Home   What's On   News   Article

Five decades of hits

The Searchers are on tour
The Searchers are on tour

Like the words from one of their hits, The Searchers were sugar and spice and all things nice when they stopped off at The Gulbenkian Theatre in Canterbury on their 50th anniversary tour.

The lyrics of their best known songs are mainly sugar-coated, the spice came from chief spokesman and chronicler Frank Allen when he jokingly invited the mainly “mature” female fans to storm the stage and the group came over as all-round nice guys.

The venue was disappointingly only just over half full for a group that was such an important part of pop history, emerging from Liverpool with The Beatles, Gerry and the Pacemakers, The Hollies, The Swinging Blue Jeans, The Fourmost and The Merseybeats in the swinging 1960s and posting 14 UK and 15 US hits.

But those of us who recall those heady days more than made up for the deficiency with some enthusiastic singing, arm waving and pointing at the behest of bass guitarist and vocalist Allen.

After the overblown introductory music more akin to Star Wars, the group swept into their 1961 Drifters remake Sweets for my Sweet and the memories came cascading back.

Beaming John McNally, 71, who seemed to have a morbid preoccupation with icons now gone to the great gig in the sky, is the one original left from the band, formed with Mike Pender in 1959.

Allen, 69, who is not a Scouser, joined from Cliff Bennett and the Rebel Rousers in 1964; Spencer James, 60, jumped on board in 1986 after tasting success with one hit wonders The First Class and their number four hit Beach Baby. The youngster of the band at 40 is drummer Scott Ottaway, who replaced Eddie Rothe in 2010.

The Searchers stuck pretty much to the songs on their latest CD The Tracks of our Years including Bob Dylan’s Mr Tambourine Man, All My Sorrows/Where Have all the Flowers Gone, Del Shannon’s Runaway, Needles and Pins, Don’t Throw Your Love Away, When You Walk in the Room and Love Potion No. 9.

There was also a rocked up version of Gary Puckett & The Union Gap’s Young Girl and James showed his vocal power to challenge Roy Orbison’s perfect pitch on Running Scared.
It was arms in the air for You’ll Never Walk Alone for the encore, followed by a reprise medley of the songs that made The Searchers famous.

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More