The 1960’s was an explosive time for British music. Rock ‘n’ roll had definitely become part of the fabric of Britain and if you found yourself in a band you could almost see fame coming your way. Frank Allen began his music career in the Skiffle group; Cliff Bennett and The Rebel Rousers during the late fifties. Influenced by the American big band sound, The Rebel Rousers relied upon a whole range of different instruments including saxophone and piano to give them a unique sound similar to the legendary jazz bands of the forties and fifties which gave Frank the perfect grounding for his career in music.
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Playing iconic venues around the north of England such as The Iron Door and The Cavern Club brought Frank into contact with many of his contemporaries. To be in Liverpool at such a thriving time was magical and if you had aspirations for a career in music, it was even better. When the original bassist Tony Jackson left The Searchers in 1964, Frank realised the band’s predicament and joined. Having mixed in the same circles as The Searchers for a number of years, Frank knew their sound and indeed the musical direction they wanted to go in and so became the perfect candidate to replace Jackson. Since then he’s become a permanent fixture of the band and irrespective of members coming and going, has remained a constant throughout.
Covering The Drifters’ 1962 hit Sweets For My Sweet just a year later, gave The Searchers their first Number 1 and catapulted them into the hearts and minds of the British public. Although Frank had yet to join the band, he still recognises the significance of this song and still loves performing it with it’s great lyrics and simple melody. The band was guided by the legendary impresario Tony Hatch who had an extraordinary eye for what the people wanted. A combination of Hatch and the agent Tito Burns got the band on the road to success and despite being tempted by Brian Epstein, the band remained loyal to their management until Burns ultimately sold them in 1969 when he took a senior management position at the newly formed London Weekend Television.
This didn’t deter the band from making music and The Searchers’ musical output continued throughout the 1970’s. In 1989 the band reached one of many career highs when they played to a packed out crowd at Wembley Stadium alongside fellow sixties icon Cliff Richard. For Frank and the rest of The Searchers, this was a very proud night and reinforced their place in the British music hall of fame. Forever on the road, the band show no sign of slowing down and despite members coming and going over the years, they still sound as dynamic as ever and are imminently waiting to embark on the infamous Sixties Gold Tour alongside fellow pop veterans Gerry and the Pacemakers. It’s quite obvious that there remains significant interest in this pivotal era in British music. Who knows what the future holds for the evergreen band but with such an extensive back catalogue, The Searchers have left an indelible mark on the nation’s psyche and people will be singing their songs for many years to come.
It was a great pleasure to meet Frank and I hope The Searchers keep entertaining us for many years to come.