Seemed Like A Good Idea (At the Time) – (R Wilson/J Farnham/R Fraser) and Angels (T Kimmel/J Kimball) – John Farnham 1993.
When John Farnham and his producer Ross Fraser entered the studio to record their fifth album together, the chilled out, laid-back Then Again…, they had already taken three previous albums to #1 nationally along with nine top ten singles in the period 1986-93, and were closing in on global record sales in excess of 8 million. John Farnham’s professional restoration was complete, and he was looking for new challenges, collaborative songwriting was high on his agenda of things to do, he had already co-written Playing to Win for LRB, Burn For You with Phil Buckle and In My Room, the B-side of his debut hit Sadie, he and Ross Fraser would establish Gotham Records together in the near future, and they collaborated on no less than nine of the fourteen songs on Then Again…The album won the 1993 ARIA award for the Highest Selling Album Of The Year, with sales in excess of 300,000, and Seemed Like a Good Idea (At The Time), co-written by Farnham in association with Ross Wilson (below) and producer/guitarist Ross Fraser, was the first single lifted from it and went into the national top 20 in September of that year.David Hirschfelder on keyboards, Phil Buckle and Ross Fraser on guitar and Michael Hegarty on bass, and harmony vocals from Lindsey Field all combined to produce a catchy Motown-influenced song which fitted comfortably into the MOR niche that Farnham had already created for himself. The video was a comic gem which featured the D-Generation cast of the Late Show, giving lots of advice to John about how he could have a career in show business – Santo Cilauro and his Nonno advised John to learn how to play the piano accordion, Tom Gleisner recommended smoke machines, Martin and Molloy suggested a Billy Ray Cyrus mullet might improve things, Jane Kennedy proposed some gratuitous violence, Rob Sitch was obsessed with the Lambada, and other suggestions included a porn star moustache, monster trucks and Judith Lucy provided make-up advice.
The late guitarist Stuart “Chet” Fraser (below) who passed away in 2019, appears in this clip.Angels was written by the former husband and wife team of American singer-songwriter-poet Tom Kimmel, and lyricist Jennifer Kimball (below), the song was inspired by a German film Wings of Desire, about an angel who yearned to be human.Tom Kimmel has said that the song was very special to him, that it’s message of healing and reconciling physical and divine forces in his life was important“We’re lifted up by Angels/Higher than the world/ Strong enough to leave it/ Bound to learn the secrets/ Angels never heard/We’re lifted up by Angels.” Farnham’s vocals were restrained and effective, support vocals by Kiwi Annie Crummer enrich the mix and David Hirschfelder’s keyboards lend a hymnal quality to the song.The promo clip featured Farnham and Annie Crummer duetting and embracing on a mountain top with the sun setting in the background, it was a tender ballad, lyrically prayerful and musically spiritual, which has become a live performance favourite, a great live version with Farnham and Lisa Edwards also exists, and is worth checking on YouTube.
When lifted from the Then Again… album, Angels climbed into the top 40 in December ’93 and was featured on the soundtrack of the Naomi Watts film Under the Lighthouse.Tom Kimmel also co-composed That’s Freedom which was another hit for Farnham in 1990, when lifted from his Chain Reaction album.