“Needles and Pins,” their first stab at putting R&B on a single, has made the charts with an impact

The Searchers can relax. their new year resolution to give the disc buying public a shot of rhythm and blues, Searchers style, has paid off.

“Needles And Pins,” their first stab at putting R&B on a single, has made the charts with an impact that looks like sending it high and mighty in the top 30.

“Wow,” muttered Chris Curtis, when I told him that it had made 18, “when we cut this disc, which was our first go at putting our real stage sound on record, we were prouder of it than anything else we’d done.

“We thought we might come in for a lot of criticism when it was issued. After all, people argued that the market still was not ready for rhythm and blues – especially way-out stuff. But we stuck to our guns and hoped for the best.

“When you’ve made a few records, you begin to criticise your own work. This year we resolved never to make a bad disc, and after we’d cut “Needles And Pins,” we decided that this was our best yet, and no future discs would drop below this standard.

“Now it’s made the charts, it makes us very happy to think that the chance we took is paying off.”

TV, radio

Despite nationwide TV and radio promotion on “Needles And Pins” which has obviously helped its early success, The Searchers themselves felt that the biggest test came when they played the number in a Liverpool dance hall last week.

“We hadn’t played a ballroom date in Liverpool for over six months,” admitted Chris. “We knew that if “Needles And Pins” went down well there, then we stood a good chance of having another hit on our hands.

“Making out well in Liverpool, if you’re a home town group, and in the face of so much competition up there, gives us added push to record sales.

“The number had been going down a bomb at other personal appearances, but we still felt Liverpool was a big test.”

In fact, regardless of new record releases, The Searchers find that any dance hall date in Liverpool is a little nerve racking!

“It’s a funny thing,” said Chris, “but put a foot wrong up there and you’re out of favour for good. For two days before we played the Locarno last Thursday we were living on our nerves!

“As local lads we knew just what extent the Liverpool crowd has been fed on groups, especially those playing rhythm and blues. Dance hall customer are very critical, but if they like your music, you can always be assured of an audience.

“I think our style of playing has changed an awful lot since we last appeared at home. We cooled down a bit when we started making discs and mixing rhythm and blues with a more commercial beat, and to a great extent we’re still playing in this style.

“However, now that “Needles And Pins” has made it, we can start getting back to our original form of playing. This is what we enjoy doing most.”

But Chris admits that even though they have cracked the rhythm and blues wall with “Needles And Pins,” there are still several radio and television programmes which are a little hesitant about letting them go out on a limb and play nothing but R&B.

Now firmly settled in their London flat, The Searchers had one remark to make about their new home.

“It’s great so far,” laughed Chris. “But last week I heard that the Brazilian Ambassador, who had the flat under ours, moved out! Don’t know whether it’s because he had to go, or because he couldn’t stand the sound of our rehearsing.”

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