Sadie (The Cleaning Lady)

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"Sadie (The Cleaning Lady)"
Single by Johnny Farnham
from the album Sadie
A-side "Sadie (The Cleaning Lady)"
B-side "In My Room"
Released November 1967
Format 7" vinyl
Recorded 1967
Genre Pop
Length 3:13
Label EMI, Columbia
Writer(s) Ray Gilmore, Johnny Madara, Dave White
Producer(s) David Mackay
Johnny Farnham singles chronology
"Sadie (The Cleaning Lady)"
"Friday Kind of Monday" / "Underneath the Arches"

"Sadie (The Cleaning Lady)" was Australian pop singer Johnny Farnham's first solo single.[1] The novelty song was released in November 1967 and was #1 on the Go-Set National Singles Charts for five weeks in early 1968[2][3] (six weeks on the Australian charts in 1968 based on the Kent Music Report).[4] It was the largest selling single in Australia by an Australian artist in the 1960s.[1][5] The single, "Sadie" sold approximately 180,000 copies in Australia,[6][7] and was also released in New Zealand, Denmark and Germany.[8] The B-side, "In My Room" was written by Farnham.[9] The A-side's label includes the acknowledgement "Vacuum cleaner solo: Mr. Jolly".

Farnham's follow-up single, "Friday Kind of Monday" was released in March as a double-A side with "Underneath the Arches" (non-album track), which peaked at #6 on the Go-Set singles charts.[10] Both "Sadie" and "Friday Kind of Monday" featured on Farnham's debut album, Sadie released in April 1968.[1]


Farnham's manager Darryl Sambell had disliked "Sadie (The Cleaning Lady)" as the lyrics were so persistent.[6] However, EMI's in house producer, David Mackay, insisted so the single was released in November 1967. The song had been written by United States writers Ray Gilmore, Johnny Madara and Dave White.[6][11] Sambell approached the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) TV programme This Day Tonight to do a 'day in the life of' segment where they followed Farnham around to radio studios to promote his single. Sambell also arranged for local store, Godfrey's, to supply a vacuum cleaner salesman, Mr. Jolly to be on hand.[6][12] By arrangement with Sambell, Melbourne radio DJ Stan Rofe pretended that he disliked "Sadie" before playing it.[6][12] Rofe continued the ploy on TV's Uptight and viewers responded with calls to play the song.[12] Rofe was also a writer for Go-Set, a teen-oriented pop magazine, another writer for the magazine, Ian Meldrum, praised Farnham's efforts.[6] "Sadie" hit #1 on the Go-Set National Singles Charts in January 1968 and remained there for five weeks.[2] Selling 180 000 copies in Australia, "Sadie" was the highest selling single by an Australian artist of the decade.[6][7] The B-side, "In My Room" was written by Farnham.[9] Farnham's second single, released in March, was the double A-sided "Underneath the Arches" (non-album track) / "Friday Kind of Monday", which peaked at #6.[10] The album, Sadie, also produced by Mackay was released in April.[13]

According to author, Jeff Jenkins, another local pop performer, Mike Furber, had first option on recording "Sadie" but declined; Furber later told Sambell that due to this mistake he was not destined for success.[6] Furber died in 1973, aged 25, allegedly by hanging himself—this is disputed by his family and friends, who believe he was murdered.[14]


  1. "Sadie (The Cleaning Lady) (Ray Gilmore, Johnny Madara, Dave White) - 3:13
  2. "In My Room" (Johnny Farnham)[9] - 2:17

Cover versions[edit]

Chart positions[edit]

Year Singles Chart Position Catalogue #
1968 Kent Music Report[4] 1 DO-5032
Go-Set[2] 1


  1. ^ a b c McFarlane, Ian (1999). "Encyclopedia entry for 'John Farnham'". Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop. St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86508-072-1. Retrieved 4 September 2009. 
  2. ^ a b c "Go-Set search engine results for "Sadie (The Cleaning Lady)"". Go-Set. Waverley Press. Retrieved 5 September 2009. 
  3. ^ "Go-Set Magazine's Number One Singles in Australia 1966–1974". Go-Set. Waverley Press. Retrieved 5 September 2009.  NOTE: Go-Set published its National Singles Charts from October 1966 until August 1974, they were compiled by Ed Nimmervoll.
  4. ^ a b Kent, David (2005). Australian Chart Book (1940–1969). Turramurra, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book, 2005. ISBN 0-646-44439-5.  NOTE: In 2005, David Kent back calculated all chart positions for 1940–1969 based on existing local charts: there were no nationally recognised charts until Go-Set published their first charts in October 1966. Kent published his first Kent Music Report charts in mid-1974.
  5. ^ Nimmervoll, Ed. "John Farnham". HowlSpace – The Living History of Our Music (Ed Nimmervoll). Archived from the original on 27 July 2012. Retrieved 2 February 2014. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Jenkins, Jeff; Ian Meldrum (2007). Molly Meldrum presents 50 years of rock in Australia. Melbourne, Vic: Wilkinson Publishing. ISBN 978-1-921332-11-1. Retrieved 5 September 2009. 
  7. ^ a b Creswell, Toby; Samantha Trenoweth (2006). 1001 Australians You Should Know. North Melbourne, Vic: Pluto Press. p. 84–85. ISBN 978-1-86403-361-8. Retrieved 4 September 2009. 
  8. ^ a b c d e "Sadie The Cleaning Lady - JOHNNY FARNHAM (1967)". Pop Archives - Sources of Australian Pop Records from the 50s, 60s, and 70s. Retrieved 6 September 2009. 
  9. ^ a b c ""In My Room" at APRA search engine". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 6 September 2009. 
  10. ^ a b "Go-Set search engine results for "Friday Kind of Monday"". Go-Set. Waverley Press. Retrieved 5 September 2009. 
  11. ^ ""Sadie (The Cleaning Lady)" at APRA search engine". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 6 September 2009. 
  12. ^ a b c Duncan Kimball, ed. (2002). "JOHN FARNHAM". MILESAGO: Australasian Music and Popular Culture 1964–1975. ICE Productions. Retrieved 6 September 2009. 
  13. ^ Holmgren, Magnus; Reboulet, Scott; Albury, Lyn; Birtles, Beeb; Warnqvist, Stefan; Medlin, Peter. "John Farnham". Australian Rock Database (Magnus Holmgren). Archived from the original on 27 November 2013. Retrieved 15 May 2014. 
  14. ^ Culnane, Paul (2007). Duncan Kimball, ed. "MIKE FURBER". MILESAGO: Australasian Music and Popular Culture 1964–1975. ICE Productions. Retrieved 6 September 2009.