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John Farnham AO

b. 1949

John Farnham (b.1949) has sustained a successful career in the Australian music industry for more than 40 years. Emigrating from Britain with his family when young, he started out as an apprentice plumber before his first musical success in 1968 with the single ‘Sadie’. He was voted Australia’s King of Pop five years in a row between 1969 and 1973, when he also appeared in a variety of stage shows and musicals.

He career stalled for the second half of the 1970s. He formed a band and went back on the performance circuit from 1982, for a time replacing Glenn Shorrock as the lead singer in the Little River Band. He returned to the charts with a version of the Beatles hit ‘Help’ in the mid-eighties.

When Farnham returned to a solo career, his Whispering Jack album emerged as the largest selling album in Australia’s history. The single from the album, ‘You’re the Voice’, was a Top Ten hit in the United Kingdom in 1987, the year in which he was named Australian of the Year ‘for his outstanding contribution to the Australian music industry over twenty years’. He received 19 Aria Awards, was recognised as an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 1996, was awarded the Centenary Medal in 2001 and inducted into the Aria Hall of Fame in 2003.

Updated 2018