THE sound of the Sixties returns to Clacton as the Searchers' incredible decades-spanning career continues.

Since forming in Liverpool back in 1960, the Merseybeat band have racked up record sells of well over 50 million and penned some of pop music's most enduring hits.

Named after the John Wayne western film, the group's founder members were John McNally, who still leads the group, Mike Pender, Tony Jackson and drummer Norman McGarry.

After becoming a four-piece they headed to Hamburg's beat mecca the Star Club in 1962, playing there for an incredible 128 days, with three one-hour performances a night.

A record contract with Pye saw them release debut single Sweets For My Sweet in July 1963. After a slow start, it eventually knocked the Beatles off the number one spot in October.

But the Moptops got their revenge when Please Please Me prevented their rivals' first album Meet The Searchers from topping the LP charts.

Follow-up single Sugar And Spice reached number two before their most famous song - Needles And Pins - gave them their second chart-topper in January 1964.

A plethora of hits followed, including Don't Throw Your Love Away and Some Day We're Gonna Love Again.

Disaster almost struck when singer and bassist Tony Jackson quit to form the Vibrations at what appeared to be the height of their success.

But in stepped replacement Frank Allen, who had spent three years with Cliff Bennett and the Rebel Rousers, and knew the Searchers from their Hamburg days.

He shared lead vocals with Mike Pender on next hit When You Walk in the Room, and other successes followed over the next two years including Goodbye My Love, What Have they Done To The Rain and Take Me for What I'm Worth.

Fifty years later, the current line-up – John McNally, Frank Allen, Spencer James and Scott Ottaway – is still going strong and touring the globe.

The show combines anecdotes with all their famous hits, album recordings and B-sides.

The Searchers are at the West Cliff Theatre on September 1 at 7.30pm. Tickets are £22 from the box office on 01255 433344.