In 1967, The Seekers performed in front of a record crowd of more than 200,000 in Melbourne, the Southern Hemisphere's biggest concert attendance ever.
The record still stands. While it's not likely that founding band member Keith Potger's Gunning concerts later this month will challenge that historical audience size, it may well be standing room only for the popular performer.
The Seekers broke up in 1968 after just six years together, but the impact they made on Australian music was immeasurable. Their success essentially laid the path for every other Australian band that tried their luck in the UK, including The Easybeats, The Twilights and The Bee Gees.
Today, in a world where it seems every artist is a superstar who sells albums by the millions, it's hard to imagine The Seekers' impact and popularity. They were the first Australian group to have a number one hit in the UK (I'll Never Find Another You) and the first to hit number one with a debut single, the first group from any country to reach number one on the UK charts with their first three singles (bettering even The Beatles), and the first Australian group to reach number one in the USA (Georgy Girl). In 1965, their most successful song, The Carnival Is Over, outsold The Beatles' Help! and Ticket to Ride, Satisfaction by the Rolling Stones and Elvis' Crying in the Chapel. There's even a reasonable argument to say that Potger and fellow Seeker Bruce Woodley influenced other guitarists such as George Harrison and Keith Richards to pick up an Australian-made Maton guitar.
Now a resident of Braidwood, Potger has continued to play with The Seekers over the years, and performs to full houses with The Original Seekers, which includes two other founding members - Woodley and double-bass player Athol Guy - with their 30-year musical director Michael Cristiano handling lead vocals.
On Friday November 22 (7pm) and Saturday November 23 (4pm), Potger will take a more intimate approach, playing solo with just two guitars and ukelele at the Picture House in Gunning. "I tend to play in bursts," he said. "I'll play eight or 10 gigs in an area, then have a break for a while. So it's in fits and starts."
Potger still loves performing and presenting his original material. "People love, as do I, The Seekers' songs, but I Iove to present my compositions as well. I've recorded three solo CDs and have been working on a fourth for several years."
So what should audiences expect in the two-hour show? "Some of their favourite Seekers songs, because I love to pay respect to those. Some country music, my originals, and I also tell a few stories about my experiences in the music industry."
Alongside adoring crowds, million-seller singles and Australian of the Year awards, Potger is still seeking his way in music.
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