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Oct 07

THE NEW SEEKERS – “You Won’t Find Another Fool Like Me”

FT + Popular37 comments • 5,785 views

#342, 19th January 1974

The very definition of a tune your milkman could whistle, this delivers its melodic payload right upfront and then just hangs around for a bit, tapping its toes and honking its horns until the party wanders off somewhere else. The Ingredient X that – I’m guessing – got this to Number One when many a good tune stumbled is Lyn Paul’s belting performance, short on subtlety but long on defiant gutsiness. She’s wound up in musical theatre, which based on this record shouldn’t surprise anyone.

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Comments

  1. 1
    Billy Smart on 4 Oct 2007 #

    I think that this is a fun record, though not the sort of thing that I can ever imagine investing much emotion in. But probably it’s the period arrangement that I like rather more than the song. There’s a quality of jollity to this sort of music that doesn’t seem to really exist in any sort of mainstream pop of today and that cheeriness grows more and more attractive as I get older. (See also ‘Born With a Smile on my Face’ by Stephanie De Sykes)

  2. 2
    ovalliack on 5 Oct 2007 #

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  3. 3
    Marcello Carlin on 5 Oct 2007 #

    The Stephanie de Sykes one was much better, not possessing the Good Old Days music hall aura which firmly concretes this record in its era. Their penultimate single (not counting the very strange one they released when they briefly reformed a few years later) and surprisingly the first to feature a Lyn Paul lead vocal, but by gosh she belts it out and was clearly already well on the way towards “Tell Me It’s Not True” and all that; strange how many prominent not-quite-one-thing-or-the-other female singers of this period have ended up playing the lead in Blood Brothers (e.g. Kiki Dee, Barbara Dickson, and I think ALL of the Nolan Sisters have tackled the role at one time or another, and there are more besides). Hard to believe this was co-written by the same man responsible for “Last Night I Didn’t Get To Sleep At All” by the Fifth Dimension.

    Was there ever such a stylistic gulf between “old” and “new” versions of pop groups? The Seekers and the New Seekers seemed to be worlds apart right from the start, even though the New Seekers always seemed slightly over-anxious to establish some form of credibility; the Melanie and Harry Chapin interpretations, the Tommy medley which is one step away from Mike Flowers Pops, and even “Never Ending Song Of Love” which they cleaned up from the scruffy Delaney and Bonnie original. But in the end they became another one of those acts always in demand for peak-time BBC light entertainment shows. Note how you never had Bolan or Bowie or Queen on The Two Ronnies or Parkinson or Morecambe and Wise; it was always the New Seekers or Design or Fivepenny Piece and then even unto Barbara Dickson, the Nolan Sisters, Manhattan Transfer, Elkie Brooks, Iris Williams, Nina out of Nina and Frederick, Diane Solomon and I’m astonished I even remember half of these names. Or in the case of Parkinson Oscar bloody Peterson every flipping week. Always safe, middle ground, don’t upset granny stuff.

    Maybe the New Seekers just got fed up in the end. Lyn Paul was being interviewed on the radio a while back and they didn’t make much money out of their career; their manager was rolling in it while they were on a pretty pathetic weekly wage. But she didn’t sound bitter; more of a shoulder-shrugging well that’s how it was back then attitude.

  4. 4
    Billy Smart on 5 Oct 2007 #

    Just to verify Marcello’s citation of the New Seekers as Variety favourites, here’s the filmography of their glittering television career. Shows in list 2 survive in the archives, while list 1 are sadly lost to posterity.

    1

    CABARET SHOWTIME: Featuring Jimmy Logan, Lena Zavaroni, The New Seekers (1978)

    CILLA: Featuring Des O’Connor, The New Seekers, Johnny Hackett (1971)

    THE HARRY SECOMBE SHOW: Featuring Vera Lynn, Ronnie Barker, The New Seekers (1971)

    IT’S CLIFF RICHARD: Featuring The New Seekers (1971)

    IT’S LULU: Featuring Shari Lewis, Jimmy Logan, The New Seekers (1971)

    THE LESLIE CROWTHER SHOW: Featuring Noel Harrison, Jimmy Edwards, The New Seekers (1971)

    MAGGIE’S PLACE: Featuring Frank Ifield, Anita Harris, The New Seekers (1970)

    MAKE THE MUSIC SPEAK: Featuring The New Seekers (1977)

    THE VAL DOONICAN SHOW: Featuring Dudley Moore, The New Seekers, Lesley Uggams (1971)

    WEDNESDAY AT 8: Featuring Frankie Howerd, The New Seekers, Ray Alan (1976)

    THE YOUNG GENERATION: Featuring Nina, Lou Rawls, Keith Potger and The New Seekers (1970)

    2

    THE BASIL BRUSH SHOW: Featuring The New Seekers, Eric Bramall Puppets (1973)

    THE BASIL BRUSH SHOW: Featuring Rolf Harris, The New Seekers, Norman Bird (1976)

    THE BASIL BRUSH SHOW: Featuring Windsor Davies, The New Seekers (1979)

    THE EUROVISION SONG CONTEST: Featuring The New Seekers (1972)

    IT’S LULU: Featuring Engelbert Humperdinck, The New Seekers, Roy Hudd (1973)

    LONDON NIGHT OUT: Featuring Larry Grayson, The New Seekers, Johnny More (1978)

    THE MORECAMBE AND WISE SHOW: Featuring Vanessa Redgrave, Hannah Gordon, The New Seekers (1973)

    RONNIE CORBETT’S SATURDAY SPECIAL: Featuring Danny La Rue, Little and Large, The New Seekers (1977)

    THE ROYAL VARIETY PERFORMANCE: Featuring The New Seekers, Lovelace Watkins, The Young Generation (1971)

    SATURDAY VARIETY: Featuring The New Seekers, Larry Grayson, Penny Lane (1972)

  5. 5
    Marcello Carlin on 5 Oct 2007 #

    Yes kids, in those far-flung days there actually did exist a cabaret singer who called herself Penny Lane.

  6. 6

    who hell keith potger?

    (haha i have heard of EVERYONE ELSE) <--- very old man

  7. 7

    answer = KP is a NEW SEEKER but also the founder of the original seekers (as a kid i strongly disapproved of the nu-seekers and stood firmly behind the originals, tho i can’t now remember why)

  8. 8
    mike on 5 Oct 2007 #

    Didn’t things begin to come unstuck when Peter Doyle left the group in 1973? In the sequence of photos which Music Star printed of his announcement, a devastated, tear-streaked (DAMN that crappy 1970s eye make-up!) Lyn Paul was pictured clinging onto him, even as he continued to mug gamely for the cameras, in a way that suggested their relationship went beyond the purely professional. Coming after a short run of underperforming singles, was this song her bitter/defiant payback?

  9. 9
    Marcello Carlin on 5 Oct 2007 #

    They could have made Rumours four years ahead of schedule.

  10. 10

    (haha marcello i have just been reading rdcook’s (slightly revisionist? certainly not unfriendly) assessments of o.peterson’s pianowork in peng.guide 8th edn — largely bcz yesterday i bought “jazz exercises, minuets, etudes & pieces for piano” for future use in kitan on the keys: he is more interesting than parky’s patronage wd suggest, at least to read about)

    sad also to learn that Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen had died quite young :(

  11. 11
    Marcello Carlin on 5 Oct 2007 #

    Indeed. My feelings about NHOP were always that he was a free jazz bassist stuck in the day job, and to a certain extent this is borne out by the work he was doing with Braxton at the time (he’s on the two-volume In The Tradition set on Steeplechase). I always had a bit of a bias against old Oscar since his frequent appearances on TV always prompted a parental sigh or beam in the line of “now if you PRACTICE your piano HARDER and LONGER you’ll be able to do what he does one day!” His appearance in my youth loomed up like a benign but still threatening iceberg. Mind you I’ve grown a lot warmer towards his work in recent years (and he is Canadian so, you know…). I like the anecdote, possibly apocryphal, that in the late forties he and Nat “King” Cole made a formal agreement that Nat would concentrate on the singing and Oscar on the piano. I have heard Oscar’s singing and he does sound remarkably like Nat so there may be some truth in this.

  12. 12

    from the perspective of TODAY even peterson’s arguably somewhat MOR post-tatum virtuosity is a portal into a (actually very roomy) world quite quite lost to “the modern critical perspective”

    mind you i still hate parky (and richard is VERY tart abt j.cullum in the encycylopaedia)

  13. 13
    Marcello Carlin on 5 Oct 2007 #

    I’ve never forgiven Jamie for ripping off Cecil T with the whole extended banging on the piano lid and chanting before opening the piano routine.

    Where Parky went wrong is that he should have booked Mengelberg and Bennink on his show; they would have gone down a storm and probably got a long-term Seaside Special residency out of it.

    I’ve got a Derek Bailey album at home somewhere (I think live at the ICA, early seventies) where he switches on the TV mid-improvisation because “Oscar Peterson’s on in a minute and I’ve always wanted to play with him” and then he “plays with him” so to speak.

  14. 14
    mike on 5 Oct 2007 #

    “Always safe, middle ground, don’t upset granny stuff.”

    Heh, my granny loved the New Seekers’ “Circles”. She said it summed up how she felt about her own life.

  15. 15
    Billy Smart on 5 Oct 2007 #

    If his endorsement on a recent commercial is to be believed, Michael Parkinson thinks that “If you only have one jazz album, it should be ‘The Best of Diana Krall'”.

  16. 16

    (speaking of cook)

  17. 17
    Marcello Carlin on 5 Oct 2007 #

    Blackburn on “Circles” (from memory): “Aaaaaand speaking of circles, there’s a bit of a queue to get on Spaghetti Junction at the moment…”

  18. 18
    Erithian on 5 Oct 2007 #

    In the context of the batch of number 1s either side of it, you could almost describe this as the last number one of the ‘50s!

    There’s a nice story about Geoff Stephens, the co-writer: he was comforting his secretary after she’d been dumped by a boyfriend, and she told him how as he walked out she’d defiantly shouted after him, “Go on, but you won’t find another fool like me”. Stephens said, “Looking back, I hope I had the good grace to comfort her before dashing off to turn that line into a song.” His other songs include “The Crying Game”, “Winchester Cathedral”, “There’s a Kind of Hush” and “Knock Knock Who’s There?”

    Interesting bit about the Lyn Paul lead vocal. It seems she was feeling under-appreciated within the band, so she obviously took her opportunity with both hands. Good to see she’s still doing the business (see her website).

    Number 2 Watch – Leo Sayer’s debut hit “The Show Must Go On” stopped at 2 behind the New Seekers. Great record… but who’d want him as a housemate?

  19. 19
    Marcello Carlin on 5 Oct 2007 #

    Leo Sayer – an actual direct product of the last number one of the ’50s since he was managed (at that time) by Adam Faith!

  20. 20
    Waldo on 5 Oct 2007 #

    I remember a while back discussing with MC memories of “Whizzer and Chips”, a kids’ comic back in the day. It was actually two comics in one and readers were given a stark and important choice. Were you a Whiz Kid or a Chip-ite? As it happens both Marcello and I declared for the former, the first political alliance we’ve ever had…

    When it comes to the New Seekers, another stark and important choice had to be faced – Lyn Paul or Eve Graham? I thought Eve was lovely, ever-present smile, crisp brown hair and a healthy natural look. Lyn, whilst hardly the antithesis, provided a bit more danger, I thought – the good time blonde, who could kill a man, well certainly a barely teenaged boy, at fifty paces. I was thus very much for Lyn, although never regarded Eve as a consolation prize. It was, of course, dangerous blonde Lyn who belted out the vocals on this, the New Seekers’ second and last chart topper and a fine brassy job she does on it too. The song became an anthem (albeit a mostly ironic one) for all women who were pissed off with their geezers and I actually think it works well as merely a riposte rather than as an implied threat of terminating the relationship. In fact the story of this song is identical to that of a seminal country song we will be discussing next year. The man may have been “treating (her) like a fool”, but despite constant threats of dumping him she stays with the bugger. Ergo she is indeed a fool and she knows it. Of one thing I am absolutely certain, though, is that the man has never hit her. Lyn would have ripped his knackers off had he tried that one.

  21. 21
    mike on 5 Oct 2007 #

    Heh, nice analysis. I think I was more of an Eve than a Lyn man, but there again it was difficult to tear my eyes away from Tasty Dreamboat Marty Kristian. And I was deffo a Chip-ite, because in a sense they were the underdog, stuck away in the middle while the Whiz Kids got the front page and the glory. (The reverse being true when it came to Shiver vs. Shake allegiances. Gotta love them creepy MONSTERS.)

  22. 22
    Waldo on 5 Oct 2007 #

    Mark Radcliffe has been sitting in for Steve Wright with Emma Forbes as his adjutant. I’ve met Emma and she is delightful and the spit of her mum, who was a knockout when she was younger.

    Radcliffe is exasperating. He is clearly very much in control of his brief and has been around the rock/pop/punk fermament for ages. It’s just a pity he has never been able to put a sentence together.

    David Coleman to thread…

  23. 23
    intothefireuk on 5 Oct 2007 #

    I suspect this was a bit of a hangover from Christmas wherein the discerning older record buyer finally rid the pesky teenagers of their glam anthem. Its a 50s singalong throwback which I would have disliked intensely at the time and don’t really have much more affection for now – other than reminding me of what passed for popular TV entertainment in 1973/74.

  24. 24
    intothefireuk on 5 Oct 2007 #

    Leo Sayer should have stuck with the clown make-up.

  25. 25
    Tez Burke on 6 Oct 2007 #

    MAGGIE’S PLACE: Featuring Frank Ifield, Anita Harris, The New Seekers (1970)

    Now they didn’t come much more 1970 than Maggie Fitzgibbon – all over the telly that year what with variety shows and appearing in “Manhunt” alongside Robert Hardy and Cyd Hayman (drool..) – and then back to obscurity all of a sudden. The presence of the New Seekers alongside Anita Harris and Frank Ifield is as archetypal as they come.

    Oh, and apart from being a Whizz-Kid rather than a Chip-Ite also, definitely Lyn Paul over Eve Graham. Eve was way too “nice”.

  26. 26
    Rosie on 6 Oct 2007 #

    I rather like this. Better than I seemed to remember it, or thought I would. The singing style is just what’s needed to drag the song out of pleasant humdrumness. I like the dirty sax too. A far cry from teaching the world to puke.

    Marcello, please don’t reduce the wonderful Manny Tranny to the level of the company you’ve put them in. I’ll have more to say on the subject anon.

    Also, apropos of Penny Lane the singer, and as we are marking (ad nauseam) the 40th birthday of Radio One, let’s those of us who are old enough recall that on its inception, Radio One was required to give over a fair slice of its air time to Live Music at the behest of the Musicians Union. Naturally, this didn’t mean top bands appearing in the studio, it meant the resident BBC dance orchestra fronted by third division cabaret singers like Penny Lane performing covers of hit songs. It was dismal, gruesome, and wince-inducing, and within a couple of years the practice was stopped.

  27. 27
    Doctor Casino on 7 Oct 2007 #

    Sadly, pleasant humdrumness about sums it up for me after a few listens. The performance isn’t bad at all, but as a kiss-off it pales against something like “You’re So Vain,” to name an admitted ringer for the type. It doesn’t seem that far of a cry from Tony Orlando, who’s gotten excorciated in these parts…

    “Winchester Cathedral” is fantastic though! That makes me like this song a little bit more already. We’ll see it how it grows on me…

  28. 28
    Rosie on 7 Oct 2007 #

    Nah! Tony Orlando only comes across as a slimy toad.

    Erithian describes this as the last number one of the 50s, and in some ways that feels like a fair assessment. On the other hand, I don’t think this could have been made in this way in the fifties, because there’s something about the style of the vocal that wouldn’t be allowed in the fifties. I’m not sure that ‘raunchiness’ is the word – Shirley Bassey did raunchy in the 50s and Eartha Kitt did raunchy in spades, but this isn’t the same thing. I thought perhaps ‘blowsiness’ was nearer the mark. Whatever it is, it’s something very English, and Northern English at that. You could imagine it on a Saturday night in the Rovers Return, or at the end of Blackpool Pier.

    There was a lot of retro stuff about at the time, perhaps because in the world it large it felt like a time when an old age was passing and a new one feeling its uncertain way in. This seems a good moment to give a mention to Norman ‘Hurricane’ Smith, sound engineer turned solo artiste, another retro act with a distinctly Oop North flavour. And Peter Skellern, of course.

  29. 29
    Caledonianne on 7 Oct 2007 #

    “Blowsy” is spot on Rosie.

    I can just see Elsie Tanner singing this to herself as she’s putting on her lippy to go down the Rovers, as she bids farewell to another wrong ‘un. Sort of smouldering over the barm cakes and meat and potato pies.

  30. 30
    Mark G on 11 Oct 2007 #

    My sister went to dancing school in Woodley, along with the Belcher sisters (the eldest, Lyn, had left by then), and if you check Lyn’s single “It ought to sell a million”, you’ll find “The Waiting Game” as written by her mum.

    She then (my sister, that is) went onto a dancing college in CovGard area London, along with Emma Forbes, funnily enough.

  31. 31
    nicthecat on 12 Oct 2007 #

    Read with interest your comments about The New Seekers, particually Billy ‘your’ detailed list of TV appearances..where did this come from please? Have been trying, sadly in vain to obtain many of these clips and wondered if you have access to any of them please as we, the group would dearly love to re visit them! Great to see clips being added to ‘Youtube’, in particular from Totp’s ‘Circles’ and ‘Sentimental’. Have any of you seen the group on their recent 35th anniversary tour which finishes at Christchurch on October 27th ( 07). Dates for next year have been added to the group’s web site
    http://www.thenewseekers.com
    Will re visit you all soon

    Nic Culverwell…New Seekers Manager

  32. 32
    Billy Smart on 12 Oct 2007 #

    The information about the New Seekers’ television appearances comes from the online database of Kaleidoscope, the television archivists’ organisation – http://www.lostshows.com . They also publish a series of guides to drama and variety that are much more detailed than the online version.

    I think that television companies are obliged to agree to reasonable requests to view material from people who were originally involved in the production, so if original New Seekers ask the archives directly they could well be successful.

  33. 33
    Billy Smart on 12 Oct 2007 #

    Oh, and 2 Entertain are currently in the process of releasing The Morecambe & Wise Show on DVD a series at a time, so expect to be able to see the 1973 series in 2008.

  34. 34
    georgetui on 13 Oct 2007 #

    Hello,
    Great forum!
    I found a lot of interesting information here.
    Does this forum helpful for you also?

  35. 35
    nicthecat on 13 Oct 2007 #

    Will be in contact with them next week then thank you, Paul and Marty enjoy all the old clips. I noticed that the M and W shows are being issued including one with all the Xmas specials so I expect the group to turn up on that with ‘Another Fool’. I think the Two Ronnies are being issued too…both of these series should also feature The group ‘Springfield Reival’ also created by Keith Potger. The New Seekers today has S Revs Mick Flinn ( also The Mixtures ) and Donna Jones.

    Nic

  36. 36
    Erithian on 14 Jan 2010 #

    Funny, last month we were all talking about RATM foiling Simon Cowell and preventing a song reaching number one just because it was on the biggest TV show of the day; then over Christmas the BBC showed the Morecambe and Wise Christmas Show from 1973 and there, on what was no doubt the biggest ratings-grabber of the year, were the New Seekers, who went on to be the first new number one of the new year. Nothing new under the sun!

  37. 37
    Lena on 24 Apr 2014 #

    As the three day week kicks in, a drum brings back the dead: http://musicsoundsbetterwithtwo.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/the-beat-goes-on-cozy-powell-dance-with.html Thanks for reading, everyone!

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