The Seekers


The Seekers

Infobox musical artist
Name = The Seekers


Img_capt = The Seekers in the 1960s
Landscape = Yes
Background = group_or_band
Origin = Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Genre = Pop
Folk
Years_active = 1962–1968
1975–?
1992–2003
Label = Columbia (EMI)
Capitol
W&G Records
Associated_acts = The New Seekers
URL = [http://www.theseekerswebsite.com/ Official website]
Current_members = Judith Durham
Athol Guy
Keith Potger
Bruce Woodley
Past_members = Ken Ray
Louisa Wisseling
Julie Anthony
Karen Knowles
Buddy England

The Seekers were a group of Australian folk-influenced popular musicians that was formed in Melbourne, in 1962. They were the first Australian popular music group to achieve significant chart and sales success in the United Kingdom and the United States.

Their most famous configuration was:

* Judith Durham: lead vocals, tambourine
* Athol Guy: double bass, vocals
* Keith Potger: twelve string guitar, banjo, vocals
* Bruce Woodley: guitar, mandolin, banjo, vocals

They had nine hits in Britain and Australia in the 1960s: "I'll Never Find Another You", "A World of Our Own", "The Carnival Is Over" (which The Seekers have sung at various closing ceremonies in Australia, including Expo '88 and the Paralympics), "Someday One Day", "Walk With Me", "Morningtown Ride", "Georgy Girl" (the title song of the film of the same name), "When Will the Good Apples Fall" and "Emerald City".

Bruce Woodley's and Dobe Newton's song "I Am Australian", which has been recorded by The Seekers, and by singer Judith Durham with Russell Hitchcock and Mandawuy Yunupingu, has become an unofficial Australian anthem.

History

An Australian band

The Seekers were formed by Athol Guy, double bass, and guitarists Keith Potger and Bruce Woodley, who all attended Melbourne High School. Their lead singer was Ken Ray, who later left the group to get married. His place was taken by Judith Durham who was an established trad jazz singer, having recorded an EP with the Melbourne group Frank Traynor's Jazz Preachers (she was replaced by Margret RoadKnight). The Seekers soon gathered a strong following in Melbourne and Durham's connections with W&G Records led to the group being offered a contract.

Discovery in the UK

After the release of their first album in Australia, "Introducing The Seekers", in 1963, The Seekers were offered the chance to travel to the UK on the Sitmar cruise liner "Fairsky" in 1964, in exchange for providing on-board entertainment. They had intended to return to Australia ten weeks later on the same ship, but on arrival in the UK they were offered work by the prestigious Grade Organisation.

The group decided to remain in the UK and after filling on a bill headlined by Dusty Springfield, they met up with her brother, songwriter-producer Tom Springfield, who had experience with folk-pop material with his earlier group The Springfields. He penned a song for them called "I'll Never Find Another You", which they recorded in November 1964. It was released by EMI Records (on the Columbia label) in December 1964 and was championed by the pirate radio station Radio Caroline. Despite the fact that the group had not signed a contract with EMI, the single reached the UK Top 40 and quickly began selling. In February 1965, it reached #1 in the UK and Australia, and #4 in the U.S. where it was released on EMI's Capitol label.

The distinctive and soaring soprano voice of lead singer Judith Durham, the group's sweet harmonies, memorable songs, and non-threatening image encouraged the BBC to give them exposure, making them appealing to a broad cross-section of the pop audience.

Remarkable string of hits

", which reached #1 in November. At its peak, "The Carnival Is Over" was selling 90,000 copies a day in the UK alone.

In 1966, they recorded Paul Simon’s "Someday One Day", which reached #4 in Australia and #11 in the UK. During this time, Garfunkel had returned to school and Simon was pursuing a solo career in the UK following the flop of the duo's first released LP, "Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M.". This was Simon's first UK success as a writer, and his first major hit as a composer outside of his work with Garfunkel. Bruce Woodley co-wrote several songs with Simon at this time, including "Red Rubber Ball" which became a US #1 single for The Cyrkle. Also co-written with Simon were "I Wish You Could Be Here", and "Cloudy", which was included on the Simon & Garfunkel release, "Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme", but without a Woodley writing credit.

After returning to Australia in early 1966, The Seekers filmed their first television special, "At Home With The Seekers". The band performed at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl before a crowd of 150,000. The Seekers were named Best New Artists at the 1966 New Musical Express Poll Winners Awards and they appeared at the celebratory Wembley Arena concert, on a bill that included The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Dusty Springfield and The Animals.

The same year, the group appeared at a Royal Command Performance at the London Palladium, before Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.

Malvina Reynolds' "Morningtown Ride" was the Seekers' sixth major hit, reaching #1 on the British Charts in December 1966. The single had been recorded earlier on the 1964 album "Hide and Seekers" and the 1965 American debute, The New Seekers but, for copyright reasons, the song was re-recorded for The Seekers' Christmas 1966 single.

Their biggest US hit is "Georgy Girl" (#1 in Feb 67, #3 in the UK), for which The Seekers were awarded a Gold Record for 1 million copies sold in the United States. ["The Seekers At Home and Down Under" — VHS and DVD releases] Jim Dale and Tom Springfield were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1967, but lost out to Leslie Bricusse's "Talk to the Animals". The recording sold 3.5 million copies. They returned to Australia and appeared again at the Myer Music Bowl before an audience of 200,000.

Triumphant return to Australia

In March 1967, The Seekers returned to Australia for a triumphant homecoming tour, which included a record-breaking concert at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne, attended by more than 200,000 people. The Seekers were accompanied by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Hector Crawford. This concert was listed in the 1993 Guinness Book Of World Records as the largest concert crowd ever gathered in the southern hemisphere. Vision of the appearance was incorporated into their 1967 Australian television spectacular "The Seekers At Home and Down Under", which was screened on the Seven Network and drew a record rating of 67, and it still remains in the Top 10 Most Watched Television Specials in Australian history.

In January 1968, in recognition of their many achievements, the group was named Australians of the Year for 1967 and accepted their award during a triumphant Australian tour. During their 1968 visit, the group also filmed another television spectacular, "The World of The Seekers", which was screened in cinemas, before being screened nationally on the Nine Network to phenomenal ratings.

Later in 1968, Judith Durham made the shock announcement that she was leaving The Seekers to pursue a solo career, and the group disbanded. Their final performance in July 1968 was screened live by the BBC as a special called "Farewell The Seekers", with an audience of more than 10 million viewers.

The special had been preceded by a week-long season at London's Talk Of The Town nightclub, and a live recording of one of their shows was released as the LP record, "The Seekers Say Goodbye Live From The Talk Of The Town". It reached #2 on the UK charts. Also in July 1968, the compilation album "The Seekers' Greatest Hits" was released and spent 17 weeks at #1 in Australia. It was known as "The Best of the Seekers" in the UK and spent one week at #1 in February 1969, managing to knock "The Beatles (White Album)" off the top of the charts. The album spent 125 weeks in the charts in the UK.

Following the split, the solo careers of the artists struggled, and lapsed into obscurity (many attribute it to their lack of success in the US). Judith Durham released a Christmas album "For Christmas With Love" (recorded in Hollywood, California) and later signed with A&M Records, releasing two albums, "A Gift of Song" and "Climb Ev'ry Mountain". Keith Potger formed the successful group The New Seekers in the UK. Bruce Woodley would release several solo albums and focus on songwriting, eventuating in the unofficial national anthem "I Am Australian". Eventually Potger re-joined Woodley and Guy in reforming The Seekers in 1975 with Louisa Wisseling, then Julie Anthony in the 1980s, and then Karen Knowles, but the unique timbre of Durham's voice was missing from their sound. Durham later rejoined the group in 1992. Woodley himself left for a time in the 1970s and was replaced with Buddy England, before rejoining in the 1980s.

The Seekers in the 1990s and 2000s

The Seekers re-united late in 1992, with the classic lineup of Durham, Guy, Potger and Woodley. A 25 Year Silver Jubilee Reunion Celebration tour in 1993 was so successful that The Seekers remained together for a further 11 years. They staged several sell-out tours of Australia, New Zealand, and the UK, released several albums, including new studio albums "Future Road" and "Morningtown Ride to Christmas".

In 1995, they were inducted into the ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) Hall Of Fame, and were the subjects of a special issue of Australian postage stamps. [http://www.auspost.com.au/BCP/0,1080,CH2837%257EMO19,00.html] , [http://www.auspost.com.au/philatelic/stamps/index.asp?link_id=1.645]

After much speculation (including a parody of the coming event by ABC TV's Olympics satire "The Games") The Seekers reunited again for the closing ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games on 29 October 2000, with a performance of "The Carnival Is Over". Judith Durham had suffered a broken hip and performed at the Paralympics in a wheelchair.

On 1 September 2006, having ceased touring, The Seekers were presented with the Key to the City by Melbourne's Lord Mayor, John So.

ee also

* List of The Seekers songs
* List of best-selling music artists
* The New Seekers

References


* [http://www.deh.gov.au/cgi-bin/ahdb/search.pl?mode=place_detail;place_id=105743 Information about the Seekers] - Australian Heritage Database
* [http://www.auspost.com.au/BCP/0,1080,CH2837%257EMO19,00.html The Seekers stamps] - How to fit four giants on to a postage stamp sheet? - Australia Post official website
* [http://www.auspost.com.au/philatelic/stamps/index.asp?link_id=1.645 The Seekers stamps] - at Australia Post official website
* [http://www.australianoftheyear.gov.au/pages/page104.asp The Seekers - Australian of the Year - 1967 Award] - Australian of the Year official website
* [http://www.lordmayorsfund.org.au/index.php?fold_id=7&page_id=43&mr_id=41 Information about the Seekers] - Lord Mayor's Charitable Fund
* 'The Judith Durham Story - Colours Of My Life' by Graham Simpson (Random House, 1994, 1998, 2000), (Virgin Books, 2004).
* "The Dictionary of Performing Arts in Australia — Opera . Music . Dance — Volume 2" — Ann Atkinson, Linsay Knight, Margaret McPhee — Allen & Unwin Pty. Ltd., 1996

External links

* [http://www.telinco.com/seekers The Seekers]
* [http://www.abc.net.au/longway/artist_index/seekers.htm The Seekers] at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation website
* [http://www.milesago.com/Artists/seekers.htm The Seekers] at the MILESAGO website
* [http://www.tradmusic.com/groupinfoa.asp?groupID=1297 The Seekers] at the Trad Music website
* [http://www.howlspace.com.au/en4/seekers/seekers.htm The Seekers] - Howlspace: the living history of our music
* [http://www.fortunecity.com/victorian/belvedere/226/sbio.htm Still Seeking the Seekers after all these years] - a fan's tribute to the group
* [http://www.angelfire.com/musicals/seekers Adam's Seekers Website] - a young fan's website


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