Sunday Music – Pasadena

Posted on Sun 01/14/2018 by


Today’s music video is Pasadena and the song is performed here by the Australian singer John Paul Young, although when this song was first released, he was known as John Young.

Link to Video at You Tube

This video was posted to You Tube by MrPurser

Sometimes, the story behind the song is as good as the song itself.

From 1974 onwards this singer now known as John Paul Young,  was perhaps the biggest name in Australian popular music. He had a string of pretty big songs including the World wide monster smash hit, Love Is In The Air, and that song is up there as perhaps one of the biggest songs to come out of Australia.

However, back in 1971, he was a virtual nobody. He had work with a small band which played in local pubs, and he was the singer.

He was picked up by Alberts Music, fast becoming the biggest name in Australian music production, and they had a stable of some of the best artists and bands in Australia.

When he was called in to see if he had what it takes he was offered this song, which has a story of its own as well.

The writers of the song were Harry Vanda and George Young. (no relation) These two came from a band called The Easybeats, who for a time in the mid and late 60’s were the biggest band in Australia, and their huge hit was Friday On My Mind, recently named as the Best Australian Song of all time. That band was the biggest Australian band of the late 60’s and they attempted to make the big time in the UK, but other than that one absolute monster hit, they did not quite manage it, and came back to Australia, and disbanded after  short time. The two songwriters in that band were Harry Vanda and George Young, and Alberts knew talent like that was worth holding on to, and that pair got regular work at Alberts as the music scene in Australia started to boom, and Alberts was at the forefront of that.

John Young turned up, almost out of the blue, and he was asked if he would sing the vocals for this song Pasadena. He sung the song over the demo tape provided by Vanda and Young, and the song was released as a Single. There was a little confusion because his name was the same as perhaps one of the biggest names from the early and mid 60s, Johnny Young. The song only had radio to appeal to, as there was no huge music TV shows to promote songs in those days, and he was a newcomer.

Further confusion arose from that, and the thinking was that this new song was from an American artists because the song was titled Pasadena, and included a number of American references. No one had heard of this new singer. The song went up the charts and then back down a little and then back up again as the two major Capital cities gave it airplay at different times. It finally got as high as Number 12 on the National Charts and then dropped out of the charts, spending 11 weeks in the charts in early to mid 1972.

Now, what didn’t help here was that there was no follow up Single at all. Harry Vanda and George Young went back to the UK to hone their songwriting talent. At the same time as the Single came out, John was offered a part in the huge Stage musical Jesus Christ Superstar, and he spent the next two years as part of that monstrously successful show. That seemed to be it for John Young.

In early 1974, at the end of the stage show’s run, he went back to Alberts and released a new single which sank without trace. He considered a part in another musical Godspell, but rejected it, and went back to work at his original job, as a sheet metal worker, a job that lasted all of one day, before he chucked it in and went back again to Alberts.

This time around, all the Planets lined up for him. He had a talent, now honed with two years singing every night in a popular show, a record company, Alberts, willing to back him, a songwriting team, Harry Vanda and George Young now back in Australia, and a huge TV show to promote him and his songs, that TV show the immensely popular Countdown.

His first song was Yesterday’s Hero, a song about the disillusion associated with former stars in the music industry, something Harry Vanda and George Young knew so well, after their time with The Easybeats.

This time around John added the name Paul to his name, and this song gave him his first Top Ten Hit, and from then on, everything he released did well, on the back of all those things which set it all up for him this time around. All his songs were written by Harry Vanda and George Young, now the biggest names in Australian songwriting.

It all culminated with the huge Smash hit, Love Is In The Air, which was a World wide hit.

John Paul Young spent a very long time as the biggest name in Australian music, but when this song I have featured today was first released, he was just another singer no one knew anything about.

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