Former Seekers singer Judith Durham dies: what songs is Australian famous for, including The Carnival is Over
The Seekers sold more than 50 million records thanks to hits like Morningtown Ride and Georgy Girl
Judith Durham, the former lead singer of The Seekers, has died aged 79.
The Australian musician, who was best known for songs including The Carnival is Over and Morningtown Ride, was described as a “national treasure” by the country’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.
The Seekers have appeared in several different incarnations over the years, but the band was its peak during the 1960s.
So who was Judith Durham - and what songs was she best known for?
Here’s everything you need to know.
Who was Judith Durham?
Judith Durham was an Australian singer from the state of Victoria.
Initially a jazz musician, she joined the original line-up of The Seekers in 1963 when the band’s singer Ken Ray left.
This incarnation of the band included Athol Guy, Bruce Woodley and Keith Potger - all of whom continue to perform as The Seekers.
The folk-pop group recorded an album ‘Introducing the Seekers’ before sailing over to the UK in early 1964 as the entertainment on board the cruise ship Fairsky.
When they arrived, the band secured several show bookings - including as a warm-up act for Dusty Springfield.
Springfield’s brother Tom Springfield was soon working as a songwriter with the band, and penned ‘I’ll Never Find Another You’, which scored them a UK number one.
Their next song ‘The Carnival is Over’ sold 1.75 million copies across the world and led The Seekers to become the most successful Australian group.
After several years on the road, Judith Durham announced her departure in 1968 to pursue a solo career.
Over the next few years, she released ‘For Christmas With Love’, ‘Gift of Song’ and ‘Climb Ev’ry Mountain’ - although these did not emulate the success she’d had with The Seekers.
She married her musical director Ron Edgeworth in 1969 and divided her time between the UK and Switzerland until the mid-1980s.
In 1992, she reunited with her former bandmates to celebrate 25 years of The Seekers and they toured for several years - releasing greatest hits album ‘A Carnival of Hits’.
Her husband passed away as a result of Motor Neurone Disease in 1994.
Durham continued to release music over the next 20 years, and re-wrote parts of the Australian national anthem in 2006 as part of a bid to modernise it.
In 2013, when The Seekers were performing their Golden Jubilee Tour, the singer had a stroke that affected her ability to read and write music.
However, she was able to rejoin the tour and performed with her band until 2014.
What caused Judith Durham’s death?
Judith Durham died aged 79 in Melbourne, Australia on 5 August 2022.
She had bronchiectasis, a chronic lung disease she had been battling for several years.
The condition causes the airways of the lungs to become widened, which leads to a build-up of excess mucus that can increase the risk of infection.
It tends to leave people with a persistent cough and shortness of breath.
Causes can include a previous lung infection, like pneumonia or whooping cough, issues with the immune system and an allergy to a particular kind of fungi.
What Seekers songs was Judith Durham known for?
Judith Durham’s time in The Seekers saw the band produce its biggest hits.
They scored two UK number ones and six top 10s, spending a combined 106 weeks in the UK top 40.
Here is a full list of their best-performing records:
- I’ll Never Find Another You (1965)
- A World of our Own (1965)
- The Carnival is Over (1965)
- Someday One Day (1966)
- Walk With Me (1966)
- Morningtown Ride (1966)
- Georgy Girl (1967)
- When Will the Good Apples Fall (1967)