Australia

From the Archives, 1993: The Seekers – getting the band back together


The Seekers on the Southern Cross Hotel.Credit:Percy Spiden

“It is very hard to get four people to agree on anything,” stated British-born and now Sydney-based producer Richard Lush, who labored at a few of the Seekers’ most well-known classes at Abbey Road Studios through the Nineteen Sixties.

“Tom Springfield (the brother of Dusty), who wrote and produced some of the Seekers’ biggest hits, was so meticulous that they often took weeks to put down but they (the group) were very easy to work with,” he stated. “Towards the end there were personality problems. Judith wanted to go one way and the guys another. Bruce and Keith were writing different songs too and wanting to go different ways.” In January this 12 months, weeks after the Ford deal had been signed and the group had accomplished recording Woodley’s `Keep A Dream In Your Pocket’ and Durham’s `One World Love’, `The Sunday Age’ Spy columnist Lawrence Money requested Durham’s supervisor, John Kovac, in regards to the reunion.

“She won’t be doing it,” he stated.

`The Sunday Age’ has discovered that the Seekers will open their nationwide tour at Perth Concert Hall on 3 April, carry out in Melbourne on the Concert Hall on 4 May, and full the tour in Darwin on 22 May.

Their report firm, EMI, will quickly launch the Seekers’ `Jubilee’ album, that includes the 2 new songs written by Woodley and Durham. A 3rd authentic written by Potger and Guy, `You’re My Spirit’, which is devoted to one in every of Guy’s racehorses, might discover itself on a second album.

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“There was no need to re-record their old hits because the old productions still sound fantastic,” stated EMI Australia’s Bill Robertson. “All we had to do was make sure the new songs were in keeping with the Seekers’ sound. A punk sound wouldn’t have been any good to Seekers’ fans.” The Seekers will tour New Zealand and carry out on the Albert Hall in London in September as a part of a European tour. There are additionally plans to tour the US and Canada.

Reliving the Seekers’ magic in Australia will price followers $42.90. Each capital-city stay efficiency will gross a median $100,000 and provides every Seeker round $15,000 if the spoils are divided evenly.

“I think it’s been in the oven for a while, this cake,” stated promoter Harry M. Miller, who introduced the three authentic male Seekers singers with a younger Dutch girl, Louisa Wisseling, within the mid-Seventies. That get-together produced a No.1 Australian hit, `The Sparrow Song’.

It was Durham, the reclusive diva, whose seek for her personal id ended the Seekers’ dream run in 1968 once they have been on the top of their fame. They broke up in July that 12 months and marked the event with a small farewell social gathering at Guy’s London flat.

It is unimaginable that till they met a 12 months in the past in an Italian restaurant in South Yarra the 4 had not been collectively since that break-up social gathering.

“We didn’t really talk business in the end,” recalled Guy. “We just had a few laughs and reminisced over some pretty funny times. I think some people around us were aware of what was going on.” Durham refused for a few years to provide in to strain from promoters, followers and Guy, the unofficial Seekers boss, to get again collectively. She has referred a number of occasions to the persona clashes inside the group, the draw back of stardom and her failure to come back to phrases with the Seekers’ musical route.

Soon after the break-up she instructed leisure author Jim Murphy: “My five years with the Seekers I regard as an interlude. I was never dedicated musically to what the group was doing … ” And in 1987 Durham instructed `The Age’: “I’ve tried to visualise how we’d be if we got back together and I think it would be so sad for people because we are crystallised at our best in people’s minds and on album covers.” Perhaps it was the deadly automotive accident in 1990 involving Durham and her British-born husband, Ron Edgeworth, close to Kyneton in Victoria, that helped change her thoughts. The 27-year-old driver of the opposite automobile concerned within the crash died. Durham underwent six hours of emergency surgical procedure, 4 months in hospital and an extended rehabilitation.

Certainly, the accident precipitated Durham’s return to Melbourne after an absence of just about 20 years, throughout which she and her musician husband had achieved credibility and a level of success as a jazz duo throughout Europe and the US, and based mostly themselves in Switzerland, France and, lastly, Nambour in Queensland.

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“It’s fate that the accident happened in the state that we were born in,” stated Durham’s sister, Brenda Sheehan, a profitable jazz musician whose husband, Barry, is deputy vice-chancellor of Melbourne University.

“We hadn’t seen much of each other for years and I think because Judith was forced back to Melbourne (she had performed at the National Theatre on the eve of the accident) she realised there were a lot of things here for her.” In one other superb accident, Athol Guy was driving a horse to Bendigo on the day of the automotive accident and had pushed previous the scene on the Calder Highway simply 5 minutes earlier than it occurred.

“By the time I got back to my place the phone was running hot,” Guy stated. “Bruce (Woodley) and Keith (Potger) had heard about the accident and were trying to find out how she was and there were TV crews trying to land on my (Gisborne) property to get my reaction to it all.” So the three male Seekers, none of whom had seen Durham for nearly 20 years, have been individually reunited with their former colleague beside an Alfred Hospital mattress.

It was early final 12 months, in regards to the time she stopped limping, that Durham acquired a letter from a fan in England. The fan identified that John Lennon’s demise had ensured the Beatles would by no means reunite however a Seekers reunion remained a chance and due to this fact ought to be tried at any price.

Durham was touched by the sentiment. That letter, mixed with the forthcoming 25-year anniversary and delicate however mounting strain from Guy, sealed her resolution.

Judith Durham, 2015.

Judith Durham, 2015.Credit:Josh Robenstone

Of course, the monetary advantages of such a mission can’t be ignored.

Record firm chiefs are nonetheless shaking their heads on the killing made by Skyhooks when that group reunited final 12 months, and it’s believed that Jimmy Barnes thought-about a Cold Chisel reunion for a similar purpose.

The Seekers loved a string of hits throughout Australia and Europe earlier than they broke up. The success culminated in `Georgie Girl’ reaching No.2 within the US and being nominated, in 1968, for an Academy Award.

The 4 musicians had been named Australians of the Year and had simply accomplished a string of top-rating TV specials in Britain and a sell-out season on the Talk Of The Town. Paul Simon, on the point of success himself, was writing songs for the band, notably `Some Day One Day’ and, with Bruce Woodley, `Red Rubber Ball’.

The Sydney-based rock historian Glenn A. Baker commented: “I think their achievements are really underrated. Not until Little River Band went to America in 1976 did any other Australian group go near equalling the Seekers. And since LRB there’s only been INXS.

“And like so many bands of their time, they got screwed. They probably earned a penny an album and their current royalties are probably no different. This (a reunion) is the one chance an act has to capitalise on the love a generation had for them.” Much has been positioned on maintain for the reunion, notably a Judith Durham solo album, accomplished and being held again by EMI. Guy, a advertising advisor and former promoting govt, additionally has substantial equine pursuits on the Gisborne property from which he has moved however nonetheless holds a 50 per cent stake.

He is a choose on Channel 10’s `New Faces’ and because the break-up has hosted his personal TV selection present, labored as a TV quizmaster and been the Australian managing director for Laker Airlines. He turned the Liberal MLA for Gisborne in 1971.

He made headlines in 1979 when he requested for an annual lifetime pension of $17,000 from the Parliamentary Superannuation Fund, saying he was compelled to retire prematurely due to in poor health well being. He was later awarded a lump sum of $47,000.

Woodley, whose 14-year marriage led to 1986, has achieved some success as a songwriter and as a composer of promoting jingles.

Potger, who runs a musical publishing firm in Sydney and has labored in movie manufacturing, is now the one Seeker who lives outdoors Victoria.

It was Potger who resurrected the Seekers within the type of the New Seekers, six British singers plucked from an company who received 5 songs within the British top-five, together with the No.1 hits `You Won’t Find Another Fool Like Me’ and `I’d Like to Teach The World To Sing’.

Of course, these particular person achievements by no means went near equalling the success story that started in 1962 at a South Yarra cafe, The Treble Clef, when a classically-trained teenager not lengthy out of Ruyton Girls’ Grammar School, joined three Melbourne High previous boys to, fairly actually, sing for his or her supper.



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