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BERNARD FANNING
Departures
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BERNARD FANNING
Brutal Dawn
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BERNARD FANNING
Civil Dusk
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Bernard Fanning
Tea , et al
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BERNARD FANNING
Civil Dusk
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BERNARD FANNING
FANNING, BERNARD - CIVIL DUSK
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Bernard Fanning (Of Powderfing
Tea , et al
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Bernard Fanning
Departures by Bernard Fanning
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BERNARD FANNING - CIVIL DUSK (LP)
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Bernard Fanning
Watch Over Me
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Bernard Fanning. (2009, January 18). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 04:39, January 27, 2009, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Bernard_Fanning&oldid=264969803

Bernard Fanning (born 15 August 1969 in Brisbane, Australia) is a musician and singer-songwriter. He is best known as the lead singer and frontman of Australian alternative rock band Powderfinger since 1989.

Born and raised in Toowong, Brisbane, Fanning was taught the piano by his mother at an early age. At the age of 15, while attending St. Joseph's College, Gregory Terrace, Fanning began writing music, and upon graduating from St. Joseph's, moved on to the University of Queensland, where he studied journalism for a short time. He would go on to drop out to pursue a music career, after meeting Ian Haug in an economics class. Fanning joined Haug, John Collins, and Steven Bishop, who had recently formed Powderfinger, and took the role of lead singer. Over the next 15 years, the band would release five studio albums, and achieve mainstream success in Australia. During Powderfinger's hiatus in 2005, Fanning begun his solo music career with the studio album Tea & Sympathy. Powderfinger then reunited and released a sixth studio album.

While Powderfinger's style focuses on alternative rock, Fanning's solo music is generally described as a mixture of blues and acoustic folk. A multi-instrumentalist, Fanning plays guitar, piano, keyboards and harmonica, both when performing solo and also with Powderfinger. Often speaking out against Australian political figures, Fanning has donated much of his time to philanthropic causes. He is an advocate for Aboriginal affairs in Australia.

Fanning was born in Brisbane on 15 August 1969. He was raised, alongside two brothers and a sister, in the inner Brisbane suburb of Toowong.[1] The death of one of Fanning's brothers to cancer would be the inspiration for Vulture Street's "Since You've Been Gone".[2] Fanning's mother began teaching him to play piano as a young child, although his siblings were not interested in music.[3]

Fanning attended St. Joseph's College, Gregory Terrace and began writing his own music at the age of 15. Fanning has described these early works as "terrible",[1] but notes that he enjoyed writing and arranging them.[1] After graduating from St Joseph's, Fanning entered the University of Queensland to study journalism, however he was equally interested in pursuing a music career. He left university at the age of 19 to pursue a music career.[4]

Fanning first met Powderfinger guitarist Ian Haug in a University of Queensland economics class in 1989.[1] At the time of the meeting, Haug had recently formed Powderfinger with high school friends John Collins and Steven Bishop, who would become the band's foundational bass guitarist and drummer, respectively. Haug was the lead guitarist and lead singer. On discovering Fanning's singing abilities, Haug replaced himself with Fanning as lead singer and frontman.[5][6] Haug stated that "It was a big thing to convince the others that we needed a singer. They were like, 'You're OK,' and I was like, 'No I'm not. We can do better than that.'"[7]

In 1992, current guitarist Darren Middleton was invited to join Powderfinger by Fanning and Haug, after they were impressed by his work in Brisbane band Pirate.[8] Middleton accepted the offer and became the fifth member, joining Jon Coghill who had replaced Bishop as drummer. The lineup of Fanning, Middleton, Haug, Collins, and Coghill has since remained unchanged.[6][9]

Throughout the late 1990s, Powderfinger rose to prominence throughout Australia, receiving several accolades and achieving highly successful record and concert ticket sales. As the most vocal and prominent member of the band, the popularity for the group elevated Fanning as a powerful individual in the public view of the Australian music industry.[10] Fanning was called upon by film-maker Gregor Jordan in 2003 to perform the folk song "Moreton Bay" (named after the bay of the same name in the Brisbane area) and his own original composition "Shelter for My Soul" in Jordan's film Ned Kelly. Fanning then enlisted Jordan to film Powderfinger's first live DVD, These Days: Live in Concert.[11]

On 31 October, 2005, Fanning released his debut solo album entitled Tea & Sympathy.[12] The album debuted at #1 on the Australian ARIA Albums chart, and spent 58 weeks in the top 50. It peaked at #11 during its 18-week stay on the New Zealand albums chart.[13]

Tea & Sympathy comprised songs Fanning had written in his time with Powderfinger, as well as new content written after the band went on hiatus. Most of the writing was done in what Fanning described as a "creative burst" between March and May 2005.[12] Much of the inspiration for the work on the album came from Fanning's reaction to the death of his brother in 2002, and to the ending of a 12-year relationship with his girlfriend.[14] The majority of the album was recorded at Real World Studios with Tchad Blake in June 2005, except for "Not Finished Just Yet", "Believe", "Wash Me Clean", and "Hope & Validation", which were recorded at Fanning's Brisbane home. Fanning was supported by Brisbane musicians Jerry Marotta, Keith Duffy, and John Bedggood, who also formed part of his live band. The album was developed in a relaxed manner, with Fanning stating, "We had a ball putting the songs together."[12]

Three singles were released from the album. The most successful of these was the lead single, "Wish You Well", shortly followed by "Songbird". These releases were only sold as digital download singles. The third single from the album, "Watch Over Me", was the only to be released as a CD single and achieved minor success on the Australian singles chart. It entered the chart on 9 July 2006 at #16, and spent eight weeks in the top 50.[15] On 26 January 2006, "Wish You Well" was voted #1 for the Triple J Hottest 100, 2005.[16] Following "Watch Over Me", Fanning digitally released a fourth single "Weekend of Mystery", which was not officially on the album, except for those who purchased the album from the iTunes store. Fanning also took home the award for Best Music Video at the 2006 ARIA Awards for the iconic 'Wish You Well' clip.[17]

On 2 December 2005, Fanning announced a nationwide "Which Way Home?" concert tour, named after the song on the album of the same name. Fanning played seven shows between 25 February and 10 March 2006, in all of Australia's major capital cities. He was supported by Perth band The Panics and Brisbane singer Andrew Morris.[18] He followed this with the "Yesterday's Gone" tour, announced on 11 August 2006, and concluding with Powderfinger re-uniting and returning to the recording studio""[19] Fanning later stated that while he enjoyed making Tea & Sympathy, "Powderfinger is my real job".[20]

Throughout 2006, Fanning had hinted towards Powderfinger ceasing their hiatus to release a sixth studio album. Recorded in Los Angeles, Dream Days at the Hotel Existence was released on 2 June, 2007.[21] The title of the album came from a chapter of Brooklyn Follies by Paul Auster, a book that Fanning had read during recording.[22] The album debuted at #1 on the Australian ARIA Albums chart.[23]

Powderfinger toured around Australia and New Zealand with Silverchair on the Across the Great Divide tour in 2007.[24] The tour's aim was to promote the efforts of Reconciliation Australia to reduce the 17-year life expectancy gap between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Australians.[25] Fanning said of the tour, "The idea is to show both bands are behind the idea of reconciliation."[26]

Fanning has been described as having a strong vocal range when singing, but has stated that he is not highly confident in his voice. In a 1998 interview, Fanning said, "I don't think I have the perfect voice or anything",[27] and stated that delivering the message of the song was more important than "showing off [his] chops".[27] He noted he was not interested in singing for the purpose of singing alone, but rather because he enjoyed getting the purpose of the song across.[27] Fanning has stated: "For me, writing songs comes from anywhere", drawing inspiration from his experiences.[28]

In his work on Tea & Sympathy, Fanning noted less of a collaborative song style, referring to his inability to play guitar solos as causing different elements to become a focus of the songs. In an interview, he said, "I wasn't relying on solos to be big features because I simply can't play them."[28] Fanning explained that the shorter length of songs was due to him not having "four other people" to back him up when producing independently.[28]

For me, reconciliation is not about casting blame, financial compensation or bringing shame on anyone. It is about accepting there have been wrongdoings in the past that have left Aborigines here in a position of distinct disadvantage.

""Bernard Fanning[29]

Fanning has stated that although political messages may be common throughout his and Powderfinger's music, it is not the central focus when writing songs: "A balance has to be struck in a lot of ways, in the sense that primarily I'm a musician. I'm not a political commentator. So if I write a song that has political content, then hopefully that song is a good enough song to make it onto my record. And if it's not, then that's just a song that I've written. So I don't think it necessarily needs to be that you're definitively trying to make a political statement."[30] He has stated that he has no interest in "doing a 'Peter Garrett'", who entered politics after a successful Midnight Oil career.[31]

On 8 July 2007, Fanning wrote a piece for Adelaide's Sunday Mail, telling of his recent trip to Uluru. In the piece, he criticised those who climbed the rock, stating that he was "appalled that kids were being taught to disrespect the wishes of Aboriginal people on their own land".[29] Upon returning from Uluru, Fanning wrote "Black Tears", which intended to "document a relationship gone wrong".[29] In his piece, Fanning also criticised the 17-year life expectancy gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians, and encouraged all to join a conversation on reconciliation.[29]

Fanning takes a left-leaning political stance, although he claims he is not fond of discussing the issue. Rather, he attempts to discuss the issues through his songs; "I approach writing a song about something like [Aboriginal affairs] the same way I would approach writing a song about a relationship, because it's something that I feel strongly about."[32] However, he has occasionally stated his views on social and political issues, giving The Dominion Post his stance on Aboriginal affairs in light of the Across the Great Divide tour;

Fanning has performed numerous philanthropic tasks independently and with Powderfinger. The band played at the 2005 WaveAid concert to raise money for victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake,[33] and the Across the Great Divide tour in 2007 to promote the efforts of Reconciliation Australia.[26] Fanning has contributed to charities including A Just Australia and Youngcare Australia, and donates his time to youth detention centres in Brisbane by running songwriting workshops.[34][35]

Fanning married Andrea Moreno in February 2007 in Brisbane, Australia.[36] Moreno is from Spain, where the two met while Fanning was writing and recording Tea & Sympathy in Europe.[37] Through Moreno, Fanning has learned to speak some of the Spanish language.[38] Fanning and Moreno have performed together while Powderfinger was on hiatus and Fanning was touring as a solo artist.[39]

Bernard Fanning. (2009, January 18). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 04:39, January 27, 2009, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Bernard_Fanning&oldid=264969803

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