Yesterday's Hero (John Paul Young song)

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"Yesterday's Hero"
Yesterday's Hero (song) by John Paul Young.jpg
Single by John Paul Young
from the album Hero
Released10 February 1975
LabelAlbert Productions. Ariola
Songwriter(s)Harry Vanda, George Young
Producer(s)Harry Vanda, George Young
John Paul Young singles chronology
"Show and Tell"
"Yesterday's Hero"
"The Love Game"

"Yesterday's Hero" is a pop song by John Paul Young. The song was written by George Young and Harry Vanda and was released in February 1975 as the lead single from Young's debut studio album, Hero (1975).

The song became a worldwide hit, peaking at No. 8 in Australia, No. 1 in South Africa and No. 41 in the United States.


"Yesterday's Hero" is a song about the fleeting nature of pop stardom. It drew on Vanda & Young's own experiences as former teen idols.[1][2][16]

The song gave Young his first top ten hit,[10] reaching No. 8 on the Australian singles chart[10] 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.[17]

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.[2][18][19] 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.[20] He was dragged off the stage three times by audience members and the microphone cord was ripped out but the song continued uninterrupted.[20] ABC TV producer, Michael Shrimpton believes his show, Countdown, played a big part in making "Yesterday's Hero" and Young a teen pop success.[18]

Track listing[edit]

7" (AP-10688) / (Ariola 16631 AT)

  • Side A "Yesterday's Hero" - 3:43
  • Side B "The Next Time" - 3:30


Cover versions[edit]


  1. ^ "South African Rock Lists Website – SA Charts 1969–1989 Acts (Y)". South Africa's Rock Lists. South African Rock Encyclopedia. Retrieved 14 August 2009.
  2. ^ " – John Paul Young – {{{song}}}". Singles Top 100. Retrieved 15 February 2016.
  3. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955-1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
  4. ^
  5. ^ Australian Music Database
  6. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955–1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
  7. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. NOTE: Used for Australian Singles and Albums charting from 1970 until ARIA created their own charts in mid-1988.
  8. ^ "Top 20 Hit Singles of 1977". Retrieved 26 March 2020.