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:
Having broken the trend with their previous single, Never Ending Song Of Love, the New Seekers returned to the formula which featured Eve Graham on lead vocal.
"It positively oozes happiness" wrote one reviewer "A sort of country sing-along complete with all the trappings of the idiom - banjo, fiddles and brass bass."
Gary Sulsh and Stuart Leathwood, who wrote the song, later teamed up with Bob Saker to write Loving You Ain't Easy, an entry in the 1974 Song For Europe, performed by Olivia Newton-John. They also wrote A Love Worth Waiting For, a number 2 hit in the UK for Shakin' Stevens in 1984.
The now famous Coke advert that became a multi-million seller and turned the New Seekers into huge stars.
And the song itself? Opinion was divided amongst the members of the New Seekers. In an interview with Keith Altham in 1972Eve Graham admitted that her own choice of song for release as a single had not always been right. "The only single I was absolutely convinced and proven right about was 'I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing'. I was pushing for that to be released for months." In 2000, interviewed for the BBC's I Love 1972 programme, Lyn Paul said: "I remember thinking I wasn't very keen on it. How wrong can you be?"
The song started life as a Roger Cook / Roger Greenaway composition entitled True Love And Apple Pie and was recorded with that title by Susan Shirley. Columbia Records released it as a single on 14th May 1971 (DB 8787). Despite promotion on Radio Luxembourg (including a competition to win a weekend trip to Paris) the single sank without trace. By the end of the year, however, the same tune with new lyrics would enter the pop charts as I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing (In Perfect Harmony) by the New Seekers.
Bill Backer, a Coca-Cola account executive, liked the tune but loathed the lyrics. Together with Backer and Billy Davis (who had been a member of the Four Aims, later to find fame as the Four Tops and who also co-wrote some of Jackie Wilson's hits with Tamla Motown boss Berry Gordy), Cook and Greenaway re-wrote the song as I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing (In Perfect Harmony).
The New Seekers first recorded it as a Coca-Cola commercial with the lyric I'd like to buy the world a Coke and keep it company. The ad was initially used as a radio commercial in the USA in 1970. A year later it was re-run as a TV commercial featuring a crowd of young people standing on a hilltop, each holding a Coke bottle and miming to the voices of the New Seekers. The reaction from the public was almost overwhelming. Coca-Cola received thousands of letters asking about the song and responded to the demand by releasing the commercial as a single.
The New Seekers, who were appearing in New York at the time, were rushed into a recording studio to re-record the song as I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing. The rest, as they say, is history...
Interviewed by David Jensen in 2006, Lyn Paul recalled the day it topped the UK singles chart: "We were in our publicist's office, Tony Barrow... We were just waiting and waiting and waiting, and suddenly we were told 'Yes, you've reached number 1'. And the champagne opened - I don't remember leaving the office." (From The Bottom To The Top, Capital Gold, 20th July 2006)
I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing was re-issued on vinyl in the UK in June 1982 with Gentle On My Mind as the B-side (Polydor POSP 453). Polydor Records did not ask the New Seekers to promote the single in any way and it was not a hit the second time around.
Seven years later I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing was re-released in Germany, this time as a three track CD single with its original B-side Boom Town and Never Ending Song Of Love (Philips 888 973-2).
Cover versions of I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing returned the song to the UK charts in 1996, when a parody in the style of Oasis became a number 27 hit for the tribute band No way sis, and in 2002, when a version by Tot Stars winner Demi Holborn also reached number 27. The song has also been covered by Chet Atkins, Ray Conniff, the Edwin Hawkins Singers, The Hillside Singers, Vera Lynn, Mrs. Mills and the Nolans.
New Seekers I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing (In Perfect Harmony) (sheet music)
Pictured (left to right): Paul Layton, Marty Kristian, Lyn Paul, Peter Doyle and Eve Graham.
The New Seekers'
Eurovision entry Beg, Steal Or Borrow.
Beg, Steal Or Borrow was Britain's Eurovision entry in 1972 and the only song sung in English. Although they had been tipped to win, the New Seekers came a close second in a nail-biting climax to the Contest. The winning song, Après Toi (Come What May) by Vicky Leandros, equalled the New Seekers' UK chart placing (both made it to number 2) but Beg, Steal Or Borrow ultimately won the battle for record sales. At the end of the year the UK Best Selling Singles Chart placed Beg, Steal Or Borrow at number 20 and Après Toi at number 30. There was also some compensation for the New Seekers the next year when Beg, Steal Or Borrow won the Ivor Novello Award for 'Most Performed Work of the Year'.
Reviewing the single at the time David Hughes wrote; "Beg, Steal Or Borrow is a pretty boring song... and scores simply because the Seekers have managed to inject it with amazing life through their wide and full harmonies. Imagine the same song done by a female solo voice ... ghastly!"
Decades later, DJ Sean Tilley asked Lyn Paul whether Beg, Steal Or Borrow was her favourite New Seekers' single. Lyn replied, jokingly: "Well, it was, because I was singing it. I didn’t get to do many leads at that point Sean, so anything that I got to sing was my favourite." But Lyn admitted that Après Toi had been the rightful winner: "That was a great song. She deserved to win." (BBC Radio Sussex and BBC Radio Surrey, Top Of The Pops Playback, 19th January 2014)
Like Beg, Steal Or Borrow, One By One was one of the six songs (all of which were performed by the New Seekers) in the competition to find the UK's entry for the 1972 Eurovision Song Contest. The Final was held on 12th February at the BBC Television Studios in London and was hosted by Cliff Richard. Viewers voted for their favourite song by postcard.
The New Seekers' version of a Harry Chapin song and Lyn Paul's favourite. In an interview for The Beat magazine in 2012, Lyn said: "I just love the simplicity of it. I love the thought behind the lyrics. It's always been a favourite, even though it's Eve and not me singing the lead. I love it, it's my favourite song."
Chapin himself did not like the New Seekers' treatment of his song though he enjoyed its success. "Frankly" he told Karl Dallas, a reporter for Melody Maker,"I don't like the Seekers' version of it very much ... Jac Holzman passed it over to the New Seekers because Elektra release them in the United States. Naturally, I'm pleased it was a success, but I think their version is rather slow." (Melody Maker, 4th November 1972)
Chapin's version of the song, titled Circle in the singular, appeared on his second album Sniper & Other Love Songs, which was released in October 1972.
In 1981, the year that Chapin died, Pete Seger recorded the song. Seger's version was recorded live in concert with Arlo Guthrie and was released on the album Precious Friend.