Originally founded as a skiffle group in Liverpool in 1959 by John McNally and Mike Pender (Mike Prendergast), the band took their name from the classic 1956 John Wayne western The Searchers. Prendergast claims that the name was his idea, but McNally ascribes it to 'Big Ron' Woodbridge, their first lead singer. The issue remains unresolved. The band grew out of an earlier skiffle group formed by McNally, with his friends Brian Dolan (guitar) and Tony West (bass). When the other two members lost interst McNally was joined by his guitarist neighbour Mike Prendergast.