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Sounds on Sunday: 50 years ago/1972-1

FIFTY YEARS AGO we were humming along to the hits of 1972. Some have magnificently stood the test of time; others have not. Join us on Memory Lane as we review them on their golden anniversaries.

We began 1972 with The New Seekers and their catchy hit “I’d like to teach the world to sing (in perfect harmony)”.

The song began life as a minor jingle, before being seized upon as the basis of an advertisement for Coca Cola. The spirit of the 1960s was still alive, as “(We’d like to) Buy the World a Coke” put a group of diverse teenagers on a hill, from where they radiated the notion that if you bought that brand of Cola, peace and love would break out. Never let a good jingle go to waste: it was reworked into a song which suggested that if we could all sing in harmony, we could have peace and love which did not depend on fizzy drinks.

The Seekers were a folk-influenced pop group formed in Australia – arguably the first Australian groups to achieve chart success in the UK and USA as well as their native country. When they folded, their guitarist Keith Potger formed the New Seekers – a mainly British band who dropped the folk influence. The News had a number of line-up changes and released a number of singles in 1971 before they began to be noticed, but it was with “Teach the World to Sing” that they really broke through.

The song spent four weeks at number one, It was the sort of song that started well – very catchy, and an irreproachable lyric. The longer it topped the Charts, the more weary of it people became – and the more it stayed at the top.  The News played on, loved by teenage girls and producing a wide range of singles which made much briefer chart appearances. Perhaps that was the problem: the band, manufactured to keep the Seekers going, had members who were just too musically diverse and they never found a sound of their own.  The Group was further tainted by representing Britain in the Eurovision Song Contest, which saw off any notion that they were cool – though they did come second, a position today’s British entrants can only dream of.


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