Day 207: “Searchin'”

When was it recorded?   Jan. 1, 1962

When was it first released, and on which album?   Nov. 21, 1995 on “Anthology 1”

Who wrote it?   Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller

Have I heard this song before?   Just the original

What my research dug up:

Jerome “Jerry” Leiber and Mike Stoller wrote “Searchin’.” I mentioned Leiber and Stoller before on Day 142: “Kansas City / Hey-Hey-Hey-Hey!” but not in depth. The American duo wrote and produced over 70 hit songs, usually with Leiber as the composer and Stoller as the lyricist. Many of their best-known songs were popularized by Elvis Presley – “Hound Dog,” “Love Me,” “Jailhouse Rock,” Don’t,” etc. Perhaps more importantly, quoth Wikipedia, “They were the first to surround black music with elaborate production values, enhancing its emotional power with The Drifters in ‘There Goes My Baby,’ and influencing Phil Spector, who studied their productions while playing guitar on their sessions.” Together, they were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Leiber died in 2011, but according to Wikipedia Stoller is still around.

Leiber and Stoller wrote “Searchin’” specifically for American R&B group The Coasters. The Coasters recorded “Searchin’” Feb. 15, 1957 and released it as a single the next month.

“Searchin’” was #1 on the R&B charts for a whopping 12 weeks and peaked at #3 on the Pop charts. According to Wikipedia, “Although the Coasters had previously done well on the R&B charts, it was ‘Searchin’’… that sparked the group’s rock and roll fame.”

Quoth the Beatles Bible, “The Quarrymen had played ‘Searchin’’ from their earliest days, following the news that someone in Liverpool was in possession of a copy.”

“A rumor reached town one day that there was a man over the hills who had the record ‘Searchin’’ by The Coasters. Colin [Hanton], the drummer with John’s skiffle group, knew him and so there was a great trek to find the man, and indeed we found him. And relieved him of it. It was too big a responsibility for him to keep. We couldn’t return it. We just had to have it; it was like gold dust. ‘Searchin’’ became a big number with The Beatles; we always used to do it at the Cavern.” — Paul McCartney (Anthology)

It’s believed “Searchin’” was the final song the Beatles performed at their ill-fated Decca Records audition. The track floated around on bootlegs for years before appearing on “Anthology 1” in 1995.

It’s probably unfair to compare one band’s early demo to another band’s polished single that I’ve heard time & time again, but… yeah, the original is leagues better.




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