One of the songwriters behind John Farnham’s 1986 hit song You’re the Voice, Keith Reid, has died at the age of 76.
The lyricist and co-founder of British group Procol Harum “died suddenly on 23 March 2023, in hospital in London”, the band announced recently on their website.
“He had been receiving cancer treatment for the past couple of years,” the statement said.
The news comes as the Australian singer recovers in hospitals from a respiratory infection, following his own cancer treatment.
Reid – who was also famous for songs including A Salty Dog, Conquistador and A Whiter Shade of Pale – was one of four British songwriters behind the unofficial Australian anthem that Farnham made famous.
Speaking about how he came on board to write the track, Reid told website Songfacts he was a last minute ring-in when Chris Thompson struggled with the lyrics.
“Chris called me and said, ‘I’ve got something and I don’t know what to do with it lyrically’,” Reid said.
“‘It feels as though it should be slightly political, but I don’t know. Have a listen’. And we sat down, he played me the tune, and I got the title idea, You’re The Voice.
“It’s an anti-war song in a way, but it was more of a ‘make your voice heard’ kind of thing. Wake up to your own power.”
In addition to Thompson, the lead singer of Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, The track was also written by alongside Andy Qunta and Maggie Ryder, two writers from Thompson’s publishing company.
Qunta took to social media to pay tribute to Reid, with the duo going on to write a number of tracks together.
“Very sorry to learn of the passing of my friend and co-writing partner, Keith Reid,” Qunta wrote.
“Keith was the lyricist for all the Procul Harum songs, including A Whiter Shade Of Pale, which I absolutely loved. It was a dream come true to be able to work with him on several songs, the first of which was John Farnham’s hit You’re The Voice, a collaboration with Chris Thompson and Maggie Ryder.
“Keith was a lovely guy and a massive talent who will be very much missed. Condolences to Pinkey and the family.”
Reid’s death comes at the same time as Farnham continues his own health battle.
Late last year, the You’re The Voice singer underwent surgery to remove a cancerous growth. The procedure required 26 surgeons.
This followed his initial cancer diagnosis in October of last year.
Today, the 73-year-old singer’s family revealed Farnham has returned to hospital, undergoing further treatment.
“He is comfortable and receiving the very best care,” the statement, released by his wife Jill, reads.
“John continues his recovery following last year’s successful surgery,” she said.
“He’s always been a strong and determined person with everything he’s ever done and we are all so very proud of him. He is responding well to the specialist care he’s receiving.”
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Last modified: June 7, 2022