Glenn Wheatley : biography
Glenn Dawson Wheatley (born 23 January 1948) is an Australian artist manager and entertainment industry executive.
Wheatley began his career as a musician in Brisbane in the mid-1960s and in the late 1960s became nationally famous as a member of leading hard rock band The Masters Apprentices. He was also the longtime manager of Australian singer John Farnham.
In 2007, he was found guilty of channeling more than $650,000 through tax fraud schemes.
Wheatley was sentenced to 15 months in prison.
Tired of their ongoing management problems, in late 1969 the band sacked their manager of the time, Darryl Sambell (who also managed Farnham) and Wheatley took over day-to-day business affairs and bookings. The group also set up its own Melbourne-based booking agency, Drum, which soon boasted a roster of several dozen local groups, as well as promoting several international tours.
After winning a national talent contest, the Hoadley's Battle of the Sounds, the group was able to use their prize—free passage to the UK on a cruise liner—to travel to England in early 1970. There they recorded two highly-regarded LPs, but lack of commercial success, limited work opportunities and continuing financial problems eventually led to their break-up 1972.
Wheatley remained in the UK for some time before moving to the United States. During this period he worked for various management and booking agencies, learning the intricacies of management and agency work, contract negotiations and tour promotions.
Little River Band
In 1975 he set up The Wheatley Organization and became the manager of a new Australian 'supergroup', Little River Band (LRB), which comprised former members of several leading Australian pop bands of the 1960s and early 1970s. After establishing themselves in Australia, Wheatley boldly took the band to the United States, having learned firsthand of the futility of trying to break into the insular English music scene, where scores of other Australia bands had tried and failed to gain a foothold, with only The Seekers achieving any ongoing success.
Thanks to Wheatley's contacts, experience and skill, as well as the redoubtable talent of the band itself, LRB became the first Australian band to achieve major and lasting chart and sales success in America, and under his guidance they became by far the most successful Australian band of the period.
After LRB was dropped by Capital Records in 1986, Wheatley returned to Australia and began managing an old friend, singer John Farnham, who had been a leading star in the 1960s but was reduced to playing club gigs before replacing Glenn Shorrock in 1982 as lead singer of Little River Band. Once again, Wheatley's skill and perseverance paid off; he mortgaged his own house to help pay for the recording of Farnham's 1986 "comeback" album Whispering Jack, and the gamble paid off handsomely—it re-established Farnham as major singing star and the record became (and remains) the biggest-selling Australian album of all time.
Business and community
Wheatley became involved in FM radio broadcasting in 1980 when he was a founding director of Melbourne based EON-FM (now 3MMM FM). In 1987 he negotiated a series of acquisitions which resulted in the formation of Hoyts Media, a national FM radio network and from 1987 to 1989 he was managing director of Hoyts Media before resigning to pursue other business interests. He founded the artist agency TalentWorks in 1996, focusing on artist and sports management, music recording and publishing, tour promotion and event management.
Wheatley has been presented with the Advance Australia Award for Outstanding Contribution in the Entertainment Industry and was the recipient of the 1988 Business Review Weekly Australia's Business Award for Marketing. He has been a director and part owner of the Sydney Swans Football Club, and a board member of AUSMUSIC, Tourism Task Force (promoting Australia as a tourist destination) and the AIDS Trust of Australia.
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