This Australian quartet began life in 1963 with Keith Potger singing and playing the guitar and Athol Guy performing on bass. They toured the Melbourne coffee bars “starving on a grand scale for several months”.
Whilst on their starvation circuit they met up with Bruce Woodley, a singer, guitarist and banjo player. Since Bruce was also struggling, they asked him to join them. And then Judith Durham, an attractive stenographer – and first-rate jazz and gospel singer – joined the boys to make The Seekers complete.
The group began playing in nightclubs around Melbourne, but still felt they would have greater opportunities outside Australia. They talked the Sitmar cruise line into a free passage to England in return for singing for their supper on board the ship, and in May 1964 they landed in Britain, completely unheralded and unknown.
They did, however, have a letter of introduction to agent Eddie Jarrett who found them distinctive, talented and eager. Jarrett booked them into several theatre dates and a couple of TV shows, including Sunday Night At The London Palladium.
Audiences were enthusiastic, leading Jarrett to suggest they stay in England – a tremendous decision for each of them. They decided to take the gamble and stay. In an incredibly short time, they achieved stardom on an international level.
Their first hit in 1964 was I’ll Never Find Another You. On their first attempt, they reached the top of the charts with a gold record for their efforts. Their second release, A World Of Our Own, also hit the top of the charts.
The Seekers’ first year in England was a phenomenal success, and their return home to Australia for a concert tour was a national event. They also stopped off in the USA to appear on The Ed Sullivan Show.
Their debut LP, A World Of Our Own, was released about this time and bounced immediately into the album charts where it stayed for nine months.
The Carnival Is Over was the next Seekers’ hit, also reaching #1 on the British charts, giving the group a hat-trick. It was also the third song specially written for The Seekers by Tom Springfield (formerly of The Springfields).
Their next single was Paul Simon‘s Someday One Day, which reached #11 in the UK, closely followed by Morningtown Ride which took them to #2.
The rapidly-growing success of The Seekers prompted their own British TV series, A Date With The Seekers. By this time they had appeared on just about every major radio and TV show in the UK, and hundreds of programs in America, New Zealand, Holland, France, Germany, Spain, and (of course) Australia.
Their final British Top Ten single was the cheery Tom Springfield/Jim Dale composition Georgy Girl, taken from the 1966 movie of the same name.
It seemed inexplicable that after such a strong impact on British music The Seekers were powerless to sustain their success. But fail they did, and with no more hits forthcoming they disbanded in 1969.
Keith Potger was reluctant to allow The Seekers’ name to die completely, though, and encouraged the formation of The New Seekers in the 1970s.
The Seekers re-formed during 1975, with Judith Durham replaced by Dutch vocalist Louisa Wisseling. They enjoyed two minor hits in 1977 and 1978.
The original line-up re-formed in 1988 for a sell-out tour of Britain and again in 1992, with the classic line-up of Durham, Guy, Potger and Woodley, leading to a 102 date tour.
The reformed group issued several albums, including new studio albums Future Road in October 1997 and Morningtown Ride to Christmas.
In October 2002, on the 40th anniversary of their formation, they were the subjects of a special issue of Australian postage stamps.
The Seekers’ Golden Jubilee Tour kicked off in May 2013, celebrating fifty years since the group had formed in December 1962. Performing in Sydney, Brisbane, Newcastle and Melbourne, they received rave reviews to sold-out audiences. However, Judith Durham suffered a brain haemorrhage after their first concert in Melbourne and the rest of the Australian tour and planned UK tour were postponed.
In April 2019, The Seekers released Farewell – a live recording from their 50th Anniversary tour of 2013. This was their last album with Judith Durham as lead singer.
Following Judith’s retirement from live performance, the band continued on as ‘The Original Seekers’ with the addition of long-time producer and guitarist/singer Michael Cristiano as the band’s fourth voice.
Guitar, vocals, banjo