27 May 1944 - 11 November 2013

By Frank Allen

Billy 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 a fall.

Billy 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.

One 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?

His 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.

The 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.

There 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.

Alas 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 Eddie Rothe.

After 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.

Sadly 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 Searchers.