John Farnham is one of Australia’s greatest national treasures. Originally a teen pop idol for over a decade from 1967 to 1979, he managed to break out of that category and has ever since become one of the all-time greatest singers in adult-oriented rock. Although a solo artist for most of his career, he was the singer with the Little River Band from 1982-1985. 1986 was his crucial year when he had a number one with “You’re the Voice” from the album Whispering Jack which also reached the same position on its respective chart where it remained for twenty-five weeks. To this day it is the second biggest selling Australian album of all time.
As far as Australian performers go, John Farnham is one of the heavyweights, having managed to have a number one over five different decades. Awards and honors that he has swept up include Australian of the Year in 1987, Officer of the Order of Australia in 1996 and in 2003 he was inducted into the Australian Hall of Fame. He has released collaborative albums, one with Tom Jones and three with Olivia Newton John.
He has also branched out from singing and recording into other areas of entertainment. He has appeared in a number of stage productions including 1992’s Jesus Christ Superstar as well as Charlie Girl and Pippin. He has also appeared in several television programs.
He is often noted for his good natured and down to earth personality which is a factor in what has made him popular throughout the years. There have been many Australian musical artists and bands that have made it big in the U.S. Groups such as AC/DC, Inxs, Sia, Men At Work, to name a few. John Farnham may have never hit it that big in the U.S. but in Australia he is one of the most famous of all time.
# 10 – Sadie the Cleaning Lady
We open up our top 10 John Farnham Songs list Farnham’s debut single released in 1967 from his teen pop idol days when he was known as “Johnny” Although the track is a novelty song, it still got Farnham’s career off to a good start, reaching number one on the Australian Go-Set singles charts for five weeks. Although it does not quite have the power-pop sound that would later become such a key ingredient of Farnham’s music, during its era it was the largest selling single by an Australian artist.
# 9 – Burn for You
Second on this list of John Farnham songs is a song taken from Farnham’s 1990 album Chain Reaction. The song is one many of Farnham’s smash hits, reaching number five on the Australian charts. It won Song of the Year at the Australian music awards in 1991. The song is a very emotive ballad that Farnham wrote for his wife Jill and their two sons.
# 8 – Reasons
Here is a song from 1986’s Whispering Jack. It was the fourth and final single to be taken from the record but was not as successful, reaching only number sixty in the Australian charts. The writer for this track was Sam See. Despite being one of Farnham’s less celebrated cuts, it is very good and undeservedly underrated.
# 7 – Age of Reason
And here we have the title track of Farnham’s 1988 album written by Todd Hunter and Joanna Piggott. It is yet another track that was a big hit for Farnham in his home country, topping the Australian charts and winning the award for Most Performed Australasian Popular Work at the 1990 Australasian Performing Rights Association Awards.
# 6 – Chain Reaction
As the title would suggest, this is the title track of Farnham’s fourteenth album released in 1990. Its highest chart position was number six in Australia. The song’s promo video also won the award for Most Popular Music Video at the 1991 Loggie Awards. It also charted in New Zealand where it reached number twenty-one.
# 5 – Have a Little Faith (In Us)
Kicking off the second half of this John Farnham songs list is a track from Farnham’s sixteenth studio album Romeo’s Heart released in 1996. It peaked at number three in Australia. It is great song from Farnham’s later era that really shows how he has matured with age and managed to adapt his sound for the ninety’s era.
# 4 – Pressure Down
Here is another track from Whispering Jack that was written by Harry Bogdanvos. It was the second single to be released from the album, peaking at number four in the Australian Top ten singles chart. It also reached number eight in New Zealand, eleven in Sweden and seventy-right in the UK.
# 3 – Everytime You Cry
Up next is a song released in 1997 that Farnham recorded with Australian boy band Human Nature. It was the lead single from his album Anthology 1 and was also included the band’s album Coming Down released two years later in 1999. It got nominated for the Australian Recording Industry Association music award for the Highest Selling Single but lost to a single by Australian punk rock band The Living End. It reached number three on the Australian chart and up to date is Farnham’s last major hit.
# 2 – Two Strong Hearts
Just off the top spot is a track written by Bruce Hill and Bill Wooley taken from Age of Reason. It peaked at number five on the Australian Kent Music Report and number six on the ARIA Chart singles in the year of its release. It also won an Australian Performing Rights Association award in 1990 for the most played overseas Australian track.
# 1 – You’re the Voice
At the top spot is Farnham’s greatest hit written by Andy Quinta, Keith Reid, Maggie Ryder and Chris Thompson taken from Whispering Jack. It was one of the year’s biggest hits in Australia, spending seven weeks on the top of the Kent Music Report. It also won Single of the Year at the APRA awards in 1987. It re-entered the Australian charts twenty-six years after its original release in 2012, reaching the much lower position of number sixty-four. This was due to its use in a car advert. As well as being one of Australia’s biggest hits, for Farnham it is one of his biggest international hits. It charted high in several different charts across Europe, including number one in Switzerland and Germany.
Top 10 John Farnham songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2020
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