Thursday, June 25, 2009

Bruce Woodley

I think Bruce Woodley is from The Seekers.

If I'm thinking of the right person, we saw him as a guest star on some Aussie TV show we watched in our Canberra cabin.

Oh! Now I'm getting all nostalgic for the cabin.

And you know what I miss the most? This is so dumb. I miss our bag of musk sticks. I didn't even like them. But I miss having them. They were so pretty and pink.

Now I'm missing Australia so much. It was such a wonderful time. There was big amazing fun being with friends I love. But also the tiny stupid things were great as well.

Oh well. We'll be back....hopefully.

Anyway, I'm thinking the show we watched was Spicks and Specks.

Ah, they have an episode guide. I can just look and see if Woodley was on it. Yes! He was on 11 February. That's when we were in Canberra.

Woodley caught my attention because I found out he wrote one of my favorite Australian songs. "I am Australian".

Now I shall go and learn about this man named Bruce Woodley.

Lord Wiki says he was born 25 July 1942. He's older than my mom and dad.

He would be a Cancer like Tim.

I'll go to the birthday website to find his numerology number. As I'm doing that, I'm also humming "I am Australian".

Now I'm singing it.  Loudly.

In numerology, he's a 3.

A 3 Leo would be quite a person (I mean if this numerology and astrology stuff were always accurate).  This person would be very social and lively. They'd be the center of attention at every party. I can't imagine them ever being boring.

On Spicks and Specks, Woodley seemed pretty subdued. Just going by that alone, I'd say he didn't fit my image of the 3 Leo. But maybe he was just in a quiet mood that day. Who knows....

Woodley attended Melbourne High School. I'm seeing a lot of Melbourne high schools on Google. I'm not sure which one he went to.

Lord Wiki doesn't have much else about his childhood. Maybe I'll find information elsewhere later. If I don't find anything, I'll have to conclude Woodley never had a least not on Earth. He might be an alien. But that does NOT mean he can't sing "I am Australian". Hey, I sing it and I'm not Australian at all.

Before Woodley joined the Seekers, he sang at a restaurant in Prahran. I thought that was a city in Eastern Europe or the Middle East, but it turns out its in Victoria. It's a suburb in Melbourne. Lord Wiki lists twenty-two notable citizens from Prahran. Not one of these people are on my list. See, that's why I'm saying this list is going to be endless. I don't think I'll ever run out of people to add.

From what I see on Google, the restaurant no longer exists. That's too bad.

In the 1960's, Woodley got together with Athol Guy, Keith Potger, and Judith Durham. They became The Seekers.

They worked in Australia for awhile and then went to London in 1964.

Durham did most of the lead vocals, but Woodley did lead vocals when a male voice was desired.

Lord Wiki says the group disbanded in 1968.

Wow, that didn't last long at all.

When Woodley was in London he got together with Paul Simon. They wrote the song "Red Rubber Ball". It became a big hit for a group called The Cyrcle.

Together, Simon and Woodley also wrote a song together called "Cloudy". This song was featured on both a Simon and Garfunkel album, and a Seekers one. YouTube has the Simon and Garfunkel version, but I can't find a video for the Seeker's.

Sadly, the friendship between Simon and Woodley didn't last. Woodley had to struggle to get his share of the royalties. That's unfortunate.

In the late 1960's, Woodley went solo. Lord Wiki says he produced products for children; including an alphabet block thing. Is that a toy or a song thing?

I'm getting this idea that he's the one who invented those little blocks we played with as children. I'm not sure they exist anymore. You know they were small and each side had a picture or letter.....

I'm going to try to find a picture of what I'm talking about. Here we go. I'm trying to remember if we had these for Jack. I know we had these BIG alphabet blocks; ridiculously heavy toys for a small child. They're downright dangerous.

In 1969, Woodley came to America. He stayed here for awhile.

In 1971, he released an album called Just Good Friends. He wanted to break away from his folk singer image; so the cover of the album featured two naked models having sex. Wow. It was later decided that it was a bit inappropriate for Australia, so Woodley replaced that picture with one of himself.

In New Zealand, they accepted the original cover. Lord Wiki says it's a collector's album today.

In the 1970's The Seekers had a reunion. Well, it wasn't just a reunion. They actually reformed the group. They added a new singer.  Louisa Wisseling.

During the 1970's, Woodley wrote "The Sparrow Song". It became a big hit. I can't find it on YouTube. Maybe I'll find it somewhere else later.

In 1977, Woodley left the group again. He did work for advertising; wrote jingles.

Ten years later, Woodley started working on an Australian-themed album for the upcoming Bicentennial. He called it I am Australian. The project was made up of traditional Aussie songs and a jingle that tied them all together.

Lord Wiki says Woodley had help writing the title song from two people: Dobe Newton and Rose Bygrave.

This is getting confusing. The Seekers keep reuniting and changing the band members. I think I'm going to skip all this for now; and skip all their various songs and when they were written. Later maybe I'll explore some of their music on YouTube.

The important thing (at least to me) is "I am Australian" became very popular and successful.

Woodley was married for fourteen years. He and his wife had two kids. One of them, Claire is a singer. She's done work with Woodley.

On Australia's recent National Day of Mourning, Woodley sang the song with added verses.

That's about it for Lord Wiki. He has more to say, but I don't feel like listening.

I think now I'm going to go to YouTube and listen to some music there.

Here's "I'll Never Find Another You". I had a tiny bit of this song on a mixed tape I used to listen to when I was a senior in high school. I had no idea it was Australian. The YouTube user says this performance was done in 1968 London, and is the last time the Seekers sang the song in the 1960's. I think the woman singing must be Judith Durham. She was then replaced in the 1970's with Wisseling.

Here's another song from that same concert. "A World of our Own". It sounds a lot like "I'll Never Find Another You".

Here's BoucherPhil doing a cover of "I'll Never Find Another You". I love listening to cover songs on YouTube. I think Phil is good at the guitar, but I'm not an expert on these things.

Here's another cover of the same song from bobtulip48. He has a lovely voice. I like his accent. Actually, his voice reminds me of someone, but I can't think of who. ????

Here's "Georgy Girl". This video is significant because it's the last song the Seekers sang together in the 1960's.

I've heard that song before. I've probably heard so much of The Seekers before and never knew who sang the songs. Now when I hear their music, I'll feel so much more educated.

Judith Durham reminds me a little bit of Renee Zellweger. If they ever make a movie about The Seekers, maybe someone should consider Zellweger for the role.

Here is a 1993 video of "I am Australian". It's such a beautiful song.

Wait? Is that Durham in the video?? It looks like her. Did she come back for the reunion? I need to go check with Lord Wiki again....

 Well, I can't figure it out. He does say she recorded the song again later on. I'm not sure if she's the woman in this video.

I'm pretty sure she is though.

Well, YouTube said it's from a Seeker's Reunion concert in Melbourne. I'm going to assume it IS her.

I really don't know why I love this song so much. In a way, it's kind of a slap in the face to me. We're all Australians. Ha ha. You're not.

Hey, but I AM a tourist in Australia sometimes. That counts, right?

Here's a song called "Island of Dreams". It caught my attention because it's about dreams. I love dreaming.

I like some of the lyrics:

I wander the streets And the gay crowded places Trying to forget you But somehow it seems That my thoughts ever stray To our last sweet embraces Over the sea on the island of dreams.

That's very romantic.

It seems The Seekers sing a lot of the same stuff that Peter, Paul, and Mary sing.

Here's "Puff the Magic Dragon". That song used to make me cry. Every time I get emotional about the song, Tim tries to remind me its all about drugs. That guy needs to shut up about that. I don't care what Tim says. To me, the song is about a sad little dragon. So there!

I think these are the lyrics that used to make me cry:

A dragon lives forever but not so little boys Painted wings and giants' rings make way for other toys. One grey night it happened, Jackie Paper came no more And Puff that mighty dragon, he ceased his fearless roar.

That's just so sad. And then there's that heartbreaking similar song from Toy Story II. Hey, did you know there's soon going to be a Toy Story III? I'm excited. I hope it's good!

But you know the Sarah Mclachlan song is so sad to me. It's not even cathartic. It makes me feel sick to my stomach.

Maybe I have issues.....

Now I think I'm going to watch more versions of "I am Australian".

Telstra used it for an ad. And then they turned around and called Australia racist...well, at least the CEO did.

I do like the commercial though. And even though, I'm NOT Australian....I AM a Telstra customer.

Here's the version done for the Bushfire Memorial. I wonder if this was done at the Opera House.

We were there in the Opera House that very day. It's the day we lost our camera. Yeah, but very small loss compared to what people lost in the fires.

I think someone made a rule at this event. There shall be no dry eyes in the house. To prevent that from happening, they have victims of the fire come up to sing with Woodley.

Oh! This blond woman singing with Woodley is his daughter Claire.

Now they've invited the whole audience to sing. Very beautiful.

I just learned something new! Shocking actually.

One of the members of Air Supply is Australian! I had NO idea. Air Supply is included in what my family calls our van music. These are the songs we'd listen to on our long road trips.

Anyway, here is Australian Air Supply guy singing with Durham. I am Australian.

I love their version.

Oh, it is AWESOME. In the middle, there's a didgeridoo playing and an Aboriginal man begins singing.

This might be my new favorite song.

I may be stepping over the line here, but I kind of think this should be Australia's National Anthem.

It's so damn perfect.

I should probably actually do some research on Woodley. I feel I've neglected the guy.

I'll stop watching videos.

He does not have an interview with Andrew Denton.

Maybe he has an interview with someone else.

I'm not finding anything.

Maybe I should go back to watching videos.

IMDb says The Seekers sang a song called "The Carnival is Over" at the 2000 Olympics. I'll see if I can find the video.

Oh wait. They didn't sing it at the Olympics. They sang it at the Paralympics. I can't find a video of that; but I did find a video of them singing it at that old 1960's concert.

You know. I kind of give up on Woodley. I think instead I'm going to concentrate on "I am Australian". Lord Wiki has some interesting things to say. I'll start there.

Woodley composed the music to the song. He should be proud of himself. It's incredibly beautiful.

Lord Wiki says the song is played at citizenship ceremonies. That's beautiful.

How many times have I used the word beautiful in this post?

Okay, Bruce Woodley was not at the Opera House on 22 February. He was in Melbourne. He and his daughter performed at Rod Laver Stadium.

Lord Wiki has the lyrics to the new verses.

There are no words of comfort
That can hope to ease the pain
Of losing homes and loved ones
The memories will remain
We weep our silent tears and find
The strength to carry on
You're not alone
We are with you
We are Australian

There are so many heroes
Whose stories must be told
They fought the raging fires of hell
And saved so many souls
From the ashes of despair
Our towns will rise again
We mourn your loss
We will rebuild
We are Australian.

I'm not alone in thinking the song should be the anthem. There's an online petition.

I love how they describe "Advance Australia Fair".

Disjointed from a musical perspective
Embarrassing from an international political perspective

Absurd from an Indigenous Australian perspective
Dull and uninviting from an emotional perspective
Awkward from a lyrical perspective.

I'm not sure if I agree with all that or not (although I probably do) but I love how its said.

I love "Advance Australia Fair", but probably just because it IS Australian. It's the same reason I love Vegemite and musk sticks. I don't really like them at all, but because they're Australian, I LOVE them.

The petition has the lyrics to "I am Australian". I'm going to post them here so after you read this post, you can sing.

And after you sing, maybe you'll decide to sign the petition. Uh, no pressure or anything.

I came from the dream time
From the dusty red soil plains I am the ancient heart The keeper of the flame

I stood upon the rocky shore I watched the tall ships come
For forty thousand years I'd been The first Australian

That is so DAMN beautiful. The tall ship line...ah. I have tears.

I came upon the prison ship Bowed down by iron chains
I cleared the land, endured the lash And waited for the rains
I'm a settler; I'm a farmer's wife On a dry and barren run
A convict then free man

I became Australian

That summarizes White Australia history so well.

I'm the daughter of a digger Who sought the mother lode
The girl became a woman On a long and dusty road
I'm a child of the depression I saw the good times come
I'm a bushy I'm a battler

I am Australian

So nice to include women in the story!

I'm a teller of stories I'm a singer of songs
I am Albert Namatjira
And I paint the ghostly gums

I'm Clancy on his horse
I'm Ned Kelly on the run
I'm the one who waltzed Matilda
I am Australian

I love all the cultural references. I think my favorite line is the Matilda one.

I'm the hot wind from the desert
I'm the black soil of the plains I'm the mountains and the valleys I'm the drought and flooding rains
I am the Rock, I am the Sky The Rivers when they run
The Spirit of This Great Land

I am Australian

You can't forget the of my favorite parts of Australia.

The chorus goes.....

We are one but we are many
And from all the lands on earth we come

We share a dream and sing with one voice
I am - You are - We are Australian
I'm not Australian.

But I do love Australia.

And I love the song.


  1. Rebecca/beccaelfJune 25, 2009 at 9:49 AM

    I had a breakdown in the theatre during that scece when I saw Toy Story 2 , so I understand.

  2. Rebecca,

    It's SO sad. I think we can all relate to it--on both levels.

    One of the worst experiences in life is to lose the love of someone who once adored you. But then it's also bad to be the one who has lost the love. There's so much guilt, regret, and sadness involved.

    But at least things turned out okay for Jesse. That gives me hope.

  3. Hi Dina,
    I love 'I am Australian' song its such a beautiful song and so well written. I have grown up with Adance Australia Fair as the National Anthem and actually know the words, unlike most Australians who grew up with God Save the Queen (i like the Sex Pistols version better). If you look at the choices given to the public in the referendum for the National Anthem (i think it was Waltzing Matilda, God Save the Queen, Song of Australia and Advance Australia Fair) i think it was the best choice, but i definately think 'I am Australian' is better. If you look at the lyrics of 'Advance Australia Fair' they are terrible and don't even mention the Aboriginal people i like the following version by Aboriginal artist Adam hill better

    By Adam Hill

    Australians all let us remorse
    For we are blind can't see
    We've golden soil that we all spoil
    Our home washes into sea
    Our land abounds in racist gits
    Of whom we really can't bear
    In history's cage recompense the slaves
    Do Australians really care?
    In painful strains that left a sting
    Do Australians really care?

    Im going to sign the petition now.

  4. Matt,

    I've never heard of "Song of Australia". I'll have to look it up after I write this.

    I never heard that Adam Hills version. It's so funny! I heard only his version where he sings it to the tune of Working Class Man. I love that.

    I'm glad you're signing the petition. I hope they change the song. I wish I could sign too.

  5. Try watching the following video Judith Durham has written new words to Advance Australia Fair and they are much better than the ones we sing today. I'm glad you like Bruce Woodley. He's my idol and has been for over forty years. I used to cut his picture out of Seekers pictures in the 60s to cover my school books. I must be the only fan from Surfin' Seekers who has a collection of pictures from the 60s containing only three Seekers! Enjoy surfing the videos. There's some fantastic footage up there. Norma

  6. No not Adam Hills the Comedian, (I love that version too) its Adam Hill without the ‘S’ (very easy to confuse) his an Aboriginal artist from Penrith NSW. I think he preformed it before a Powderfinger concert last year, you should look at some of his art work online its really good.
    I think antone can sign i don't think you have to be Australian to sign the petition.

  7. Norma: THANK YOU so much for pointing me to that video! It's beautiful. I have goosebumps and tears. These lyrics are much better than the original. I think it's awesome that The Seekers were your idols for 40 years. I love to find people who are passionate fans about things.

    Matt: Adam Hill and Adam Hills. My brain is getting dizzy! I think you have to include and Aussie postcode to sign. I could make one up, but then I feel guilty.

    I'll go look up Adam Hill art and not Adam Hills art.

    It IS kind of funny that they both made a version of Advance Australian Square though.

  8. Melbourne High School, as opposed to Melbourne high schools, is an elite government school for the brightest. As good as an expensive private school, but goverment funded. I am not sure if Sydney has one...maybe Fort Street High.

  9. Andrew,

    We have schools like that in America too. I think my dad went to one.

  10. It is indeed the fabulous, incomparable Judith Durham reunited with the Seekers in the videos you mention. She was the one who broke the group up in 1968, unwittingly generating feelings of resentment in the public and her bandmates that were not healed for many years. While the Seekers periodically reformed with a succession of 3 female leads over the next 25 years (each sensational in her own way) it was simply impossible to capture the unique sound that was a product (in Judith's words) of "those 4 bodies..." Judith considered "the boys" family but wanted to spread her musical wings. She married her arranger and toured the world exploring different musical styles. She had trouble living down her Seekers past and feared it would inhibit her growth as a musician. She consistently resisted to participate in any reunions. After a near fatal accident in 1991 she reconsidered and sought to restore first her personal relationship with "her boys." It was successful and a 12 year reunion of The Seekers ensued, including a new studio album that went platinum. While the Seekers have retired from performing for a few years now, Judith continues to perform and maintains a close relationship with Bruce, Keith and Athol...