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Glenn Wheatley


Born to a working-class family, Glenn was a rock star, manager, FM radio pioneer, record company mogul, innovator, promoter and entrepreneur. He was a board member of AUSMUSIC, the Tourism Task Force and the AIDS Trust of Australia.
Glenn was a loving husband, father and grandfather and believed his family was his greatest achievement in life.

Glenn Dawson Wheatley was born 23 January 1948 in Queensland, Australia. His first performance was at the inaugural Everton Park High School dance in 1961, as part of three-piece band, Suddsie and the Boys. A singer was later added to the band and they changed the name to the Southtown Moods. In 1963 he began work as an apprentice photo-lithographer and two years later was named Queensland's Apprentice of the Year.

January 1st 1966 was a turning point for Glenn. After a three-day weekend booking at the Caloundra Surf Club, he no longer wanted to be a photo-lithographer. His life was becoming engrossed in the music business. Glenn made his own opportunities right from this early time, arranged a weekly dance at his local Parish and when that was successful, he booked a larger venue.

One day at work Glenn received a phone call from Lobby Loyde, from The Purple Hearts offering him the position of lead guitarist in the band. Glenn's love of radio began during this time when he heard a demo they had recorded being played on 4BH. The Purple Hearts wanted to head to Melbourne where the music scene was bigger. Glenn made the decision to stay behind.
Consequently, Glenn joined blues band, Bay City Union, and in early December 1966 they also decided to try their luck down south. He wasn't going to miss out this time! The band worked on and off in Sydney and Melbourne struggling through tough times. Eleven months later they signed a recording contract for a single with Festival Records. Two days after that, Jim Keays from Maters Apprentices offered Glenn the rhythm guitarist spot in the band. After much soul searching, he declined the offer and Bay City Union went to Sydney to record Mo'reen. The single spent one week in the charts in Melbourne and two in Brisbane. Success was evading them. Glenn was once again offered a position in Masters Apprentices, this time as bass. After eighteen months together, Glenn made the difficult decision to leave the band and take up the offer with Masters Apprentices.

For the next four years, Glenn played to sell-out crowds of screaming fans. One particular night at Festival Hall in Brisbane he overheard a promoter remark that they had pulled a bigger crowd than The Beatles! This was the night he realised the concept of door deals, where the band was paid commensurate to their pulling power rather than a flat fee. Glenn took over the management of the band. He started a booking agency called Drum. That came to an end when Masters Apprentices competed in the Battle Of the Bands and were offered a trip to London. Masters Apprentices recorded albums at Abbey Road Studio and played shows in London but success in the UK evaded them. The band broke up whilst they were in London but Glenn stayed and worked for a management company that had clients such as David Bowie and The Sweet. He set up their office in America, where he also was involved in the management of the New Seekers and Gary Glitter. Glenn wanted to return home and find a band he could take to America. Travelling home via London and just before setting off, he saw the band Mississippi play. Glenn thought they had talent but were lacking a lead singer. Glenn Shorrock was also in London, singing back-up for Cliff Richard. He brought the two together and thought the harmonies were extraordinary. They had the makings of a band and agreed to talk in three months in Australia.

Glenn arranged some gigs and the Little River Band recorded an album which Glenn produced and took to America. After twelve rejections LRB was signed to Capitol Records. They went on to sell over twenty-two million albums. Over eight years LRB toured the length and breadth of America for months on end and opened the door for Australian artists in America.

Glenn started FM radio in Australia. He worked very hard for years to obtain the first commercial licence in Australia for EON FM. At the same time, he was managing Australian Crawl and Pseudo Echo. He went on to build the foundation of what is now the MMM network. Glenn's interest in sport led him to set up Wheatley Sport in 1982. The company changed its name to Advantage International and Ian Baker-Finch, Wayne Grady, John Fitzgerald, John Alexander, Peter Brock and Simon O'Donnell all signed to those companies.

Glenn and John Farnham's relationship goes back to 1968. They were both managed by Darryl Sambell and had shared a flat. John and Glenn hadn't seen a lot of each other while they were both building their careers but on August 17 1979 John and Jill went to a Little River Band show at The Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas. John was really impressed with LRB's success and after the show John and Jill sat on the back steps of The Aladdin with Glenn. John was full of questions about LRB's success. They talked for a long time about how things could be made better for John and it was suggested that Glenn take over John's management. The decision was gut wrenching, his manager, Danny Finley was a friend.

Glenn established Wheatley Records in 1980.
John Farnham was signed to WBE Records on January 1st, 1980 and suggested Graeham Goble do an album with John. The resulting album, UNCOVERED, sold 55,000 copies.
John and Glenn put together The John Farnham Band, and they went on the road to do a tour of the pubs.

On February 2nd, 1982, LRB were having some in-house problems which resulted in them agreeing that they wanted John Farnham as their new lead singer. John was approached by Glenn to do the job and he accepted.
After what was four turbulent years, John announced he was leaving the band to pursue a solo career. Glenn had promised John another chance at a solo album but he couldn't secure a deal. No record company would commit to the album, so in the end Glenn mortgaged his house to bankroll WHISPERING JACK. He eventually signed a distribution deal with BMG.

Glenn was a long-time fan of South Melbourne Football Club and in 1988 was offered a position on the board. He would eventually go on to be part of a consortium that purchased the club. It was during this time that Glenn was handed a cassette that led to him launching Delta Goodrem's career.

From 1987 to 1989 he was managing director of Hoyts Media.
The talented businessman was given the Advance Australia Award for Outstanding Contribution in the Entertainment Industry and was the recipient of the 1988 Business Review Weekly Australia's Business Award for Marketing.
In 1998 the Masters Apprentices were inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame.

Glenn founded the artist agency TalentWorks in 1996.

Glenn got mixed up in a tax scam and the Taxation department made an example of him. He served ten months in prison and five months on home detention. He did the time and paid it all back.

A phone call from Cold Play's Chris Martin would get the ball rolling again for Glenn, they wanted John Farnham to sing with the band in Sydney at the Sound Relief Concert.
The Live By Demand tour followed and the concerts kept coming. In 2019, Hay Mate A Bush Christmas Concert organised by Glenn raised a staggering $4.60 million.

On February 1st 2022 Glenn lost his battle with covid complications.

In May 2023, the thing that had been on top of Glenn's to do list was realised. Glenn was the force behind 'John Farnham: Finding The Voice' and it is a wonderful testament to not only John's career but to the friendship the pair shared. It is also a tribute to Glenn from Gaynor, who picked up the project that her husband couldn't finish. The film premiered in Melbourne on May 9th and was released in cinemas nationwide on May 18th. In its first week, 'Finding The Voice' broke the record for the highest selling theatrical release of an Australian music documentary.

This is just a small summary of Glenn's very full life.
Glenn wrote the following books where you can read more about his life.
books by Glenn Wheatley


Audio book Excerpt: Paper Paradise - Who the Hell is Judy in Sydney: YouTube
Paper Paradise audio book: Audible
Interview - Long Play Series: YouTube
The Blank CanvasInterview with Lee Rogers
Adam's Video Tribute YouTube

Photo Album

Bay City Union
Bay City Union

Masters Apprentices
Masters Apprentices 1969

LRB Manager - 1975
LRB Manager - 1975

EON FM - 1980

with wife, Gaynor Wheatley
with wife, Gaynor Wheatley

Stock Exchange
©Gaynor Wheatley
Stock Exchange - 1987

Whispering Jack
Whispering Jack award - 1987
Gaynor, Glenn, John, Jill

Concert Of A Lifetime - 2018
Photo: SA Music Hall Of Fame
Concert Of A Lifetime - 2018 Thebarton Theatre
Glenn, Mick Bower, Craig Holden of The Masters Apprentices

John and Glenn
John and Glenn - Best Mates


Tim and Glenn intended to release the EP Shiny Tacoma together on a revived Wheatley Records

Glenn passed four days short of the release date, turning It's Because I Love You into an unintentional tribute..

It's Because I Love You