Australian music manager Glenn Wheatley passed away on Tuesday, 1st February at the age of 74. Wheatley died as a result of complications caused by COVID-19. He was double vaccinated and receiving care in the ICU at Melbourne’s Epworth HealthCare at the time of his death.
Wheatley is best known for his professional partnership with John Farnham. He played a major role in the revival of Farnham’s career in the mid 1980s. By mortgaging his house, Wheatley co-funded the recording of Farnham’s 1986 album, Whispering Jack. The album debuted at #1 and has since been certified 24× Platinum. It remains the best-selling album in Australia by an Australian artist.
The Farnham family released a statement in response to Wheatley’s death.
“Our family are devastated at the loss of our friend,” they said. “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 career began in the late 1960s when he took over from Gavin Webb as the bass player for the Masters Apprentices. He played on the albums Masterpiece (1970), Master’s Apprentices/Choice Cuts (1971) and A Toast To Panama Red (1972), as well as the group’s 1988 comeback album, Do What You Wanna Do.
Before his tenure with Farnham, Wheatley managed the Little River Band. With Wheatley’s assistance, the Little River Band found consistent success in the USA – the records, Sleeper Catcher (1978), First Under the Wire (1979) and Time Exposure (1981) all charted in the US top 20.
Wheatley started working with Delta Goodrem in the late 1990s, helping to coordinate her ascent to national stardom. However, he was ousted not long after the release of Goodrem’s debut album, Innocent Eyes (2003). In 2007, he served a 10 month prison sentence after being found guilty of tax fraud.
Wheatley is survived by his wife Gaynor, son Tim, and daughters Kara and Samantha.
“He had an enthusiasm that was unmatched and believed that anything was possible,” the family said in a statement. “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.”