Sadie, the Cleaning Lady

In November 1967, blonde, clean-living English immigrant Johnny Farnham released his new single Sadie the Cleaning Lady onto the Australian air waves and immediately he became the darling of teenyboppers, housewives and dishwater damaged, aging domestic engineers everywhere.

Farnham, with his warm and fuzzy nice-boy personality, exuded too much youthful charm to be ignored and the song was, at the time at least, the perfect vehicle for his husky, sympathetic voice. By early 1968 it was #1 on the Australian singles charts, where it remained for six weeks, only to eventually become the biggest selling single in Australia by an Australian artist in the 1960s - 180,000 copies - huge by Australian standards.

So Young. Johnny Farhnam, State Library of Victoria.
Sadie was written by Americans, Dave White, Johnny Madara and Ray Gilmore yet slotted in well with the upbeat, kind of tongue-in-cheek UK working-class sentimentality of the era - it would have made a good companion piece to King of Skiffle, Lonnie Donegan's 1960 hit, My Old Man's a Dustman. The B side, In my Room was written by Farnham and while the singer went on to see a couple more songs in the singles charts they failed to match the success of Sadie.

Farnham's career seriously sagged in the 1970s until he replaced Glen Shorrock as lead vocalist with Little River Band in the 80s,  after which, with the help of manager Glen Wheatley and songwriters Vanda and Young, a mature Farnham very successfully reinvented himself in the late 1980s and 90s as The Voice...John Farnham

 Tragic Offshoot...?
According to music writer Jeff Jenkins, talented singer Mike Furber was offered the Sadie song but rejected it, later telling Farnham's then manager, Darryl Sambell, that that early mistake signalled he was not "destined for success".

Furber suicided in may 1973, apparently having hanged himself in the garage of his Sydney home. Whether or not this was related to his own perceived sense of failure at having missed a chance at the upward trajectory to stardom, is anybody's guess but whichever way you slice it, it was a tragedy He was 25 years old.