A tour of legends

Mike Pender's Searchers. Photo contributed.
Mike Pender's Searchers. Photo contributed.

Yes, it’s that time of year again – the time when some of the biggest stars of the sixties get together to tour the country under the Solid Silver Sixties banner - now in its 28th year.

And this April, the show is heading to Buxton’s magnificent Opera House.

As usual, the line-up is of the highest order with some of the biggest names of the era on stage and entertaining their many fans.

This year, the line-up consists of Mike Pender, who was the original voice of The Searchers from the bands’ formation in 1959 to 1985 when he started a solo career.

In that 26-year period, Mike was singer on all the bands’ hits, including Sugar and Spice, Needles and Pins’ Don’t Throw Your Love Away and Sweets For My Sweet (all of which made the top two 
in the charts and three of 
them going all the way to the top.

Along with Mike is Sheffield-born Dave Berry, who has been a part of the Solid Silver Sixties tour in three of the last four tours.

He enjoyed big UK hits with Mama, Little Things and The Crying Game, which coincidentally all peaked at number five in the charts.

A little-known fact about Dave’s hits is that This Strange Effect, a song written for him by Ray Davies of The Kinks, only made number 37 in the British charts, yet in Holland and Belgium has the distinction of being the biggest selling single of all time!

Wayne Fontana makes up the trio of solo vocalists on the tour.

Wayne’s hits, both with and without The Mindbenders, included the likes of Um Um Um Um Um Um, Pamela and The Game of Love.

These three legends of British pop music will be ably backed by The New Amen Corner, a band that has emerged as one of the hottest bands on the Sixties circuit; and whilst they have no original members of Amen Corner in their line-up, they have the superb ability to recreate the sound of the Welsh band.

Amen Corner’s hits included (If Paradise Is) Half as Nice, Bend Me Shape Me and Hello Suzie (a song written by Roy Wood).

Special guests for the tour, and yet another northern band, is The Merseybeats who, in Tony Crane and Billy Kinsley, boast two founder members.

Tony, who is lead vocalist and guitarist, is looking forward to the tour: “We’re absolutely delighted and can’t wait to do this tour again.”

2013 is not only The Merseybeats 50th anniversary of their first record, but also 50 years since the first releases by Dave Berry, The Searchers and Wayne Fontana!

Altogether, these legends of Sixties music have been responsible for no less than 16 Top Ten hits including four Number Ones.

The Solid Silver Sixties Tour 2013 will be coming to Buxton Opera House on Thursday April 4.

Tickets for the performance, priced £24.50 and £26.50, are available from the Buxton Opera House Box Office on 0845 127 2190 or they can be purchased online at www.buxtonoperahouse.org.uk.

Martin Hutchinson