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Legendary Searchers here to keep the 60s swinging

PUBLISHED: 15:27 08 March 2010 | UPDATED: 13:01 11 August 2010

THEY emerged in one of the most exciting decades in pop music history, alongside The Beatles, The Kinks, and The Rolling Stones. Today, almost half a century later, sixties favourites The Searchers continue to pull in the crowds. It s nuts isn t it? We d

THEY emerged in one of the most exciting decades in pop music history, alongside The Beatles, The Kinks, and The Rolling Stones.

Today, almost half a century later, sixties favourites The Searchers continue to pull in the crowds.

"It's nuts isn't it? We didn't think we'd to be playing for this long. Most bands expect to last a three or four years not 48!" bassist Frank Allen tells the POST.

And the band - made up of Frank, guitarist John McNally, front man Spencer James, and newly recruited drummer, Scott Ottaway - show no signs of slowing down.

In fact the guys, who perform at the Broadway Theatre on Saturday, appear to be working harder than ever.

Last year they played an incredible 193 shows in the UK and abroad, including the Dagenham Town Show.

"It does sound exhausting" says Frank, "especially considering John and I are in our sixties. But we are all very fit and absolutely love what we do, so it doesn't bother us."

The Searchers formed in Liverpool in 1960, with a line-up that included John, Tony Jackson, Mike Pender and Norman McGarry (replaced soon after by Chris Curtis.)

After a couple of years playing the club circuit in their home town and a few months performing at the famous Star Club in Hamburg, the group landed themselves a record deal.

Their first release, Sweets for my Sweets, was a huge success, even knocking the Beatles off the stop spot in the hit parade.

More hits followed, among them Don't Throw Your Love Away, Needles and Pins, Sugar and Spice and Someday We're Going to Love Again.

Frank, who joined The Searchers in 1964, says it was an exciting time to be part of the music scene, though admits the band didn't really embrace their pop star lives: "We did enjoy it but we'd often be keen to get home as soon as we'd finished performing.

"I didn't touch alcohol until I was 30 and have always been drug free. Not very Rock and Roll! I wish now I'd loosened up a little."

The group experienced a bit of a dip in the seventies, as their style went out of fashion, but a resurgence of the 60s sound in the 80s brought in new fans.

Frank says the temporary downturn forced The Searchers to work harder on their performance.

"At the height of our success in the 60s, it didn't really matter what we were like as there'd be so many girls screaming in the audience that no-one could hear us anyway. But when our popularity fell we knew we had to make changes if we wanted to carry on."

He says their shows today are a mix of the big hits, some b-sides, a few covers of obscure songs and in between the music a bit of reminiscing about their many tours.

The approach seems to be working as the fans keep on coming back.

The inevitable question is, how long will they carry on?

"We do get asked that a lot. I have no idea to be honest. But at the moment we have no plans to stop. We're having too much fun."

The Searchers play at the Broadway Theatre in Barking at 7.30pm on Saturday (March 6.)

Tickets cost £17.50 (concessions £15.50.) Call the box office on (020) 8507 5607.

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