Singer John Farnham, circa late 1980s wearing a black jacket, pictured from the shoulders up. He has his head tilted slightly towards the camera and is smiling.
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More John Farnham

More John Farnham

A Tribute to 'The Voice' of Australia

Enjoy more collection items celebrating Australian music legend, the one and only John Farnham.

In this, the second of two curated collections highlighting John's phenomenal career, you'll find extra live performances, guest TV appearances, interviews, posters and more. 

For more Farnesy, you can take a deep dive into our online exhibition John Farnham: The Voice and explore our first collection John Farnham: From Sadie to Superstar.

John Farnham chats with Glenn Shorrock
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Courtesy:
Hayden Productions
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This clip is a short excerpt from an episode of The Mike Walsh Show in 1980, which was guest-hosted by singer Glenn Shorrock and featured an interview with John Farnham.

John performs a single from his new album Uncovered, filmed using superimposed images of him. This technique was common in daytime TV in the early '80s, and the effect adds to the song's introspective lyrics and melody.

After his performance, John joins Shorrock to chat about his career comeback and the new album. The interview is delightfully natural, and more like two friends catching up for a quick chat than a formal interview.

John Farnham at the 1989 TV Week Logie Awards
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54399
Courtesy:
Seven Network
Bauer Media Group
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John Farnham was nominated for both 'Two Strong Hearts' and 'Age of Reason' in the Best Music Video category at the 31st TV Week Logie Awards in 1989.

He wins the Logie for 'Age of Reason', but accidentally makes his acceptance speech about the 'Two Strong Hearts' video instead, before pressing the reset button in a very funny but endearing Logies moment with Bert Newton. The production crew keep pace with the blunder and manage to cross to those people Farnham acknowledges in his success.

Also of note is that John won this award over Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan's duet 'Especially For You', which shows the depth of his popularity in Australia in the late 1980s.

John Farnham: 33 1/3 On The Inside
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This TV special takes us behind-the-scenes in the recording studio with John Farnham and his band as they record his latest album, 33 1/3 .

Filming in black-and-white emphasises the fly-on-the-wall quality. The special was narrated by John's longtime band member, saxophonist Steve Williams. Having Williams provide voice-over cleverly adds to the impression that this is an 'inside' look ay the band.

Williams also contributes a dry, characteristically Australian sense of humour which fits perfectly with the tone of the production. 

John Farnham and Sigrid Thornton in Bobby Dazzler
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Courtesy:
Crawford Productions
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This clip from episode 1 of Crawford Productions sitcom Bobby Dazzler (1977–78), starring John Farnham as pop star Bobby Farrell, features Maurie Fields as Bobby's father, Fred.

A young Sigrid Thornton also makes a dramatic appearance in this episode as a fan who is completely obsessed with Bobby.

This whole scene has echoes of the familiar theatrical farce, with its stylised and highly exaggerated performances.

John seems at ease alongside the other actors. It's a fun snapshot of his natural comedic timing as he plays it straight in the thick of the scripted chaos.

The Last of The Australians: John Farnham guest stars
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Courtesy:
Crawford Productions
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John Farnham makes a guest appearance in the 1975 Crawford Productions sitcom The Last of The Australians, starring Alwyn Kurts and Rosie Sturgess. John plays a very keen vacuum cleaner salesman in an episode titled 'Ashes to Ashes', which also features actor Terence Donovan. 

Although just a brief scene, John doesn't miss a beat and is straight into character. He appropriately hams it up with the other cast members, which is in keeping with the tenor of the scene.

For someone who, until the mid-1970s, was more renowned as a pop singer, this clip is a good example of some impressive acting chops.

John Farnham and LRB at Carols By Candelight
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Courtesy:
Nine Network
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John Farnham, who had recently joined Little River Band, performs 'Silent Night' at Carols By Candelight in 1982 with band members Graeham Goble and Beeb Birtles.

There is a softness and intimacy to this performance, which makes it appropriate for the camera to focus closely on the trio on the softly-lit stage.

The slow fades to the sea of candles in the audience visually complements the lullaby quality of the song's melody.

Farnesy and Barnesy Together on Stage
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Courtesy:
Network Ten
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In 1991, two legends of the Australian music industry – Jimmy Barnes and John Farnham – joined forces to record a cover of the Sam & Dave soul classic, 'When Something is Wrong With My Baby'.

The song featured on Jimmy Barnes' album Soul Deep and peaked at number 3 on the ARIA charts that year. In this short excerpt from the John Farnham's 25th Anniversary television special, broadcast the following year, Jimmy talks about how the two singers got together, despite having come from very different musical backgrounds.

What is immediately surprising in this clip is how well Farnesy and Barnesy's vocals work together, especially given Jimmy Barnes' distinctive singing style. It's a delight hearing how the duet came about. While Jimmy tells the story, the superimposition of John performing the song provides a suitable visual reminder.

Kylie and John Farnham sing 'Shout' for the troops in East Timor
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Courtesy:
Seven Network
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Kylie teamed up with John Farnham for a lively version of the Johnny O’Keefe classic ‘Shout’ at the Concert for the Interfet Troops at Dili Stadium, East Timor in December 1999.  

The two legendary Aussie singers have a lot of fun on stage playing up to the audience, and their stage presence and chemistry really shine through. 

Both are natural entertainers and seem to have a healthy level of respect for each other's talents, which shows in their performance. 

The song choice is a great one for the cheerful crowd. With its well-known chorus, it encourages audience participation and has everyone on their feet singing along. 

Notes by Mel Bondfield

John Farnham: 'Age of Reason' with the MSO
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Courtesy:
Seven Network
Sony Music Australia
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In this clip from Classic Jack Live, which first aired on the Seven Network in 1989, John Farnham performs his new hit 'Age of Reason'. Backed by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, he is singing to a packed house at the National Tennis Centre in Melbourne.

Before a huge audience and backed by a full orchestra this clip perfectly illustrates how supremely at ease John is in concert. Even when an audience member hands him a bouquet of flowers he never misses a beat.

Lisa, Lindsay and Venetta on working with John Farnham
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Courtesy:
Network Ten
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In a casual lunch setting, John Farnham's longtime back-up singers Lisa Edwards, Lindsay Field and Venetta Fields candidly chat about working with John and how well their voices complement each other. This short excerpt is from the television special John Farnham's 25th Anniversary (1992).

People who know him often speak about what a relaxed and genuine person John Farnham is, so it's fitting that this unscripted clip is filmed in a casual setting with three members of his band speaking so openly. Their sincerity and warmth in speaking about John shine through.

Viewers are also treated to an acoustic performance of 'Playing to Win' as the three singers show off their amazing vocal talents. The song was a hit that John co-wrote during his Little River Band days and remains a regular feature on his tour playlists.

The crowd awaits John Farnham at Expo 88
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Courtesy:
Seven Network
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A crowd of around 25,000 people eagerly awaits John Farnham's appearance at the Riverstage in Brisbane for his 'Age of Reason' concert at World Expo '88. 

Hosts Jonathan 'Jono' Coleman and Ian 'Dano' Rogerson chat to members of the crowd to capture the mood before the concert.

Dano meets two of the stars of the TV soap Home and Away, Alex Papps and Nicolle Dickson, who are there to film scenes for the show. Later that year, John appeared as himself in two Home and Away episodes which included scenes with Papps and Dickson.

These vox pops have a certain charm and the clip overall is effective in capturing John's appeal at the time to a significantly wide demographic, in terms of age, gender and background.

John Farnham joins the 1991 Variety Club Bash
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Courtesy:
Seven Network
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John Farnham partners with his manager Glenn Wheatley in the famous outback Variety Club Bash from Bourke to Beagle, along with Australian Ironmen Grant Kenny and Trevor Hendy.

The spectacular scenery and footage of the drivers is accompanied by music from John's Chain Reaction album.

Comfortable in front of a stadium full of fans, or here in an outback pub, this clips sums up John's remarkable ability to connect with people in any situation.

It's also a rare glimpse of John playing piano, something we don't often get to see from the singer and dedicated frontman. 

Tom Jones wishes John Farnham a happy 50th birthday
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Courtesy:
Nine Network
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Welsh singer Tom Jones makes a surprise appearance at John Farnham's 50th birthday party concert to sing 'Happy Birthday' to his good friend. 

Despite what is obviously a pre-rehearsed segment, John manages to make Tom Jones' interlude seem totally spontaneous for the audience members.

This clip is a good example of John's ability to always be in the moment and appear totally natural on stage.

Jesus Christ Superstar: Press Kit
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Still riding high on the success of his last album, Chain Reaction, and subsequent tours, John Farnham landed the lead role in the 1992 concert production of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's blockbuster stage show Jesus Christ Superstar.

The press kit for the production dedicates four pages to John's biography and career highlights, including many stage musicals early in his career, and shows him to be a superstar in his own right.

John Farnham pictured singing and holding a mic in his hand, circa 1987. There is an inset of a postage stamp in the bottom right corner which also has an image of Farnham on it.
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Australia Post Legends of Music: John Farnham
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John Farnham was featured by Australia Post in their Legends of Music postage stamp and maxi-card release of 2013, alongside other music industry icons – including Ian 'Molly' Meldrum, INXS and Cold Chisel.

This montage of Farnham (at left) shows him in performance and as he appeared on the commemorative stamp. In the former he is more recognisable and familiar, captured singing into a microphone with his trademark 1980s hairstyle.

The studio portrait chosen by Australia Post for the stamp is unremarkable. Apart from the musical notation behind his portrait, the stamp says little about his talents. It does, however, include 'AO' after his name in recognition of John Farnham becoming an Officer of the Order of Australia in 1996.

Glenn Wheatley: Recording 'You're the Voice'
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In this excerpt from an oral history interview with John Farnham's manager, Glenn Wheatley talks about the recording of 'You're the Voice'.

Jen Jewel Brown interviewed Glenn Wheatley for the NFSA Oral History program in 2014. 

Press Release: John Farnham 'Uncovered'
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1048089
Courtesy:
Sony Music Australia
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A press release from John Farnham's record label in 1981 congratulates him on his album Uncovered achieving gold sales and announces his upcoming national tour. 

The news was significant at the time, as John had not released an album for several years. This success indicated that the recent change of direction he took in his career to focus on his music was beginning to pay off and his star was back on the rise. 

Perhaps because he was still a household name, despite the gap in his recording career, EMI didn't feel it necessary to reference John's status on the Australian pop music landscape. This press release sticks to the news at hand rather than focusing on John's achievements to date.

Close up of John Farnham's face in profile on a poster. The right hand side of the poster says John Farnham on tour
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John Farnham: Whispering Jack Tour Poster
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John Farnham followed the release of his Whispering Jack album in 1986 with a sell-out national tour the following year.

This is a simple poster in design, leaving it to John Farnham's name and the familiar image from his album cover to grab attention.

It was a successful tactic and showed the confidence of a performer at the height of his powers.

Poster featuring singer John Farnham holding a microphone and singing. The poster is advertising concert dates for his Jack of Hearts tour.
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John Farnham: Jack of Hearts Tour Poster
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John Farnham's 1996 'Jack of Hearts' tour kicked off in Toowoomba in October, following the June release of the album Romeo's Heart. The tour saw John and his band travel to a number of outback towns along the way, treating the locals to some live music that they would not often get the opportunity to experience. 

On this poster, 'Farnham' – emblazoned across the top in big, red lettering – certainly arrests the viewer's attention. The photo shows him in full cry, sending a clear message that here is a performer that sings with great passion. It's a very effective poster design.

Sheet music for the song 'Sadie (the cleaning lady)' by John Farnham featuring an image of him on the front cover.
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Sadie (The Cleaning Lady) Sheet Music
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'Sadie (The Cleaning Lady)' was Johnny Farnham's first ever single after signing with EMI at age 18. The unlikely hit rocketed to number 1 in the charts after its release in November 1967.

What stands out now from the sheet music for 'Sadie' is that it highlights the song rather than the performer – 'Johnny Farnham' is printed in a tiny font. It illustrates a moment in time just before Farnham became a household name.

John Farnham radio interview: 'I'm having a ball'
Courtesy:
Southern Cross Austereo
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John Farnham speaks to 2DayFM's Mike Currell in 1987 on the radio program Australian Made

In this excerpt, he talks about his 1980 album Uncovered, which marked a turning point in his career, and his time with Little River Band. 

John Farnham on Meeting his First Manager
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Courtesy:
The Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney

In this early 1970s radio interview, John Farnham talks about the night he was discovered by manager Darryl Sambell while playing with his band, Strings Unlimited.

The band were supporting a young singer named Bev Harrell that evening at a gig in a Victorian country town. Harrell was also managed by Sambell, who said he saw potential in Farnham.