John Farnham - Whispering Jack

John Farnham – Whispering Jack

87 / 100

Musically, John Farnham’s ‘Whispering Jack’ is perfect 80’s radio fodder, helped by the OTT keyboard and programming work of band-mate David Hirschfelder and (future) guitar god Brett Garsed, it was easy to see how and why this album became so huge.

Written by: gdmonline

ARTIST: John Farnham
ALBUM: Whispering Jack
LABEL: Wheatley
SERIAL: SFL1-0149 (LP), SFCD0148 (CD)
YEAR: 1986
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List

LINEUP: John Farnham – vocals * Brett Garsed – guitars * David Hirschfelder – keyboards, programming

TRACK LISTING: 01 Pressure Down * 02 You’re The Voice * 03 One Step Away * 04 Reasons * 05 Going Going Gone * 06 No One Comes Close * 07 Love To Shine * 08 Trouble * 09 A Touch Of Paradise * 10 Let Me Out



John Farnham’s solo career in the rock world commenced soon after his stint with the Little River Band ended. Farnham, an Australian vocal institution – it would be fair to say, sang with the band from 1981 through to 1986, finishing up his commitments on the ‘No Reins’ album. Later that year, John would go out on his own, with backing from Aussie entrepreneur Glenn Wheatley.

After the frustration of not being able to break through in big numbers with LRB, particularly in the US market, the team behind John Farnham (which included manager Wheatley and producer Ross Fraser) got it right with an excellent selection of songs for his pop/rock debut ‘Whispering Jack’. Upon release, the album sold huge volumes across both Australia and New Zealand, with success flowing on to the UK and Europe.

The Songs

Musically, ‘Whispering Jack’ is perfect 80’s radio fodder, helped by the OTT keyboard and programming work of LRB band-mate David Hirschfelder. Also joining the fold was (future) guitar god Brett Garsed. It was easy to see how and why this album became so huge.

And you really have to question the judgment of Australian Radio Stations at the time, who were reluctant to give lead-off single ‘You’re The Voice’ any radio time. Thankfully a few stations relented, and amid a tidal wave of listener popularity, the song became a huge hit – and is even now considered one of the essential tunes of the 80’s coming out of Australia. The song was written by a combination of people including Chris Thompson (Manfred Mann) and Icehouse member and solo artist Andy Quinta.

Elsewhere though, the album is peppered with memorable outings. The voice perfect melodies of ‘No One Comes Close’ and the OTT synth pop affair of ‘Going Going Gone’ provide contrast and foil. Other John Farnham staples include the bouncy opener ‘Pressure Down’ and the Ross Wilson penned ballad of ‘A Touch Of Paradise’. Let us not forget the extraordinary guitar-tapping antics of Brett Garsed on ‘Let Me Out’. No wonder this guy is held in such high regard among all the metal fender-benders out there!

In Summary

Thankfully for John Farnham, the rewards of this album went some way toward righting the wrongs that fell out of the tenure with LRB. There seemed to be disputes and pressures within the band that made it untenable for all – notwithstanding the royalty issues that were contested for the song ‘Playin’ To Win’.

Despite it being written for LRB and an album of the same name being released in 1984, Farnham continued to use the song in his subsequent live performances as a solo artist. John Farnham continued to release a series of good albums beyond ‘Whispering Jack’, notably ‘Age Of Reason’ and ‘Chain Reaction’. All his 80’s work are well worth having in your collection, even his three albums released with LRB.


You’re The Voice

John Farnham - You're the Voice (Official Video)

Pressure Down
John Farnham - Pressure Down

Entire Album (Select Tracks)
Pressure Down

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