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#AceNewsRoom With ‘Kindness & Wisdom’ Aug.06, 2022 @acenewsservices
#AceNewsDesk – Judith Durham, The Seekers lead singer, dead at 79, six decades after the formation of the group
Born in Essendon in Victoria, Durham recorded her first EP at 19 and went on to worldwide fame with The Seekers, selling more than 50 million records.
Durham died in palliative care on Friday night after a short stay in The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, according to a statement from Universal Music Australia and Musicoast after complications from chronic lung disease.
As part of The Seekers, Durham was one of the first Australian artists to achieve international success, with songs like Georgy Girl, I’ll Never Find Another You, A World Of Our Own, Morningtown Ride, I Am Australian and The Carnival Is Over.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese took to Twitter to describe Durham as “a national treasure” who “gave voice to a new strand of our identity”.
Opposition Leader Peter Dutton described Durham as “an exemplary performer” whose voice was “a gift of universal beauty”.
“The carnival may be over, but Judith Durham’s legacy will well and truly live on,” Mr Dutton said.
Her Seekers’ bandmates, Athol Guy, Bruce Woodley and Keith Potger, said their lives had been changed forever by losing “our treasured lifelong friend and shining star”.
“Her struggle was intense and heroic, never complaining of her destiny and fully accepting its conclusion. Her magnificent musical legacy Keith, Bruce and I are so blessed to share,” Athol Guy said in a statement.
Durham was born Judith Mavis Cock, but changed her surname to her mother’s maiden name at the age of 19, having trained as a classical pianist.
The Seekers moved to the UK in 1964, having formed in 1962, a year before Durham joined the group.
After recording I’ll Never Find Another You in November 1964 at EMI’s Abbey Road Studios — known as the domain of The Beatles — The Seekers went to number one in the UK and Australia.
With their first three releases going to the top of the British charts, the previously unknown group from Melbourne knocked The Beatles off the number one spot.
They also had three top-20 singles and two top-20 albums in the US — a market notoriously difficult to crack for Australian artists.
On their return to Australia in 1967, The Seekers set an Australian record when a crowd of more than 200,000 watched their performance at Melbourne’s Sidney Myer Music Bowl.
They were later named joint Australians of the Year for 1967.
But just over a year later, Durham stunned the music world by quitting the group at the height of its success to launch a solo career.
Durham made her shock decision to leave The Seekers on a tour to New Zealand in 1968, with the band about to sign a lucrative second contract with EMI.
“I found artistically that I wasn’t quite on the same page as the boys … I just that I really need to do my own thing,” Durham told Australian Story in 2019.
The Seekers’ final performance in July 1968 — Farewell The Seekers — was broadcast on the BBC and watched by more than 10 million viewers.
Over the past three decades, The Seekers played a series of comeback concerts and recorded three new albums with Durham returning as lead singer.
Travelling with British pianist husband Ron Edgeworth and tour manager Peter Summers, Durham survived a road accident in 1990 that killed the driver of the other car, as she sustained a fractured leg and wrist.
Soon after The Seekers reunited for a 25-year Silver Jubilee tour in 1993, Edgeworth was diagnosed with motor neurone disease, dying in December 1994.
In 1995, The Seekers were inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame, with I’ll Never Find Another You added to the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia’s Sounds of Australia registry in 2011.
In 2013, during The Seekers’ Golden Jubilee tour, Durham suffered a stroke, which affected her ability to read and write, while not diminishing her singing skills.
Members of The Seekers, including Durham, were honoured as Officers of the Order of Australia in 2014.
Durham was inducted into the Australian Women in Music Awards Honour Roll in 2019.
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