Rebel With A Cause:

by Peter McCormack

I am a bit of a rebel with a cause

"Just Like Me"
Tony Jackson in 1996
Photo 1996 The Beat Goes On Magazine

Part One: I'm A Rock and Roller

Sweet Memories of June 1963

"I'm a Rock and Roller" Anthony (Tony) Paul Jackson emphasized as he spoke of the excitement that he experienced whilst watching "Sweets For My Sweet" rise to the top of the charts in June 1963. Nearly 40 years later, his memories appeared to be as fresh and vivid as if the events had taken place yesterday. How had he felt hearing his voice on the radio rocket the Searchers to number one? In a Buddly Holly heartbeat, he replied "Brilliant. But I did think I would have liked to re-record it. A slower version like The Drifters did." Spontaneously, Tony broke into song demonstrating a charming a cappella version with a noticeably slower tempo "Sweets for my sweet, Sugar for my honey, Your first sweet kiss thrills me so." His voice was as distinct and recognizable as it was in the demo recordings made at the Iron Door on Temple Street early in 1963.

From the very beginning of this July 14, 2002 interview, Tony Jackson spoke his mind with regard to times good and bad at the height of The Searchers' fame and fortune. Affable and sincere throughout, he hastened to remind "I am a bit of a rebel with a cause." To be sure, he remained true to this self-characterization generously providing much insight into his life as a Searcher. His free-wheeling, anecdotal and extemporaneous comments confirmed what most Liverpudlians have known since the early 1960s. Tony Jackson is an entertainer, through and through. He welcomed any and all questions and after even the briefest of pauses encouraged "Well, let's go! Come on then! What else?"

Part Two: American Music Influences

Sweets For My Sweet - Number 1 in June 1963

The Searchers in 1963
L to R: McNally, Jackson and Pender (standing)
Chris Curtis (kneeling)


Allen, Frank - The Travelling Man - On The Road With The Searchers Aureus Publishing, 1999

Bolton, Rob - The Searchers - Bolton's USA Site July 2002

Clough, Roy - Personal communication July 21, 2002

Jackson, Tony - Personal communication July 14, 2002

Leach, Samuel - Personal communication May 22, 2002

Leach, Samuel - The Rocking City: The Explosive Birth of the Beatles Gwynedd: Pharoh Press, 1999.

Leigh, Spencer Let's Go Down The Cavern: The Story Of Liverpool's Merseybeat London: Vermillion and Company Limited, 1984.

McCormack, Peter - The Liverpool Factor: "Routes" to the Beatles' Success. The Liverpool Project, June 18, 1999.

McCormack, Peter - John McNally's Guitar Influences April 16, 2000a

McCormack, Peter - The History Of Tony Jackson - The Needles and Pins Searchers' Information Page, May 26, 2000b

McCormack, Peter - Liverpool's Iron Door Club: A Watershed in British Rock Music - The Liverpool Project, March 27, 2001a

McCormack, Peter - Tony Jackson and The Vibrations: On The Road With Black Jake" - The Needles and Pins Searchers' Information Page, July 7, 2001b.

McCormack, Peter - John McNally's Hofner Club 60: Liverpool's Fastest Rhythm Guitar - The Needles and Pins Searchers Information Page July 23, 2001c

McCormack, Peter - MIKE PENDER'S SEARCHERS and Tony Jackson - The Needles and Pins Searchers Information Page, July 21, 2002

Roe, Tommy - Personal Communication March 9, 2002

Searchers' Official Website - The Searchers' Guitars 1963-1998 July 2001

 July 21, 2002
2002 Peter McCormack. All rights reserved.

Tony Jackson and MIKE PENDER'S SEARCHERS in 1995Part Two: American Music Influences

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