Billy Thorpe Farewelled

Olivia Newton-John flew into Sydney from Los Angeles to perform "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" at rocker Billy Thorpe’s memorial service in Sydney.

"I came because I loved him," she said. Newton-John, whose career began in Sydney at the same time as Thorpe’s, was accompanied on guitar by Stuart Fraser of John Farnham’s band.

More than 7,000 fans and colleagues congregated at the Sydney Entertainment Centre for a remembrance pulled together by Thorpe’s best friend and manager, promoter Michael Chugg.

Thorpe’s coffin and six of his guitars adorned centre stage. Los Angeles-based Max Merritt, whose band Thorpe stole in the mid-’60s to form his own outfit the Aztecs, performed his big hit "Slipping Away."

Actors Bryan Brown and Jack Thompson, singer Little Pattie, broadcaster George Negus and Chugg presented eulogies.

A video montage of Thorpe’s biggest hit from 1972, "Most People I Know Think That I’m Crazy," received a standing ovation from the crowd. It included many of Thorpe’s peers, including members of Midnight Oil, The Angels, INXS and the Easybeats.