The man responsible for reviving the career of John Farnham in the 1980s has been put to rest at a private funeral in Melbourne.
Glenn Wheatley died exactly a week ago from complications related to Covid-19.
The 74-year old was farewelled in a service that was reportedly only attended by his immediate family.
It remains unclear if Farnham, who considered Wheatley a brother, and his family attended the service.
Tim Wheatley and his father Glenn. Tim posted the photo to Instagram with a touching message begging for his father to return from the dead
Farnham and Glenn Wheatley in 2002 in a year that Australians believed would be the last time Farnham would tour
Glenn Wheatley was all smiles in 2009 after John Farnham hit the road again
Wheatley (right) had been the bass player for Masters Apprentices
Wheatley’s wife Gaynor, and children Tim, Kara and Samantha are believed to have said their goodbyes to the influential music industry figure on Monday afternoon.
It is understood the family have not ruled out a memorial service to allow Wheatley’s friends and associates from music, sporting and broadcasting worlds to pay their respects to him.
On Thursday, Farnham visited the Wheatley family at their home in Cremorne – just down the road from Melbourne‘s iconic MCG.
The pair had been more than life-long mates, they had been brothers from different mothers.
In 2007, Farnham had told the County Court of Victoria just that in an effort to keep his beloved manager out of jail after he pleaded guilty to tax fraud.
‘I love him as a brother and trust him implicitly,’ Farnham wrote in a heartfelt reference for Wheatley.
‘This, I believe, is an indication of the character of the man and the respect he has for the people who love him and whom he himself loves.’
Wheatley was about to hit rock bottom after soaring into the stratosphere on the coattails of two decades of Farnham success.
Wheatley had famously brought Farnham’s career back from the dead when he mortgaged his house to pay for the production of Farnham’s Whispering Jack.
Glenn Wheatley and John Farnham were ‘more like brothers’ than friends
John Farnham performs on stage at the Myer Music Bowl in October 2002 in Melbourne in what was sold off the back of it being his last ever tour
Glenn Wheatley was farewelled in a private service on Monday
HOW WHEATLEY SAVED FARNHAM’S CAREER
Under Wheatley’s guidance, Farnham made a massive comeback in the 1980s, leading to his biggest hit album, the 1986 release, Whispering Jack.
‘We were broke and had to sell our house,’ Farnham told the Daily Telegraph about the album.
‘I had made some bad decisions, got into a restaurant which was something I didn’t know anything about and it cost me my savings. I didn’t have a car and we were renting this house where Ross Fraser and I were working on the record.’
Speaking to 60 Minutes after the success, Farnham paid tribute to Wheatley for bringing him back from the brink of obscurity.
Asked why Farnham continued to back Wheatley, Farnham said: ‘I believed in him’.
‘And mostly because he’s my friend.’
Wheatley mortgaged his own family home to fund the production of Whispering Jack. The phenomenal success of the album set Wheatley and Farnham up for life.
‘When we finished the album, I was on the couch in the foetal position for the next two weeks. What have I done? What if Wheatley loses his house, what if I can’t make a living?’ Farnham said of the album.
The 1986 album went on to become the second best-selling-album in Australia, behind Meatloaf’s album Bat Out of Hell, and the highest selling album in Australia by an Australian artist.
Just days ago, Wheatley’s son Tim poured his heart out on social media about the loss of his father.
‘No matter how little faith I had in this world, I always thought that because you were here, there must be some hope for us all.
‘So please, be here when I wake up. Please. I don’t just love you, I need you. I based my very existence around you and I can’t see a life without you,’ he wrote.
‘So I’ll see you in the morning ok? Otherwise I’ll have to be the one to make mum tea every morning. And I make terrible tea. And you don’t want to make mum angry.
‘So I’ll go to sleep now, and see you in the morning. Good night dad. I love you. Come back please.’
Wheatley had been described by those who knew him as a family man.
During his court appearance in 2007, a who’s who of the entertainment industry recalled Wheatley being a ‘person of good character, trustworthy, loving, supportive, a responsible family man, an adroit professional who is hardworking, honest, open and trustworthy’.
Wheatley had not paid tax on $256,410 of income earned from a Farnham tour.
He had also failed to declare income to the trustee of deeds of assignment he entered into in February 1991 to avoid bankruptcy.
He paid back every penny he pinched from the taxpayer, but was jailed for 15 months all the same.
In 2010 he made headlines again after pleading guilty to drink-driving and losing his licence.
In 2012, while walking his son’s dog, he had part of his middle finger chewed off trying to intervene when another dog attacked.
Glenn Wheatley and wife Gaynor at the Moet & Chandon Fashion Ball in 2003
Glenn Wheatley (L) and John Farnham conquered the Aussie music scene for four decades
Glenn Wheatley leaves the County Court ov Victoria in 2010 after spending time in jail for tax fraud
Glenn Wheatley and John Farnham at the Sydney Entertainment Centre where Farnham was to perform his ‘The Last Time’ tour
Bolstered by Farnham’s success, Wheatley was able to get back on his feet and secure a few financial wins in the final years of his life.
He took over Sydney’s 2CH in 2017, selling it to Pacific Star Network’s SEN for $11.2 million last year.
Wheatley also sold two more of his radio acquisitions, 91.9 Sea FM and 92.7 Mix FM on the Sunshine Coast.
At the time if his death, Wheatley and Farnham were still in discussions to release one last record.
He was also reportedly planning to release a musical based of Farnham’s huge back catalog music.
The veteran music industry promoter had long hoped his close mate would release a 22nd album to mark the end of their chart topping four-decade long collaboration.
Those talks came to an abrupt end when the double-vaxxed Wheatley died after a month-long battle with Covid-19, aged 74.
The future of that album now remains in limbo.
John Farnham leaves the home of Glenn Wheatley on Thursday. Farnham’s wife said her husband was ‘beside himself’ at the death of his close mate
Hey day: John Farnham at the peak of his career after the success of Whispering Jack in 1996
Wheatley had remained Farnham’s manager until his death this week