Happy birthday, Georgy Girl!
Being a sickly child I spent a fair amount of time off school. As my Grandma lived with us, she looked after me on a number of occasions so I got to hear a lot of her favourite music. She liked musicals (South Pacific was played a lot), Frank Ifield (still touring; he even appeared at the Castle Green Hotel in Kendal, my childhood home town, as recently as the 3rd of June this year, aged 80!), The Bachelors (I wasn’t a fan) and The Seekers (who I liked a lot).
Judith Durham who fronted The Seekers has been described by Elton John, as possessing “the purest voice in popular music”. She celebrated her 75th birthday on the 3rd of July this year by releasing a new album although she will not be touring it (I suspect it comprises old, but previously unreleased recordings).
I Googled her for old times’ sake and YouTubed The Seekers and revisited their songs. It was interesting to read the BTL comments of the YouTube videos. A number of young folk had chanced upon the recordings and expressed wonderment at never having heard of Durham (or The Seekers) given the power, timbre and clarity of her voice.
Google also held a surprise for me. ‘Durham’ was not Judith’s original surname; it was her mother’s maiden name. The enchanting songstress with a spellbinding voice was christened Judith Cock! No surprise, then, that she changed it. I wish I could have penned a more respectful limerick-as-tribute, but I’m afraid I couldn’t overlook that!
Judith, a singer, became
A Seeker of stardom and fame
But her surname was ‘Cock’
So it wasn’t a shock
When she changed to her mum’s maiden name!
I knew I must be getting on a few years ago when a very much younger colleague told me she had never heard of Telex, but that was not really surprising unlike when a friend, then in her late thirties, told me she had never heard of The Seekers (it’s not the grey hairs that make me feel old, but revelations like that!).
Postscript #1: For the young or ill-informed, ‘Georgy Girl’ was a 1960s film starring James Mason, Lyn Redgrave, Alan Bates and Charlotte Rampling for which The Seekers performed the titular theme song.
Little-known fact #1: The lyrics of the theme song were written by Jim Dale, a Carry On star, whilst the music was penned by Tom Springfield, brother of Dusty, another powerful voice from the sixties.
Little-known fact #2: The film was based on the book ‘Georgy Girl’ written by Margaret Forster which just happens to be my mum’s maiden name.
Postscript #2: When The Seekers disbanded, their manager put together another group, The New Seekers, one of whom’s leads was Eve Graham, a Scottish singer who also turned 75 this year. Management and I saw her perform in Aberdeen in the mid-1980s in her solo show and, although The New Seekers was a successful group, Graham as a solo artist was a revelation. Shamefully, due to a contractual dispute, Graham has never received any royalties from The New Seekers’ hits since 1973 despite sales of 25 million records!