Jimmy Barnes Explains Why John Farnham Is The Real Wild Man Of Australian Rock
by Cameron Adams
“He was so hammered he couldn’t find his way home!”
JIMMY Barnes is reliving the hard-partying era that spawned his biggest selling album – Soul Deep.
Barnes is releasing a 30th anniversary edition of his covers album Soul Deep, touring the album around the country this month.
The record contains one of the most iconic Australian duets of all time – When Something Is Wrong With My Baby – with John Farnham.
Barnsey told LiSTNR’s Essential Vinyl Farnsey arrived at his house at 10am ready to record the duet – with a rock’n’roll demand.
“I said ‘Can I get you something?’ thinking he’d want hot water or camomile tea or something,” Barnes says.
“And he said, ‘Yeah, you can get me a brandy?’ So I went to my bar and picked out the best Courvoisier and he said ‘No, this is too good, I need cheap fighting brandy.’ I got some St Agnes brandy I used for cooking and he said ‘That’s perfect’ . He took it outside, had a huge brandy and a cigar, then he walked in and started singing like an angel. People think John Farnham is the mild one of Australian rock and I’m the wild one, he was much wilder than me, he’s an absolute animal!”
Barnes backed up the claim with a story from the set of the video for When Something Is Wrong With My Baby, which sees the two singers at a bar after a show. Listen below:
“They set us up with some fake bottles of booze to drink. I said, it’s a bit cheesy, why don’t we get real bottles? Over the next five hours John and I sat and he drank cheap brandy and I drank vodka, ‘cos that was my drink of choice at the time.”
Barnes said as the video shoot continued, both singers had downed “a couple of bottles” each.
“By 5pm John Farnham was absolutely off his head. He was completely hammered. So the director said ‘OK we’ve finished with John, we can send him home’. So we put John in a limo to take him home and I kept filming. An hour later the limo driver rang the director and said ‘John Farnham doesn’t know where he lives’. He was so hammered he couldn’t find his way home. That just made me love him even more.”
Hear more stories behind the songs of Soul Deep on Essential Vinyl on LiSTNR now: