At The Movies: John Farnham: Finding The Voice

HiFi Way were invited to the premiere screening of this documentary about an Aussie music legend. The movie was preceded by a short presentation by sponsors Cruise 1323 radio personalities John Dean and Dom Rinaldo who both said how genuine and friendly John Farnham was whenever they interviewed him.

The documentary was absolutely fantastic from start to finish! A lot of work must have gone into reworking the clarity of the sound from footage of some quite old concerts when the technology wasn’t as good as it is now.

It was very interesting to hear about the early days from Bev Harrell, who was in the audience and who “discovered” him when overhearing him rehearsing. Bev’s then hairdresser boyfriend, Darryl Sambell, also heard potential and became his manager. I learnt quite a lot about the early days that I wasn’t aware of previously and it became evident that the reason for John’s career stalling was because of Darryl.

There was some great footage of influential bands around that time, in particular The Masters Apprentices where bass guitarist Glenn Wheatley saw John’s potential. Wheatley became a manager after seeing how bands were being ripped off, and it was when he managed Little River Band (LRB) that he ended up signing Farnham to replace Glenn Shorrock.

It was interesting to hear how and why Farnham ended up leaving LRB, including the debt that LRB had accumulated. It was when the group that gathered in his garage heard a demo, John initially didn’t like it, but then he had another look at it and came up with some ideas. They asked the writer if they could record it, and received a resounding “No” (thanks to everyone associating him with Sadie!), but they ignored him and recorded it anyway. You’re The Voice was born and it recreated John Farnham – and the rest is history.

The movie covers the highs and lows John Farnham’s life and shows the true nature of the man – his dedication to music and unbreakable friendship with Glenn Wheatley, whose passing in 2022 devastated John

There are many stories and dedications to Farnham throughout the film from close friends, family and music legends including Jimmy Barnes, Richard Marx, Tommy Emmanuel and the late Olivia Newton-John.

Even if you are only vaguely interested in John Farnham, I strongly urge you to see this documentary movie. It is fascinating and superbly produced and edited – you definitely won’t be disappointed!

Movie Review By John Glennie

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