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The Rock-itt : September 2009
THIS MONTH: THE SEEKERS They hit the airwaves at the same time as the British invasion was taking over the music scene worldwide. The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Who, Yard Birds and even on the other side of the Atlantic, Beachboys, Jan and Dean Jefferson Airplane and even Elvis was still hanging in there as King of Rock 'n' Roll. Yet down under in the land of Oz where the Easybeats, Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs, Normie Rowe, Russel Morris and a swag of other pop rockers were leading the way, a quartet comprising 3 guys and one girl were about to make their presence felt with a type of popular music which could be appreciated by all walks of life. They were Australia's own "The Seekers" and though these days, unfortunately, they are rarely mentioned for their outstanding musical achievements, they stood tall in an era where most conventional music was being swept aside by the new breed of alternative "pop music". Many of the younger generation at that time regarded The Seekers as "music for the oldies", but that really wasn't the case. I was hooked on the new Mersey sound from Britain and surfing music was still pulsating through my veins. But there was an unmistakable sound that The Seekers had developed that few could ignore, and although the harder rock faithfuls tried to push it under the carpet, The Seekers shouldered their way up with the other music makers of the 60s to get hit song after hit song right up to the top of the charts, putting Australian music alongside the best. Athol Guy (Double Bass, Vocals), Judith Durham ( Lead Vocals, Tambourine) Bruce Woodley ( Guitar ,Vocals) and Keith Potger ( Vocals, Guitar) made the line up complete, and between them collaborated in composing and arranging their music to suit their own particular style. They also did covers of many songs but it was irrelevant to what they produced because the finished composition was a masterpiece of combined musical instruments and unbelievable vocal harmonies which set a precedence in music world wide and earned the respect of their peers. In 1964 the quartet left our shores on a working holiday and landed in England, which was now the hub of the music world, and managed to get some work playing clubs and gigs around London. As luck had it, they met Tommy Springfield, brother of famous English female singer, Dusty Springfield. Tom was an accomplished composer and began writing songs for the Aussie quartet. Their manager, Eddie Jarrett, finally arranged a contract for them with Columbia Records which released their first hit single "I'll Never Find another You". With this great composition penned by Springfield, The Seekers used it as the thin edge of the wedge to enter the Pop Charts and now they began driving it in with some follow up classics such as "A World of Our Own" and the smash hit "The Carnival Is Over". Now the Aussie foursome were worldwide hot property. Their concerts were sell out performances everywhere they played and their name was finally forged in gold and platinum it the world's book of musical history. To say that The Seekers were among the best of their genre would be an understatement, and if I were asked to compare them with anyone I could say without hesitation, The Beatles. Although the music differed, they were giants in their own right and should be held in high esteem wherever music is played. They, along with the Bee Gees and our first lady of pop, Olivia Newton John, John Farnham and a handful of the earlier pop pioneers, gave Australia recognition at a time when giants ruled the music world and Australian artists of today should be grateful for their pioneering achievements.