||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (March 2010)|
|Birth name||Michael John Prendergast|
|Born||3 March 1941|
|Years active||1950s - present|
|Labels||Pye Records (among others)|
|Associated acts||Mike Pender's Searchers
Mike Pender (born on 3 March 1941 in Bootle, Liverpool) is an original founding member of Merseybeat group the Searchers. He is best known as the lead vocalist on many hit singles by the Searchers, including the song "Needles and Pins" and "What Have They Done To The Rain?".
Pender pursued a solo career after leaving the Searchers and released one solo single before forming his current band, Mike Pender's Searchers who perform songs from his many years with the Searchers in addition to all-new material and a blend of popular rock standards by classic artists such as Buddy Holly, the Drifters and Roy Orbison.
In his early years, Pender worked at a guitar shop as a day job in between playing nightly gigs with the Searchers. According to Pender, he is responsible for choosing the band name for the Searchers. "The band was founded by myself and John McNally. In 1957 John and I went to see the film The Searchers starring John Wayne. I was an ardent Western fan and so I dragged John along with me to see it. I take the credit for choosing the name 'the Searchers' and for co-founding the band in its original form". Some years ago, Mike Pender claimed to be a member of two fictitious groups he played in before his years with the Searchers. Hoping to build more credibility as a musician, Pender claimed to have played in early groups, the Wreckers and the Confederates.
Over the years, some of Pender's personal guitars have included his Gibson ES-345 with sunburst finish, the Burns Tri-Sonic in the colour of red with three pickups and the twelve-string Rickenbacker Rose Morris model 1993 coloured in a fireglo finish with deluxe features including the f-hole rather than the slash sound hole. Other guitars he has played include the Aria twelve-string guitar, his Danelectro Bellzouki twelve-string made from wood and hardboard, and the solid Rickenbacker 450/12 in an elegant mapleglo finish, which had a converter comb, which allowed it to be converted into either a 6-string or 12-string guitar. Pender's Rose Morris model 1993 was stolen several years ago; it had been used on many of the Searchers' studio recordings in addition to numerous live performances.
After the Searchers recorded the singles "Sweets for My Sweet" and "Sugar and Spice", Pender took over lead vocal duties from Tony Jackson. During the late 1970s, the Searchers were signed by Seymour Stein's Sire Records and recorded two modernised albums, including "The Searchers" and "Play for Today," which was retitled "Love's Melodies" outside the United Kingdom. The Searchers recorded what would become the final single with Pender, I Don't Want to Be the One. Pender left the Searchers in 1985 to pursue a solo career and in 1988 joined an all-star rock band known as the Corporation AKA the "Travelling Wrinklies", whose name was a parody of the popular rock group Traveling Wilburys. That band included Pender, Brian Poole, Clem Curtis, Tony Crane and Reg Presley, lead singer of the Troggs. With the Searchers continuing to perform, Pender was replaced by a new vocalist, Spencer James.
Selecting a group of talented musicians, Pender sought to re–create the unique sound that popularised the Searchers. Forming the band "Mike Pender's Searchers", they began touring in the late 1980s and re-recorded the Searchers' hits plus 4 new tracks. Various CDs, featuring these new tracks and the re-recordings have been released in various countries around the world. Mike Pender's Searchers continue to book new shows and tour, targeting Britain, Australia, the U.S., the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark and the United Arab Emirates. In 1994 Mike Pender's Searchers were the very first 1960s band to be invited to play on board the QE2 as part of the world famous liner's 25th anniversary celebrations. During live performances, Mike Pender's Searchers use their own custom built lighting and sound equipment and Mike Pender uses his famous 12-string Rickenbacker.
In 2012 Mike Pender's Searchers accepted the invitation to play at the Concert to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of The Star Club, Hamburg.
Mike completed two 'British Invasion' tours of the USA in 2014 and such was the popularity of these tours, he returned to the States in February and March 2015 for a similar tour. This tour was followed by an extensive UK tour celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the popular Solid Silver Sixties series. Later in 2015 Mike played gigs in Bangkok, the Netherlands, the Channel Islands, Scandinavia and Germany.
In 2014 Pender released his autobiography, 'Origins of The Searchers and the Search for Myself', with foreword by Bill Kenwright, CBE.
Mike will be returning to the USA to tour in 2016 and will also be touring Australia later in the year.
Mike Pender's Searchers Selected Discography
- That Was Then This is Now
- Sweets for My Sweet
- Mike Pender's Searchers Live!
- Best of Mike Pender's Searchers
- Needles & Pins
- The Best of the Searchers (new versions of the Searchers' classic hits)
- Fab '60s
- Rock N' Roll Reunion: 1964
CD Compilations (various artists)
- Rolling Back the Years: The '60s
- Top Ten Hits of the Sixties: Your Favourite Sixties Supergroups
- UK No. 1 Hits of the '60s CD
- Merseybeat - Mike Pender's Searchers with Billy J. Kramer and the Fourmost (1CD)
- The Greatest Hits of Tug Boat Records
- The British '60s Volume 3
- Rolling Back the Years the '60s
- The Best of the Love Songs
- Hits of the '60s
- Dreamtime: Volume 2
- Fab Sixties Boxed set
- Hits of the '60s
- Class Of 64 (One Track Falling Apart at the Seams features Mike Pender)
- Hits of the Searchers/Gerry & the Pacemakers - British '60s CD featuring 10 cuts from Mike Pender's Searchers and 10 cuts from Gerry Marsden
- The Corporation - Ain't Nothing But a House Party 7" and 12" single with Mike Pender, (of the Searchers), Brian Poole (of Brian Poole & the Tremeloes), Clem Curtis (of the Foundations), Tony Crane (of the Merseybeats/the Merseys) and Reg Presley (of the Troggs)
Back To the Future - recordings of '90s songs by '60s artists Mike Pender performs Weather With You (Crowded House)
- Mike Pender: The Search for Myself (Malpas: Genuine Article, 2014) ISBN 0993121306
- http://www.rickresource.com/searchers/mikepender2.html Mike Pender's Rickenbacker guitars
- Tony Jackson, The Times, 20 August 2003