Australia’s '60s folk-pop icons the Seekers are to receive one of the country’s most prestigious music honors, coming just weeks after singer Judith Durham suffered a brain hemorrhage.
The Seekers will be this year's recipients of APRA’s award for outstanding services to Australian music during a ceremony to mark the annual APRA Music Awards, to be held June 17 in Melbourne.
The group -- comprising Judith Durham, Athol Guy, Keith Potger and Bruce Woodley -- are currently celebrating their 50th year. However, those celebrations came to a swift halt when Durham fell ill during the band’s national tour earlier this month. She was diagnosed with a small cerebral hemorrhage and is currently in hospital recovering from her ordeal.
The Ted Albert Award honors the artists who've made "a significant contribution to shaping and developing the Australian music landscape," and is decided by the APRA board of writer and publisher directors.
On the night, the Seekers will become members of an elite club which includes AC/DC’s Angus & Malcolm Young, promoter Michael Chugg, late country music legend Slim Dusty, veteran singer-songwriter Paul Kelly, Pink’s manager Roger Davies and Sony Music Australia’s longtime chairman/CEO Denis Handlin.
"Surely no other Australian act has had such enormous international appeal while retaining its unadorned sense of 'Australianness’,” APRA/AMCOS CEO Brett Cottle said in a statement issued today. “The Seekers really put Australian music on the map: a succession of Top 5 hits around the world, including three U.K. number ones, all achieved at the height of the popularity of The Beatles, The Stones, The Beach Boys and Motown. The Seekers often outsold them all. And 50 years later the music sounds every bit as great as it did then."
In a separate statement published today on the band’s official Website, Durham’s manager updated fans on her health. Graham Simpson says she was in “excellent spirits” over the past weekend and was “keen to progress with her treatment."
Simpson adds,” Yesterday, we had an hour-long conversation about the forthcoming compilation album to be released by Universal Music to celebrate Judith’s 70th birthday in July – 23 tracks from her five decades of recording, including several that have never been available on CD before, as well as two newly-recorded tracks.”
The Seekers became the first Australian act to top the U.K. singles chart when their 1965 song “I’ll Never Find Another You” peaked out at No. 1. Later that year, they hit the top spot again in Britain with “The Carnival Is Over.” In the space of just two years, they grabbed six top 10 hits in Britain, including their best-known track "Georgy Girl," which was nominated for an Academy Award for original song and reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. Durham went solo in 1967.
In March 1967, at the height of their fame, they played to an audience of 200,000 -- still considered the biggest concert crowd in the southern hemisphere. Also during 1967, they were named “Australians of the Year.”
The Seekers were inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 1995, and they’ve had a stamp issued in their honor.