An Interview with Frank Allen from The Searchers

An Interview with Frank Allen from The Searchers (2)

The Searchers are the longest running band in pop history. Formed by John McNally in 1957, the Merseybeat mega-stars have been going longer than every other band in the world, even the Rolling Stones (by five years – the Stones formed in 1962).

Last year the band tried to hang up their famous Rickenbacker guitars with a final ‘Thank You’ tour of the UK, but their sold-out 43 date tour was so successful, The Searchers have announced a second ‘Thank You’ tour in 2024.

Ahead of the dates, Graham Clark spoke to bassist Frank Allen…

Will this really be the last tour that The Searchers perform?
Yes, this really is the last tour that we will do – in the past we have always left it open in case there was anything that we wanted to do in terms of touring. We are going to be doing concerts on the spring tour in places we have not been to for along time such as The Dome in Doncaster, St Georges Hall in Bradford, and Bridlington Spa.

What made you decide to stop touring?
We all are not getting any younger – the touring does take it out on you, such as the driving between places and the traffic on the roads is getting heavier all the time. Tom McGuiness, who played in Manfred Mann and McGuiness Flint, once said to me that bands got played for driving to venues, not to play – which I can resonate with.

What was it like being part of the Merseybeat Scene?
I only saw the tailend of it as I was from London and had been the bassist in Cliff Bennet and The Rebel Rousers. I remember going to Hamburg and playing the Star Club and people were talking about this band from Liverpool called The Beatles. Going to Hamburg was an education for me – I did feel like a fish out of water and for me being a non-drinker at the time I felt like I was missing out.

Do you have good memories of appearing on Top of the Pops?
We were on the show with every single we released. We got to mix with the other acts of the day and made a lot of good friends. When the show first started it was recorded in Manchester – we flew up there and back in a day from London.

An Interview with Frank Allen from The Searchers (1)

Do you listen to any current bands?
After the end of the sixties, I lost interest in current music – when the seventies arrived and the Glam rock period, I felt it was all diminishing returns – musically speaking. Even now I do not own a record player or listen to music in my car, preferring silence. I suppose I am a child of the fifties – when rock ‘n’ roll appeared. We learnt our trade through playing small venues before playing the big theatres – acts these days expect to be starting out their touring careers by playing arenas.

Do you have a favourite Searchers song?
‘When You Walk in the Room’- this is not because it was the first track I performed on with the band, it is just such a good song with a good lyric; everything about the track says it is a big hit.

What will be the format of the last tour?
We will be playing a two-hour set each night with an interval in-between which will cover our entire career with the hits, some old B-sides along with plenty of communication with the audience. There will be no support act – something we have always done since when we played a concert in Hayes in Middlesex – the support band’s drummer had an accident so could not perform. We had to decide what to do, so we decided to play a two hour set so the audience got their money’s worth – the idea has stuck with us ever since.

The Searchers play the following Yorkshire dates:
For full tour details visit:

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