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the Pale

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You're the Voice

Another Reid No 1 hit

You're The Voice (words by Keith Reid) was released on John Farnham's Whispering Jack album. It was a hit song when released in 1986, going to number one on the Australian charts and beyond. Sam Cameron notes that 'this was also a No 6 hit in the UK and Heart had a hit with a song of the same name (is it the same song yes ... see below) No 56 in the UK in 1991. Reid's Aussie No 1 has been blessed with some odd covers ... in 1987 the London Symphony Orchestra covered it on Classic Rock, Barbara Dickson on Coming Alive Again in 1989, and Brenda Cochrane on The Voice in 1991 ... . The song mentions guns which seem to recur a lot in Reid's post-1985 (Robin Trower) writings, and might be a presage of things to come to be sadly relished by Learn to Fly haters that it sails into the AOR hall of fame.'  The original recording of the song, by Chris Thompson, my be heard on The Keith Reid Project's The Common Thread 2008 solo CD


We have the chance to turn the pages over
We can write what we wanna write
We gotta make ends meet before we get much older
We're all someone's daughter
We're all someone's son
How long can we look at each other
Down the barrel of a gun

You're the voice, try and understand it
Make a noise and make it clear
Wo-oh-oh ... Wo-oh-oh ...
We're not gonna sit in silence
We're not gonna live with fear
Wo-oh-oh ... Wo-oh-oh ...

This time we know we all can stand together
With the power to be powerful
Believing we can make it better
We're all someone's daughter
We're all someone's son
How long can we look at each other
Down the barrel of a gun


John Farnham's manager Glenn Wheatley had to mortgage his house to produce the album, but one in four Australian households now have a copy. This was the record that brought John Farnham to fame.

Sam Cameron writes: the single of YTV in 1987 UK is on Wheatley PB41093 ie his manager started the label to get this hit though JF was a big star in Australia since 1969 ish. I still don't know how KR got involved but can the C Thomson co-author be the same one [yes!] as on The Hand that Rocks the Cradle? That may be the link ... if you're looking for Procol connections he was actually born in Dagenham ok it's not Southend, but Sandie Shaw was born there ...

If you want to hear this masterpiece it is on the net here.

BtP adds: the co-authors include Chris Thompson (Cradle co-author and big, big rock-vocalist (ex-Manfred Mann and dozens of films, commercials and many solo works)) and Maggie Ryder (hard-working backing vocalist who has performed with No Stiletto Shoes) Andy Qunta has written other songs with Chris Thompson, such as Don't Tell Me It Can't Be Done, which was also recorded by John Farnham.

The 1995 Alan Parsons album The Very Best Live (US release) includes a studio version of Chris Thompson performing You're The Voice (which he also performed as the finale of the World Liberty Concert in Holland in front of 120,000 people). 

The John Farnham recordings are on the albums Whispering Jack (1987: studio version) and Full House (1991: live version)

Catherine Waters writes: I work for Gotham Records which is a record label that John Farnham established with his long-time producer (of Whispering Jack and all subsequent albums) Ross Fraser.

I'm afraid I have no idea how You're the Voice came to be written and I cannot confer with John or Ross at present (5 August 1998) as they are both overseas; I don't know if they actually know anyway.

The copy of Whispering Jack which I have is catalogue number WJCD 0001: I believe this would be due to the fact that this was the first album pressed on CD in Australia.

However, I believe the current cat. # is SFCD 0149 (the album has been re-released a number of times in our territory).

You may wish to verify this through BMG Records.

Keith advises BtP (June 2008) that You're the Voice started life with Chris Thompson, who had the musical idea and wanted to get a lyricist involved. It was therefore one of his jobs where music essentially preceded the words, which are all Reid's. He also mentioned that the song (which has been repeatedly covered, and featured, all over the world) was lately adopted for a Greenpeace film in Italy, for which cause Keith 'donated his services'.

The song was recorded in 1986 by Chris Thompson in a version (not then released) which the John Farnham track closely resembles (though it contained no bagpipes) according to Keith. Hear it on The Keith Reid Project's The Common Thread 2008 solo CD.


Thought I'd add a little bit of information to your page regarding John Farnham You're The Voice. The hit that Heart had was indeed the same song. I've had that in my collection a few times, although I don't think I have it at the moment.

The other thing I wanted to note, was that RCA re-released the song in 1990 as a single and also on the Age Of Reason album. The promo single I have is for the 'New Australian Mix' (click on image to enlarge) and is catalog # 2513-2-RDJ. It only has the back insert shown, and a sticker on the front of the jewelbox that says 'New Australian Mix'.

The album Age Of Reason according to that single is catalog # 9687-1-R. I don't have that album, I only have the US release of Whispering Jack. Hope this is of some help to you.

Dan Dan Leimone, Traxx Music of Arizona


Keith Reid songs outside Procol Harum

Farnham sings A Whiter Shade of Pale

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