Another Night: The Sire Recordings 1979-1981
The Searchers came out of Liverpool in the wake of Beatlemania. Like the Mersybeats, they played catchy pop songs with jangly electric guitars and catchy hooks. Unlike the Beatles, the Searchers didn’t write their own tunes and were at the mercy of the producers they worked with to provide the hits. They scored big with “Needles and Pins”, “Sweets For My Sweet” and “Love Potion Number 9”. By 1965, the hits dried up and the band kept on playing oldies shows and club dates. They got a second chance when upcoming bands like the Ramones (who covered “Needles and Pins”) cited them as influences. The Ramones label, Sire signed the Searchers who put out the two albums that make up Another Night.
The 1979 release, The Searchers and the 1981 follow up Love’s Melodies are pleasant enough records. They are bright, jangly guitar pop with their merseybeat roots updated for the skinny tie wearing New Wave audience. The members of the band wrote a few of the songs, but their producers brought most to the band. “Switchboard Susan” is a frothy pop novelty that seems aimed at recapturing the magic of “Love Potion”. Some of the interesting tunes include a nice rendition of John Fogerty’s “Almost Saturday Night” and Big Star’s “September Gurls” (long before most people even knew of Big Star). There are nice moments on these two discs. The bonus track “Sick and Tired” finds the band unchained and rocking out. If they’d been allowed to attack the entire record with this abandon, it might have been a better disc. For the most part it sounds like their producers were trying to emulate the Knack and make them another generic skinny tie band. Some of the tunes don’t age well. “Silver” comes off a bit creepy in 2018 as the definitely adult singer lusts after a little schoolgirl.
The Sire albums didn’t revitalize the band. The renewed attention didn’t hurt them as a concert draw, and the surviving members of the Searchers still tour in various combinations.