John Paul Young
|John Paul Young|
John Paul Young at the 2014 ARIA Music Awards, Sydney, November 26th, 2014
|Birth name||John Inglis Young|
|Also known as||JPY, Squeak|
21 June 1950 |
Bridgeton, Glasgow, Scotland
|Origin||Sydney, New South Wales, Australia|
|Labels||Albert/Parlophone, EMI, Hammard, Boulevarde|
|Associated acts||Elm Tree, Vanda & Young, The All Stars|
John Paul Young, OAM (born 21 June 1950), is a Scottish-born Australian pop singer who had a 1978 worldwide hit with "Love Is in the Air". Initially performing as John Young, he was associated with songwriters/producers Vanda & Young (ex-The Easybeats), who provided him with "Love Is in the Air", "Yesterday's Hero", "I Hate the Music" and "Standing in the Rain".
His career was boosted by regular appearances as a performer and guest host on national broadcaster, ABC's 1974–1987 TV series, Countdown. For touring purposes he fronted The All Stars, who also worked with Vanda & Young's former bandmate Stevie Wright. The All Stars included Warren Morgan (ex-Chain, Billy Thorpe & the Aztecs) on piano and vocals, who co-wrote songs with Young. Besides "Love Is in the Air", Young had top ten chart success in Germany and the Netherlands with "Standing in the Rain" and four other top ten hits in South Africa, including No. 1 hits with "I Hate the Music" in 1976 and "Yesterday's Hero" in 1977.
Early life and career
Young was born John Inglis Young in Bridgeton, Glasgow, Scotland, and his family emigrated to Australia, arriving in Sydney on Australia Day (26 January) 1962 when he was aged 11. After finishing schooling, he started an apprenticeship as a sheet metal worker. Initially performing as John Young, his first involvement in music began in late 1967 when he formed a band, Elm Tree, with schoolmates.
It was my friends who convinced me that I could be a singer. One weekend I rolled up and they were standing there with two bass guitars and an announcement; that we were going to form a band. I immediately poo-pooed the whole thing because I'd just started my apprenticeship in sheet metalwork and after paying off a car, no way was I going to be paying off equipment or anything like that so they said, 'You can be the singer because you're always singing and you don't need any equipment' – and I fell for it.— John Paul Young, The Drum Media, 30 July 2009
The other members included Robert (Slim) Barnett on bass guitar, Ollie Chojnacki on guitar, Phillip Edwards (drums 1968–1971, 1972–1976), Andy Imlah on co-lead vocals, Dave Kaentek, Ron Mazurkiewicz on keyboards and Geoff Watts on drums. Elm Tree gained a moderate following around Sydney, and after being spotted by producer Martin Erdman, they cut one single for his Du Monde label, a cover of UK band Marmalade's "Rainbow", which was released through Festival in November 1970, but did not peak into the top 50 Australian singles charts. In mid-1971 they entered the New South Wales heats of the Hoadley's Battle of the Sounds and got as far as the Sydney finals, but they didn't make it through to the national final, and so never managed to break out of the Sydney suburban dance circuit.
For Young, a major break occurred at an Elm Tree performance when visiting producer and manager, Simon Napier-Bell, heard them in a pub in Newcastle. He persuaded Young to sign as a solo artist to Albert Productions—the company that had produced Australia's top 1960s group The Easybeats. Napier-Bell then produced Young's first hit single, "Pasadena", at Armstrong Studios in Melbourne; it was co-written by George Young (no relation) and Harry Vanda of The Easybeats, together with British actor David Hemmings who was a partner in Napier-Bell's label, SNB Records. Vanda & Young also produced AC/DC and other Albert Productions artists. All he had to do was sing over the demo tape Vanda/Young had sent from London. The single was released under the name, John Young, later releases used "John Paul Young" to avoid confusion with Johnny Young (no relation), the 1960s pop star and Young Talent Time (1971–1988 TV show) presenter. He performed the song on Happening 70 on Channel Ten."Pasadena" peaked at No. 16 in the Australian Singles charts in early 1972. It was followed by "You Drive Me Crazy" which was released in February 1973 but failed to chart. In addition to the above line up of Elmtree, George Taylor was the drummer directly before Young left to go into Jesus Christ Superstar then embark on his solo career. During this period, the band competed in the Hoadley's Battle of the Sounds coming third in the Hornsby heat to Sherbet (1st) and Jeff St John & Copperwine (2nd). At the time, Elmtree played "Gipsy" and "Walking in Your Shadow", two Uriah Heep covers.
At this point, Young got a manager Dal Myles who got him a role in the Melbourne production of The Jesus Christ Revolution. The show opened and closed in six weeks. However, it was being seen in this production, Young received a telegram from Jim Sharman who wanted him to audition as Annas for Harry M. Miller's original Australian production of the Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice rock musical Jesus Christ Superstar. The show premiered in Sydney on 4 May 1972, and, as well as established theatrical performers, the cast featured leading pop-rock artists: Trevor White, Robin Ramsay, Jon English, Doug Parkinson, Stevie Wright (ex-The Easybeats), Marcia Hines and Reg Livermore. Young remained with the production until it closed in February 1974, the production broke theatrical attendance records in its two-year season, and whilst it provided him with a public profile, it left him at a loose end when it concluded.
"Pasadena" had been a hit [but] nobody knew what I looked like. Everybody thought the song was American and basically that was that. It faded away and the ... Superstar – two and a half years of absolute gold – finished.— John Paul Young
Young renewed his association with Albert Productions, signing with them as a solo artist. Vanda & Young had returned to Australia from UK in 1973, after his stint in Superstar, they took over as his producers and resumed writing songs for him. Young's third single "It's Only Love" was released in March 1974 but failed to chart in the top 50. The B Side was a track called Bad Trip. Young said "no one liked it. It was a disappointment. It was about suicide but they must've thought it was about drugs because of the title. It wasn't banned or anything, they just didn't play it."
His next single was "Yesterday's Hero", which was released in March 1975, a song about the fleeting nature of pop stardom which clearly drew on Vanda & Young's own experiences as former teen idols. The single shot into the national charts in April and gave Young his first top ten hit, reaching No. 8 on the Australian singles chart and staying at No. 1 on the Melbourne charts for six weeks before being replaced by Hush's "Boney Maroney". The single sold strongly in the United States, where it reached No. 44 on the Cash Box Top 100 in February 1976. It was subsequently covered by the Bay City Rollers. One of the key factors in the Australian success of "Yesterday's Hero" was the film clip made to promote it, which enabled the song to be given heavy exposure on Countdown, which had just switched to its new one-hour Sunday evening format, following the official start of colour TV broadcasting on 1 March 1975. Young's debut performance on Countdown had him miming "Yesterday's Hero" while dressed in a sailor's suit surrounded on an island stage with a studio audience of screaming teen girls. He was dragged off the stage three times by audience members and the microphone cord was ripped out but the song continued uninterrupted. ABC TV producer, Michael Shrimpton believes his show, Countdown, played a big part in making "Yesterday's Hero" and Young a teen pop success.
John Paul Young was the first male singer that the show chose to make a megastar. It was an experiment. Could we actually take someone who was basically unknown and in a matter of two months turn him into a number one hit?— Michael Shrimpton
By mid-1975, Countdown's talent co-ordinator, Ian "Molly" Meldrum, had started appearing on-screen with a weekly rock report. Young, as guest host, introduced Meldrum's second report, "Here's boring old Molly with boring old humdrum"—"Molly" Meldrum's Humdrum and Countdown continued until 1987, with Young often featured as a performer or guest host named "Squeak" or JPY by Meldrum. For touring purposes Young fronted John Paul Young and The All Stars, with members who had worked with Vanda and Young's former bandmate Stevie Wright. The All Stars included, Warren Morgan (ex-Chain, Billy Thorpe & the Aztecs) on piano and vocals, who co-wrote songs with Young. Other early members were, Kevin Borich (La De Das) on guitar, Johnny Dick (Max Merritt & the Meteors, Billy Thorpe & the Aztecs) on drums, Ronnie Peel (Missing Links, La De Das) on bass guitar and Ian Winter (Carson, Daddy Cool) on guitar. Billy Thorpe reportedly said they were the best rock band in Australia.
In May/June 1975, Young initially toured with Stevie Wright, where he would be introduced in the middle of the show to perform Pasadena and Yesterday's Hero. His next tour was with Sherbet and Stylus, with the latter also being his backing band. It was during this tour, Warren "Pig" Morgan was the musical director. "(Stylus) backed me with good vocal harmonies. They were beautiful," Young said at the time. After Stevie Wright stopped touring, the All-Stars were free to tour with Young. Young headlined his first concert tour over the Christmas period of 1975–6, preferring to use local bands as their support acts.
Young's debut album, Hero, produced by Vanda and Young, was released in October 1975 on Albert Productions/EMI, which peaked at No. 9 on the Australian Album charts. Ray Goodwin (ex-Dragon) replaced Borich on guitar in The Allstars. A string of top 10 hits, written and produced by Vanda & Young, followed in Australia including "Love Game" (peaked at No. 4 in September 1975), "I Hate the Music" (No. 2, April 1976) and "I Wanna Do It with You" (No. 7, May 1977). Young's second album, J.P.Y., released in August 1976, which also peaked at No. 9, it contained three tracks co-written by Young with Morgan, including "Painting". The next singles "Here We Go" and "Where the Action Is" however did not reach the top 30. In addition to his Australian success, Young achieved top 20 hit singles in Sweden, with "Yesterday's Hero" and "I Hate the Music", and in South Africa where "I Hate the Music" and "Yesterday's Hero" were No. 1 hits, and "Keep on Smilin'" and "I Wanna Do It with You" were top ten hits.
In the 1976 Rolling Stone interview, Young gives an insight into working with the Vanda/Young team:
After I recorded Pasadena our relationship just developed. They play me their songs and say: "See what you think of this." Usually I like it, sometimes I don't. Sometimes I pick out something they've written and say "I want to do this", like I did with Things to do. (For the JPY album), we worked out some of the songs on the road. Others are worked out in the studio and some, like Standing in the Rain are produced by the studio system. Harry and George work it out and I come in later to do the vocal.
During 1976 various Allstars members issued their own recordings. Winters left to join Mondo Rock by January 1977, Peel switched to rhythm guitar, Phil Manning (Chain) on guitar and Dallas McDermott on bass guitar had joined. This line-up recorded his third album, Green, released in May, Manning left in June to be replaced by Ian Miller. In January 1978, Young released a disco single titled "Standing in the Rain", originally the B-side to 1976's "Keep on Smilin'", "Standing in the Rain" became a No. 11 hit in Austria, No. 3 in the Netherlands and peaked at No. 4 in Germany, selling over 400,000 copies.
Now there's another fluke. We'd sent over a song called "Keep On Smilin'" and "Standing in the Rain" was on the B-side. There was a guy working for [record label] Ariola, who didn't like "Keep On Smilin'" at all and turned it over and thought this might have something. He decided to sidestep the radio stations and went straight to a DJ friend in a club and it got played and it just bled from there into the charts and stayed in the charts for forty-something weeks— John Paul Young, The Drum Media, 30 July 2009
The European success prompted local radio stations to play "Standing in the Rain" and it peaked at No. 12 on the national singles charts in March 1978. His next single, "Love Is in the Air", became a worldwide hit during 1978, peaking at No. 3 on the Australian charts in May, No. 7 in the US Billboard Hot 100, and No. 5 in the UK singles chart. Also in May, Jacques De Jongh (Hush) had replaced McDermott on bass guitar in The All Stars. The associated album, Love Is in the Air, was released in October and reached the top 40 on the Australian albums chart. European chart success for "Love Is in the Air" included, No. 2 in Norway and Sweden, No. 3 in Austria and Germany, No. 5 in Switzerland and No. 9 in the Netherlands. The song peaked at No. 2 in South Africa. As a result of his popularity in Australia he was crowned 'King of Pop' in October 1978. "Love Is in the Air" also won 'Most Popular Australian Single' and Vanda & Young won both 'Best Australian Record Producer' and 'Best Australian Songwriter' at the same King of Pop Awards. Subsequent singles, "The Day that My Heart Caught Fire" which peaked in the top 20, and "Heaven Sent" continued the disco style.
The 1979 line-up of The All Stars were, Ray Arnott (ex-The Dingoes) on drums, Tony Buchanan on saxophone, Miller and Morgan, with Vanda & Young briefly joining on guitars to record Heaven Sent released in September. By mid-1980 Young had left Albert Productions and ended his association with Vanda & Young. He used session musicians for his 1960s' covers album, The Singer released in 1981 but neither Heaven Sent nor The Singer reached the top 50. Young turned to a more contemporary electropop sound and adult oriented style. He signed to the Australian branch of German label I.C. Records in 1983 and flew to Germany with producer, composer and keyboard player John Capek (ex-Carson) to start recording a new album, with sessions at studios in Hanover, Munich, Los Angeles, Melbourne and Sydney. Most of the material was co-written by Capek and Canadian Marc Jordan, together with a Young and Morgan composition "Cryin' Eyes". The resulting album, One Foot in Front was released in March 1984, it was renamed Soldier of Fortune for the European market. The title track, "Soldier of Fortune", peaked at No. 17 on the national singles chart, other singles "War Games" (January 1984), "L.A. Sunset" (1984) and "Call the Night" (1984) all failed to chart into the top 50, possibly due to the demise of the record company. "Soldier of Fortune" gained further prominence when it was picked as the theme song for the 1984 Summer Paralympics held in New York City, and also went on to be a hit in Germany. Young released two more one-off singles, "Spain", in October 1986 and "Don't Sing that Song", in June 1989.
On 25 January 1988 Young performed in the 'Royal Command, New South Wales Bicentennial Concert' in front of the Prince and Princess of Wales at the Sydney Entertainment Centre. Televised across Australia, the event was viewed by over 10 million people and prompted an invitation to appear at World Expo 88 in Brisbane.
In late 1988, Young and his family moved to Lake Macquarie near Newcastle. Newcastle's first FM radio station, New FM, was preparing to open in 1989 and Young was asked to head their All-Australian programme, Oz Made Mondays. The programme was successful with Young moving through the ranks of the station to Morning Announcer garnering four No. 1 rating spots for his Breakfast and Drive Time programmes along the way.
Young had ceased recording new music by 1989 and concentrated on a second career as a disc jockey until the film Strictly Ballroom was released in 1992. Featuring a new version of "Love Is in the Air," the film was a success throughout the world, and Young's single once again peaked at No. 3 on the Australian Singles Charts in October, and was a top 50 hit in the UK. In 1994 Young left 105.3 NEWFM in Newcastle and joined 2CH in Sydney, which only lasted six months. On 4 November 1994, Young became a naturalised Australian citizen and received his papers from then Prime Minister, Paul Keating.
In 1997, Young made two trips to Germany following invitations to perform on a host of national and European television specials. Young returned to Germany in 1998 with The Allstar band for a month-long tour through both East and West Germany. On returning to Australia Young joined the stage production of 'Leader of the Pack' playing the role of Gus Sharkey (aka Phil Spector).
In 2000, he played to his largest audience as a featured performer at the closing ceremony of the 2000 Summer Olympics. From 8 August 2001, ABC-TV broadcast a six-part documentary, Long Way to the Top which chronicled 50 years of rock 'n' roll in Australia, Young featured in "Episode 4: Berserk warriors 1973–1981". For the associated Long Way to the Top Tour in August–September 2002, Young re-formed the All-Star Band with Juan Gonzales on guitar, Warren Morgan on piano, Ronnie Peel on bass guitar, Greg Plimmer on drums and Michael Walker on synthesiser. From 12 October 2003, ABC broadcast, Love Is in the Air, a five-part documentary on Australian pop music with "Episode 3: Strange Fruit" describing Countdown and how Young was made into a pop star. Young was a mentor for contestants on music talent show, Popstars Live, which was broadcast on Seven Network from February 2004, one of the judges on the show was Ian Meldrum. Another judge, Christine Anu, quit and Young also left in April, a spokesperson for the producers of Popstars Live denied that he had been sacked. In 2005 Young reprised his role as Gus Sharkey in the musical, 'Leader of the Pack'.
2006 saw Young return to the studio at Flashpoint Music to record his first album of new material in many years In Too Deep, for which he reunited with Vanda as producer and principal songwriter. Young appeared on the Countdown Spectacular concert series in Australia during June–August in 2006 as a performer, and on the Countdown Spectacular 2 during August–September 2007, both as a performer and, alongside Meldrum, as a co-host. Young then worked on a musical comedy titled Van Park, in 2008, which focuses on "a group of fellow music lovers have gathered to live out their remaining years" in a caravan park. Young plays Akbar, one of the co-owners of the park.
On 27 August 2009, Young was inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Hall of Fame alongside Kev Carmody, The Dingoes, Little Pattie and Mental As Anything. Upon the announcement Young said, "It's an honour to be inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame, now point me to the lounge room, I wonder who's in there." At the ceremony, Meldrum inducted Young who then performed, "I Hate the Music", "Yesterday's Hero" and "Love is in the Air".
He appeared on the Australian Season 2 Semi Final of Celebrity Apprentice where he mentored one of the teams. He was reprimanded by Ben Dark who thought he wasn't putting in enough.
During the 1980s, Young's 1978 hit "Love is in the Air", was adopted by fans of Scottish Premier League football team Dundee United as an unofficial club anthem. Played since then at many home matches, it was sung in its entirety by an estimated 28,000 fans before and after the 2010 Scottish Cup Final held on 15 May at Hampden Park in Glasgow.
For many years, Young has supported children's charities. He participates in the NSW Variety Bash as a participant in one of the old cars and also to entertain along the way. He also supports the children's emergency transport service NETS through its 4WD4Kids fundraiser.
In 2012, Young was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) "for service to the performing arts as a singer and songwriter, and through support for a range of charitable organisations".
Awards and nominations
|2004||"Love Is in the Air" – Young – Vanda & Young||Most Performed Australian Work Overseas||Won|
Young was inducted by Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) into its Hall of Fame in 2009 alongside Kev Carmody, The Dingoes, Little Pattie and Mental As Anything. This induction recognised his achievement of a "significant body of recorded work" and that he "had a cultural impact within Australia".
- John Young/John Paul Young — lead vocals (1975–1981)
- Kevin Borich – lead guitar (1975)
- Johnny Dick – drums (1975–1977, died 2017)
- Warren Morgan – piano, backing vocals (1975, 1977–1981)
- Ronnie Peel (aka Rockwell T. James) – bass guitar, rhythm guitar (1975–1979)
- Ian "Willie" Winter – guitar (1975–1977)
- Ray Goodwin – guitar (1975–1976)
- Dallas McDermott – bass guitar (1977–1978)
- Phil Manning – lead guitar (1977)
- Ian Miller – lead guitar (1977–1979)
- Jacques De Jongh – bass guitar (1978–1979)
- Ray Arnott – drum (1978–1981)
- Tony Buchanan – saxophone (1979)
- Harry Vanda – guitar (1979)
- George Young – guitar (1979)
- Billy Rogers – saxophone (1980–1981)
- John Young (no relation) – bass guitar (1980–1981)
- Vince Melouney – guitar (1981)
- Peter Northcote – saxophone, keyboards (1981)
John Paul Young's Allstars
- John Paul Young – lead vocals (1986–1989, 2002)
- Juan Gonzales – guitar, backing vocals (1986–1989, 2002)
- Warren Morgan – piano,backing vocals (1986–1989, 2002)
- Greg Patterson – guitar (1986–1989)
- Ronnie Peel – bass guitar, backing vocals (1986–1989, 2002)
- Greg Plimmer – drum (1986–1989, 2002)
- Michael Walker – guitar, keyboards, backing vocals (1986–1989, 2002)
- Hero (1975)
- J.P.Y. (1976)
- Green (1977)
- Love Is in the Air (1978)
- Heaven Sent (1979)
- The Singer (1981)
- One Foot in Front (1983)
- Now (1996)
- In Too Deep (2006)
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