Singer still Young at heart
‘Love is in the Air’ as Australian hitmaker announces SA tour
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.” email@example.com
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.