From 1969 through to the present day the New Seekers have been through many line-ups. As one journalist put it: "Over the years, the group have seen more changes to their line-up than the Chelsea football team". The glory years came between 1970-74 and the line-ups that people remember most fondly are those that featured Lyn Paul, Peter Doyle, Peter Oliver and Eve Graham.
To find out more about each incarnation of the group click on the years listed in the table below.
Formed by ex-Seeker Keith Potger, the New Seekers were originally intended as Seekers sound-alikes. In an interview for the New Musical Express in October 1969, Keith Potger told Jan Nesbit how he put the group together:
"I tried the agencies and advertised in 'NME' and 'The Stage'. I found Laurie, who played guitar. He had a friend Chris, who played bass guitar. Then Chris got in touch with a friend he'd made in Australia, Marty Kristian, who was a big teenage star over there ... By the end of May I'd found three boys but it was very difficult to find two girls who looked right together and who sounded right. Then after three months of looking they both turned up on the same weekend and both with the same surname!" [Eve Graham and Sally Graham] (New Musical Express, 18th October 1969, page 14)
The group's first live appearance was at the Bournemouth Pavilion on 17th August 1969, just a day after their first TV appearance on the Frankie Howerd Show. The New Seekers' début single, Meet My Lord, was released in October, followed in January 1970 by their first album, The New Seekers. The single and the album had a folk flavour to them. They were both produced by Keith Potger and were very much in the style of the original Seekers. Neither made any impact on the charts.
However, only two members of the original line-up, Marty Kristian and Eve Graham, stayed with the group long enough to enjoy the success that was on its way. In June, shortly after the New Seekers had begun a Summer Season in Great Yarmouth, Chris Barrington, Sally Graham and Laurie Heath, all quit the group.
Above: Marty Kristian pictured on the sleeve of the New Seekers' first album.
Left: Eve Graham pictured on the sleeve of the New Seekers' first album.
The "real" New Seekers were born when Lyn Paul, Peter Doyle and Paul Layton joined the group. Keith Potger sang on the new line-up's first album but took a back seat as the group became successful. Much like John and Michie from the Mamas and the Papas, the new line-up of the New Seekers got 'kind of itchy to leave folk music behind." By the time they recorded their next album, Beautiful People they had developed their own sound and their own identity.
Above: Lyn Paul pictured on the sleeve of the album Keith Potger and the New Seekers.
Left: Keith Potger pictured on the sleeve of the same album.
1972 was to be their year! They began it by spending 4 weeks at number 1 in the UK with I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing. The group then represented the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest with Beg, Steal Or Borrow. The song came second and the single reached number 2 in the UK charts (it was only kept off the top spot by Nilsson's classic Without You). Immediately after Eurovision the New Seekers embarked on a massive nationwide tour of the UK, which culminated in a concert at London's Royal Albert Hall. The concert was recorded and released as a double album and (years later) as a video and DVD. Meanwhile the hit singles kept coming. Circles reached number 4 in July and Come Softly To Me made it into the Top 20 before the end of the year.
In 1973 things started to go wrong. The year had started well, with the New Seekers playing for President Nixon at his Inauguration Ball. This was followed by another hugely successful UK Tour. The New Seekers, however, failed to make it into the charts as consistently as they had the previous year. Their single Pinball Wizard / See Me, Feel Me (taken from Pete Townshend's rock opera Tommy) made it to number 16 in the UK and to number 29 in the States. The follow-up, Nevertheless, made it only as high as number 34 in the UK and was not released in the USA. Then came the news that Peter Doyle was to quit the group. He departed as the New Seekers released an aptly-titled single, Goodbye Is Just Another Word.
New Seekers' tour programme (New Zealand)
Pictured (left to right): Marty Kristian, Eve Graham, Peter Doyle, Paul Layton and Lyn Paul.
Peter Oliver was drafted in as Peter Doyle's replacement. Having been chosen from over 200 applicants by the New Seekers' Manager, David Joseph, Peter flew out to Los Angeles in June 1973 to meet the rest of the group. His first performance with the New Seekers was at Disneyland. This was followed by a Season in Las Vagas and a US tour supporting Liza Minnelli.
The title of the album belied the events that were taking place behind the scenes. Peter Oliver had not been with the New Seekers for more than six months when Eve Graham and Lyn Paul announced that they wanted to leave. The news was broken to the press in February 1974.
The group split up in May, following a gruelling stint 'on the road' - three weeks at the Talk of the Town (4th-23rd March), followed by a sell-out Farewell Tour of the UK and two final weeks of cabaret in Wakefield (6th-11th May) and Liverpool (12th-18th May).
The Farewell Tour lasted six weeks and took the New Seekers across the whole of the UK, kicking off on 25th March at the Granada, Sutton and winding up on 5th May at the Rainbow Theatre, London.
The New Seekers' final performances at the Shakespeare Theatre Club, Liverpool, became the subject of a Court case between GTO Productions Ltd. and New Seekers Ltd., a company formed to promote the activities of the group. In a Law Report published on 16th May, The Times newspaper reported that a recording agreement dating from 12th May 1972, which was due to continue until February 1975, gave GTO "the right to record the performances of the group and sell the records made " The report continued: "Unfortunately by March, 1974, there were differences of opinion. A management agreement between New Seekers Ltd. and GTO Management Ltd. was cancelled; but no such cancellation applied to the recording agreement."