'Georgy Girl' Singer Dies at 79

Australia mourns Judith Durham of the Seekers
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 6, 2022 4:25 PM CDT

Judith Durham, the lead singer of the Seekers who showed the way for other Australian artists to find success in the US and UK, has died. She was 79 and died Friday night of chronic lung disease, her record label said. Her home country, which had bestowed a series of honors on Durham and the Seekers, mourned the loss of the "Georgy Girl" singer, CNN reports. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese calling Durham "a national treasure and an Australian icon." A lawmaker said she defined "not just a generation, but what it meant to be an Aussie." Magda Szubanski, a comedian and actress, said, "Her beautiful, crystalline voice was the naive but knowing siren song of my childhood."

The folk singer joined the Seekers in 1963, and the group quickly had international hits including "The Carnival is Over," "I'll Never Find Another You" and "A World of Our Own." "Georgy Girl" was the title song for the 1966 film of the same name, starring Lynn Redgrave, per Entertainment Weekly. The Seekers were the first Australian pop band to achieve mainstream fame in the US and UK. "Judith Durham gave voice to a new strand of our identity and helped blaze a trail for a new generation of Aussie artists," Albanese said.

In 1967, the Seekers set a record by performing in front of 200,000 people in Melbourne. Durham went solo in 1968 but reunited with the Seekers in the 1990s for tours. She was seriously injured in a car crash in 1990 and performed an anniversary concert with the Seekers a few years later, inspired by the outpouring of support from fans. Keith Potger, Bruce Woodley, and Athol Guy—the other members of the Seekers—said their lives have been changed forever by the loss of "our treasured lifelong friend and shining star," per the AP. "The anthems she gave to our nation will never be forgotten," the prime minister said. (Read more obituary stories.)

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