Sunday Music – The Times They Are A Changin – The Bob Dylan Series (Part 4)

Posted on Sun 04/25/2010 by

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Today’s music video is ‘The Times They Are A Changin’, and this version is from the Australian band, The Seekers.

This video was posted to You Tube by vbvbvb088

I mentioned in closing last weeks Sunday Music post that I would be skipping this week because of the special meaning of this day in Australia, that being ANZAC Day, and that music post is at this link. However, in keeping with the special Australian theme of today, this version of a Dylan song is done by an Australian band, The Seekers.

I might suggest that all those baby boomers who came to their appreciation of music in the 60’s have all heard one version of this song, that version made into a huge hit by Peter Paul and Mary. That song flooded the radio waves in those early days, and people started to hear, probably without realising it, the special lyrics being created by Bob Dylan. This song is probably one of Bob’s most famous songs, even if other songs of his place higher in ‘Best Songs Ever’ lists, and it was covered by so many artists at the time, from virtually every genre in the popular music spectrum. This Australian version by The Seekers is probably one version that even Dylan fans may not have heard.

Bob said of the song that it was definitely one he wrote with a purpose, and he hoped it might be perceived as an anthem of change for that moment in time, and that being said, the song stays as relevant today as when he first composed it in late 1963. One Dylan critic famously predicted at the time, that the song was out of date almost upon its release. I’m willing to wager that critic wishes he hadn’t said that at the time.

This version by The Seekers was originally released on an album that they hurried to release as they started to become a huge band in the UK, after moving there early in the 60’s. That album had none of their hits which were to come later and included 2 (early) original songs, a couple of traditional arrangements, and 8 ‘covers’ from artists as diverse as Dylan, Woody Guthrie, and Ian Tyson.

Tom Springfield wrote the liner notes for that album. Tom, whose real name was Dion O’Brien, was the brother of Mary Isabel Catherine Bernadette O’Brien, better known as Dusty Springfield. As the Springfields, they had a relatively strong career before Dusty went out on her own. That was not the end for Tom Springfield, already a noted composer lyricist in his own right.

He composed the first of The Seekers songs, ‘I’ll Never Find Another You’. This was an absolute monster hit for the band, not only in the UK, but here in Australia, in 1964, where it made it to Number One on the popular music charts, and then made it to Number 4 in the U.S. All up, the song sold almost 2 million singles, and gave the band the distinction of becoming the first Australian artist or band to have a top 5 hit simultaneously in those three big markets. Tom also wrote further hits for The Seekers, ‘A World Of Our Own’, ‘The Carnival Is Over’, and co wrote ‘Georgy Girl’, all three of them making the Top five and two of them spending long periods at Number One. At one stage, ‘The Carnival Is Over’ was selling 90,000 singles a day in the UK alone. ‘Georgy Girl’ alone sold more than 3.5 million copies, one million of them in the U.S. In 1969 they released a ‘Best Of’ album that reached Number One. That album in fact knocked The Beatles ‘White’ album off the Number One perch and prevented The Rolling Stones ‘Beggars Banquet’ from reaching that coveted Number One Album position. The band had a ‘clean cut’ image and mass appeal because of the wonderful songs Tom penned for them. The harmonies of Bruce Woodley, Keith Potger and Athol Guy (the guy with the cool glasses) blended perfectly with the strong and beautiful voice of Judith Durham. She was a classically trained pianist, and expected to follow that career path, but the three guys asked her to join them one night at a club they were playing at, and the rest, as they say, is history. That strong female voice and close harmonies blended so well. The band may only have had a short career, but it was studded with wonderful songs that all Australians easily recognise.

As you watch the short video of Bob’s ‘The Times They Are A Changin’, done here by The Seekers in Australia’s Capital, Canberra, the introduction may seem a little corny, but the harmonies blend so well together.

The song in this second clip shows them in the studio, er, recording that first of their major hits, ‘I’ll Never Find Another You’.

This video was posted to You Tube by sammydavis1979

Take this link and see a very scratchy early version of Bob singing this, his own song. There are some annoying overlay of credits, but the comparison between all the covers and Bob’s own singing of his song can be compared most effectively.

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