It is almost 40 years since the Merseybeat band, once tipped to be as big as The Beatles, reached number one with their first single Sweets For My Sweet.

The Searchers combined their soaring vocal harmonies and the rich sounds of the 12-string guitar to establish their own distinctive sound and attract a dedicated following.

That sound later influenced performers such as Tom Petty, The Byrds and Bruce Springsteen.

The Searchers bring their live show to the Princes Hall on October 17 at 7.45pm. Tickets cost £13.50 (concessions £12.50).

The current line-up of John McNally, Frank Allen, Spencer James and Eddie Rothe continue to deliver the memorable Sixties sounds.

Among the numbers from a career including 14 chart hits, three number ones and total world sales of 30 million records, are classics such as Sugar and Spice, Needles and Pins and Don't Throw Your Love Away.

The hits declined by the late Sixties but the demand for live appearances continued.

During the past decade the band has recorded new albums, performed with Sir Cliff Richard to 80,000 people at Wembley and toured with the Solid Silver Sixties Show.

It is perhaps no coincidence that the Princes Hall will also be the venue for an appearance by Freddie Starr on October 16.

Like The Searchers, the zany comic first made his name on the Sixties Merseybeat scene with his band The Midnighters.

His subsequent career as a comedian has been sensational in every sense of the word.

Although his unpredictable humour may have scared off TV executives, Freddie remains one of the best live comedy acts around.

Call the Princes Hall box office on 01252 329155 for details of Freddie Starr or The Searchers.