You're the Voice

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"You're the Voice"
You're The Voice (Single).jpg
Single by John Farnham
from the album Whispering Jack
B-side"Going, Going, Gone"
Released15 September 1986[1]
Producer(s)Ross Fraser
John Farnham singles chronology
"Love (It's Just the Way It Goes)"
"You're the Voice"
"Pressure Down"
Audio sample

"You're the Voice" is a song written by Andy Qunta, Keith Reid, Maggie Ryder and Chris Thompson, and recorded by the Australian singer John Farnham and released as a single in September 1986 ahead of his album Whispering Jack.[2][3] "You're the Voice" was one of the biggest hits of 1986 in Australia, topping the Kent Music Report singles chart for seven weeks from 3 November to 21 December.[4] At the ARIA Music Awards of 1987 it won Single of the Year.[5]

The music video was recorded with celebrities (Derryn Hinch and Jacki Weaver) and musicians (James and Vince Leigh of Pseudo Echo, Greg Macainsh), none of whom are on the original audio recording; and were assembled by Farnham's talent manager, Glenn Wheatley.[6] Wheatley later recalled, "[it] was done on a shoestring budget. I called in Derryn and Jacki, some of the guys from Pseudo Echo (James and Vince Leigh) and Greg Macainsh from Skyhooks are in the band, it was pretty much anyone who'd do me a favour."[6]

"You're the Voice" re-entered the Australian singles chart more than 25 years after its original release (reaching No. 64), thanks to its appearance (to advertise the company's SYNC voice control system) in a 2012 Ford TV commercial.[7]

The power ballad[8] is also one of Farnham's biggest successes in Europe, charting at No. 1 in Germany and Sweden and reaching the Top 10 in Austria, Ireland, Switzerland and the UK. Although "You're the Voice" was also successful in Canada (reaching the Top 20), in the US the track performed relatively poorly, missing the chart on its initial 1987 issue. BMG/RCA re-released the song in the US in February 1990 after Farnham made the Adult Contemporary chart with "Two Strong Hearts". Farnham's version eventually spent eight weeks on the US charts, peaking at No. 82, but in the US the song is probably best known for a charting version issued in 1991 by the band Heart.

In January 2018, as part of Triple M's "Ozzest 100" of the "most Australian' songs of all time", the song was ranked number 6.[9]

Chart history[edit]


Region Certification Certified units/sales
Sweden (GLF)[25] Gold 25,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[26] Silver 200,000double-dagger

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Uses in popular culture[edit]

The song has been featured in numerous TV and film productions, including the film Hot Rod, the BBC series Merlin, the film Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa and comedian Peter Kay's Car Share, and in the Swedish film Medicinen.[27]

Appropriation by protesters[edit]

The song has been used by protesters who rallied in Melbourne, Victoria during the COVID-19 pandemic. On 21 September 2020, it was reported by Seven News that the song had become a common theme at rallies around the city as Stage 4 lockdowns continue, however, Farnham's manager described it as "offensive" to Farnham and the manager himself.[28]

Heart version[edit]

"You're the Voice"
Single by Heart
from the album Rock the House Live!
B-side"Wild Child" (live)
ReleasedOctober 1991 (1991-10)
RecordedNovember 1989
Producer(s)Richie Zito
Heart singles chronology
"You're the Voice"
"Black on Black II"

As a lead promotion for their first live album, Rock the House Live!, in 1991, US rock band Heart released their live version of "You're the Voice" as a single. It was captured during the US leg of their Brigade world tour in November 1990. A music video was released which featured footage that were shot from the tour while coverage of the then-ongoing Gulf War intervene. The single performed moderately well, reaching No. 20 on the US Mainstream Rock chart. In the UK, the single was a minor hit, reaching No. 56.

It was released in multiple limited edition formats in different territories, with the UK boasting the highest number of these:

  1. 7" etched one-sided single
  2. 7" red vinyl single
  3. 10" red vinyl single
  4. 12" etched one-sided single
  5. CD single

A studio version of the track had been recorded in late 1989 as part of the sessions for the Brigade album, though it did not make the album track list. This studio version would not see release until July 2000, when it was included on the greatest hits package, Greatest Hits: 1985–1995.

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1991) Peak
Canadian Singles Chart[29] 65
UK Singles Chart[30] 56
U.S. Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart[31] 20

Other covers[edit]

The Greek singer-songwriter Lavrentis Machairitsas covered the song with lyrics translated to Greek, under the title "Rixe Kokkino Sti Nyhta" ("Ρίξε Κόκκινο στη Νύχτα" in Greek, translates to "Throw Red into the Night") in his 1993 album of the same name.

"You're the Voice"
Alan Parons - You're the Voice.jpeg
Single by Alan Parsons
B-side"White Dawn"
Released1995 (1995)
RecordedFebruary 1995
StudioParsonics, Santa Barbara, California
Length4:14 (radio edit)
LabelCNR Music
Songwriter(s)Andy Qunta, Keith Reid, Maggie Ryder, Chris Thompson
Producer(s)Alan Parsons
Alan Parsons singles chronology
"Luciferama (live)"
"You're the Voice"
"Brother up in Heaven"

Christian singer Rebecca St. James (who, like John Farnham, is from Australia) covered the song on her 1996 album God.

German Power Metal band Blind Guardian covered the song on the digipack version of their 2010 album At The Edge Of Time

World Liberty Concert[edit]

"You're the Voice" was performed at the World Liberty Concert in 1995 by the Alan Parsons Band, Chris Thompson and Metropole Orkest. The only official release associated with the concert, the single featured a studio recording of the song rather than the live version. The B-side was a live recording of "White Dawn", which was performed by the Metropole Orkest and Gelders Opera and Operetta Gezelschap (GOOG) choir. The song was arranged by Andrew Powell and conducted by Dick Bakker.[34] During the performance of "White Dawn", a battle was simulated that included gunfire, which can be heard around the middle of the recording.

The radio edit of the "You're the Voice" single was also featured on Alan Parsons: The Very Best Live (1995).[35]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "You're the Voice (Radio Edit)" – (Qunta, Thompson, Reid, Ryder) – 4:14
  2. "White Dawn" – (Parsons) Lead Vocals Chris Thompson – 4:50

Planet Rock Allstars[edit]

In November 2019, a single in support of the mental health charity MIND was curated by Planet Rock DJ Wyatt Wendels in conjunction with a 2000-mile charity cycle ride The Road to Rockstock. The limited release CD was then made available from the ride's support vehicle, during late November/early December.[36] The CD features three versions, the main version featuring many well-known rock artists including Alice Cooper, Joe Elliott, Lzzy Hale, Justin Hawkins, Doug Aldrich, Phil Campbell, Bruce Dickinson and Dan Reed. The other versions include the original backing track with Toby Jepson on vocals, and a version with vocals by Joe Elliott. The song will be available as a digital download on 6 December 2019.[37]


A UK hardcore track released by Waxman in 1996 sampled "You're the Voice".


  1. ^ "Kent Music Report No 635 – 15 September 1986 > Singles: New Releases". Kent Music Report, via Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  2. ^ McFarlane, Ian (1999). "Encyclopedia entry for 'John Farnham'". Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop. St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86508-072-1. Archived from the original on 29 August 2004. Retrieved 16 May 2014.
  3. ^ "Voice Events – The Official John Farnham Fan Club – You're the Voice". Retrieved 18 January 2009.
  4. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (Illustrated ed.). St. Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 109. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. N.B. the Kent Report chart was licensed by ARIA between mid–1983 and 12 June 1988.
  5. ^ "Winners by Year 1987". Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). Archived from the original on 26 September 2007. Retrieved 6 July 2019.
  6. ^ a b Adams, Cameron (11 April 2018). "Why John Farnham was nearly rock-blocked from 'You're the Voice'". News Corp Australia. Retrieved 6 July 2019.
  7. ^ [1][dead link]
  8. ^ "The 21 best power ballads". The Telegraph. 23 July 2015.
  9. ^ "Here Are The Songs That Made Triple M's 'Ozzest 100'". Musicfeeds. 27 January 2018. Retrieved 4 January 2020.
  10. ^ " – John Farnham – You're the Voice" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  11. ^ " – John Farnham – You're the Voice" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  12. ^ "Wallonia peak".
  13. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada".
  14. ^ "Danish Charts Archive?".
  15. ^ "The Irish Charts - All there is to know > Search results for 'John Farnham' (from". Fireball Media, via Retrieved 12 December 2019.
  16. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – John Farnham" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40.
  17. ^ " – John Farnham – You're the Voice". Top 40 Singles.
  18. ^ " – John Farnham – You're the Voice". Singles Top 100.
  19. ^ " – John Farnham – You're the Voice". Swiss Singles Chart.
  20. ^ "Official Charts > John Farnham". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 12 December 2019.
  21. ^ " – John Farnham – You're the Voice". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
  22. ^ "Billboard > John Farnham Chart History > Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved 12 December 2019.
  23. ^ "Kent Music Report No 650 – 29 December 1986 > National Top 100 Singles for 1986". Kent Music Report, via Retrieved 12 December 2019.
  24. ^ "Australian Music Report No 701 – 28 December 1987 > National Top 100 Singles for 1987". Australian Music Report, via Retrieved 12 December 2019.
  25. ^ "Guld- och Platinacertifikat − År 1987−1998" (PDF) (in Swedish). IFPI Sweden. Retrieved 9 February 2021.
  26. ^ "British single certifications – John Farnham – You're the Voice". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 9 February 2021.
  27. ^ "BBC Playlists - Peter Kay's Car Share: Forever FM". BBC.
  28. ^ Chapman, Alex (21 September 2020). "John Farnham Slams COVID Protesters Marching To His Song". Retrieved 30 September 2020.
  29. ^ "Results - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 13 January 2012.
  30. ^ "heart - full Official Chart History - Official Charts Company".
  31. ^ "Heart". AllMusic. Retrieved 13 January 2012.
  32. ^ "Alan Parsons – Luciferama (Live)". Discogs. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
  33. ^ "Alan Parsons – Brother Up In Heaven". Discogs. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
  34. ^ "Alan Parsons – You're The Voice". Discogs. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
  35. ^ "Alan Parsons – The Very Best Live". Discogs. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
  36. ^ "WaterBear Education Website". 19 November 2019.
  37. ^ "Wyatt joins forces with Def Leppard, Black Stone Cherry and more for charity single".

External links[edit]