As winter turned to spring in 1965, one of the biggest-selling singles of the year came from Australian pop and folk quartet The Seekers, who were the first act from that country to have success in the UK and US with I’ll Never Find Another You.
The Seekers had formed in Melbourne in 1962 as The Escorts. They consisted of Athol Guy on double bass, Keith Potger on 12-string guitar, Bruce Woodley on guitar and Ken Ray on vocals. After changing their name to The Seekers, Ray left the group when he got married. He was replaced by Judith Durham, a traditional jazz singer whose strong vocals made the quartet stand out from the crowd. Gathering a following in Melbourne, The Seekers signed a recording deal with W&G Records. Their debut album, Introducing the Seekers, was released in 1963, and their first single was a version of Waltzing Matilda.
The group were offered a 12-month stint as entertainers on a cruise ship in March 1964. In May they visited the UK, and intended to stay for ten weeks before returning to their homeland, but media mogul Lew Grade’s Grade Organisation offered them work. They signed a new contract with World Record Club and became regulars on the entertainment series Call in on Carroll.
Fortune favoured The Seekers when they appeared on a bill headlined by a singer who went by the name Dusty Springfield. Dusty had been part of a pop and folk trio called The Springfields with her brother Tom and Tim Fielld (who was replaced by Mike Hurst). The Springfields had been doing well in the UK and the US in the early 60s, but Dusty was keen to break free of the folk sound and chose to go it alone. Tom (whose real name is Dionysius P. A. O’Brien!) was keen to continue writing material in ther same vein, and after meeting The Seekers at the gig he became their writer and producer. Among his first songs was I’ll Never Find Another You.
Following several number 1s chronicling relationship issues or break-ups while the nation mourned the loss of Sir Winston Churchill, it seems the UK were ready for a good old-fashioned pop song. It has a lovely opening courtesy of Potger’s guitar, but then you hear the reference to the ‘promised land’ in the first verse and wonder if we’re in ‘happy clappy’ territory. It’s very likely that the ‘you’ in the song’s title is God or Jesus rather than a lover, and that this is in fact a song of faith, but once you get past that, it’s not bad really, and Durham’s tough, forthright voice is a nice counterpoint to the sweet backing harmonies. It’s unlikely I’d ever listen again, though.
Written & produced by: Tom Springfield
Weeks at number 1: 5 (25 February-10 March)
Actress Alison Armitage – 26 February
Wrestler Norman Smiley – 28 February
Filmmaker Paul WS Anderson – 4 March
Radio DJ Andrew Collins – 4 March