Sadie (The Cleaning Lady)
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Sadie the Cleaning Lady
"Sadie (The Cleaning Lady) (1967 single)"
Single by Johnny Farnham
from the album Sadie
"Sadie (The Cleaning Lady)"
"In My Room"
ReleasedNovember 1967
Format7" vinyl
LabelEMI, Columbia
Ray Gilmore, Johnny Madara, Dave White
David Mackay
Johnny Farnham singles chronology
"Sadie (The Cleaning Lady) (1967 single)"
"Friday Kind of Monday" / "Underneath the Arches"

"Sadie (The Cleaning Lady)" was Australian pop singer Johnny Farnham's first solo single.[1] The novelty song was released in November 1967 and was No. 1 on the Go-Set National Singles Charts for five weeks in early 1968[2][3] (six weeks on the Australian charts in 1968 based on the Kent Music Report).[4] It was the largest selling single in Australia by an Australian artist in the 1960s.[1][5] The single, "Sadie" sold approximately 180,000 copies in Australia,[6][7] and was also released in New Zealand, Denmark and Germany.[8] The B-side, "In My Room" was written by Farnham.[9] The A-side's label includes the acknowledgement "Vacuum cleaner solo: Mr. Jolly".

Farnham's follow-up single, "Friday Kind of Monday", was released in March as a double-A side with "Underneath the Arches" (non-album track), which peaked at No. 6 on the Go-Set singles charts.[10] Both "Sadie" and "Friday Kind of Monday" featured on Farnham's debut album, Sadie, released in April 1968.[1]


Farnham's manager, Darryl Sambell, had disliked "Sadie (The Cleaning Lady)" because the lyrics were so persistent.[6] However, EMI's inhouse producer, David Mackay, insisted so the single was released in November 1967. The song had been written by United States writers Ray Gilmore, Johnny Madara and Dave White.[6][11] Sambell approached the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) TV program This Day Tonight to do a "day in the life of" segment where they followed Farnham around to radio studios to promote the single. Sambell also arranged for `the electrical appliance store, Godfrey's, to supply a vacuum cleaner salesman, a Mr Jolly, to be on hand.[6][12] By arrangement with Sambell, Melbourne radio DJ Stan Rofe pretended that he disliked "Sadie" before playing it.[6][12] Rofe continued the ploy on TV's Upright and viewers responded with calls to play the song.[12] Rofe was also a writer for Go-Set, a teen-oriented pop magazine. Another writer for the magazine, Molly Meldrum, praised Farnham's efforts.[6] "Sadie" hit No. 1 on the Go-Set National Singles Charts in January 1968 and remained there for five weeks.[2] Selling 180,000 copies in Australia, "Sadie" was the highest selling single by an Australian artist of the decade.[6][7] The B-side, "In My Room", was written by Farnham.[9] Farnham's second single, released in March, was the double A-sided "Underneath the Arches" (non-album track) / "Friday Kind of Monday", which peaked at No. 6.[10] The album, Sadie, also produced by Mackay, was released in April.[13]

According to author Jeff Jenkins, another local pop performer, Mike Furber, had the first option on recording "Sadie" but declined; Furber later told Sambell that due to this mistake he was not destined for success.[6] (Furber died in 1973, aged 25, allegedly by hanging himself—this is disputed by his family and friends, who believe he was murdered.[14])

Track listing

  1. "Sadie (The Cleaning Lady) (Ray Gilmore, Johnny Madara, Dave White) -- 3:13
  2. "In My Room" (Johnny Farnham)[9] -- 2:17

Cover versions

  • An artist going by the name of Fred Splinge (almost certainly a pseudonym) recorded the song for the South African market in 1968. This version was the South African hit, peaking in the top 20 on the national charts. "Splinge" never issued another recording.
  • Wolverhampton band Finders Keepers recorded "Sadie, The Cleaning Lady" in mid-1968.[8]
  • Swedish singer Siw Malmkvist recorded "Sadie" in English, Swedish (as "Mamma är lik sin mamma" with lyrics translated by Stig Anderson), Danish ("Mor er som hendes mor var") and German ("Frauen sind doch nur Frauen") all in 1968.[8]
  • Finnish singer Katri Helena recorded it in Finnish as "Aiti kuin aidinaiti" in 1968.[8]
  • Fellow Australian, Frankie Davidson parodied it with "Hector the Trash Collector" in 1968.[8]

Chart positions

Year Singles Chart Position Catalogue #
1968 Kent Music Report[4] 1 DO-5032
Go-Set[2] 1


  1. ^ a b c 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 August 29, 2004. Retrieved 2009.
  2. ^ a b c "Go-Set search engine results for "Sadie (The Cleaning Lady)"". Go-Set. Waverley Press. Retrieved 2009.
  3. ^ "Go-Set Magazine's Number One Singles in Australia 1966–1974". Go-Set. Waverley Press. Retrieved 2009. NOTE: Go-Set published its National Singles Charts from October 1966 until August 1974, they were compiled by Ed Nimmervoll.
  4. ^ a b Kent, David (2005). Australian Chart Book (1940–1969). Turramurra, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book, 2005. ISBN 0-646-44439-5. NOTE: In 2005, David Kent back calculated all chart positions for 1940–1969 based on existing local charts: there were no nationally recognised charts until Go-Set published their first charts in October 1966. Kent published his first Kent Music Report charts in mid-1974.
  5. ^ Nimmervoll, Ed. "John Farnham". HowlSpace - The Living History of Our Music (Ed Nimmervoll). Archived from the original on 27 July 2012. Retrieved 2014.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Jenkins, Jeff; Ian Meldrum (2007). Molly Meldrum presents 50 years of rock in Australia. Melbourne, Vic: Wilkinson Publishing. ISBN 978-1-921332-11-1. Retrieved 2009.
  7. ^ a b Creswell, Toby; Samantha Trenoweth (2006). 1001 Australians You Should Know. North Melbourne, Vic: Pluto Press. p. 84–85. ISBN 978-1-86403-361-8. Retrieved 2009.
  8. ^ a b c d e "Sadie The Cleaning Lady - JOHNNY FARNHAM (1967)". Pop Archives - Sources of Australian Pop Records from the 50s, 60s, and 70s. Retrieved 2009.
  9. ^ a b c ""In My Room" at APRA search engine". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 2009.
  10. ^ a b "Go-Set search engine results for "Friday Kind of Monday"". Go-Set. Waverley Press. Retrieved 2009.
  11. ^ ""Sadie (The Cleaning Lady)" at APRA search engine". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 2009.
  12. ^ a b c Duncan Kimball, ed. (2002). "JOHN FARNHAM". MILESAGO: Australasian Music and Popular Culture 1964–1975. ICE Productions. Retrieved 2009.
  13. ^ Holmgren, Magnus; Reboulet, Scott; Albury, Lyn; Birtles, Beeb; Warnqvist, Stefan; Medlin, Peter. "John Farnham". Australian Rock Database (Magnus Holmgren). Archived from the original on 27 November 2013. Retrieved 2014.
  14. ^ Culnane, Paul (2007). Duncan Kimball (ed.). "MIKE FURBER". MILESAGO: Australasian Music and Popular Culture 1964–1975. ICE Productions. Retrieved 2009.

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