John Farnham - Whispering Jack
Voted Australia's Best Singer
Of All Time By His Peers
In 2013

John Farnham John Farnham first rose to prominence on the Australian pop music charts with his 1968 song, 'Sadie The Cleaning Lady'; he was Johnny Farnham back then.

It was a bright, catchy little tune with sing-along lyrics that somehow caught the imagination of the record buying public and it seems as though John has not been out of the public limelight since.

John Peter Farnham was born on July 1st, 1949 in Essex, England and he and his family lived there for the first ten years of his life.

He recalled later that "There may have been very little money in the Farnham household but there was always plenty of love and sing-a-longs".

John's Grandad could strike a tune on almost any instrument and his Uncle Alf would lull him to sleep playing record after record.

In 1959 John's parents John (senior) and Rose, John and his sisters Jean and Jackie left Essex for Australia and settled in Victoria.

His first real step towards a musical career was when he and two school friends formed a band called 'The Mavericks'. They didn't know many songs but managed to get a few gigs at school socials and at the Dandenong Town Hall.

During School holidays John worked with family friend Stan Foster in his plumbing business and eventually took up an apprenticeship.

In late 1965 he was asked to join 'Strings Unlimited' as a singer because they had a regular booking at a local hotel and a year later the group performed as a backing band for pop singer Bev Harrell.

Harrell's boyfriend/manager, Darryl Sambell, was impressed with Farnham's vocals and offered to become his manager and John began performing regularly in Sambell's home town of Adelaide; he gave away his plumbing apprenticeship.

Sadie (The Cleaning Lady) - One Voice

It was at about this time in his career that John's single 'Sadie' was released and it hit number 1 on the Australian singles charts in January 1968 and remained there for 6 weeks, selling 180,000 copies in Australia.

'Sadie' was the highest selling single by an Australian artist of the decade and there followed overwhelming success for John as a pop singer. The hits and awards just kept coming.

By the late 60's John Farnham was the most popular singer in the country and could do no wrong. The hits continued into the seventies and so did the awards and in 1971 he starred in the musical 'Charlie Girl'.

John Farnham met, fell in love with and proposed to Jillian Billman during the production of 'Charlie Girl' and they were married in April 1973 in Melbourne.

John spent 1974 starring in the musical 'Pippin'. His popularity was still high at this time but his singles were failing to make the charts.

Despite initial plans to go to the United States to give his career a boost, John decided to stay in Australia.

In 1976 he made a concerted effort to resurrect his waning pop music career with extensive TV appearances and by releasing more singles.

John and another singer, Colleen Hewitt, purchased a restaurant in Melbourne which was not successful and eventually led to personal and financial losses.

But in 1979 things began to change. John and Jill's first son, Robert was born and it was about this time that Glenn Wheatley took over as John's manager.

Help - One Voice

1980 saw the release of John's 'comeback' album, 'Uncovered', which saw some chart success and in 1981 John joined the Little River Band taking over from Glen Shorrock as the new lead singer. LRB released 3 albums and toured the world and although they received popular acclaim, after what was four turbulent years, John announced he was leaving the group to pursue a solo career once again.

Glenn Wheatley remained as John's manager and began the search for a record deal and a record producer while John began the search for songs. Months rolled by and with no producer in sight John started working on songs with his 'sound man' Ross Fraser and they eventually decided to produce the album themselves.

Glenn Wheatley actually mortgaged his house to bankroll the album but the enormous risk he took proved worthwhile. The first single 'You're The Voice' restored John Farnham to number one for the first time in 17 years.

You're the Voice - Whispering Jack

In October 1986, John's first solo album in six years, 'Whispering Jack' was an incredibly huge success. It spent an amazing 18 weeks at No.1 and John Farnham scooped the awards at the next Aria Awards, winning a total of six.

'Whispering Jack' was also an international success, reaching the top three in Sweden, Denmark and Switzerland. It remains the biggest selling Australian album of all time and has reached 17 times platinum sales in Australia alone.

In 1988 his second son James, was born in January and he was named 'Australian of The Year'.

Age of Reason - John Farnham

His next album, 'Age Of Reason' was released and went straight to number one.

'Chain Reaction' was next, released in 1990, it followed its predecessor and went straight to number one on the day of its release.

The Chain Reaction tour around Australia broke attendance records across the country and in 1991 an album of live performances from between 1985 and 1991 was released called 'Full House'. It too was a phenomenal success!

John took on the role of Jesus in the 1992 production of Jesus Christ Superstar, which toured the country and both the stage show and the album were highly successful and he continued to release albums and tour throughout the 90's.

That's Freedom - One Voice

John Farnham's successful career continues to this day with further albums and chart successes, tours, live appearances, awards and honours.

He has toured and performed with some of the greatest entertainers in the world including Tom Jones, Stevie Nicks and the group Queen and he just recently performed live for the Australian Olympic Team in London during the lead up to the 2012 Olympic Games.

He and his wife Jill live on a property in Victoria with their two sons, Robert and James and he remains one of this country's most popular and well liked entertainers.

John Farnham is truly an Australian Icon!

You can buy all of John's incredible music from iTunes, just click on the button below and it will take you right there.

John Farnham

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