“It’s very hard to get four people to agree on anything,” said British-born, Sydney-based producer Richard Lush, who starred in some of the Seekers’ most famous sessions at Abbey Road Studios in the 1960s worked.
“Tom Springfield (Dusty’s brother), who wrote and produced some of the Seekers’ biggest hits, was so meticulous it often took weeks to complete, but they (the group) were very easy to work with.” work,” he said. “Towards the end there were personality issues. Judith wanted to go one way and the boys the other. Bruce and Keith also wrote different songs and wanted to take different paths.” In January of this year, weeks after the Ford deal was signed and the group recorded Woodley’s Keep A Dream In Your Pocket and Durham’s One World Love ‘ The Sunday Age spy columnist Lawrence Money asked Durham’s manager John Kovac about the reunion.
“She won’t do it,” he said.
The Sunday Age has learned that the Seekers will open their national tour on April 3rd at the Perth Concert Hall, perform at the Melbourne Concert Hall on May 4th and conclude the tour on May 22nd in Darwin.
Their record label, EMI, is set to release the Seekers’ “Jubilee” album shortly, which includes the two new songs written by Woodley and Durham. A third original written by Potger and Guy, You’re My Spirit, dedicated to one of Guy’s racehorses, may find its way onto a second album.
“There was no need to re-record their old hits because the old productions still sound fantastic,” said EMI Australia’s Bill Robertson. “We just had to make sure the new songs fit the Seekers’ sound. A punk sound wouldn’t have done Seekers fans any good.” The Seekers will tour New Zealand and perform at the Albert Hall in London as part of a European tour in September. Tours through the USA and Canada are also planned.
Re-living the magic of the Seekers in Australia will cost fans $42.90. Each live performance in the capital brings in an average of $100,000 and nets each seeker about $15,000 if the loot is split evenly.
“I think this cake has been in the oven for a while,” said promoter Harry M. Miller, who introduced the three original Seekers male singers to a young Dutch woman, Louisa Wisseling, in the mid-1970s. This meeting spawned an Australian #1 hit, “The Sparrow Song”.
It was Durham, the reclusive diva whose search for her own identity ended the Seekers’ dream run in 1968 when they were at the height of their fame. They split in July of the same year and celebrated the occasion with a small farewell party at Guy’s London flat.
It’s incredible that the four hadn’t been together since that breakup party until they met a year ago at an Italian restaurant in South Yarra.
“We didn’t really talk about business at the end,” Guy recalls. “We just had a few laughs and reminisced at some pretty fun times. I think some people around us knew what was going on.” For many years, Durham refused to give in to pressure from promoters, fans and Guy, the unofficial Seekers boss, to get back together. She has repeatedly pointed to the personality conflicts within the group, the downside of fame and their failure to come to terms with the Seekers’ musical direction.
Shortly after the breakup, she told entertainment writer Jim Murphy, “I look at my five years with the Seekers as an interlude. I was never devoted musically to what the group was doing…” And in 1987 Durham told ‘The Age’: “I was trying to imagine what we would be like if we got back together and I think it would be so sad for people because we’re at our best in people’s minds and on album covers.” Perhaps it was the fatal car accident in 1990 that Durham and her British-born husband, Ron Edgeworth, died near Kyneton in Victoria involved, which helped change their minds. The 27-year-old driver of the other vehicle involved in the accident died. Durham underwent six-hour emergency surgery, a four-month hospital stay, and lengthy rehabilitation.
Certainly the accident hastened Durham’s return to Melbourne after an absence of almost two decades during which she and her musician husband had gained credibility and some success as a jazz duo across Europe, the US and Switzerland, France and Australia settled, eventually Nambour in Queensland.
“It is fate that the accident happened in the state where we were born,” said Durham’s sister Brenda Sheehan, a successful jazz musician whose husband Barry is Deputy Vice Chancellor of Melbourne University.
“We hadn’t seen each other much in years and I think because Judith was forced to return to Melbourne (she had been performing at the National Theater the night before the accident) she realized there were a lot of things here for her.” In one In another amazing twist of fate, Athol Guy was riding a horse into Bendigo on the day of the car accident and had passed the scene on the Calder Highway just five minutes before the accident.
“When I got back to my apartment, the phone was hot,” Guy said. “Bruce (Woodley) and Keith (Potger) had heard about the accident and were trying to find out how she was doing and there were TV crews trying to land on my (Gisborne) property to get my reaction to it.” So the three male Seekers, neither of whom had seen Durham for nearly two decades, were individually reunited with their former colleague beside a bed at Alfred’s Hospital.
Early last year, around the time she stopped limping, Durham received a letter from a fan in England. The fan pointed out that John Lennon’s death meant the Beatles would never reunite, but a Seekers reunion remains a possibility and should be attempted at all costs.
Durham was touched by the mood. That letter, combined with the upcoming 25th anniversary and subtle but increasing pressure from Guy, sealed their decision.
Of course, the financial benefits of such a project cannot be overlooked.
Record bosses are still shaking their heads at the murder committed by Skyhooks when that group reunited last year, and it’s believed that Jimmy Barnes was contemplating a Cold Chisel reunion for the same reason.
The Seekers had a string of hits in Australia and Europe before breaking up. Success culminated in “Georgie Girl” reaching #2 in the US and being nominated for an Oscar in 1968.
The four musicians had been named Australians of the Year and had just wrapped up a string of top-notch TV specials in the UK and a sell-out season at Talk Of The Town. Paul Simon, himself on the verge of success, wrote songs for the band, most notably “Some Day One Day” and “Red Rubber Ball” with Bruce Woodley.
Sydney-based rock historian Glenn A. Baker commented, “I think their achievements are really underestimated. It wasn’t until the Little River Band went to America in 1976 that another Australian group even came close to matching the Seekers. And since LRB there is only INXS.
“And like so many bands of their time, they were screwed. They probably made a dime per album and their current royalties are probably no different. This (a reunion) is the only chance an act has to capitalize on the love a generation had for them.” Much has been put on hold for the reunion, most notably a Judith Durham solo album being completed by EMI and was held back. Guy, a marketing consultant and former advertising executive, also has sizeable interests in horses at the Gisborne estate from which he moved, but still holds a 50 per cent stake.
He is a judge on Channel 10’s New Faces and since the split has hosted his own TV variety show, worked as a TV quiz master and was the Australian Managing Director of Laker Airlines. In 1971 he became a Liberal MLA for Gisborne.
He made headlines in 1979 when he claimed a $17,000 annual annuity for life from the Parliamentary Superannuation Fund, saying he had been forced to take early retirement because of ill health. He was later awarded a lump sum of $47,000.
Woodley, whose 14-year marriage ended in 1986, has found some success as a songwriter and as a composer of commercial jingles.
Potger, who runs a music publishing company in Sydney and has worked in film production, is now the only seeker living outside of Victoria.
It was Potger who resurrected the Seekers in the form of the New Seekers, six British singers who were chosen by an agency and had five songs in the UK top five, including the No. 1 hit ‘You Won’t Find Another Fool.’ Like Me”. and “I want to teach the world to sing”.
Of course, these individual achievements never came close to the success story that began in a South Yarra cafe, The Treble Clef, in 1962, when a classically trained teenager, not long out of Ruyton Girls’ Grammar School, met three old lads of the Melbourne High to literally sing for their dinner.
https://www.smh.com.au/culture/music/from-the-archives-1993-the-seekers-getting-the-band-back-together-20220806-p5b7t2.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_culture From the Archives, 1993: The Seekers