The New Seekers released 29 singles in the UK. Lyn Paul sings on 16 of them, including all six of their Top 10 hits.
Most of the singles from the New Seekers' hey day were also released in the USA, Europe, the Far East and Australia. However, these singles appeared on different record labels from the UK releases: early US releases were on Elektra, later ones on MGM / Verve; European releases were on Philips. Some featured different tracks on the B-side and a few of them were not released in the UK at all. To find out more about the New Seekers' singles releases in different parts of the world, select one of the following options:
Recorded before Lyn Paul joined the group, the New Seekers' first single featured on lead vocal Lyn's friend and fellow band member from the Nocturnes, Eve Graham. The song was sung in the style of the original Seekers, with a performance from Eve that was a close copy of Judith Durham.
The arrangement on Melanie's original version, included on her 1970 album Lay Down (Candles In The Rain), is less polished and less exuberant than the New Seekers' cover. Melanie's version opens with a simple bass and accordion backing. The New Seekers' version begins with a subtler guitar intro, with the bass coming in half way through the first verse and building gradually to the introduction of the accordion at the start of the second verse. Both versions use a bar room 'plinkety plonk' piano but on the New Seekers' version the piano and Eve's vocal really let rip, giving the song a more joyful feel. The song is one that audiences can't help but sing along to when the New Seekers perform it live.
Not only did the New Seekers change the arrangement of the song, they also changed the order of the verses and missed one of them out all together (the missing verse gave Melanie's version a more cynical edge to it):
"But maybe it'll all be all right, ma,
Maybe it'll all be OK.
Well, if the people are buying tears
I'll be rich some day.
Look what they've done to my song, ma."
What Have They Done To My Song, Ma was David Mackay's first independent production after leaving EMI and also his first for the New Seekers. Previously David had worked at EMI's famous Abbey Road Studios in London. Prior to that he had been head of A&R at EMI Australia. It was the beginning of a long and successful partnership with the New Seekers.
David Mackay's other production credits include work for Cilla Black, Blue Mink, Harry Nilsson, Cliff Richard, Demis Roussos, Dusty Springfield and Jimmy Webb. Notable among the hits he went on to produce are: the Mixtures, The Pushbike Song;Frankie Miller, Darlin';Bonnie Tyler, It's A Heartache. What Have They Done To My Song, Ma has been covered by Ray Charles; James Last, Nina Simone, Billie Jo Spears and by Melanie's daughter Leilah Safka.
A haunting melody with Eve Graham singing the lead vocal. Although it didn't make the charts, the song went down well with one reviewer at least, who wrote: "It's a gorgeous disc and a real credit to the group and it certainly deserves to do well. After a subdued opening featuring the velvet-smooth tones of soloist Eve Graham, the tempo and backing gradually intensify, and the remainder of the group chips in with the most delightful counter-harmonic blend you could wish to hear. It's a wistful lyric with a slight religious touch."
Nickel Song was the New Seekers' second UK single written by Melanie, their third in the USA. When it was released Eve Graham told journalist Val Mabbs how the group came to record so many of Melanie's songs:
"It's been more or less chance ... The first one 'Look What They've Done To My Song, Ma' our record producer [David Mackay] got off Melanie's album. He had a promotional copy and thought we should do it. It could have been an album track for us, but it was decided to make it a single. The second one 'Beautiful People' we made the B-side of the record in America, but the public made it the A-side and that side got in the charts. Now we have 'Nickel Song' out there and in Britain. That was sent by Melanie to Philips, for us to hear."
Unlike Melanie's original, which ambles in with a light percussion and guitar intro, the New Seekers' version of Nickel Song opens with four crisp chords. As they had done when they recorded What Have They Done To My Song, Ma the New Seekers changed the basic song structure. They repeated the "Da, da-da, Da, da-da" sing-along section with each verse (which Melanie had only included at the beginning and at the end of her version), effectively providing the song with a chorus not present on the original. Eve Graham gives a confident performance on lead vocal, throwing in some ad-libs at the end ("Just a nickel at a time" / "Can't even afford a dime" / "For a dollar, ha!" / "Such a lovely little song") which Melanie did not include in her version.
In the USA Never Ending Song Of Love was a Top 20 hit for the New Seekers' Elektra label-mates Delaney Bramlett and Bonnie Lynn O'Farrell, a husband-wife duo who sang together as Delaney and Bonnie. The New Seekers' borrowed the song for their first Top 5 hit in the UK. It reached number 2 on the BBC singles chart, number 1 on the NME chart.
Eve Graham, who had sung the lead vocals on all the group's previous single releases, did not take the lead on this one and was allegedly unhappy about it being chosen as a single. In an interview in 1972 with Keith Altham, Eve is quoted as saying: "During the recording session for 'Never Ending Song Of Love' I was actually reduced to tears because I felt it was so wrong - and that proved to be our first big hit!"
Delaney and Bonnie's rendition of the song has the rough 'n' ready feel of a camp fire sing-along, with a variety of 'noises off' supplied by a motley crew of musicians chiming in at random. The New Seekers' performance is more polished but retains the feel-good factor. Gone are the ragged vocals and strumming guitar, replaced instead by more complex and disciplined harmonies and a guitar riff that injects more pace into the song. As one reviewer put it at the time: "The group's harmony work has seldom been tighter and unobtrusive sax and bongoes makes the whole production zip along." Towards the end of the song the New Seekers added a guitar solo not present on the original and while Delaney and Bonnie's version just fades out the New Seekers bring the song to a rousing conclusion.
Both versions of Never Ending Song Of Love charted in 1971: Delaney and Bonnie's version entered the Billboard Top 100 on 5th May; the New Seekers' version entered the UK singles chart on 10th July. The song quickly became a country favourite. Later the same year it was covered by Loretta Lynn & Conway Twitty on an album of duets titled Lead Me On;Geroge Jones & Tammy Wynette also sang the song as a duet on their 1973 album We're Gonna Hold On. This followed cover versions released in 1972 by Lynn Anderson on her album Cry; by Ray Charles on his album Through The Eyes Of Love; by Earl Scruggs on the album I Saw The Light With Some Help From My Friends; and by Ray Stevens on his album Nashville. The song has since been covered by other artists including: Bobby Vinton (Melodies Of Love, 1974), Crystal Gayle, Daniel O'Donnell, The Osmonds, Patty Loveless (Dreamin' My Dreams, 2005) and John Fogerty (The Blue Ridge Rangers: Rides Again, 2009).
The New Seekers borrowed two other songs from Delaney and Bonnie, Get Ourselves Together and Someday, which they performed as a medley. When introducing the songs at the New Seekers' 1972 Royal Albert Hall concertPaul Layton referred to Delaney and Bonnie as "favourite artist / writers of ours."