Singer still Young at heart

‘Love is in the Air’ as Aus­tralian hit­maker an­nounces SA tour

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - SHEN WU TAN

AFTER nearly 40 years, John Paul Young, the Aus­tralian pop singer of the 1978 in­ter­na­tional hit song Love is in the Air and 2009 in­ductee of the Aus­tralian Record­ing In­dus­try As­so­ci­a­tion Hall of Fame, will be re­turn­ing to South Africa to per­form his clas­sic hits.

Col­lab­o­rat­ing with the South African acous­tic rock band Water­shed, Young will be tour­ing in March and April next year, with ap­pear­ances in Cape Town, Dur­ban, Joburg and Port El­iz­a­beth.

“I’ve reached a point in my ca­reer where I’m very happy – very happy with the band, the mu­sic,” Young said in Cape Town this week. “I’m not get­ting younger and this is a great time in my life.

“I’m very for­tu­nate to be in the en­ter­tain­ment busi­ness. I have no cal­louses,” he con­tin­ued. “You get up there and en­ter­tain and sing... It’s a priv­i­leged life. So why not keep go­ing?”

Brian Co­hen, who met Young in 1977 when he took him tuna fish­ing, said rein­tro­duc­ing Young to his old fans through Water­shed was “a fab­u­lous mix­ture”.

“I’ve al­ways been a fan,” Co­hen said. “I’ll be very thrilled to see him, es­pe­cially in tan­dem with a South African band like Water­shed. That would be great.”

The last time Young per­formed in South Africa was in 1977. He toured the coun­try for seven weeks, vis­it­ing Cape Town and Joburg.

The Scot­tish-born 66-yearold, who sold more than four mil­lion al­bums, started his mu­sic ca­reer in 1967 as the lead singer of Elm Tree, a band he formed with his school­mates.

“The only rea­son I am a singer is be­cause I didn’t want to lose my friends. They started to form a band and they were the only friends I had,” Young joked.

“So I just stuck with them. They were the ones who de­cided that I should be the singer so I went along with the ride. It’s been quite a ride.”

Per­form­ing lo­cal gigs in Syd­ney with Elm Tree, Young’s mu­sic ca­reer launched when pro­ducer Si­mon Napier-Bell, the suc­cess­ful Bri­tish mu­sic man­ager of The Yard­birds and Ul­travox, at­tended a show in Liver­pool in 1971 and asked the singer if he wanted to record a song.

Jump­ing at the op­por­tu­nity and the chance to sing as a solo artist, Young recorded his first hit sin­gle Pasadena, co-writ­ten by pro­duc­ers and for­mer Easy­beats band mem­bers Ge­orge Young and Harry Vanda.

Fol­low­ing Pasadena, Young joined the rock mu­si­cal Je­sus Christ Su­per­star and stuck with it for about two years, un­til re­unit­ing with Young and Vanda in 1974.

“Luck­ily the guys came back to Aus­tralia and de­cided to set up shop and have a lit­tle fac­tory of mak­ing songs and they looked me up.

“They gave me a song and then another song and another song. I fin­ished up with nine hits from those guys.”

Some of his other hit songs in­clude Yes­ter­day’s Hero, I Hate the Mu­sic, Stand­ing in the Rain, Keep on Smilin’, I Wanna Do It with You, and The Paint­ing.

Through­out the years, Young built up a ver­sa­tile ca­reer within the en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try, from mak­ing tele­vi­sion ap­pear­ances on ABC’s Count­down se­ries to hav­ing Love is in the Air fea­tured in the 1992 Strictly Ball­room movie to singing at the 2000 Sum­mer Olympics clos­ing cer­e­mony in Syd­ney, Aus­tralia.

He at­tributes both luck and his ver­sa­tile ca­reer to his sur­vival in the en­ter­tain­ment busi­ness.

“When 1980 came around, if you were from the 1970s you were dead. So all of a sud­den I was dead,” Young said.

“It was kind of ob­vi­ous I was Yes­ter­day’s Hero. I re­ally was.

“But luck­ily for me, I got a job in ra­dio and I re­ally loved it. I did it for four years. Then that movie, Strictly Ball­room, came along and res­ur­rected Love Is in the Air and it all be­came big again. So I got the band got to­gether... and off we went. We’re still do­ing it.”

Ex­cited about the tour, Young said he couldn’t wait to travel back in time with his fans.

“You play your mem­o­ries back to them (the fans). Just about ev­ery song will re­mind them about a time, a place, a per­son.” shen.wu­


Cape Town 27-09-2016 John Paul Young, the Scot­tish-born Aus­tralian pop singer of ‘Love Is in the Air,’ will be tour­ing in South Africa at the end of March and be­gin­ning of April 2017. Re­porter Shen Wu­Tan Pic­ture Kurt Engel John Paul Young, who had a string of hits in the 1970s, will be per­form­ing in Cape Town early next year.

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