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The Seekers

The Seekers in the 1960s
The Seekers in the 1960s

The Seekers are a group of Australian folk-influenced popular musicians which was formed in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, in 1963. They were the first Australian popular music group to achieve significant chart and sales success in the United Kingdom and the United States.

Their 1960s hits have included: I'll Never Find Another You, A World of Our Own, Someday One Day, and The Carnival is Over (which The Seekers have sung at various closing ceremonies in Australia, including Expo '88 & the Paralympics), and also Georgy Girl (featured in the film of the same name). I Am Australian is one of the group's more recent hits.

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. Later, they met Judith Durham who had begun her career as a jazz singer in the trad jazz idiom. Just prior to joining The Seekers, she was lead vocalist in the Melbourne group Frank Traynor's Jazz Preachers (she was replaced by Margret RoadKnight). The Seekers soon gathered a strong following in Melbourne and were signed to the W&G Records by the label's A&R manager Ron Tudor, who later founded the influential Australian label Fable Records.

Discovery in the UK

After a brief career in Australia, the group were offered the chance to travel around the world on a cruise liner in exchange for providing on-board entertainment. They had intended to return to Australia, but they remained in the UK when the ship arrived there in early 1964. There they were discovered by songwriter-producer Tom Springfield, the brother of pop star Dusty Springfield, who had experience with folk-pop material with his earlier group The Springfields. He produced all of their most successful records and wrote or co-wrote many of their hits. Following in the mold of the hit US group Peter, Paul & Mary, the distinctive soprano voice of lead singer Judith Durham, their sweet harmonies, memorable songs, and non-threatening image (encouraging the BBC to give them exposure) made them appealing to a broad cross-section of the pop audience, and they enjoyed a remarkable string of Top Ten albums and singles in Britain, America and Australia between 1964 and 1968.

Remarkable string of hits

After signing with Lew Grade's Grade Agency and EMI's Columbia Records imprint, they released Springfield's I'll Never Find Another You in November 1964. It shot to #1 in Australia and the UK, and #4 in the USA and went on to sell 1.75 million copies worldwide, making them the first Australian pop group to have a Top 5 hit in all three countries simultaneously, and the first to sell over a million copies of a single. This was followed by two more Springfield penned hits A World Of Our Own and The Carnival Is Over (UK #1 November 1965).

In 1966 they recorded Paul Simon's Some Day, One Day, which reached #4 in Australia and #11 in the UK. This was Simon's first UK success as a writer, and his first hit as a composer outside of his work with Simon & Garfunkel. Bruce Woodley also co-wrote the song Red Rubber Ball with Simon, which became a US #2 single for The Cyrkle.

The Seekers were also very successful with their movie theme song Georgy Girl, written by Tom Springfield and Jim Dale, which reached #2 in the US and Australia, and #3 in the UK in 1967, and sold 3.5 million copies worldwide.

Triumphant return to Australia

In recognition of their achievements, the group was named Australians of the Year for 1967 and in March that year they returned to Australia for a triumphant homecoming tour, which included a record-breaking concert at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne which was attended by over 200,000 people. This is believed to be the largest audience ever assembled for an Australian concert event. The scale of their popularity in Australia can be judged from fact that the legendary Woodstock Festival in the United States in 1969 drew about 500,000 people, and that at the time of the Seekers' Melbourne concert, Australia's population was only around 12 million people.

Judith Durham decided to leave the group to pursue her own career as a jazz singer, and the group disbanded as a result of this in 1969. Before disbanding, the Seekers gave a farewell concert performance on BBC television in the United Kingdom.

Other sopranos (including Julie Anthony) joined the group briefly as a replacement for Judith Durham, but the unique timbre of Judith Durham's voice was missing from their sound. Judith Durham later rejoined the group, and the group (with Judith Durham) is still together.

Nostalgia and honours

World Expo '88

The founding members of the Seekers, Athol Guy, Keith Potger and Bruce Woodley, made an appearance at the closing ceremony of World Expo '88, in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, with Australian soprano Julie Anthony (as their lead singer in place of Judith Durham), to sing The Carnival is Over.

The Seekers in the 1990s

The Seekers re-formed, with the original lineup of Athol Guy, Keith Potger, Bruce Woodley and Judith Durham, during the 1990s and continue to tour as a nostalgia act in Australia and overseas. On 8 October 2002 the Seekers were the topic of a special issue of Australian stamps which were released in their honour.


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. They were apparently approached to perform at the closing ceremony of the main games, but unfortunately an injury to Judith Durham (a broken hip) made this impossible, so the band performed at the Paralympics instead, with Judith singing from a wheelchair.

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It uses material from the Wikipedia article - The Seekers