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The Searchers: The Pye Anthology 1963-1967 (Reissue)

The Searchers

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Album Review

The two-disc collection Pye Anthology 1963-1967 features nearly everything recorded by one of England's favorite Liverpool outfits during the early '60s (among heavy competition). Formed a few years before the Beatles, in 1957, the Searchers were prime competitors with them for the crown of hardest-working and best band in Liverpool during the early '60s. When they began recording for Pye, in mid-1963, they revealed to the wider British public a taste of infectious energy, tight playing, and smooth harmonies that could be appreciated by every fan of the burgeoning Merseybeat sound. Their first hit, "Sweets for My Sweet" was a sugary song, but it reached number one with no problem, and the band soon began to show it had the power to compete with other "big beat" acts like the Beatles and the Dave Clark Five. Also, like many of their counterparts, they recorded solid American R&B covers ("Farmer John," "Love Potion No. 9") and their biggest hits, "Sugar and Spice" and "Needles and Pins," have to be included in any retrospective of the British Invasion. With lineup changes and diminishing interest in Merseybeat by 1966, the Searchers were finished as a chart entity, and "Have You Ever Loved Somebody" from that year was their last hit. Two discs may be a big proposition for even dedicated fans of British rock, but the Searchers recorded many great songs beyond their big hits; their version of "When You Walk in the Room" was arguably even better than Jackie DeShannon's classic.


Formed: 1957 in Liverpool, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Founded in 1957 by John McNally (guitar/vocals), the Searchers were originally one of thousands of skiffle groups formed in the wake of Lonnie Donegan's success with "Rock Island Line." The Searchers' immediate competitors included bands such as the Wreckers and the Confederates, both led by Michael Pender (guitar, vocals), and the Martinis, led by Tony Jackson (guitar/vocals). By 1959, McNally and Pender were working together as a duet; later in the year, Jackson joined as the lead vocalist. After...
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