“Needles and Pins” Searcher still as sharp as ever

Mike Pender far right

Mike Pender – a founder of the 60s pop group The Searchers – is to tour again.

The 79-year-old singer declared his love for being on the road after being awarded an MBE by Prince Charles.

The Searchers, part of the Merseybeat sound, had three number one hits:

“Sweets for My Sweet”, “Needles and Pins” and “Don’t Throw Your Love Away”.

Pender said it was “absolutely brilliant” that the Prince remembered some of the group’s songs while collecting his award for services to music.

Following the investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace, Pender said “so many big things” had happened in he and the other band members’ lives over the last 55 years.

He told the Press Association:

“Three number one records, appearing on the Ed Sullivan show, going to America and being met at the airport just like the Beatles, doing the Royal Variety Show, meeting her Majesty the Queen.

“We’ve had lots of things for the group in the past, but obviously the group is gone now, really.”

Pender added: “I mentioned some of the songs and he said, ‘I remember Needles and Pins.

So that was brilliant, absolutely brilliant.”

Pender, real name Michael Prendergast, left the group in 1985 to pursue a solo career.

He still performs and is embarking on his 80th Birthday Tour this year.

He said: “I still enjoy it, walking out on stage, all of those people.

“And when you sing some of the hits that you had, they know all the words, they sing along with you.

“It’s like a walk down memory lane for all of those people.

“They are from the era that we were big, and we are still here to entertain them.”

Pender said he feels “much younger” than 79 and is due to tour New Zealand and Australia later this year.


About the Author

Philip Braund spent 16 years at the Daily Mirror as a reporter and news editor before moving to ITV. He was the series producer of the ground-breaking investigation programme The Cook Report, Managing Editor at ITV's Millbank Studios, and Head of News at ITV Central. He has won national and regional Royal Television Society awards for documentaries.

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