Thursday, August 24, 2023


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

Movie Review: John Farnham: Finding the Voice

Sweeping the audience through the entirety of his life, this beautiful and poignant biography of John Farnham’s musical career does not miss a beat, speaking to each rise and fall of this Aussie legend’s career.

Beginning in the early days, audiences see a fresh baby-faced 18-year-old John, in 1967, just as he released ‘Sadie (The Cleaning Lady)’.

With humble beginnings as a plumber’s apprentice, the sudden success of ‘Sadie’ saw John go to stardom quickly, typecast as the Aussie heartthrob of the time.

This turned sour quickly, when he travelled to London looking for a recording contract but was rejected because the labels said they already had their teen idol and didn’t need another one.

Coming back to Australia, he retreated away from the scene, and by the 70s, John was in the wrong crowd, favouring party drugs and reduced to singing in musicals.

In 1973, he married Jill Billman, who he met on the set of musical Charlie Girl.

This is where he met Glenn Wheatley, who was the bassist for Masters’ Apprentice and set on bringing the icon of John Farnham back to life.

Securing John as lead singer of Little River Band, John was pushed back into stardom.

In a massive turn of events, 1986 saw the release of ‘Whispering Jack’, John’s solo studio album, which Glenn put his house as collateral against, much to the chagrin of his wife, Gaynor Wheatley.

Only discovering his famous track ‘You’re The Voice’ close to the end of the recording of the album, John and his musicians recorded the song without permission from the song writers.

Once the track hit radio waves, it was an instant success, and ‘Whispering Jack’ went sky high.

Created using almost entirely old images and footage, as well as interviews with friends and family, this biography is touching and intimate, but void of the legend himself.

John does not contribute any new stories to the film itself, with interviews often referring to him in the past tense.

Despite this, it is a touching tribute to the legend, who is now battling cancer, and to Glenn, who revitalised John’s career but sadly passed away in 2022 due to COVID complications.

John Farnham: Finding the Voice will be released at Bowen Cinema Saturday August 12.

Aussie Icon John Farnham’s career is beautifully explored using images, footage, and touching interviews

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