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Pauli district Hamburg for days, with three one-hour performances a night, starting in July The band returned to a residency at the Iron Door Club and it was there that they tape-recorded the sessions that led to a Pye Records recording contract with Tony Hatch as producer. The first single, " Sweets for My Sweet ", featuring Tony Jackson as main vocalist supported by Pender and Curtis, shot to number one in the UK in , firmly establishing the band as a major spearhead of the "Merseybeat" boom, just behind The Beatles and alongside Gerry and the Pacemakers.
Their first album, Meet The Searchers , sung mostly by Jackson and Pender, was released in August and reached number 2 on the British album charts the next month. In the US their first single was issued on Mercury and the second on Liberty , both without success; then a deal was arranged with US-based Kapp Records to distribute their records in America.
Philips Records then rush-released in the UK an earlier recording they held of a cover of Brenda Lee's hit 'Sweet Nuthins', which dismayed the group. It made the lower end of the UK chart, but this did not disturb their momentum. Hatch played piano on some recordings and wrote " Sugar and Spice ", the band's UK 2 hit record, under the pseudonym Fred Nightingale, a secret he kept from the band at the time. Apparently Curtis disliked this song largely a revamp of the key aspects of first hits and refused to sing on it.
Jackson again took lead vocal, though Curtis later agreed to sing the distinctive high-harmony vocal links between verses. However, live footage of these songs, as performed on The Ed Sullivan Show and NME Poll Winners concert respectively, show Pender and Jackson singing the lead vocal together in close harmony, with vocal support from Curtis. That suggests some differences existed between the live band and the studio version at that time.
Jackson was then signed to Pye as a solo act and, backed by The Vibrations, issued a few singles of which the first, "Bye Bye Baby", charted in the UK in He also re-cut "Love Potion No.
Frank Allen's debut single with the band, a strong cover of Jackie de Shannon 's " When You Walk in the Room ", shot to 3 in the UK, suggesting all was well for the revised lineup some fans had been unhappy about Jackson's shock departure , and later UK chart hits followed with "What Have They Done to the Rain", "Goodbye My Love" a rather experimental single for that time, with long harmonised passages, that reached number four , then the folk-flavoured "Take Me For What I'm Worth" written by P.
Pye rather "rush-released" LP product by the group in and , as the cobbled-together "Sugar And Spice" LP was quickly issued in , consisting of tracks not used on the first album and others, plus the second single. This album charted while the first was still in the charts, possibly diluting sales. As late as , Marble Arch issued an edited version of It's the Searchers , the group's third album, originally released in Although Curtis's involvement in the project was short-lived, Roundabout evolved into Deep Purple the following year.
Chris Curtis's choice of Bobby Darin 's "When I Get Home", despite a strong band performance, was a relative chart failure by their standards. This to an extent undermined Curtis's position as song selector for the band, and some internal disagreements resurfaced over musical policy and direction that had been evident earlier when Tony Jackson had left, and likely played a part in Curtis leaving as well after the Australian tour.
This was a major blow, as Curtis had been chief songwriter, song selector, and key high harmony voice, as well as a figurehead member and the main PR man. However, Pye records dropped the group in when their original contract expired. Without any follow-up to the strong album, Take Me For What I'm Worth , and despite some strong later recordings, no further chart successes occurred, doubling the impact of Chris Curtis's departure.
After Curtis' departure Frank Allen handled the high harmonies, and new drummer John Blunt boosted them musically but, despite some promising latter Pye singles, including a cover of "Western Union", their UK chart days were over.
However, that was overshadowed by Pye's "Golden Hour of Despite recording new material, including covers of Neil Sedaka's "Solitaire" and the Bee Gees' "Spicks And Specks", which were issued as RCA singles with scant promotion, much of their new work was not issued at the time, and RCA later dropped the group.
The group continued to tour through the s, playing both the expected old hits as well as contemporary songs such as a powering extended live version of Neil Young's "Southern Man".
They were rewarded in when Sire Records signed them to a multi-record deal. Both records garnered critical acclaim and featured some original tracks, as well as covers of songs such as Alex Chilton's "September Gurls" and John Fogerty's "Almost Saturday Night". But with scant promotion and little if any radio airplay, they did not break into the charts.
The first album was quickly revamped following release with a few extra tracks added, one song dropped a cover of Bob Dylan's "Coming From The Heart" , and a new sleeve, which may have only confused the public. The albums did, however, revive the group's career, because concerts from then on alternated classic hits with the newer songs that were well received.
Meanwhile, PRT Records actively promoted the group's sixties back catalogue, with compilations such as "The Searchers File" and "Spotlight on the Searchers", which were on sale at group gigs, along with the Sire albums, and helped re-establish them.
According to John McNally, the band was ready to head into the studio to record a third album for Sire when they were informed that, due to label reorganisation, their contract had been dropped.
In , the band signed to PRT Records formerly Pye, their original label and began recording an album. They promoted this with a UK Television appearance on "The Leo Sayer Show", which was rare for them by then, but the single got little if any radio airplay like their Sire singles and was not stocked by most record shops.
The rest of the tracks, except one, would be included as part of 's 30th Anniversary collection. After a farewell performance in London in December Mike Pender left the group to form a new band  and now tours as Mike Pender's Searchers originally a permanent band but now made up of musicians hired as necessary , performing Searchers' songs and some new material of his own.The Searchers were an English Merseybeat group who emerged during the British Invasion of the s along with the Beatles, the Hollies, the Fourmost, the Merseybeats, the Swinging Blue Jeans, and Gerry and the Pacemakers.. The band's hits include a remake of the Drifters' hit, "Sweets for My Sweet"; "Sugar and Spice" (written by their producer Tony Hatch); remakes of .