MERSEYBEAT MASTERS: The Searchers are coming in February.
MERSEYBEAT MASTERS: The Searchers are coming in February. Contributed

Merseybeat magic coming to Bundy

WHILE the hordes of screaming girls that awaited The Searchers' arrival in Australia when they toured in 1966 with the Rolling Stones may have faded, their love of touring Down Under certainly hasn't.

The Merseybeat pioneers are heading out for the Solid Gold Hits tour next month, in what has become an almost annual pilgrimage for the Searchers.

In fact, since heading to our shores in 1964 for their first tour with Del Shannon, bass player and back-up vocalist Frank Allen said it's become like a second home for the group and one of their favourite destinations to play.

"Australia is always a fantastic reception and we try to get out of this cold weather, get out to Australia and have a great time,” Allen told Tweed Daily News.

"We always intend to head out (between) January and March and we've been doing that regularly for the last 15 years, but on-and-off with regularity since 1964.”

"It's a much more free spirited country with a relaxed attitude to everything and that's the bit we love.”

Emerging as part of the legendary Merseybeat scene alongside the likes of The Beatles, The Hollies and Gerry and the Pacemakers, The Searchers have gone on to solidify their spot as one of Britain's most loved groups.

From their early beginnings as simple group formed by John McNally and a bunch of friends, through the days of 1960's as teenage idols to now, the group has comfortably settled into a position of influence to some of the most celebrated artists of our generation.

With hits like Sweets For My Sweet, Sugar And Spice, Needles And Pins, When You Walk In The Room, Love Potion Number 9, Don't Throw Your Love Away and Someday We're Gonna Love Again, the group formed in the late '50s boasts record sales in excess of 45 million copies.

The Searchers were second only to The Beatles in cracking the American market.

"On stage from 1963-66, we were just teens and we didn't have to do much except stand there and be screamed at, we could do no wrong,” Allen said.

"We had to change that when that stopped. We were doing club tours and that's when we needed to change to perform for an adult audience.

"We may go wrong live sometimes, but that's the danger and beauty, we laugh and admit it and the audience forgives you.”

While Allen admits the group are past retirement age and don't need to continue, the pull of playing live ensures they won't be slowing down just yet.

"We see no reason to stop. It's absolutely fantastic and there's something about entertainment that is so special,” Allen said.

The Searchers play at Moncrieff Entertainment Centre on Wednesday, February 15. Phone 4130 4100.

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