MILESAGO – Obituaries

Darryl Sambell 1945-2001


'60s music promoter and artist manager Darryl Sambell died on 19 September in a Gold Coast hospital, aged 56, after a six-month battle with lung cancer.


Adelaide-born, Darryl entered show business as manager of Adelaide singer Bev Harrell, and gave up his job as an accountant in a concreting business to manage his 18-year old discovery John Farnham. During the late 60s Darryl built up a management roster that at various times also included The Masters Apprentices, Zoot and Daryl Somers.


Although some of his acts, like The Masters, were later critical of him, his flair and commitment were undeniable. Nicknamed “Sadie” after Farnham’s first hit single, Darryl’s his tireless work for Farnham made him the most successful and popular solo artist of the late 60s and early 70s.


"You could never accuse him of not doing the utmost for his acts," says Jeff Joseph, who handled Ronnie Burns and the Zoot and worked with Sambell in management company AMBO.


Always described as “flamboyant”, Darryl’s escapadesare legendary. After Ian “Molly” Meldrum revealed in Go-Set that Farnham was getting married, Darryl was so incensed that he started firing a gun at Meldrum as Molly fled on a motorbike!

Jim Keays and Glenn Wheatley recount the story of their miserable Christmas Day in 1968. Broke, without even enough money for food, Ford, Keays and Burgess went upstairs to Sambell's flat, where he was royally entertaining Wheatley, Frank Thring and Molly Meldrum at a lavish Xmas lunch. They knocked at the door, hoping to be invited in for lunch, but Darryl dismissively handed them a two dollar note, told them to go to local pie shop, and shut the door in their faces!

 After splitting with Farnham in 1976, Sambell relocated to New Zealand (rumour has it that this was in part because of money entanglements with “prominent business identities”). He set up a promotions company there and pursued other business interests, notably racehorses. In recent years he had moved back to Australia and settled on the Gold Coast.


A service was held for him at the Gawler Baptist Church (Adelaide) on Sunday October 7 at 2 pm.