Top: a shot from the Coca-Cola advertizement. Bottom: The New Seekers.
In truth, "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing (In Perfect Harmony)" was written by Roger Cook, Roger Greenaway, Bill Backer and Billy Davis for a commercial for Coca-Cola. Well, the first time out, the song was titled "I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke", but I digress. I remember seeing it on television all the time. It had a wonderful message of peace, love, and togetherness, a true post-Woodstock happening. A bunch of people gathered on a hill to hold hands and sing about peace, love, and Coca-Cola. A wonderful mosaic of people from around the world just wanted to buy one another a Coke. If you don't remember it, check it out here.
It became so popular so quickly, the writers adapted the one minute soda ad to a full-length song, and soon it was being sung by The New Seekers, a British band formed in 1969. Keith Potgerput together the group, Eve Graham, Lyn Paul, Marty Kristian, Peter Doyle and Paul Layton. Potgerput also played with them at times. The group planned to use Rock and Folk influences to make music that was relevant for the day. And what would be more relevant than a soda jingle? In 1971, they recorded the expanded version of "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing (In Perfect Harmony)", and soon had a big hit on their resume. Here are The New SEekers performing the song.
The song went to #1 on the British Pop charts, and #7 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. It had sold nearly 100 copies in a single day, and went on to sell over 12 million copies. And it started with a simple little commercial for a soda, promoting World peace and beverage consumption. Who knew?