The New Seekers

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The New Seekers
The New Seekers in 1972
The New Seekers in 1972
Background information
OriginLondon, England
GenresPop, folk, gospel, rock, MOR, country
Years active1969–1974, 1976–present
LabelsPhilips, Polydor, CBS, EMI, Universal, Elektra (US), MGM (US)
MembersPaul Layton
Donna Jones
Francine Rees
Mick Flinn
Mark Hankins
Past membersEve Graham
Lyn Paul
Marty Kristian
Peter Doyle
Peter Oliver
Keith Potger
Sally Graham
Laurie Heath
Chris Barrington
Kathy Ann Rae
Nicola Kerr
Danny Finn
Caitriona Walsh
Vikki James
Brian Engel
Vivien Banks
Isobel Davies
Jilly Franklyn

The New Seekers are a British pop group, formed in London in 1969 by Keith Potger after the break-up of his group, The Seekers. The idea was that the New Seekers would appeal to the same market as the original Seekers, but their music would have pop as well as folk influences. They achieved worldwide success in the early 1970s with hits including "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing", "You Won't Find Another Fool Like Me" and "Beg, Steal or Borrow".


The group was formed after the disbanding of the successful 1960s Australian group the Seekers. Keith Potger, a member of the Seekers, put together the New Seekers in 1969, featuring Laurie Heath, Chris Barrington, Marty Kristian, and Eve Graham and Sally Graham (no relation), the latter of whom was a member of The Young Generation. Potger himself also performed and recorded with the group.[1]

Despite their having only released one album with no commercial success, ITV's Scottish Television gave the group their own TV series Finders, Seekers. The lineup for this version of the group hosting the series was Keith Potger, Eve Graham, Sally Graham, Laurie Heath, Marty Kristian and Chris Barrington. Produced in colour the show was given a prime-time slot, starting on March 27, 1970 (Good Friday) and continuing for seven shows. The public did not take to the show, with several complaints seemingly targeted at the band. Despite the complaints, the series was shown on several ITV channels, sold to Canada, Australia and Sweden with interest from other countries as a result of being shown at the international television market in Cannes.

Following the series failure, later in 1970, after one album release, the line-up was reworked to comprise Graham, Kristian, Lyn Paul, Peter Doyle and Paul Layton.[2] This line-up found instant success with their debut release, a cover of Melanie Safka's "What Have They Done to My Song, Ma" (titled in the U.S. as "Look What They've Done to My Song, Ma"[3]), which became a top 20 hit in the US, No. 3 in Canada, and a minor one in the UK.[4]

Mainstream success[edit]

Over the next year, the group released a number of singles to little recognition, but it was in June 1971 that they released their breakthrough hit, "Never Ending Song of Love" (the first of many hit songs to be produced by David Mackay, and a cover of the American hit by Delaney & Bonnie).[5] The song became a big hit in the UK, spending five weeks at No. 2 in the singles chart[6] and was one of the biggest selling singles of the year.[7] This was their last single released on the Philips Records label. The huge success of this single was mildly ironic in that prior to the single's release, the group were dropped by Philips and had signed with Polydor Records. Their first single for Polydor was "Good Old Fashioned Music", which they promoted on television (including an appearance on Top Of The Pops), but it failed to chart. Towards the end of 1971, the group recorded an adaptation of the Coca-Cola jingle, "I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke", which had gained much interest. Reworked as "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing", the song became a worldwide success.[8] It made No. 1 in the UK for four weeks and sold just under a million copies.[6] In the US, the song was also a hit, reaching No. 7, and in Canada it reached No. 3. It became a No. 1 hit in many other countries and is the most recognised song by the group.

The group were chosen to represent the United Kingdom in the 1972 Eurovision Song Contest. They entered with the song "Beg, Steal or Borrow", which was chosen by viewers of BBC1's It's Cliff Richard! show from six shortlisted songs performed by the group on a weekly basis. They went on to finish in second place at the Eurovision final in Edinburgh, where the group received the biggest cheer of the night from the partisan audience.[9] The song was a No. 2 hit in the UK and sold well in Europe.[10] Around this time, they also charted highly with their most successful album, We'd Like to Teach the World to Sing, which reached No. 2.[6] Another top five hit came with the next single, "Circles" in mid 1972.[6] At the end of the year, the group took part in the BBC's anniversary TV show Fifty Years Of Music.

The following year the group saw a slight dip, although they did score a top 20 hit with an adaptation of "Pinball Wizard".[11] Member Peter Doyle left the group this year and was replaced by Peter Oliver. The New Seekers had enjoyed a number of hits in the US by this time and toured there with Liza Minnelli in 1973.[12] While there, they recorded the title track of the American Marlo Thomas’s 1972 album Free to Be... You and Me. In 1974, the album was made into a landmark television programme designed to teach children how to express themselves and be independent through a series of vignettes.[13] Since the special was first broadcast, the song became a cult classic.

Up to now, the group's biggest success had been as a five-piece harmony, but it was around this time that they began to favour lead singers for their songs with title credits given to Marty Kristian for "Come Softly to Me" and Eve Graham for "Nevertheless", but it was in late 1973 that this formula found its biggest success when Lyn Paul took the lead on the new single, "You Won't Find Another Fool Like Me". The song became a big hit over Christmas and eventually peaked at No. 1 in January 1974, becoming their second biggest hit.[14] This formula continued with the next single, "I Get a Little Sentimental Over You", which also became a big hit, peaking at No. 5. However, despite this revival, the group announced their split amid much publicity. With allegations that the members were receiving little financial reward for their success, The New Seekers officially disbanded in May 1974.[15]

The group's two UK number one singles are listed as being in the top 30 best selling singles for the 1970s, with "I'd Like To Teach The World To sing" at No. 17 and "You Won't Find Another Fool Like Me" at No. 27.[16]


In 1976, the New Seekers reformed with Kathy Ann Rae and Danny Finn replacing Lyn Paul and Peter Oliver.[17] Although they never replicated their earlier success, signed to CBS (Columbia in the US) the group did manage to score a few hits with "It's So Nice (To Have You Home)" (1976), "I Wanna Go Back" (1977) and "Anthem (One Day in Every Week)" (1978).[6][18] This line up remained intact until 1978, when Danny Finn and Eve Graham left the group to marry. Their final single for CBS was "Don't Stop The Music" in 1979, with Kathy Ann Rae on lead vocal, but after it failed to chart, she left the band and the group signed their final contract with EMI.

In 1980, the group attempted to represent the UK again in the Eurovision Song Contest with the song "Tell Me", but it was disqualified shortly before the British heats were televised due to the fact the group had already performed the song on TV a year earlier.[19] Had they appeared in the 1980 UK contest, the group would have been up against former member Danny Finn, who was the lead singer of the winning group Prima Donna. In addition, Mick Flinn and Donna Jones of the final New Seekers line-up (2010) were also in the contest, placing fourth under the group name Pussyfoot.[20] Marty Kristian entered a song in the 1983 UK Eurovision finals, performed by a trio called 'Audio', which included Kathy Ann Rae in the line up. Since then, there have been personnel changes which included Caitriona Walsh, Nicola Kerr and Vikki James (Grammy Winner Victoria Horn).[21] Paul Layton remained with the band throughout this time.[22] The final tour was 2010.

Recent career[edit]

Today's New Seekers toured from 2006 with the latest line up of Paul Layton, Donna Jones, Francine Rees, Mick Flinn and Mark Hankins. A CD of the 2006 tour was released which includes all of the group's hits along with some cover versions. With a Royal Variety performance at St James's Palace, London for the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall and an appearance on ITV's This Morning, they completed 2006. The New Seekers helped host a garden party in 2007 at Buckingham Palace.[23] This was repeated the following year along with a special show at The Tower of London and a return batch of concerts in British theatres. The 40th anniversary of the group in 2009 was celebrated by a 35-date UK concert tour, which began at London's Shaw Theatre on 31 January and continued throughout the year.[24] In July 2009, an album was released; It's Been Too Long – Greatest Hits and More, comprising the group's hits and some new recordings. It became a success by entering the UK album charts at No. 17 – their first album to enter the chart for 35 years.[6] In 2011 and 2012 Marty Kristian released two albums of demo recordings from the 1970s and 1980s.

Peter Doyle died on 13 October 2001, from throat cancer, aged 52. Kathy Ann Rae died on 11 January 2011, from cancer, aged 53. Danny (Kevin) Finn died on 24 February 2016 of pulmonary embolism at the age of 71.




Date Album title UK
January 1970 The New Seekers NR
November 1970 Keith Potger and the New Seekers NR
May 1971 Beautiful People 136
September 1971 New Colours 40
December 1971 (US)
March 1972 (UK)
We'd Like to Teach the World to Sing 2 37
June 1972 Never Ending Song of Love 1 35 NR
September 1972 Circles 23 166
November 1972 Live at the Royal Albert Hall
January 1973 Come Softly to Me (US release) NR
March 1973 Now 47 190
1973 The Best of the New Seekers (US release) NR
March 1974 Together 12
August 1974 Farewell Album
November 1976 Together Again
September 1978 Anthem – One Day in Every Week
1982 Tell Me (Russia only)
2007 Live
July 2009 It's Been Too Long – Greatest Hits and More 17


1 Re-released version of Beautiful People

  • NR – Not released
  • In September 1973, an album, Peter, Paul and Marty was released by members Peter Oliver, Paul Layton and Marty Kristian. This included the New Seekers' single "Come Softly to Me".[26]


Date Song UK
October 1969 "Meet My Lord" The New Seekers
June 1970 "Look What They've Done to My Song, Ma" 44 3 14 4 3 Keith Potger and the New Seekers
October 1970 "Beautiful People / When There's No Love Left" 100 67 11/33 42 Beautiful People
March 1971 "Nickel Song" 67 81 13
June 1971 "Never Ending Song of Love" 2 25 1
October 1971 "Good Old Fashioned Music" 53 New Colours
December 1971 "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing" 1 7 7 27 3 1 We'd Like to Teach the World to Sing
March 1972 "Beg, Steal or Borrow" 2 36 81 15 3
June 1972 "Circles" (Harry Chapin) 4 20 87 27 42 3 Circles
September 1972 "Dance Dance Dance" NR1 84 24
November 1972 "Come Softly to Me" 20 73 95 21
February 1973 "Pinball Wizard-See Me Feel Me" 16 16 29 34 28 20 Now
March 1973 "Nevertheless" 34 96
June 1973 "Goodbye Is Just Another Word" 36
July 1973 "The Greatest Song I've Ever Heard" NR 16 Together
September 1973 "We've Got to Do it Now" 53
November 1973 "You Won't Find Another Fool Like Me" 1 5 18 1 Together
March 1974 "I Get a Little Sentimental Over You" 5 12 9
May 1974 "Sing Hallelujah" [29] 65 Farewell Album
June 1976 "It's So Nice (To Have You Home)" 44 72 Together Again
November 1976 2 "I Wanna Go Back" 25
May 1977 "Give Me Love Your Way" 3
January 1978 "Flashback" Anthem – One Day in Every Week
March 1978 "Do You Wanna Make Love"
June 1978 "Anthem (One Day in Every Week)" 21 15
November 1978 "You Needed Me"
January 1979 "Don't Stop the Music"
October 1979 "Love Is a Song"
March 1980 "Tell Me"
July 1980 "California Nights"
December 1985 "Let the Bells Ring out Forever"


^1 Not released in the UK
^2 Charted in January 1977
^3 Final single release in the US

  • Single "Tonight" was released in the US in 1971
  • "For You We Sing" was released as a single in many European countries in 1972
  • "All the Way" was released as a single in Australia in 1983


  1. ^ "Official site – First group line-up, 1969". Retrieved 25 May 2011.
  2. ^ "Official site – 1970 line-up". Retrieved 25 May 2011.
  3. ^ US Elektra Records release, #45699
  4. ^ "Official site – Single releases, 1969–1970". 26 June 1970. Retrieved 25 May 2011.
  5. ^ "Official site – "Never Ending Song of Love"". 18 June 1971. Retrieved 25 May 2011.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h "New Seekers - Full Official Chart HIstory". Official Charts Company. Official Charts Company. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
  7. ^ "Top selling singles on 1971". Retrieved 25 May 2011.
  8. ^ "Official site – "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing"". Retrieved 25 May 2011.
  9. ^ O'Connor, John Kennedy. The Eurovision Song Contest: The Official History. Carlton Books, UK. 2007 ISBN 978-1-84442-994-3
  10. ^ "Official site – "Beg, Steal or Borrow"". Retrieved 25 May 2011.
  11. ^ "Official site – "Pinball Wizard"". Retrieved 25 May 2011.
  12. ^ "Official site – "We've Got to Do it Now"". 16 November 1973. Retrieved 25 May 2011.
  13. ^ "Free to Be... You & Me (TV Movie 1974) - IMDb". Retrieved 9 November 2016.
  14. ^ "Official site – "You Won't Find Another Fool Like Me"". 16 November 1973. Retrieved 25 May 2011.
  15. ^ "Official site – "I Get a Little Sentimental Over You"". Retrieved 25 May 2011.
  16. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "Best Selling Singles of the 1970s in the UK - YouTube". Retrieved 9 November 2016.
  17. ^ "Official site – Reunion, 1976". Retrieved 25 May 2011.
  18. ^ "Official site – "It's so Nice"". 18 November 1976. Retrieved 25 May 2011.
  19. ^ "Official site – "Tell Me"". 21 March 1980. Retrieved 25 May 2011.
  20. ^ "National Finals – 'A Song for Europe', 1980". 26 October 2009. Archived from the original on 26 October 2009. Retrieved 25 May 2011.
  21. ^ Steven Liddle. "Lyn Paul website: New Seekers - Vikki James". Retrieved 9 November 2016.
  22. ^ "Official site – Group line-up chronology". Retrieved 25 May 2011.
  23. ^ "The New Seekers at Buckingham Palace". Retrieved 25 May 2011.
  24. ^ "2009 40th anniversary tour". Retrieved 25 May 2011.
  25. ^ "Official site – US album chart positions". Retrieved 25 May 2011.
  26. ^ "Official site – ', Peter, Paul and Marty',". Retrieved 25 May 2011.
  27. ^ "US chart positions". Retrieved 25 May 2011.
  28. ^ Jaclyn Ward. "Irish chart positions". Retrieved 25 May 2011.
  29. ^ Lyn Paul website

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by UK in the Eurovision Song Contest
Succeeded by