Australian Screen

Australia’s audiovisual heritage online

I’ll Never Find Another You (1964)

Synopsis

I’ll Never Find Another You is performed by Judith Durham (lead vocals), Athol Guy (double bass, vocals), Keith Potger (12-string guitar, banjo, vocals) and Bruce Woodley (six-string guitar, mandolin, vocals). Recorded in 1964, the track was written and produced by Tom Springfield (originally Dion O’Brien), brother of pop icon Dusty Springfield (originally Mary O’Brien). With this single The Seekers became the first Australian band to sell over one million copies of a single, reaching 1.75 million sales worldwide. They also became the first Australian band to have a Top 5 hit in Australia, the UK and the USA simultaneously.

Curator’s notes

Described by Lillian Roxon as ‘One cuddly girl-next-door type … and three sober cats who looked like bank tellers’, The Seekers sailed to England from Australia in 1964 to become our most successful musical export of the 1960s, their singles sales rivalling those of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones for two years. The ambiguity of their sound meant that they were not easily classified as a rock, pop, folk or blues band. This musical eclecticism was in fact the foundation of their great appeal; people who listened to The Seekers came from a broad demographic, as the music and instrumentation was accessible, non-experimental, non-threatening, and simple to sing along with. Throughout the sixties, Australians were soaked in the sounds of The Seekers as their music was broadcast from loudspeakers at surf clubs, in pubs, at concerts, on television and on the radio.

Judith Durham’s velvet voice is the talent at the heart of The Seekers’ success. Athol Guy, Keith Potger and Bruce Woodley, who attended Melbourne Boys’ High School and played in various ensembles, formed The Seekers in 1962, recruiting Ken Ray as lead singer. Later that year Durham, who worked with Athol Guy, became the fifth band member and eventually took the role of lead singer, replacing Ray. Durham left her position in Melbourne’s popular jazz band, Frank Traynor’s Jazz Preachers, to join The Seekers, bringing her thorough grounding in blues, soul and trad jazz to influence the style of her new band.

Vocal harmonies provide much of the power in The Seekers’ performances, with Durham’s superb voice as the anchor. The simplicity of the melodies support harmonised arrangements, making the songs attractive to a wide audience of amateur musicians who could buy, learn and adapt the music to make the songs their own.

Another catalyst in The Seekers’ rise to fame was their good fortune in securing the support of the London promoters The Grade Organisation, who lined up gigs for the band when they arrived in London in 1964. Staff agent Eddie Jarrett’s strategic gigs secured them a recording deal with World Records (the mail order branch of EMI Records) and, with their regular appearances on British television, they abandoned thoughts of the original plan to perform on Sitmar cruise ships.

Jarrett introduced The Seekers to Tom Springfield, recognising that the band provided an opportunity to develop the musical potential Jarrett had been fostering with The Springfields, a trio born into an Irish-Catholic family in West London. The Springfields included Tom and Dusty, and it disbanded when the fiercely independent Dusty launched her solo career. The Jarrett-Springfield-Seekers association proved serendipitous. Springfield went on to write and produce most of The Seekers’ hits throughout the decade.

With this combination of management, production and creativity forged, the timing was right for the next big break for The Seekers in the form of a recording contract with EMI’s Columbia Label – the world’s biggest recording company at that time. In November 1964, I’ll Never Find Another You hit number 1 on the charts in Australia and the UK and number 4 in the USA.

The Seekers appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show (1948–71), and then toured Australia with The Dave Clark Five. Subsequently, 'A World of Our Own’ reached number 2 in Australia, number 3 in the UK and 19 in the USA during April 1965. 'Morningtown Ride’ reached number 8 in Australia (and was taught in infants’ schools as a classic folk song to cement it in the consciousness of a generation), number 44 in the USA in August and number 2 in the UK in November 1965. 'The Carnival is Over’ hit number 1 in November 1965 in both Australia and the UK, where it displaced The Rolling Stones’ 'Get Off My Cloud’, reputedly selling over 90,000 copies per day. Another Springfield song, 'The Carnival is Over’ is notable for the method of composition which involved Springfield lifting the melody from the Russian folk song 'Stenjka Razin’ and writing popular romantic lyrics.

The Seekers toured Australia in February 1966. A meeting in London in 1965 with American musician Paul Simon led to a successful collaboration in the shape of a cover of Simon’s 'Someday, One Day’, which was Simon’s first hit outside the team of Simon and Garfunkel. It was followed by 'Red Rubber Ball’, which was co-written by Woodley and Simon, and recorded for their 1966 album Come The Day (known as Georgy Girl in the US). Springfield’s 'Walk with Me’ took The Seekers to number 10 in the UK and 31 in Australia in October 1966.

In January 1967 The Seekers were named Australians of the Year, the first popular musicians to receive this accolade. 'Georgy Girl’, the next single, was the greatest hit of their career, written by Tom Springfield and actor-composer Jim Dale. It gave The Seekers their first and only number 1 in the USA in February 1967, and sold a momentous 3.5 million copies worldwide.

Times were changing in the music scene of the late sixties, and the clean-sounding 'Georgy Girl’ was the last big American hit for the band. Hits kept coming, but were much further down the hit parade than in previous years: 'On the Other Side’ reached number 19 in Australia in October, followed by 'When Will The Good Apples Fall?’ in November, and 'Emerald City’ in December.

In early 1968, after a number of solo recording efforts, Durham decided to leave the band. The Seekers recorded a final single, 'Days of My Life’, the least successful of their career. Their final album, Live at The Talk of the Town, reached number 2 in the UK. The Best of The Seekers was issued as the band’s farewell, and it made number 1 in Britain in November 1968, replacing The Beatles’ White Album, and remaining on the British charts for 125 weeks.