Hold Me/Summer In The City/Good Lovin'/Fool On The Hill/All Along The Watchtower/For Your Love/It's Too Late/Out Of Time/Magic Carpet Ride/1,2,3/Groovin'/ You Really Got Me/Soul Sister/Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood
In 1981, Young recorded an album of 1960s rock and pop favourites called 'The Singer', again for the budget label Hammard and his cover of The Stones/Chris Farlowe classic "Out of Time" came out as a single in September 1981. Despite its budget price, the album featured top-shelf session musos including guitarists Jimmy Doyle (ex-Ayers Rock), and Stuart Fraser (ex-Feather), Rex Bullen (keyboards; ex-Bakery), Ralph White (trumpet; ex-Fugitives), Les Young (bass; ex-Chessmen) and Russell Dunlop (drums, percussion, synthesiser; ex-Levi Smiths Clefs, SCRA, Johnny Rocco Band, Ayers Rock).
John Young was born in Glasgow, Scotland and he migrated to Australia with his parents in 1966. After completing school, Young took an apprenticeship as a sheetmetal worker. By night and on the weekends, he sang in Sydney band Elm Tree, which comprised Andy Imlah (co-lead vocals), Oli Chojnacki (guitar), Ron Mazurkiewicz (keyboards), Roger `Slim' Barnett (bass) and Geoff Watts (drums). Elm Tree cut one single for producer Martin Erdman's Du Monde label, a cover of Marmalade's `Rainbow'/`Lonely Nights' (November 1970), but never broke out of the suburban dance circuit. The band broke up at the end of 1971, and Young took the role of Annas in the Australian stage production of Andrew Lloyd-Webber and Tim Rice's rock musical Jesus Christ Superstar. At the same time, visiting English producer Simon Napier-Bell (Yardbirds, Move, T-Rex) took Young into the studio to record the Vanda and Young composition `Pasadena' (with lyrics written by English actor David Hemmings). When issued as a single on the Albert label in March 1972, `Pasadena'/`Better Go Back to Bed' took Young into the Sydney Top 10 (#10).
`Yesterday's Hero' also charted at a respectable #42 on the US Cashbox charts. Young's next single, the rollicking `The Love Game'/`St Louis' (August 1975) appeared under his new John Paul Young appellation. It became Young's second national Top 5 hit (#5 in September), as well as peaking at #9 in Melbourne during October. By mid-year, Young had linked up with The All Stars (who had been working with Stevie Wright), which included veteran musicians Warren Morgan (piano, vocals; ex-Chain, Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs), Kevin Borich (lead guitar; ex-La De Das), Ian `Willie' Winter (guitar; ex-Carson, Daddy Cool), Ronnie Peel (bass; ex-Pleazers, Missing Links, Rockwell T. James and the Rhythm Aces, One Ton Gypsy, La De Das) and Johnny Dick (drums; ex-Max Merritt and the Meteors, Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs, Fanny Adams, Wild Cherries). Young completed work on his Vanda and Young produced and written debut album Hero, which reached #20 in November 1975. Ray Goodwin (guitar; ex-Dragon) then replaced Borich in The All Stars. Goodwin also left in the new year to join Punkz (who became Cheek).
In January 1977, Winter left The All Stars to join Ross Wilson's Mondo Rock. Peel switched to rhythm guitar, Dallas McDermott joined on bass and legendary blues guitarist Phil Manning (ex-Chain) took over on lead guitar. The new line-up recorded the album Green, which came out in May. The album featured five J.P. Young/Morgan compositions, four by Vanda/Young and one by Warren Morgan. Green produced the singles `I Wanna Do It with You'/`The Painting' (February 1977) and `Here We Go'/`Shake that Thing' (April). `I Wanna Do It With You' reached #8 nationally and #11 in Melbourne, but `Here We Go' was not successful. Following a national tour, Manning left The All Stars in June. Producer Ian Miller (ex-Chetarca, Wild Beaver Band) took over as lead guitarist.
In the meantime, Young's singles had begun to chart overseas. The discofied `Standing in the Rain' (from the J.P.Y. album) reached #6 in Germany, and Young left for a European promotional tour. It was in South Africa, however, that Young experienced his greatest success. Four singles, `Yesterday's Hero', `Keep on Smilin'', `I Hate the Music' and `I Wanna Do It with You', all made the Top 10. In September, Young and the All Stars embarked on a South African tour that produced wild scenes of fan hysteria the likes of which had not been seen before in that country. The band played 32 concerts to a total audience of 70000 people. When Young left the country, `The Painting' was sitting at #1 on the South African charts.
Young's next Australian single, `Where the Action Is'/`Down on My Knees' (September 1977), failed to chart nationally, peaking at #23 in Sydney. `Where the Action Is' appeared on the compilation album All the Best (December 1977). Young's eleventh Australian single, `Standing in the Rain'/`Same Old Thing' (January 1978), reached #13 nationally during March and #4 in Melbourne during May. By that stage, Jacques De Jongh (bass; ex-Redhouse, Hush) had replaced McDermott. The new line-up recorded the album Love is in the Air, which produced the hit singles `Love is in the Air'/`Won't Let this Feeling Go By' (#3 in June 1978), `The Day that My Heart Caught Fire'/`Lazy Days' (#18 in September) and `Fool in Love'/`It's All Over' (December).
`Standing in the Rain' made #1 in South Africa, the Top 10 in Germany and Holland, Top 40 in France and the lower reaches of the US Top 100. The breezy, seductive `Love is in the Air' did even better by reaching #1 in South Africa and Bangkok, #2 in Norway, Sweden and Holland, #3 in Germany, #5 in the UK and Top 40 in the USA, as well as selling well in France, Switzerland and Italy. Young undertook extensive promotional tours of Europe, the UK (where he appeared on the television pop show Top of the Pops) and the USA.
Young's sixteenth single, `Hot for You Baby'/ `I Don't Want to Lose You' (January 1980), was his last for the Albert label. In 1981, Young recorded an album of 1960s rock and pop favourites, The Singer, for Hammard. Jagger/Richards' `Out of Time'/`Hold Me' came out as a single (September 1981). Session musicians on the album were Jim Doyle (ex-Ayers Rock) and Stuart Fraser (ex-Feather) on guitars, Rex Bullen (keyboards; ex-Bakery), Ralph White (trumpet; ex-Fugitives), Les Young (bass; ex-Chessmen) and Russell Dunlop (drums, percussion, synthesiser; ex-Levi Smith's Clefs, SCRA, Johnny Rocco Band, Ayers Rock).
The album displayed a contemporary electro-pop sound. Most of the material had been written by John Capek and Canadian Marc Jordan, with one Young/Morgan composition `Cryin' Eyes'. `Soldier of Fortune' returned Young to the Australian Top 20 for the first time in five years when it reached #15 in December. `Soldier of Fortune' was picked as the theme song for the 1984 Disabled Olympics held in New York, and it also went on to be a hit in Germany. The album put Young back in the spotlight for a while, but apart from two more singles, `Spain'/`Money to Burn' (on EMI, October 1986) and `Don't Sing that Song'/`Here We Go' (for CBS, June 1989), he essentially retired from the music business. One Vanda and Young song, the whimsical acoustic tune `Lazy Days' (from the Love is in the Air album) summed up Young's philosophy best: amongst the hurly-burly of pop stardom, Young would rather be sitting on his sail boat with fishing line in hand and sipping wine.
In 1992, Young came to the attention of a new generation when `Love is in the Air' was used as the theme song to director Baz Luhrmann's internationally acclaimed feature film Strictly Ballroom. `Love is in the Air (The Ballroom Mix)' came out as a CD single on Albert/Sony (August 1992) and peaked at #4 in October. Young came out of retirement to record a new album, Now, which consisted of a re-recorded version of `Love is in the Air', plus old chestnuts like The Young Rascals' `Groovin', `Fats Domino's `Ain't that a Shame' and The Easybeats' `St Louis'. It also yielded a new single, `Happy the Man' in August 1996.