How The Seekers' Judith Durham's voice became the soundtrack to our lives – ABC News

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How The Seekers' Judith Durham's voice became the soundtrack to our lives
To many Australians, The Seekers' Judith Durham represented a voice that was a familiar sound through childhood, or the soundtrack to a pivotal milestone.
Look back on how the state memorial for Judith Durham unfolded with our live blog.
As tens of thousands of tributes to Durham have poured in over the past few weeks in a public display of grief, her older sister Beverley Sheehan said she "really wasn't surprised".
She said her "little sister Judy" had a unique way of connecting with others.
"There was something in her voice that was comforting to a lot of people," she said.
As Australia prepares to say a final farewell to Durham at a state memorial this evening in the wake of her death at the age of 79, we asked you to share your memories of The Seekers and their iconic frontwoman.
About 2,000 people are expected to crowd into Melbourne's Hamer Hall from 7pm for the service.
Here are some of the dozens of tributes you shared.
Many people described the sound of The Seekers' familiar hits as very evocative, in many cases drawing them right back to earliest years of their lives — to "simpler and kinder" times.
It was the early 1970s and mum and dad had migrated from India to Warrnambool. I was truly happy back then; life was so carefree and innocent.
I remember mum playing I Will Never Find Another You while doing housework. I don't know why but I felt so secure and content at that moment.
Now when I listen to this song and hear Judith Durham's voice, I get so emotional: it takes me back to those days when life seemed much simpler and kinder.
Priyanka, VIC
I was born in 1963 and Judith's voice was a large part of my childhood "soundtrack", as my parents were huge Seekers fans and played the records at home. Judith to me was Georgy Girl and I wanted to grow up and be her, at the front of a band of men.
I am certain that her legacy to me was this empowerment that I saw her demonstrate.
Aleta, NSW
I recall my mother, whom dressed 4 daughters, by sewing clothing on her Singer sewing machine, dressing us in "shift" dresses, identical to those Judith wore on stage.
We looked pretty good, thanks to Judith.
Elwyn, NSW
For many, songs such as Morningtown Ride describing "all the little travellers" snug inside a train fit hand-in-hand with treasured childhood memories.
Morningtown Ride by the The Seekers was our mum's go-to lullaby, and her mother had sung it to her before that. It was the soundtrack to our childhoods.
When mum passed at the beginning of the year, it was the song we sent her off [with].
Two creative, inspiring women that will be missed very deeply by their worlds.
Millie, ACT
Morningtown Ride brings back wonderful memories of my Nan singing that to my sister and I on the long road trips visiting family in Wangaratta.
Trying hard to remember the words to sing to my grandkids when they come for sleepovers.
Sue, VIC
Growing up in the 60s & 70s in Ireland, my dad had a hi-tech cassette player in his car.
Morningtown Ride was on high rotation — I associate it with summer holidays by the lake, joy and freedom!
Adrienne, VIC
For some, the sound of Durham's voice, either by pure chance or with intention, formed the soundtrack to some of life's most painful experiences.
This memory is very poignant for me and does evoke tears.
My husband was dying in ICU in Sydney. His respirator had been turned off and there was a radio playing quietly in the background as we believed the hearing is the last sense to go.
As he drew his last breath the radio was playing The Carnival is Over and "I will love you till I die". He passed with Judith Durham's beautiful voice in his ears.
I wish I had contacted her to tell her as it was one of those serendipitous and beautiful moments that sometimes happen in life.
June, NSW
Our 10-pound family had been in Australia for only a few weeks, the sun was blazing and my mum and I were on a bus coming down the hill from Kings Park, Perth, and I had my earphone in from my small transistor radio.
Georgy Girl was playing and it filled me with an optimism in my heart that carried me the rest of my childhood in a home where my father's alcoholic rages and the nightly fighting just overshadowed all our days, when domestic violence laws were so very very different back then.
But the radio and Georgy Girl kept the hope in my heart and to this day now in my mid 60s the song still puts a spring in my step and returns the same optimism it gave me all those years ago.
And always, always, I recall the song when coming down the hill from Kings Park and entering St Georges Terrace.
Upbeat wholesome songs … she was sunshine.
Jane, WA
I was about seven years old and I knew The Seekers quite well. However, I had never heard their latest hit The Carnival is Over.
Until, I was still up late in the night, walking with family, around the Dromana seashore fair.
The loudspeaker system was playing it, as the ping pong ball eating-head turning clowns, and all the bright lights were being turned off.
My dad pointed out the sad beauty of the song (and the apt words) with the night's carnival being over.
I'll never forget the emotion of it all. I can still hear it now …
David, VIC
In 1965 I left England with my immediate family for a new life in Australia.
Not long before we sailed The Seekers brought out a new song: The Carnival is Over.
For many of our friends and relatives it was our last goodbye.
Stephen, WA
From impromptu karaoke duets to memories of Durham's Melbourne performances in the early 1960s, some have held onto memories of the singer for many decades.
Many years ago I was at a karaoke bar in Melbourne where Judith's goddaughter worked.
Judith came in one night to visit and was extremely shy and when asked if she would like to sing she declined saying that "she got incredibly nervous in smaller crowds, but large audiences never bothered her".
Later in the evening I plucked up the courage and asked if she would sing a couple of songs and she said yes, if I sang with her, so I literally was standing on stage holding Judith's hand singing Amazing Grace, followed by Delta Dawn.
It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life and she was so incredibly humble & encouraging.
I will never forget that moment.
Mykel, QLD
As a high school student in 1963 I went with girlfriends to a jazz dance in the Anglican Church hall next to Malvern Town Hall where the 'Rockers' danced.
On a couple of occasions a young female singer would join the band. The dancing stopped as we were all enthralled by the voice of Judith Durham.
Robena, VIC
I remember when The Seekers came to Perth and they were at Garden City signing autographs one day when I had my dad there, who was in a wheelchair.
He just loved Judith and The Seekers and was so excited.
The queue was a mile long waiting for autographs but wait we did and all his dreams came true that day.
Judith talked to him for ages ignoring her minders who were encouraging her to move on.
Mariette, WA
My father was the factory manager at W&G Records.
W&G were in A'Beckett St (Melbourne) until the mid-1970s and had a recording studio in Dudley St
The Seekers first few albums were all recorded in Melbourne by W&G. It was only after they became international stars, they changed their record label.
So I grew up listening to The Seekers and for a while they were the only pop group I knew.
Looking back I realise that basically alone in Australian music at the time, a woman fronted a major band.
Judith was my musical hero. I know all The Seekers songs off by heart — even 50 years on.
RIP Judith Durham. You were an inspiration.
Lyn, VIC
Judith your singing fed my soul, the purity of your version of Danny Boy to all the wonderful Seekers songs with the boys.
I was at the music bowl in 1967 with my dear Mum, I saw the 25th reunion, the 50th Concert, I went to the 1994 Grand Final to see the Seekers, I saw you sing jazz and singing with the Choir of Hard Knocks.
I am saddened that your carnival is over.
Thank you for the joy your singing gave to me and many, many others.
Heaven's choir now has its lead singer and you have now found the olive tree.
Richard, VIC
The state memorial honouring Durham's life is due to begin from 7pm.
The ABC will run a live blog sharing more of your memories, as well as key moments in the service.
The event will also be live streamed.
We acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Australians and Traditional Custodians of the lands where we live, learn, and work.
This service may include material from Agence France-Presse (AFP), APTN, Reuters, AAP, CNN and the BBC World Service which is copyright and cannot be reproduced.
AEST = Australian Eastern Standard Time which is 10 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)


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