Songs of the sixties

THE Q will swing to the sounds of the sixties this month as two major Australian stars take to the stage and present the songs that made them famous.

Country/pop sensation Frank Ifield and Keith Potger of The Seekers were two Australians at the forefront of the pop-culture 'British Invasion' in the sixties, and have teamed up for a series of new shows titled When Aussies Ruled Britannia.

The two performers will also share stories from their time at the top (Ifield's hits will be sung by Wayne Horsburgh), including how The Beatles were Frank's opening act in England and how Keith and The Seekers played Wembley Stadium with the Rolling Stones and a host of other legends. 

The Queanbeyan Age caught up with Mr Ifield this week to hear some of those stories, and also about a career that included the highest selling single in the UK for 1962 in the country-tinged ballad 'I remember you.'

He was also the first person to sell one million records in Britain and to have three consecutive number one hits in that country.

One anecdote he remembers well is playing the Peterborough Theatre in 1963 with an up-and-coming young band calling themselves The Beatles as his support.

"I quite liked them, and I pushed the agent to take them on for the show, because I liked what I heard. But they didn't go down to well with the audience," he laughed.

"I think it was a question that they were too loud. Ringo Starr had only just joined them, and he didn't realise how loud he was. They'd been doing little night club shows like the Cavern and what have you, but they hadn't been used to playing a theatre."

Ifield was born in the UK to Australian parents, but moved back to New South Wales as a young boy. Now 76, he lives just north of Sydney, and said he's looking forward to hitting the road with a kindred musical spirit in Keith Potger.

The two initially bonded over their shared love of country music, Mr Ifield said.

"Right from the very word go that's always been my music. And it's quite surprising, because Keith is very influenced by country music as well.

"I didn't know that, but in recent times I've discovered that a lot of my heroes when I was growing up were his as well."

The show will include hits like 'I Remember You', 'Georgy Girl', and 'I'd Like to Teach The World to Sing', as well as some of the music the two men recorded outside of their mainstream pop personas.

"There will be a lot of stuff that we'll be doing that people don't realise, because most of the stuff I was doing happened in Britain, as indeed they [The Seekers] were," Mr Ifield said.

"And Keith was involved with other projects outside of the Seekers, and I was involved with different styles of music too ... There was a whole heap of things that they didn't know about that I'm sure that they'll enjoy as much as we enjoy it," he said.

And after decades of performing, Mr Ifield said he still gets a thrill out of being on stage.

"I love it. It's been my life ever since I can remember, and I still enjoy it."

Catch Frank Ifield and Keith Potger performing When Aussies Ruled Britannia at The Q on Friday, January 24 at 7.30pm. Tickets through the box office (ph: 6285 6290).

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