Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Searchers' Saga...

The Searchers have always deserved more credit for their contributions to rock'n'roll; too often they have been viewed as a Merseyside band merely riding on the coattails of Fab Four. Their chiming, jangling guitar sound and their perfect harmonies influenced numerous bands who emerged after them, including the legendary Byrds. But what went wrong? What contributed to them becoming mere footnotes in pop music history?

The first setback occurred when vocalist/bassist Tony Jackson left the band in 1964 due to personality clashes with drummer and de facto leader, Chris Curtis. Jackson stated he would have stayed in a band with the other guys, but that he had never liked Curtis; Curtis claims Jackson threatened to blackmail him by revealing personal information if Jackson didn't get to sing lead on "Needles and Pins." (He didn't; the vocal duties went to lead guitarist Mike Pender, or as he was originally known, Pendergast.) Later, in 1966, Curtis suffered a nervous breakdown and left the band for a gig as a producer for Pye records. Soon thereafter, he left the music industry entirely (but not before being the impetus in creating the band that eventually became Deep Purple) and worked as a public servant and Liverpool, just as his friend Pete Best had done earlier after abandoning a career in music.

John McNally and Frank Allen, Jackson's replacement, continue to perform under the Searchers' name. Their official site can be accessed here:
Sadly, both Jackson and Curtis are now deceased.

Above are scans from various issues of Beat Monthly magazine, including one that has been autographed by Tony Jackson. Janet Lee, the original owner of my set of these mags, met some of the bands featured and obtained their autographs.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Pretty Things Scrapbook

Unbowed and Unrepentant - Long Live the Pretty Things! One of the greatest rock'n'roll groups of all time - scarier, dirtier and more authentic than the Stones themselves (in my opinion), the Pretty Things could tackle any genre and excel in its execution. From blues to R&B to psych to prog to arena rock to power pop, they made the journey and continue to create their unique brand of Pretty Things Music, for which we fans are most grateful. Their last album, Balboa Island, was one of their strongest efforts to date. At this time, I am eagerly awaiting the deluxe edition of Parachute, their 1971 album, which was given the title of best album of the year by Rolling Stone magazine. To me, Parachute ranks at the very top along side S. F. Sorrow as the best PT albums. A dream of mine is to be able to meet Phil May and Wally Waller, my two favorite members, and tell them how much their music has meant to me.

Here are some scans from my Pretty Things collection, generously given to me by my friend, Jeff. "Come and See Me"is one of my favorite early Pretties tracks - sorry about the poor quality of the clip, but the music and humor certainly make it worth it!

Upcoming bands to be featured here include Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders, Brian Poole and the Tremeloes, the Nashville Teens, more Gerry and the Pacemakers, more Searchers, more stay tuned. Sorry for the lack of updates recently - real life has interfered with my hobbies tremendously of late...