Earlier today I trawled YouTube for cover versions of Australia’s other national anthem, You’re The Voice by John Farnham.
Known & loved by (almost) all Australians as one of the quintessential Aussie songs of all time, it featured as the lead single from Farnham’s hit record from 1986, Whispering Jack, which to this day remains the highest-selling album in Australian music history.
My discovery of one cover version on Youtube led to another, which led to another three; each of them leading to at least another six… basically, the song is so epically awesome that I spent a great couple of hours coming up with a huge list of my favourite (and not-so-favourite) studio recordings, remixes, reality TV performances, a cappella versions and amateur videos, which I shall share with y’all right here.
So here it is – the highlights of You’re The Voice on Youtube!
We begin with…
The original & the best: John Farnham
Now’s your chance to refamiliarise yourself with this classic Aussie film clip, a masterpiece from the mid-80’s. What a splendid profile Farnsey had back in the day. What a mullet. And don’t you love those bagpipes?
The best solo multitrack version: Matt Mulholland
Matt’s talent for the multitrack video shines through in his stirring Youtube portrayal.
The best mashup: Ben NCM (Lorde vs John Farnham)
I never would have picked Royals to fit so well with You’re The Voice.
The best rock opera version: Kate Miller-Heidke
Kate Miller-Heidke nails it with her classically-trained operatic voice. Farnsey himself would most likely need surgery to reach some of the notes she does.
The best foreign language version: Lavrenths Maxairitsas
In 1993, Greek artist Lavrenths Maxairitsas recorded a cover of You’re The Voice translated entirely into his mother tongue, called Rixe Kokkino Sth Nixta.
The best metal version: Redrum
Keeping with the Greek theme, this melodic hard rock band from Greece teamed up with a German vocalist to record a killer version of You’re The Voice. Check out the deathly guitar solo in lieu of the bagpipes.
A side-note: Redrum is Murder spelt backwards. How fucking metal is that shit?
The second best metal version: Forever Never
With a slightly more Farnham-esque vocal style than that of Redrum, Forever Never still manage to double-kick some heavy metal Farnesy arse.
The best acoustic cover: Ryan Inglis
Youtube is home to a hell of a lot of You’re The Voice acoustic covers. This is of one of the few that stopped me in my tracks as soon as I heard the opening chord. Simply beautiful.
The best swing version: John Farnham himself
Farnham included a studio recording of the Swing Version on his Anthology 3 album, but I was stoked to stumble across this live version of it, recorded at a 1997 Crown Casino concert.
The best reality TV performance: Dami Im (Australian X-Factor, 2013)
Despite Ronan Keating not being a fan, I thought Dami Im brought a true sense of style and sophistication to You’re The Voice. A fantastic effort in front of the live X-Factor audience.
The worst reality TV performance: the cast from Dutch X-Factor, 2010
The best a capella version: Club For Five
Possibly the most phenomenal act to ever come out of Finland. If this doesn’t give you chills down your spine, I don’t know what will.
The second best a capella version: Montezuma’s Revenge
Holland claim back some brownie points in the form of this gorgeous performance by Montezuma’s Revenge.
Yet another a capella version: Perfect Tripod
Eddie Perfect & Tripod team up to form the aptly-named Perfect Tripod. I can’t get the “Johnny Farnham, oh Johnny Farnham” hook out of my head.
The best home-recorded cover: Awsa
Awsa is so adorable! She performs with such vigour and humour… dammit, she makes me want to reach through the screen and give her a massive high-five! I love the unique form of percussion – and there’s even a bagpiper 😀
The second best home-recorded cover: The Royce Twins
Aussie X Factor heartthrobs The Royce Twins don’t disappoint with some mighty powerful harmonies in this home-recorded cover of YTV.
The best remix: Houseplayerz vs Pulsebass
All that’s missing are the strobe lights & pills.
The best classical crossover version: John Miles (from the Night Of The Proms, 2004)
Held yearly through many European countries, Night Of The Proms is a series of concerts that bring together contemporary and classical elements with performances by popular artists. John Miles lives up to the promise in this rousing rendition of You’re The Voice.
And I couldn’t go past this other fantastic classical crossover version by the London Symphony Orchestra
The best parody: Julian Assange
In true Wikileaks style, “we’ve got to make things leak so we can get much bolder.”
The best live performance by a well-known band: Coldplay
Featuring Johnny Farnham himself, this collaboration from 2009’s Sound Relief concert at the Sydney Cricket Ground brought the house down.
The second best live performance by a well-known band: Heart
Heart recorded both a studio and live version of You’re The Voice – this live version featured on their 1991 album, Rock The House Live and reached #20 on the US rock charts.
The best performance by one of the actual songwriters: Chris Thompson
You’re The Voice was written by Andy Qunta (the keyboardist from Icehouse), Keith Reid (the songwriter for Procol Harum), Maggie Ryder (a backing singer for bands such as the Eurythmics & Queen) and Chris Thompson (a singer & guitarist with Manfred Mann’s Earth Band).
Thompson lent his vocal talents to a studio recording of the tune on an album called Rediscovery, created in collaboration with Norwegian guitarist Mads Eriksen – but here is a live version from 2007:
The weirdest version: Sam Westphalen
Sam Westphalen experiments with inward singing in this awkwardly intriguing cover of You’re The Voice. He’s a great guitarist, but to be honest I think any further forages into inward singing should be left solely with Tenacious D.
The best John Farnham performance: Live with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
Like I said at the beginning: the original and the best.
Do you know of any other ripper versions of You’re The Voice that deserve a mention? Let me know in the comments if so!