Keith's musical career started well before The Seekers first stormed the UK charts in 1965 with Tom Springfield`s 'I'll Never Find Another You'. He was a self-taught musician, playing the banjo, 12 string guitar and recorder, and with an eye to a musical future, he performed in two groups, The Trinamics and The Escorts. The Escorts were the fore-runner of The Seekers, and consisted of Keith, Athol Guy, Ken Ray and Bob Turnbull. This group became The Seekers in 1962 when Athol, Keith and Ken were joined by Bruce Woodley. At this time the group members were captivated by the folk music boom, learning Australian colonial ballads and American and British folk songs and accompanying themselves on guitars, banjo and double bass. In late1962 Judith Durham joined the group when Ken Ray left the group to start married life.
At first they all had day jobs. Keith was a radio producer for the Australian Broadcasting Commission which meant he had access to a recording studio. When they could find the time and the studio was free, the fresh line up of The Seekers laid down some demo tapes (released years later as THE SEEKERS' GOLDEN COLLECTION). In the evenings they performed at a Melbourne coffee lounge, The Treble Clef, now no longer in existence but famed as the place that gave birth to this world-famous band.
In 1963 the group obtained their first record contract, and INTRODUCING THE SEEKERS was released on the W&G label. Since ABC employees were not allowed to have a second job, Keith could not appear on the cover, and Ken Ray was brought back just for the photo shoot! (The story of Keith's plight is amusingly depicted in the video of The Seekers' BBC Farewell Concert of 1968, where Keith jokes around during one number in a variety of disguises - including standing on his head!) The band also released a single, 'Waltzing Matilda'. Together with the album and television appearances, they became locally successful in Australia and turned professional.
On 28th March 1964, The Seekers set sail for the UK, with the intention of staying a few weeks. But their surprise number one record, 'I'll Never Find Another You' was followed by five more Top Ten hits, including the legendary 'The Carnival Is Over' which knocked The Rolling Stones off the number one spot. They became one of the best-loved and successful 60s bands, giving The Beatles a run for their money.
One single that found moderate chart success was 'Emerald City'. Although it was credited to songwriters Kim Fowley and John Martin, it was actually co-written by Keith. He had hidden behind the pseudonym John Martin so that the rest of the group did not feel honour bound to record his song.
In 1968 Judith Durham gave notice that she was leaving the group, which broke up in July that year. Keith wanted to continue to perform the same kind of music, so, with business partner David Joseph, he formed The New Seekers. Later he changed from performing with them to looking after their recording and publishing activities, with David Joseph managing the group. Keith produced their first album and co-wrote songs for subsequent albums.
Keith's consummate musicianship was evident in the way he selected songs for The New Seekers and arranged them for five-part harmony. Lyn Paul, a member of the group records how he went about this:
"The New Seekers always tried to find a variety of good new songs to keep the act fresh … The efforts of Keith Potger were very important to us in this respect … Keith would call a rehearsal … and we would all sit in a circle around him, while he played our parts to us individually on the guitar. At first it was very difficult and took a long time to remember the harmonies until everybody was read to sing them together. But gradually, with Keith's patience, we began to get used to it and the new routines were learned quickly."
(Sleeve notes from 'The Best of The New Seekers', Disc 4: Singalong).
In 1972, Keith arranged and co-produced with John Pantry an album for Springfield Revival, a tribute group to the original Springfields, also formed with business partner David Joseph. This album contained the beautiful song 'You'll Always Be On My Mind', which Keith co-wrote with John Pantry and which became the group's debut single.
In the 70s and 80s, Keith took part in several different combinations of The Seekers, though Judith Durham did not return to the group until their full reunion in 1993. This led to an amazing round of sold out concerts in Australia, New Zealand and the UK that re-established The Seekers as an international musical force. In 1995, the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) honoured the group by inducting The Seekers into the ARIA Hall Of Fame.
In 1997, the group released a CD, FUTURE ROAD, containing four of Keith's compositions which gave the public the first real chance to hear his amazing song-writing talent. These were: 'The Circle Of Love'; 'Forever Isn't Long Enough (For Me)'; 'Guardian Angel, Guiding Light' and the title track, 'Future Road'.
As the Seekers continued to tour through the nineties and into the millennium, fans were eager to hear more of Keith as a solo singer, player and composer. In late 2002 Keith lost his voice when the group was planning its 2003 tour. He went into hiding while curing the problem with the aid of a speech therapist. Keith regained his voice and was able to complete the tour. However, after that experience he resolved to make demos of his songs in case something similar ever happened again.
The time was ripe for his own solo CD so in 2004 Keith Potger`s debut album SECRETS OF THE HEART was released in Australia. Featuring 19 of Keith's compositions and his superb guitar playing, this album reveals a solo artist who more than deserves to be seen and heard in his own right.
2005 saw Keith touring his solo show extensively, performing in Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia. Three songs from SECRETS OF THE HEART, 'Good Friends', 'Peace In My Time' and 'Destination You' have been picked up for regular radio exposure. 2006 had been about consolidating his skills as a songwriter, producing the new album, SUNDAY, leading up to his UK and Australia-wide tours through 2007.
2008 and 2009 were about writing and recording new material for a third solo CD. This was completed in time to launch at the National Folk Festival in Canberra during the 2010 Easter weekend. Titled SMILE NOW it expanded on the melodic ballad style that Keith had become known for. Through 2010 and 2011, live performances continued to provide a major part of Keith's activities and that important aspect of this entertainer's life: meeting people and listening to their stories. The reunion of The Seekers to tour Australia and New Zealand with André Rieu and his Johan Strauss Orchestra in May 2011 was a highlight for all concerned, playing to packed stadiums.
Involvement with charity organisations has always been important to Keith. Until recently he was the Chair of the music industry benevolent fund Support Act Limited Victoria. This was in addition to his ongoing positions as one of the Patrons of the Motor Neurone Disease Association of Western Australia and a Celebrity Ambassador for Variety Victoria and Variety International, the major children's charity.
Keith's CDs SECRETS OF THE HEART, SUNDAY and SMILE NOW are available in Australia through the links on this web site. For media copies please contact Circle Music email@example.com