|Judith Durham OAM |
An Australian jazz singer and musician who became the lead vocalist for the Australian popular folk music group The Seekers in 1963.
She left the group in mid-1968 to pursue her solo career. In 1993 Durham began to make sporadic recordings and performances with The Seekers, continuing into the 2000s.
Durham lived in Hobart, Tasmania, where she attended The Fahan School before moving back to Melbourne in 1956. In Melbourne she was educated at Ruyton Girls' School and, following matriculation, enrolled at RMIT.
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. She had some professional engagements playing piano. and also had classical vocal training and performed blues, gospel and jazz pieces.
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.
W&G signed the Seekers for an album, Introducing the Seekers, in 1963. (Potger does not appear on the album cover because he was not allowed to have a second job.)
In early 1964 the Seekers sailed to the United Kingdom on the S.S. Fairsky on which the group provided the musical entertainment. Originally they had planned to return after 10 weeks, but they received a steady stream of bookings through the Grade Agency .
In November 1964 the Seekers released "I'll Never Find Another You" composed by Tom Springfield. 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.
Durham returned to Australia in August 1968 and her first solo television special screened on the Nine Network in September.
Her birthday concert at the Royal Festival Hall in London was filmed and released on DVD in late 2004.
On 13 February 2009, Durham made a surprise return to the Myer Music Bowl when she performed the closing number at the RocKwiz Salutes the Bowl – Sidney Myer Music Bowl 50th Anniversary with "The Carnival is Over".
In 1990 Durham, Edgeworth and their tour manager, Peter Summers, were involved in a car accident on the Calder Freeway. The driver of the other car died at the scene and Durham sustained a fractured wrist and leg.
Edgeworth was diagnosed with motor neurone disease. He died on 10 December 1994 with Durham by his side.
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