Searchin'

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For other uses, see Searchin' (disambiguation).
"Searchin'"
Searchin' by the Coasters on Atco Records
Single by The Coasters
from the album The Coasters
A-side "Young Blood"
Released March 1957
Recorded February 15, 1957
Genre Rock And Roll
Length 2:36
Label Atco Records 45-6087
Writer(s) Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller
Producer(s) Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller
The Coasters singles chronology
"One Kiss Led to Another"
(1956)
"Searchin'"
(1957)
"Idol with the Golden Head"
(1957)

"Searchin'" is a song written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller specifically for The Coasters.[1] It was released as a single on Atco Records in March 1957, and topped the Rhythm and Blues Chart for twelve weeks. It reached #3 on the national pop singles chart.[2]

Although the Coasters had previously done well on the R&B charts, it was "Searchin'" (along with "Young Blood" on the flip side) that sparked the group's rock and roll fame.

Singer/songwriter Paul McCartney chose "Searchin'" as one of his Desert Island Discs in 1982. McCartney performed the song with The Beatles during their audition for Decca Records on 1 January 1962.[3]

The song is featured in the 1999 Warner Bros. animated movie, The Iron Giant, the musical revue Smokey Joe's Cafe, and the 1999 biographical film October Sky.

The song[edit]

The lyrics, written by Leiber, use vernacular phrasing. The plot revolves around the singer's determination to find his love wherever she may be, even if he must resort to detective work. The song's notable gimmick was in citing specific law-enforcement figures from popular culture, such as Sherlock Holmes, Charlie Chan, Joe Friday, Sam Spade, Boston Blackie, Bulldog Drummond, and the Northwest Mounted Police (The Mounties).[1] The vocals of the Coasters' lead singer Billy Guy are raw and insistent. Driving the song is a pounding piano rhythm of two bass notes alternating on every second beat.[4]

The theme of the song is searching for love:

"Well, I'm searching"
"Yeah I'm gonna find her"

The refrain is simple variations of this phrase

"Gonna find her, yeah ah, gonna find her"[1]

The track was recorded in Los Angeles on 15 February 1957; the backing band comprised Gil Bernal (tenor sax), Mike Stoller (piano and arrangement), Barney Kessell (guitar), Ralph Harrison (bass), and Jesse Sailes (drums).[5]

Cover versions[edit]

The song has been covered by The Beatles, the Grateful Dead, The Hollies, The Kingsmen, Wanda Jackson, Billy Lee Riley, Neil Sedaka, and The Spencer Davis Group, among many others. Jim Croce included some of the lyrics in his version of "Chain Gang". The Muppets also covered it in the first season of The Muppet Show. Buck Owens and the Buckaroos sang it on Hee Haw (Season 6 Episode 17). A revised version by Cheech & Chong appears in the film Up in Smoke, in which the singer describes searching for marijuana, rather than a girl; the arrangement was also in a reggae style rather than the original R&B style.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Gilliland, John (1969). "Show 13 - Big Rock Candy Mountain: Rock 'n' roll in the late fifties. [Part 3]" (audio). Pop Chronicles. Digital.library.unt.edu. 
  2. ^ "The Coasters - Charts and Awards". Allmusic. Retrieved 2006-11-07. 
  3. ^ The Beatles Bible: Searchin' Retrieved on 2008-08-31.
  4. ^ Gillett, Charlie (1996). The Rise of Rock and Roll ((2nd Ed.) ed.). New York, N.Y.: Da Capo Press. p. 73. ISBN 0-306-80683-5. 
  5. ^ Peter Grendysa and Robert Pruter, Atlantic Rhythm and Blues 1947-1974 booklet notes (CD edition), Atlantic Records, 1991

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Young Blood" by The Coasters
Billboard R&B Best Sellers in Stores number-one single
June 10, 1957 – August 28, 1957
Succeeded by
"(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear" by Elvis Presley