"Sweets For My Swedes" The Searchers in Sweden 1964-1967
by Björn Eriksson and Peter McCormack
Part 1: Rock 'n' Roll Sweeps Sweden
"Saturday Night Out With The Searchers" L to R: Hofner Club 40, Hofner Violin Bass; Burns Tri-Sonic
Part 1: Rock 'n' Roll Sweeps Sweden In Early 1960s
The Searchers made several trips from Liverpool to Sweden in the 1960s in an attempt to promote their Liverpool Sound. Fortunately, for Searchers enthusiasts everywhere, the group's performances were captured live on Swedish radio on three occasions, March and December 1964 and May 1967. This article chronicles these visits, provides an interpretation of The Searchers' music at that time and discusses the social and political context within which these events occurred.
The "Swedish Radio Sessions" provide a wealth of information about the group. Not only do they highlight the skilled abilities of individual members in the areas of instrumentation and vocal performance, but they also offer the listener with a time-capsule in which significant moments of the British Invasion are documented. Thus, the recordings allow for a longitudinal musical analysis of the Searchers during the span of their greatest chart success.
The relative contribution of different group members can also be appreciated when listening to these timeless recordings. From the original lineup of Jackson, Pender, McNally and Curtis to the later addition of Allen and Blunt, these offerings reflect a major cultural preoccupation of the time - Scouser Rock.
Sweden Ready For The British Invasion
The 1960s were exciting times around the world for rock and roll music, and Sweden was no exception. The enthusiasm that the Swedes had for music at the time of the British Invasion was fostered by several factors.
To begin, many groups visited Sweden from the United Kingdom, perhaps the most noticeable was that of The Beatles. By the spring of 1964 The Beatles had six hits in the top ten on the Swedish Charts. Three of these were number one hits including: She Loves You (October 1963); I Want To Hold Your Hand (January 1964); and All My Loving (February 1964).
Long before the introduction of foreign artists and composers, music lovers in Sweden grew up in the tradition of writing folk ballads in minor keys. With this history, Swedish adolescents were at home with the original material performed by The Beatles during their 1963 fall tour. It was not long before ABBA and other groups would add strong melodies and number one hits to the global music community.
A progressive music program had been instituted in the Swedish schools during the early 1960s and this initiative created a climate of enthusiasm and desire to emulate the sounds of Ameria and shortly thereafter those of the British Invasion.
Finally a political movement was emerging that would change access that the Swedish population had to music. That the younger generation in Sweden took its music seriously during the early 1960s is evident from the many protests regarding the so called "pirated music stations" of the day.
These factors, and others no doubt, would result in a musical renaissance in Sweden which eventually led to the country being the third largest exporting nation of music, and second only to the United States and the United Kingdom. In order to appreciate the power of music and the impact of mainstream Swedish radio stations durng the 1960s, and the social and political context in which The Searchers performed, a brief digression is in order.