John Farnham AO b.1949

John Farnham

John Farnham

At Christmas 1999 Farnham appeared in the Tour of Duty concert in Dili for the Australian troops serving in East Timor.

In 2002 Farnham embarked on what he said would be his last major tour.

In 2003 Farnham was inducted into the ARIA Hall Of Fame.

 

At Christmas 1999 Farnham appeared in the Tour of Duty concert in Dili for the Australian troops serving in East Timor. The line-up included Kylie Minogue, Doc Neeson, Gina Jeffreys, James Blundell, The Living End and the RMC Band. In 2000 Farnham and Olivia Newton-John sang ‘Dare to Dream’ at the Opening Ceremony of the Sydney Olympic Games. In 2001 Farnham, Olivia Newton-John and Anthony Warlow were reunited for the Queensland Federation Spectacular, which was spectacularly staged at Kalkadoon Park in the outback town of Mount Isa.

In 2002 Farnham embarked on what he said would be his last major tour – a gruelling journey covering six states, seven capital cities and 28 regional centres where Farnham performed in a 4000-seat air conditioned tent. He broke Australian touring records, performing with his 10-piece band from November to June 2003 – 89 shows and more than 210 days on the road. The final concert, at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, was telecast by Channel 7.

In 2003 Farnham was inducted into the ARIA Hall Of Fame. In 2005 he joined veteran Tom Jones for 10 concerts around Australia. He also released a new jazz-oriented album, I Remember When I Was Young: Songs from The Great Australian Songbook. In 2005 Farnham featured in Grease – The Arena Spectacular. In 2006 he performed at the Sydney Opera House with the Sydney Symphony and at Hamer Hall in Melbourne with the Melbourne Symphony. In 2006 Farnham toured with Fleetwood Mac singer Stevie Nicks. He was also part of the Closing Ceremony of the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.

Through his long career, ‘Whispering Jack’, ‘The Voice’ or just plain ‘Farnsey’ has received numerous ARIA and other industry awards. In 1996 he was made an Officer in the Order of Australia, recognising his ‘service to the Australian music industry and to charitable and community organisations, particularly those relating to youth.’ In 2000 his ‘outstanding service to contemporary music’ was rewarded with a Centenary Medal. And in 2004 Live Performance Australia presented this ‘likeable English migrant’ with the James Cassius Williamson Award, recognising his contribution to Australian performing arts excellence.

Frank Van Straten, 2007

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Biographical references

Clark Forbes: Whispering Jack – The John Farnham Story, Hutchinson Australia, 1989
Ian McFarlane: The Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop, Allen and Unwin, 1999
Noel McGrath: Noel McGrath’s Australian Encyclopaedia of Rock, Outback Press, 1978