27 May 1944 - 11 November 2013
By Frank Allen
Adamson was a member of The Searchers from 1969 to 1998 and it is
certain that he will always be remembered as the longest serving
drummer in the group. To die at sixty nine, a very young age in today's
terms, is sad and until the day before his passing his ex-band members
had no indication that he was in ill health and the news came as a
shock. The cause of his death we understand was of pneumonia following
was born in a suburb of Glasgow in 1944 and grew up in the Bellshill
area of the city performing in many local bands before turning
professional and relocating to London in order to be where the work was.
notable member of an early band, The Bellrocks, was a youthful and
talented girl by the name of Marie Lawrie, soon to become an
international star under the name of Lulu. Billy's professional career
also included periods backing such luminaries as ex Shadow Jet Harris
and Emile Ford who had achieved national fame with What Do You Want To
Make Those Eyes At Me For?
induction into The Searchers came about at a point when the band had
become disenchanted with the playing of John Blunt, a nice guy of whom
the group still talk very fondly but who was going through a somewhat
erratic period in his life at the time.
road manager for The Searchers at that point was Mick O'Halloran who
had also served as the road manager for Sonny Child and the TNT whose
drummer had been Billy Adamson. He suggested that the Scottish musician
might fit the bill and, despite his rather offbeat appearance (he was
sporting a very wild Afro haircut and big glasses) he was auditioned at
Frank's West London home and hired.
are many who propose that in technical terms Billy was the best drummer
the group has ever employed although of course opinions will differ but
he certainly rated highly in the opinions of fellow musicians. Good
examples of his prowess can be found on the first of the two Sire
albums, a high point in the band's history which found a critical
return to favour if not in chart terms.
he eventually fell out of love with his life in the group and departed
in late 1998 following a one nighter in Germany. His departure came as
a total surprise to the other members and led to him being replaced by
leaving The Searchers he and his second wife Hilary eventually moved to
the South of France where we understand they enjoyed their new life and
surroundings immensely. There they established a very successful gite a
few kilometers from Nice. At last he had found a happier and calmer
environment after his long life on the road with The Searchers.
the parting had not been without acrimony, these things are all too
often unpleasant, but not to the point where John, Frank and Spencer
would not have greeted him warmly had he been in touch during the
following years. They still have very fond memories of his time with
them. Any bitterness had been put to rest a long time ago and they
would have been happy to stop and reminisce about the happy times.
Billy will remain forever as an important fixture in the history of The