Alan Clayson about TJ in Record Collector (1998)

Meanwhile, Tony recovered from having his nose remodelled. Looking less pugnacious, he conducted auditions for a racking combo in Soho's Roaring 20s club. Though Johnny Kidd's Pirates were meant to accompany him for one cancelled engagement, the ex-Searcher wasn't comfortable with an established group, functioning better with previously unattached individuals, "who I felt could live in the cauldron of travelling together, rehearsing . . . We didn't want friction or any disruptive element within the group. We wanted four guys who would gell socially as well as musically." Southerners all, they turned out to be organist Martin Raymond from the Westminster Four; ex-Hot Gang guitarist Ian Buisel (later Ian Leighton); and Paul Francis, who'd drummed for Rolf Harris and the Kangaroos. 4th September 1964 marked he concert debut of Tony Jackson and the Vibrations. Significantly no Searchers items were considered for their repertoire Tony was aware that "the Small Faces, the Who and all the Mod groups were coming in, so we took that path a lot of crash, bang, wallop". With keyboards and a female chorale framing an aggressive lead vocal, the first single, "Bye Bye Baby", was also a radical departure from what Searchers' fans might have anticipated. While Jackson wasn't exactly starting from scratch, its climb into he Top 40 was no mean feat.

UK Bye Bye Baby b/w  Watch Your Step Pye Records 7N 15685 Sep 64 reached no. 38
Germany Bye Bye Baby b/w  Watch Your Step Vogue DV 14212 1964  
Sweden Bye Bye Baby b/w  Watch Your Step Pye Records 7N 15685 1964  
NL Bye Bye Baby b/w  Watch Your Step Pye Records 7N 15685 1964  
Aus Bye Bye Baby b/w  Watch Your Step Astor AP-1086 1964  
SA Bye Bye Baby b/w  Watch Your Step Pye Teal Records PY 9 1964  
left: Promo of Tony's first single


No sooner had they started to rehearse than they were rushed into the studio - ironically because The Searchers had cancelled a session at short notice because Mike Pender was ill. "We were very lucky," Tony explained later. "The Vibrations and I hit it off right from the start, both musically and as friends. When we went into the studios to cut 'Bye Bye Baby', we'd only had a couple of days' rehearsals, but things worked out very well. People couldn't believe I hadn't used sessionmen. That's how quickly the group knitted together."
*Bye Bye Baby, beatier and more soulful than the trademark Searchers' sound, was a cover of an old Mary Wells' US hit, which The Vibrations promoted with appearances on Ready, Steady, Go! and Thank Your Lucky Stars. It was backed by an organ-powered version of Bobby Parker's R&B hit, 'Watch Your Step*. The single deserved a better fate than stalling at No. 38 in the chart, especially when his former colleagues were back in the Top 3 with 'When You Walk In The Room' (NB: it did put a brief showing in the NME Top 30).

(From foldoutsheet of the cd Watch Your Step by P. Doggett)

below: two different pressing

left: from Record Mirror, above from Melody Maker

above: New Zealand below: Australia

releases from




above: Tony's only release in Germany. Note: Tony Jackson AND The Vibrations

and finally: Tony leaves the Searchers


left: from New Musical Express and Disc