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The Searchers to serve up classic favourites

VETERAN Merseybeat rockers The Searchers will be playing at the Assembly Hall next month.

With classic hits such as Sweets For My Sweet; Needles and Pins and  Sugar and Spice, The Searchers will be playing numerous well-known favourites and reminiscing about their decades-long career, which bloomed in Liverpool alongside The Beatles in the 1960s.

After 55 years of non-stop touring, you would imagine that a group like the Searchers would be either ready to finally hang up their high button black stage suits, or at least severely trim their punishing schedule. In fact the last year’s datesheet of 150 shows is already a cut back on their regular run of 200-plus concerts a year. And stop? Looking at the dates ahead of them, there is precious little chance of that in the near future.

And if they did, it would not be due to a dip in their popularity. The last months of 2017 saw them closing the show as a headline act on an all-star bill that also boasted Gerry & The Pacemakers, The Tremeloes, Love Affair vocalist Steve Ellis and Vanity Fare, and which sold out almost every one of the performances.

There have been many highlights during their seemingly unending travels since being formed in the late 1950s. Tours of America saw them headlining over Motown legends such as Marvin Gaye, The Supremes, Smokey & The Miracles, The Temptations and many others.

Being presented to the Queen at the 1981 Royal Variety Performance was another highlight. Two sold-out shows at Wembley Stadium in 1989 with a total crowd of 160,000 as guests of their friend Cliff Richard, was also memorable.

They have performed for the British forces in The Falklands, Belfast and Bosnia where 2,000 squaddies barely out of their teens honoured them with an emotional mass demonstration of the Wayne’s World bow while chanting “We are not worthy.”

They have fans in high places such as Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty and The Byrds, who have stated that they were influenced more by The Searchers than by The Beatles. The lineup today consists of stalwarts John McNally and Frank Allen, aided and abetted by Spencer James, now virtually an old timer of over 30 years’ service, and ‘new boy’, Scott Ottaway on drums, with six years-plus behind the drum kit to date.

The Searchers have toured constantly throughout their five decades and continue to play between 150 and 200 concerts a year across the globe. And there seems to be no end in sight for a lot of ardent fans who are very grateful indeed.

Tickets for the show on Thursday 17th May are available from the Assembly Hall on 709887, Melksham TIC in Church Street or visit www.melksham town. co.uk/assembly hall.

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