After a nonstop professional touring career of 56 years you might wonder how and why The Searchers have never slowed down or stopped. It is a back-breaking schedule of 150 to 200 shows a year that has constantly amazed their contemporaries in the heady world of pop music. But wonder no more because at last the band has decided to end the touring and enjoy a well-deserved rest.
They have never fallen out of love with performing and never will but that fun element is only the tip of the iceberg. Still fit and looking decades younger than their years they finally decided they want a rest from the driving, the clogged up motorway which for the most part these days resemble car parks, and the hours of hanging about waiting for their moment to shine.
After this current run of two hour solo concerts, which includes a final performance at the Pavilion Theatre, Worthing on Friday 31 August, the latter months of 2018 see them undertake yet another Sixties Gold package tour, headlining over a bunch of their fellow friends and musicians. In January 2019 they begin their farewell series of solo presentations around the U.K culminating in a final show on March 31st. It is surely a sad time for their loyal and devoted followers who thought they would go on forever.
Since the mid-sixties The Searchers seemed to be both unstoppable and indestructible. They were arguably the hardest working band in show business and their amazing datesheet was legendary in the music industry. No other unit played more dates for such a continuous period without cessation.
Their impressive run of hits in those glory years from 1964 to 1966 stretched worldwide, enabling them to travel the globe. Sweets For My Sweet, Sugar & Spice, Needles & Pins, Don`t Throw Your Love Away, Someday We`re Gonna Love Again, When You Walk In The Room, Love Potion Number Nine, Goodbye My Love andTake It Or Leave It are just some of The Searchers’ greatest hits.
They have performed for both The Queen and Princess Margaret, headlined over such Motown luminaries as Marvin Gaye, The Supremes, Martha & The Vandellas and The Temptations, entertained British troops in The Falklands, Bosnia and Belfast, toured Australia and New Zealand with The Rolling Stones and strutted their stuff in front of 80,000 people at Wembley Stadium as special guests of Cliff Richard.
In 2008 they found themselves back in the charts when the compilation album The Very Best Of The Searchers climbed to number eleven. It was only prevented from entering the top ten by Old Blue Eyes himself, Frank Sinatra.
As well as The Ramones they can count Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, The Byrds, Marshall Crenshaw and others as musicians who came under their influence. In fact Roger McGuinn was recently quoted as saying that without The Searchers there would have been no Byrds. The Searchers modestly venture that he was being a tad over generous in such high praise but there are many who would underline the truth of the statement.
Their presentation has changed radically over the years. In the first flush of chart success a top of the bill spot consisted of a mere twenty minutes giving them barely enough time for half a dozen songs. Nowadays, still in their iconic high cut three button black suits, white shirts and black ties, they occupy the stage for the entire evening presenting what is essentially a history of the band in music and anecdotes lasting for a full two hours.
Tales of their travels and amusing stories of happenings along the way occupy the spaces between the hits, the B sides, the album tracks and other selections that colour their career whether as tributes to fellow artistes or culled from their later recordings which, though maybe less well known are still in constant demand from their ardent followers.
The distinctive jangle of the twelve string guitar remains a most important feature of their sound and those rich and vibrant harmonies still embellish the songs that have provided a soundtrack to the lives of so many. The eternal popularity of this legendary group ensures that the demand for concerts is always there but the real reason for maintaining that exhausting work rate is the best reason of all, the love of their music and appreciation of their heritage.
It goes without saying that the final run of concerts and the evenings ahead will be a mixture of both happiness and sadness for many. This is a much-loved band. They appreciate everything they have been given and have always strived to give back in return.
Tickets for The Searchers at the Pavilion Theatre, Worthing are priced at £22-£24 and are available from the Worthing Theatres box office on 01903 206 206 and online at worthingtheatres.co.uk.