) and Norman McGarry (b. March 1, 1942). McGarry left the band in 1960 and was replaced by Chris Curtis (August 26, 1941 - February 28, 2005). Tony Jackson left in 1964 after "Needles And Pins" became a hit and was replaced by Frank Allen (b. December 14, 1943). By then, The Searchers had become a foursome consisting of Allen (bass, lead vocals), Curtis (drums, lead vocals), McNally (lead and rhythm guitar, vocals), and Pender (lead vocals, lead and rhythm guitar) that made up the band's classic lineup for most of 1964-1966 during its peak commercial period. Since then, The Searchers have remained a foursome over their long history, with many personnel changes along the way. During their hitmaking years, the band members often alternated as the lead singer, with Jackson providing lead vocals for "Sweets For My Sweet" and "Love Potion Number Nine," and Pender taking the lead in "Needles And Pins" and "Don't Throw Your Love Away."
The Searchers debuted on the U.K. charts in 1963 with their cover of The Drifters' "Sweets For My Sweet," which shot up to #1 and also became a Top 10 hit in Norway and Sweden. The band made its U.S. debut the following year with the Jack Nitzsche/Sonny Bono-penned "Needles And Pins," which became a Top 20 hit in 1964 and one of the band's best known songs. Their long string of hits also included "Ain't That Just Like Me" (1964), the Tony Hatch-penned "Sugar And Spice" (1964), a cover of the Orlons' "Don't Throw Your Love Away" (1964), "Some Day We're Gonna Love Again" (1964), the Jackie DeShannon-penned "When You Walk In The Room" (1964), and the Jerry Leiber/Mike Stoller-penned "Love Potion Number Nine" (1964) which became a Top 5 hit and the band's signature song. Other hits included "What Have They Done To The Rain" (1965), "Bumble Bee" (1965), "Goodbye My Love Goodbye" (1965), and "Desdemona" (1971). The Searchers' final U.S. chart entry was in 1980 with "It's Too Late," which became a minor hit.
Over the years, The Searchers have continued to tour and record actively, performing both classic hits and newer songs. Since 2010, the band lineup has consisted of early member Frank Allen (bass, lead vocals), Spencer James (lead vocals, synthesizer guitar), co-founder John McNally (lead guitar, 12-string guitar, vocals), and Scott Ottaway (drums, percussion). Co-founder Mike Pender left the group in late 1985 to form a new band and now tours as Mike Pender's Searchers.
- For more info on The Searchers, both past and present, and their touring schedule, visit the-searchers.co.uk.
- For more info about Mike Pender's later incarnation of The Searchers and the group's current projects, visit mikependersearchers.co.uk.
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- Bumble Bee 1965
(This song was previously a hit for LaVern Baker (1960).)
- Love Potion Number Nine 1964
(This song was previously a hit for the Clovers (1959) and later also became a hit for the Coasters (1972).)
- Needles And Pins 1964
(This song was previously a hit for Jackie DeShannon (1963) and later also became a hit for Smokie (1977) and Tom Petty & Stevie Nicks (1986).)
- Sugar And Spice 1964
(This song later also became a hit for the Cryan' Shames (1966).)
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