From Johnny To Jack: 5 Things About John Farnham That Inspired The Show

Published in Arts  
'From Johnny To Jack' 'From Johnny To Jack'

Twenty years before 'Whispering Jack' became the highest-selling album in Australia's history, a teenager named Johnny Farnham broke into the music scene with 'Sadie (The Cleaning Lady)'.

'From Johnny To Jack' – brought by the same team that presented the sell-out Adele story 'Rumour Has It' – canvasses the rollercoaster ride of a teen pop idol's rise and fall... The making of the man who gave us 'You're The Voice'.

Here, the show's star Luke Kennedy lists five things about John that inspired the show.

What happened?

Most people that I’ve spoken to about this show have a story about John Farnham. Whether they were one of the 6,000+ people to cram into Brisbane’s Festival Hall to see Johnny in 1969, or part of the sea of people at his iconic Expo 88 concert at South Bank; we all have a story about Farnsey. But almost no one has a story of John that takes place from the early '70s to mid-late '80s. I needed to understand how a performer of John’s remarkable class fell out of popularity for nearly 20 years.

That voice

The other big question for me was; how does the guy behind 'You’re The Voice', start out with something like 'Sadie (The Cleaning Lady)'? Could little Johnny Farnham sing like the legend we know as The Voice or is his once-in-a-millennium talent something that he discovered along the way?


John’s on stage magnetism is undeniable. He can make a crowd of 100K+ feel like you’re listening to him in his living room. If you’ve ever seen John live, you’re a fanatic for life.

Spokesman for the common man

I’ve never met John, but to me, he seems like an ordinary bloke who just also happens to have an extraordinary voice. I reckon that’s one of the things we love the most about him. He could be any one of us. Fit into any family BBQ. Have a stubby with your uncle, or a chinwag with your nan. He’s a fair dinkum Aussie legend, and he could replace your shower head if you ask him nicely.

That voice... Again

It can’t be overstated. John is the best singer Australia has ever produced – maybe the best Australia will ever produce. To know where it comes from, you need to understand the whole picture.

'From Johnny To Jack' plays Redland Performing Arts Centre 13 October.


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