April 1966 saw the Searchers first release without Chris Curtis. On a Far East Tour the Rolling Stones had offered them a track from their Aftermath lp: Take It Or Leave It (Pye 7N 17094).
John Blunt's favourite drummer was Keith Moon, this also shows his drumming style, which is totally different to the way Chris played. (According to Frank Allen they took him because he was cheap.)

Mike Pender sings lead, double tracked sometimes.
The other side is written by John McNally: Don’t Hide It Away – a very nice and underrated ballad (By the way it’s a waltz, sung by Mike).

In the UK it went to no. 31 and stayed in the charts for six weeks.

above: acetat, promo and two different pressing from the UK  

“Chris mixed with the Stones a little more than we did and listened with them as they played a pressing of their new album Aftermath. One song he took note of was a track called Take It Or Leave it, which he reckoned would be a good song for the Searchers. (…) One of Chris's last decisions with us before going his own way was to choose 'Take It Or Leave It' as our next single. Both Chris and I were in Tito Burns' office when Mick Jagger and Keith Richards arrived with the acetate of the song as a demo. We thought it would be good for us to record, and there were no objections from Mick or Keith.
Mike Pender: The Search For Myself, Malpas 2014, page 110)

above: Australia, below: Argentina, promo A-Side + regular release  
Country Company Catalogue-Number Release Date Picture Cover Charts
UK Pye Records 7N 17094 April 8th, 1966 no no. 31 for 6 weeks
Argentinia Music Hall - Pye MH 30.599 1966 no unknown
Australia Astor AP 1231 1966 no unknown
Denmark Pye Records 7N 17094 1966 yes unkown
Ireland Pye Records 7N 17094 1966 no unknown
Netherlands Pye Negram 7N 17094  1966 4 different no. 5 for 15 weeks
New Zealand Pye Records 7N 17094 1966 no unknown
Norway Pye Records   7N 17094   1966 yes unknown
Philippines Pye Dyna Records PYE - 400 1966 no unknown
South Africa Pye Teal Records PY 100 1966 no unknown
Sweden Pye Records    7N 17094 1966 yes no. 4 for 5 weeks
above and below: Danish single  

“We had decided to carry on with the plans to record Take It Or Leave It, the Jagger /Richards composition we had heard in Australia. The haunting quality of the song and the connection with two of the most hip people in rock’n  roll might be enough to grab some attention and airplay, we figured. With the exuberant John Blunt in the studio on drums for the first time we treated the piece in the only way we could by keeping a steady hypnotic rhythm throughout, embellished by bell-like guitar figures lilting in the background and by our usual tight harmonies at the end of the lines and through the lah-lahs of the chorus. It was an appealing song and we were pleased with the result, although on reflection our futures would have benefited by our taking a little more time over the selection and coming out with something much stronger and with more impact.“ (Frank Allen: The Searchers And Me, St. Bride's Major, 2009, p. 210)


above: NL cover, below: two different pressings Take It.. turned out to be the Searchers most successful single in NL
above: cover variant two & three, below. two different pressing B-side and further below: cover variant no. four

above: Irish single above: Cover used in Sweden and Norway
above: Swedish release below: Norwegian single  

above: New Zealand, below: Philippines  

The EPs

UK Take Me For What I'm Worth Take Me For What I'm Worth Pye Records NEP 24263 Oct. 1966
    Too Many Miles      
    Take It Or Leave It      
    Don't Hide It Away      
Israel Take Me For What I'm Worth Take Me For What I'm Worth Piccadilly PH 17111 1966
    Too Many Miles   (NEP 24263)  
    Take It Or Leave It      
    Don't Hide It Away      
SA Take Me For What I'm Worth Take Me For What I'm Worth Pye Records PE 1029 1966
    Too Many Miles      
    Take It Or Leave It      
    Don't Hide It Away      
Norway Take Me For What I'm Worth Take It Or Leave It Pye Records NEP 5048 1966
    Don't Hide It Away      
    I'm Ready      
    It's Time      
Aus Take Me For What I'm Worth Take Me For What I'm Worth Astor NEP 24263 1966
    Too Many Miles      
    Take It Or Leave It      
    Don't Hide It Away      
NZ Take Me For What I'm Worth Take Me For What I'm Worth Pye Records NEP 24263 1966
    Too Many Miles      
    Take It Or Leave It      
    Don't Hide It Away      
Spain Take It Or Leave It Take It Or Leave It Pye Hispavox HPY 337-30 1966
    He's Got No Love      
    When I Get Home      
    Four Strong Wings      
SW The Searchers Take It Or Leave It Pye Records NEP 5048 1966
    Don't Hide It Away      
    I'm Ready      
    It's Time      
above: UK cover, also used in New Zealand and Israel. Below: back of
the cover
     above and below: two different pressings of the
     UK release plus Israel & New Zealand record
  above and below: Spanish record
below: Swedish cover, variant 2 above: Swedish cover, variant 1
below: Sweden used the Nrrwegian pressing (brown instead of blue label

John Blunt - Interview by Tim Viney 1988.

TV. How did you get recruited to The Searchers?  

JB. A friend's father worked for Harold Davidson, The Searchers' agent, and he recommended me on the 10th of March 1966.o

 TV. What was  your first appearance as a Searcher?

JB. On the P.J. Proby tour which started around the middle of March. TV. You played on the singles "Take It Or Leave It", "Have You Ever Loved Somebody", "Popcorn Double Feature", "Western Union" and "Second Hand Dealer" on PYE. Also all the LIBERTY (U.A.) singles, "Umbrella Man", "Shoot 'Em Up Baby", "Somebody Shot The Lollipop Man" (released under the name 'Pasha') and "Kinky Kathy Abernathy".

TV. Which (if any) was your favourite and which of the other tracks recorded by The Searchers do you like?

JB. My favourite tracks, of those I played on, were "Take It Or Leave It", "Have You Ever Loved Somebody" & "Western Union". The other Searchers' tracks I liked were "Sweets For My Sweet", "Love Potion No. 9", "Don't Throw Your Love Away", "Someday We're Gonna Love Again", "Goodbye My Love", "Bumble Bee" and "Till I Met You".

TV. What did you enjoy most about being in The Searchers?

JB. I liked their music and I liked them as people to work with, they all had a great sense of humour.

JOHN BLUNT By Frank Allen. 1987

There are a whole lot of people who ask about John Blunt’s short role in The Searchers' story. Well, there's not an awful lot to tell, but here goes.

During the tour of the Philippines and. Australia early in 1966, Chris Curtis was becoming more and. more disenchanted, with touring and very unhappy about the group's diminishing chart success. His behaviour was also becoming extremely erratic to say the least. The bombshell was dropped on the journey home. He no longer wanted to be in the group and intended to pursue a solo career as a writer and producer. To say the rest of us were worried would be an understatement. Up to that point Chris had not only dominated the general direction musically, although everyone had their say of course, but the stage show was completely under his control. Not one of us ever uttered a word other than Chris and, as people who saw the early shows will verify, he was an extremely zany and funny person. He not only had the audience in stitches but the rest of the group as well for a great deal of the time. A meeting was arranged with Tito Burns (the group's manager) at a London restaurant, but no amount of argument could change Chris's mind. It was a crisis point. For a few moments we actually wondered if it was worth carrying on, but we had to agree with Tito that there was still a future and we should give it a try. It wasn't the end of the world. Our first week ever in cabaret was on the horizon plus a concert tour with P. J. Proby, and we had no drummer nor any idea of who was available. Tito's assistant was a person called Mike Rispoli. He had the task of accompanying us on foreign tours and generally making sure that everything went smoothly, giving us nothing to worry about but the performance itself. He knew of a young drummer from Groydon who apparently was very popular in his area and who had an up-to-date image. We agreed to give it a try as a temporary measure until we had the opportunity to pick the ideal person, that is if he turned out not to be suitable. John Blunt certainly gave us a bit of a culture shock when we came face-to-face with him. He resembled Keith Moon more than Chris Curtis, checked trousers, pop-art sweaters and back-combed hair. It was hardly surprising as Moon was his idol. I don't think that The Searchers' music was what he would have chosen but here was a chance at the big time. So he was very keen, despite the fact that we made it clear that the situation was merely temporary. Rehearsals went reasonably well although his style was totally different to the way Chris had played. We knew instinctively  that it was not quite what was required but it would provide a stop-gap for us and meanwhile we set about auditioning other hopefuls, vie hired the Grafton rooms in Liverpool and tried out about a dozen one afternoon. Auditioning, I might tell you, is a tedious, unpleasant and embarrassing experience. One of the guys trying out that day, I remember, was Earl Preston, better known in the 'Pool as a singer and local minor celebrity. However no-one fitted the bill and John was still a 'temporary' Searcher. This period went on so long that we had eventually to get him into a suit. Up to that point we had allowed him to wear casual clothes, while the three of us up front were smartly turned out in black suits as always. Anyone who saw us in our 'John Blunt' period would probably have been astonished (not to say horrified) at the sight of 'Blunty’ destroying his drum kit 'a la Moon at the end of each performance. Indeed, Billy Adamson was a drummer on a Small Faces tour on which The Searchers were guesting at that time for a couple of nights, and he still recalls to this day everyone running up to the stage area on hearing the news that The Searchers' insane drummer was kicking his kit all over the stage. John Blunt's debut on record was "Take It Or Leave It" (still one of the nicest sounds and deserving of greater success) and although tipped by Jonathan King to be a *biggy', it only reached No. 31 in the charts. The follow-up, "Have You Ever Loved Somebody", written by The Hollies, featured some frantic drum rolls by Blunt but only managed a No. 48 placing. On reflection both of these singles have much appeal and it was a pity that the group was somewhat out of favour with the fans at this point. "Have You Ever Loved Somebody" suffered to some degree from a rival version by Paul and Barry Ryan, produced by none other than Chris Curtis to say -that John Blunt was not technically super-proficient would, "be an understatement. He was an instinctive drummer with lots of energy "but an erratic sense of timing. Consequently this caused problems in the studio and Tony Hatch lost patience with him. So much so, that following an abortive attempt to record a Hatch composition called "Camberwell Green" (a title apparently inspired by the destination sign on a London bus) Tony expressed a wish, an insistence actually, to use a session drummer from then on. Well, we were strong on principle at that time and refused to contemplate this. On reflection, Tony was right, we really should have used someone more used to the studio who would have speeded up the time spent recording, but the decision was made and we parted from Tony Hatch. The strange thing was, that when we signed our next contract with Liberty Records we agreed to use a room full of studio musicians, and in fact only added the vocals to a couple of the singles released during that period. One of the problems with 'Blunty' was that he led a very chaotic lifestyle. If we arranged to meet him at one station he would be at another. If we arranged to meet him at 3.30 pm he would be there at 4.30 pm. We went to Rome one day, he lost his return ticket. And then we were horrified to get a call one day to say that he had been arrested for the possession of Cannabis and remanded for medical reports. Can you imagine? The 'squeaky clean' Searchers, who had never done anything wilder than stepping on the cracks in the pavement, involved with drugs I However the •black sheep' returned to the fold and we continued. But his timing was getting worse, and we decided that enough was enough. He had been a Searcher for getting on for 3 years. At that time, we were using a temporary roadie by the name of Mick O'Halloran. Our regular guy, Chris Gottrell, was in hospital having a boil on his bum removed, (Don't laugh, it might happen to you). Kick had been roadie for a group called Sonny Child and the T.N.T. and recommended their drummer who, as far as he knew, was now out of work. That drummer was Billy Adamson, and after a quick clandestine audition at Frank's house, he was offered the job. John Blunt was a bit upset and surprised when we told him that his 'temporary' stay of three years was over. Considering the warnings we had given him it was strange that he should have been surprised. But we still felt a bit sad about it. Whatever his faults, John Blunt was extremely nice and likeable person and we have some fond memories of those times. He certainly was a funny character. From The Searchers he joined a few bands and I know that he was managing a drum shop for a while. But where he is now, we have no idea. Wherever he is, I hope he is well and happy and that he has some good memories of his time with us.