Previously unseen footage of John Farnham has unknowingly also preserved a historic moment on Australian TV.
A recently discovered black and white clip captures John Farnham performing the song ‘For Once In My Life’ on what was supposed to be the final episode of the iconic music show Happening 72, hailed by many as ‘the last great, important pop music show of the black and white era.’
Farnham’s performance marked the final performance on the show, which was cancelled after only three seasons despite being a sensational success. The footage – thought to have been lost to time – was discovered by Jeff Phillips, the show’s former host. Ironically, it had been on a two-inch reel in his home in Melbourne all this time.
After Happening 72 wrapped up, Phillips moved to London, and then to the US, to pursue a career in music, also taking the tape with him. When he returned to Australia after almost half a century, he took the tape to Simon Smith, National Film and Sound Archive curator to find out what was in it.
When the tape was finally restored, he got the surprise of a lifetime. “What we are watching is the last six or seven minutes of the last great, important pop music show of the black and white era,” Smith said of the clip.
He added: “It’s a really important find because there’s not a huge amount of pop music television from the early 70s. To find a little bit of pop gold from the end of this influential show is fantastic.”
Phillips, on the other hand, remarked that the tape had sparked fond memories inside him of his time on the show. “I’m thrilled it’s been restored. We were all a real team, artists, bands, everyone, we were all in the same business and we all wanted to go somewhere.” he said.
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