Wednesday, July 3, 2013

July 3: Judith Durham, original lead vocalist for the Seekers, Judith Durham - I'll Never Find Another You," "Georgie Girl" - is 70-years-old today.

Born Judith Mavis Cock, on 3 July 1943, Judith Durham was born in Essendon, Victoria, Australia. Durham at first planned to be a pianist and gained the qualification of Associate in Music, Australia (AMusA), in classical piano at the University of Melbourne Conservatorium. Her singing career began one night at the age of 18 when she asked Nicholas Ribush, leader of the Melbourne University Jazz Band, whether she could sing with the band.

In 1963 she began performing at the same club with Frank Traynor's Jazz Preachers, using her mother's maiden name of Durham. In that year she also recorded her first EP, Judy Durham with Frank Traynor's Jazz Preachers, for W&G Records.

Durham was working as a secretary at the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency where she met account executive Athol Guy. Guy was in a folk group called the Seekers which sang on Monday nights at the Treble Clef, a coffee lounge on Toorak Road in Melbourne.

The Seekers consisted of Durham, Athol Guy, Bruce Woodley and Keith Potger, the last being an ABC radio producer. It was through Potger's position that the three were able to make a demo tape in their spare time. This was given to W&G Records, which wanted another sample of Durham's voice before agreeing to record a Jazz Preachers' album. W&G instead signed the Seekers for an album, Introducing the Seekers, in 1963.

In November 1964 the Seekers released "I'll Never Find Another You." In February 1965 the record reached number one in the UK and Australia, while their 1966 recording of Springfield and Jim Dale's "Georgy Girl" (from the film of the same name) reached number two in the United States.

During her solo career she has released albums titled For Christmas With Love, Gift Of Song and Climb Ev'ry Mountain. In the 1970s she returned to traditional jazz and recorded Volumes 1 and 2 of The Hottest Band In Town and The Hot Jazz Duo. She then moved to Queensland and focused on her songwriting.

In 1994, Durham began recording albums again, including Mona Lisas in 1996. This was re-released as Always There in 1997 with the addition of fellow Seeker Bruce Woodley's "I am Australian" (with Russell Hitchcock of Air Supply and Mandawuy Yunupingu of Yothu Yindi) and the Smith Family theme song of the title.

In 2000, Durham's album Let Me Find Love, a top ten hit on the Australian album charts, was re-released as Hold on to Your Dream. In 2006, the Seekers were awarded the "Key to the City" of Melbourne by Lord Mayor John So.

As part of the ceremony, Durham sang part of her song "Seldom Melbourne Leaves My Mind" and was later invited by the Lord Mayor's Charitable Fund to record the song, as a fund-raiser, with Orchestra Victoria. The decision was then made to record Durham's entire Australian Cities Suite with all proceeds from the sale of the CD to go to the charitable sector. The album was released in October 2008.

By 2009, Durham's rendition of "A Perfect Day" by Carrie Jacobs-Bond achieved more hits on YouTube than the version by Paul Robeson, but was withdrawn from availability because of questions involving access to intellectual property.

On 23 May 2009, Durham performed a one hour acappella concert in Melbourne as a launch for her album Up Close & Personal Vol 1.


For more about Judith, visit her Website at -


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