"Searchin'" is a song written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller specifically for The Coasters.[1] It was released as a single on Atco Records in March 1957, and topped the R&B Chart for twelve weeks. It reached #3 on the national pop singles chart.[2]

Searchin' by the Coasters on Atco Records
Single by The Coasters
from the album The Coasters
A-side"Young Blood"
ReleasedMarch 1957
RecordedFebruary 15, 1957
GenreRock and roll
Songwriter(s)Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller
Producer(s)Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller
The Coasters singles chronology
"One Kiss Led to Another"
"Idol with the Golden Head"

Although the Coasters had previously done well on the R&B charts, it was "Searchin'" (along with "Young Blood" on the flip side) that sparked the group's rock and roll fame.

Singer/songwriter Paul McCartney chose "Searchin'" as one of his Desert Island Discs in 1982. McCartney performed the song with The Beatles during their audition for Decca Records on 1 January 1962 (with somewhat mangled lyrics that included a mention of Peter Gunn).[3]

The song is featured in the 1999 Warner Bros. animated movie, The Iron Giant, the musical revue Smokey Joe's Cafe, and the 1999 biographical film October Sky.

The song

The lyrics, written by Leiber, use vernacular phrasing. The plot revolves around the singer's determination to find his love wherever she may be, even if he must resort to detective work. The song's notable gimmick was in citing specific law-enforcement figures from popular culture, such as Sherlock Holmes, Charlie Chan, Joe Friday, Sam Spade, Boston Blackie, Bulldog Drummond, and the North-West Mounted Police (the Mounties).[1] The vocals of the Coasters' lead singer Billy Guy are raw and insistent. Driving the song is a pounding piano rhythm of two bass notes alternating on every second beat.[4]

The theme of the song is searching for love:

"Well, I'm searching"
"Yeah I'm gonna find her"

The refrain is simple variations of this phrase

"Gonna find her, yeah ah, gonna find her"[1]

The track was recorded in Los Angeles on 15 February 1957; the backing band comprised Mike Stoller (piano and arrangement), Barney Kessell (guitar), Ralph Harrison (bass), and Jesse Sailes (drums).[5]

Cover versions

The song has been covered by The Beatles, the Grateful Dead, Skip Battin, The Hollies, The Kingsmen, Wanda Jackson, Billy Lee Riley, Neil Sedaka, and The Spencer Davis Group, among many others. Jim Croce included a version of the song in his chart hit "Chain Gang Medley".

Johnny Rivers released a version of the song as a medley with "So Fine" which reached #113 on the U.S. pop chart in 1973.[6]

The Muppets also covered it in the first season of The Muppet Show, while Buck Owens and the Buckaroos sang it on Hee Haw (Season 6 Episode 17). Additionally, a revised version by Cheech & Chong appears in the film Up in Smoke, in which the singer describes searching for marijuana, rather than a girl; the arrangement was also in a reggae style rather than the original R&B style.


  1. Gilliland, John (1969). "Show 13 - Big Rock Candy Mountain: Rock 'n' roll in the late fifties. [Part 3]" (audio). Pop Chronicles. University of North Texas Libraries.
  2. "The Coasters - Charts and Awards". Allmusic. Retrieved 2006-11-07.
  3. The Beatles Bible: Searchin' Retrieved on 2008-08-31.
  4. Gillett, Charlie (1996). The Rise of Rock and Roll ((2nd Ed.) ed.). New York, N.Y.: Da Capo Press. p. 73. ISBN 0-306-80683-5.
  5. Peter Grendysa and Robert Pruter, Atlantic Rhythm and Blues 1947-1974 booklet notes (CD edition), Atlantic Records, 1991
  6. "Johnny Rivers, "Searchin'/So Fine" Chart Position". Retrieved August 28, 2018.
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