Guest Book & Fans' comments

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406) Beverly McKiernan
Monday, 15 November 2021 05:35 PM

I met Chris Black way back in the early days of Mike Pender’s Searchers when I interviewed Mike for a local radio station in Northern Ireland, and I remained a fan of the band for more years than I can remember. But most special of all was that through MPS, I got to know Chris, who became my dearest friend right up to the end of his life (which came far too soon).

Musically Chris was the consummate professional – with a balladeer voice that could perform smooth blues, and amazing harmonies (as shown most especially in his work with Fresh Aire – some of which I was glad to see is still online). But he wasn’t averse to belting out the odd rendition of Leaning on a Lamp Post (a song he did as a joke once and then we forced him to reprise it time after time…). Yes, we WERE, in his words, “the only girls who get hot for George Formby!” He was, as we all know, an amazing instrumentalist, but he was perhaps most proud of his often very complex musical arrangements.

He also had the most wonderful sense of humour and withstood our constant heckling during his shows – we had so much fun and he always managed to out-heckle the crowd – even when being pelted with assorted pieces of underwear – in fact I still have a photograph of him WEARING an item I threw on stage!! Any regular to the MPS shows will remember his intro to one particular song – “The ever-popular, never to be forgotten, and most be-OOT-ifully sung, Don’t Throw Your Love Away”! On occasion he had trouble getting that one out – in fact I think we knew the script better than he! He was a multi-talented man who insisted on hiding his light under a bushel (while at the same time he did rather love the adulation of his fans!!), but he deserved the plaudits in spades as they say! Those evenings were wonderful – the music, the dancing, and the long chats afterwards – and as for the Isle of Man where the two of us sat and talked non stop till 4 in the morning! A special friendship!

I met him through his music, but got to know him as a very dear friend. Like so many, I felt a great loss when he left for Australia, and the wilderness years when he was out of touch were so sad. In 2009 we finally get back in touch online– and the first thing he did was demand my phone number – he rang me immediately from Australia and we were on that call for almost two hours (I never did ask him what it cost him). Soon after that he came back home and what a party was had! And the following year we made our first of many trips to Oz where he gave us accommodation, food a-plenty and entertainment like you wouldn’t believe.

Our last trip was in November 2019 – we had received a message that Chris was ill and wouldn’t make it to Christmas – we went straight down – he WAS ill, but of course, he came through against all the odds. Sadly, this time there was little warning – he sent a lovely message two days before he died to me and several of his closest friends. He told me he was ill, but wasn’t in pain and he was sure the doctor had another trick up her sleeve. He was joking and sending me love to the end. Two days later his son sent me the awful news.

Our pal Chris was the kindest, most generous, funniest, most loving and most talented man I have ever met. He was there for me in low times and we shared so many laughs both in the MPS days and since. I remember the music, the giggles, feeding birds on his veranda, shopping at the Big W, 14-ingredient stir fries, bear hugs, never ending phone calls and emails – and boy did we keep Facebook busy with our messages! But above all I think his gift was Friendship. Not only ours, but the way in which he pulled people together – at his home in Oz, back in the UK, and above all online. It is only in the last few days that I have realised just how much I owe to him, with the wonderful chats I have had with people I call friends – whom I have even never met.

This is the MPS forum and I pay tribute to him for his part in that – I truly believe Mike Pender’s Searchers would never have been the outstanding act that they were without his input. But it is also important to remember that he was a very special human being too, and so many of us will be forever grateful that he played such an important part in our lives. We are lost – but I reckon he’ll be having a ball now, jamming with his mate Eddie, feeding the birds in between, and above all, laughing non-stop.

I owe him a lot. Thanks to Chris for friendship – and thanks to Mike Pender for knowing a good thing when he saw it! Mike, Chris, Barrie and Steve gave so much pleasure to so many. Life then was very good.
405) Roger Askey
Monday, 15 November 2021 11:52 AM

I have very fond memories of Chris Black from those early days of MPS when I started to follow the band. I remember going to a Searchers' gig in Worthing in 1986 and being alarmed when I realised Mike was no longer in the line-up – soon after I found MPS and everything was great from then on!

Chris was a lovely friendly, amusing guy who always had a quip or two – a wonderful sense of humour – quite dry at times. He was highly skilled at both guitar and keyboards and his vocal skills added to the MPS sound – recreating that original Searchers' sound.

When after 10 years with the band he decided to emigrate to Australia it was a big loss to all the fans and of course the band!

In 1985 I was asked to take over as Fan Club Secretary and started publishing MPS News – unfortunately Chris wasn’t involved with that for long but I do recall he sent me a detailed diary and pictures when the band toured Australia. Chris was very articulate and always just an interesting person to talk to – about anything really – not just music.

You're very missed Chris – by me and many many others.
404) Tony Sherwood
Monday, 15 November 2021 11:40 AM

Remembering Chris Black.

Apart from his own close family I doubt there is anyone, anywhere, who knew, and spent more time with Chris Black than me! I view it now, following his recent death, as a privilege! From the very beginning I loved his company, his wit, his great use of the English language, his knowledge of all things musical, and his ability to bounce back following any adversity in his life!

It was obvious from the very first time we met, back in the early 60's, that Chris was somebody special, and already showing signs of the great Musician that he became. Then he was a very young semi-pro - performing with a local Nottingham Band called Mosaic Sunset who were following in the tradition of the East Midlands top Harmony Group - Sons & Lovers - a Band, and its members, he would have a lot to do with later on his career!

One memorable night in 1963, as his equally young and enthusiastic Agent, we were out together- proposing to look at rival Groups playing in the area when we learned of John F. Kennedy's assassination! That's how far back we go together! One way or another, as his Agent, or his Manager - but more importantly as his Friend - we stayed together throughout his times with 'Mosaic', 'Highly Likely', the wonderful 'Fresh Aire' and lastly 'Mike Pender's Searchers'!

When Mike recruited him to the Group he knew that he wasn't employing a mere 'jobbing' musician - he was gaining a 'class' act! The original line-up of the Group - Chris, Steve Carlisle, and Barrie Cowell remain - to this day - the definitive line-up of Mike Pender's Searchers!

Chris brought to Mike's Group all the quality and experience he had used to great effect in Fresh Aire! This great harmony act - other members included Spike Cowlard from Sons & Lovers and Tony Harding from Harmony Grass - had provided On Stage 'live' vocal back up to both Cilla Black and Lena Martell for many years and had also worked - 'In Concert' with international 'greats' including Tony Bennett, Johnny Mathis, Petula Clark and many more!

So Chris already 'knew his stuff' !

His tenure with Mike Pender's Searchers was full of great 'gigs' memorable travel and just a few equally memorable 'artistic' disputes. He weathered, however, many 'storms' and continued for many years to contribute to the quality that the Group were, justifiably, famous for!

When he, eventually, decided to leave the Group - to take up a new life in Australia - we all - Mike included - were the poorer for it! His time in Australia was marred by some adversity, poor health, and, if I am honest, poor judgement. But to me he remained that wonderfully free thinking, always hopeful, enthusiastic person who once acted as 'Musical Director' to my then very young Daughter - Stevie - when she entered a School singing competition performing - at Chris's suggestion - "Oh What a Circus" from the Musical 'Evita' instead of the usual "boring stuff" (and 'blew' the competition away), the person who once phoned me up one Saturday afternoon 'suggesting' that I get up to Edinburgh - "straight away - right now" to take up the Management of singing Star - Lena Martell - who had just 'sacked her previous one!

In short - there was nobody quite like Chris Black! A truly great Musician and - my Buddy!
403) Klaus Hiltscher
Mannheim Germany
Thursday, 7 October 2021 05:25 PM

Hi Mike - The Pic - Mike takes a beer - is a pic out of my - The Searchers in Ludwigshafen - session.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/khiltscher/albums/72157613202299933

You will like that !!
402) John W
USA
Tuesday, 15 June 2021 01:11 AM

It's been many months since I logged onto the MPS website. Glad to see that things are moving along nicely. Belated Birthday wishes to Mike!
401) Ian Leaver
Tewkesbury England
Sunday, 9 May 2021 10:00 AM

Dear Mike
I am Searchers nut and have now nearly a complete collection of everything that the band have ever done including tracks from the Hamburg days.Your sound was so distinctive. I have seen you on many occasions and also your old band mates. It looks like you'll be the sole survivor from the original band still going. Please don't give up. Any chance I could have your autograph ?
400) Hugh Moran
Halifax
Thursday, 8 April 2021 08:49 PM

I had the great pleasure of showing you and the band around Zepce in Bosnia 1995, I was the Sgt Major who joined you on stage for 'Stand by me'. The troops loved it as did I. Hope to see you when you are next in Halfax
399) don hirst
Melbourne Australia
Saturday, 13 March 2021 12:04 AM

Hey Mike, HB for last week! You and I have the same BD and both in the same biz. I've been in bands in Melbourne and elsewhere since 1964 and am still tethered to the beast of r'n'r.
Best of,
Don Hirst
398) Mike Pender
Cheshire
Saturday, 6 March 2021 12:17 AM

I want to say a big thank you to everyone for sending birthday wishes last Wednesday for my big eight o!! 😂😂😂 I don’t think about age really and if I’m honest, I feel just the same as I did 10 years ago! I pick my guitar up and my fingers still work. I just hope that the vocals still work as it’s now more than 12 months since the last performance! Roll on next October and another Sensational Sixties Tour.
See you all soon, I hope!
Stay safe
Mike
397) Oliver
Scotland
Wednesday, 3 March 2021 07:17 PM

Wishing you a very happy 80th birthday
Hope you manage to party. Sad we did not meet you in Tenerife this year , hopefully next year
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