The Australian music industry is in mourning with the loss of one of its most iconic names, musician, manager, promoter and executive Glenn Wheatley, who passed away last night (Feb 1st) at the age of 74.
As reported by ABC, Wheatley passed away in Melbourne from complications of COVID-19 after being hospitalised last week. He was double vaccinated.
Wheatley’s family have shared a statement today honouring the artist and manager, saying: “In spite of having achieved so much, there was a lot more he wanted to give. He had an enthusiasm that was unmatched and believed that anything was possible. He gave everything to support projects he believed in, whether they were ultimately successful or not – his immense passion and enthusiasm was an integral part of Glenn Wheatley.”
His son, Tim said: “He treated roadies, artists and fans with the same love and respect, and had time for everyone. He would leave Rod Laver Arena after a John Farnham concert, just to carry my amp into the Espy. Everything he did was for his family. He regarded his family as his greatest achievement.”
Wheatley started out as a musician, playing bass 1960s Oz rock legends, The Masters Apprentices, who made their mark with hits like Because I Love You and Turn Up Your Radio. Following his departure from the band, he turned his hand to management and was responsible for launching the careers of some of Australian music’s biggest names, across generations and genres, from Little River Band and Australian Crawl to Pseudo Echo to Delta Goodrem and, of course, John Farnham.
Famously, Wheatley was behind Farnham’s incredible mid-’80s comeback album, Whispering Jack with the monolithic lead single You’re the Voice, mortgaging his own house to pay for the recording of the album that, at one point, around 50% of Australians owned a copy of.
John Farnham | ‘You're the Voice’
The news has come as a shock to the music industry, Farnham is said to be devastated beyond words y the loss of his manager and friend. His wife, Jillian, told Daily Mail Australia that the singer was “too unwell” to discuss Wheatley’s passing. “He won’t speak to anybody. He’s just beside himself, she said.
The Farnham family have released a statement: “Our family are devastated at the loss of our friend. We also obviously feel for his family as well. With his passing, so many people have lost a part of their lives. We will miss you Glenn, and promise to be there for Gaynor and the family. Love Jill, John, Robert and James Farnham”
Wheatley’s Masters Apprentices bandmates also released a statement, saying they were “deeply saddened by his loss.”
“He recognised that the band should be getting much higher fees for drawing huge crowds and fought for a fairer share of concert revenue,” the group recalled. “After Glenn left The Masters Apprentices in 1972 he went into band management and conquered the world with the likes of Little River Band, Australian Crawl, Moving Pictures, John Farnham and many others.
“He pioneered FM radio in Australia and organised the Hay Mate fundraiser concert appeals. He has left his mark forever on Australian Music.”
Wheatley is survived by his wife, Gaynor, and three children, Tim, Samantha, and Kara. Our thoughts are with them at this sad time.
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