The New Seekers
The Albums 1976-85
7T’s (4-CD Set)
This is where even confirmed New Seekermaniacs enter unknown territory, as the singing group’s six year reign among Britain’s top pop singles acts came to a grinding halt.
At their peak, The New Seekers did it all. Their first hit was a Melanie cover, “Look What They’ve Done To My Song, Ma” (1970); their biggest found international currency as a repurposed Coke ad (“I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing,” 1971); their catchiest won the Eurovision Song Contest (“Beg Steal or Borrow,” 1972), their weirdest was a surprisingly effective Who medley (“Pinball Wizard”/“See Me Feel Me,” 1973), and their last was the suitably lachrymose “I Get a Little Sentimental Over You” (1974). Years later, say some folk, they were even ripped off by Oasis.
The individual members shone as brightly as their songs. Lead singers Eve Graham, Marty Kristian and Lyn Paul all were credited as “featured” vocalists on the appropriate record labels, and it really doesn’t matter whether one actually liked or loathed the band's period chart domination. Anyone growing up in early '70s Europe can probably still sing every one of their biggest records.
And then… splat. The New Seekers disbanded in 1974, before reforming two years later around classic lineup stalwarts Graham, Kristian and Paul Layton, plus new faces Kathy Ann Rae and Danny Finn. The story thereafter is what unfolds here.
Firstly, the actual quality of the performances, the sound of the voices, the ineffable harmonies that had long been their calling card, all were still in place. The first album, sensibly titled Together Again, appeared in late 1976, and spun off a couple of minor hits — “I Wanna Go Back” was the biggest, reaching #25, and while that wasn’t exactly a disaster (they’d suffered worse, even during their pomp), the sheer lack of interest around the group’s return was palpable. And that despite the album including one of the finest ever Elton John, covers, in the form of “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart.”
Anthem: One Day In Every Week followed in 1978, riding the Top 21 success of its title track single. It was good in places, less so in others - there were no classics on board, but neither were there any duds. But the album as a whole felt tired and over-produced, and the departures of Graham and Finn should probably have brought down the final curtain.
Instead, The New Seekers lived long enough for one final indignity — being disqualified from the 1980 Eurovision Song Contest for having performed their entry, “Tell Me,” on TV a year before the competition. As if to rub in the hurt, the U.K. was represented that year by Prima Donna, featuring Paul Finn. The band’s final album, Tell Me, followed in 1982. It was released only in the Soviet Union.
Again, it was a less than resounding offering; indeed, with only Kristian remaining from that once formidable frontline, it could better have been credited to the New New Seekers, a dynasty that has itself continued to this day.
This box, however, closes with a unique Rarities 1975-1985 collection (although its contents actually begin in 1978). Five non-album singles, plus one by the pseudonymous The News, and a handful of studio out-takes are actually more fun than the last two albums might suggest.
But really, The Albums 1976-1985 offers little more than a gentle winding down to a recording career that deserves an infinitely brighter spotlight than any it has previously been granted.
Where’s the career-spanning box set that demands to be compiled, with all the albums and out-takes and oddities too, plus a DVD of those often joyful TV appearances? Where’s the authorized biography that is begging to be written? And where’s the never ending song of love that should still on the lips of everyone who ever was touched by The New Seekers’ memory?