Love is in the Air with John Paul Young
Written by Ryan Stevenson on 19 January 2021
John Paul Young aka JPY and Squeak was the perfect example of the power that the show Countdown had on the Australian music scene throughout its run in the 1970’s and 1980’s.
John had scored a pre-Countdown hit with “Pasadena” in 1972 as it had peaked at No. 16 on the Go-Set chart but 1973 and 1974 were barren years for the singer from Scotland as his next three singles failed to chart.
1975 brought Colour TV to Australia and with it new opportunities especially for Countdown who were looking to create a star and they found one with JPY.
JPY’s songs were of high quality as they were written or co-written by Harry Vanda and George Young, the two were former members of The Easybeats who turned into top song producers and writers.
“Yesterday’s Hero” was released in 1975 and it had peaked at No. 8 while South Africans loved it as it reached No.1, the Swedes enjoyed it too as it had peaked at No. 10 and it reached No. 42 in the United States.
“The Love Game” peaked at No. 4 showing that JPY, Vanda & Young and Countdown had a great partnership and even better was to come.
“I Hate the Music” was No. 2 in Australia, No. 1 in South Africa and No. 18 in Sweden giving JPY three consecutive singles in the Top Ten over the course of 1975 and 1976.
1976 and 1977 releases “Keep on Smilin” and “Standing In The Rain” were both just outside the Top Ten in Australia though “Standing in the Rain was a No. 3 hit in the Netherlands and a No. 4 hit in Germany.
“I Wanna Do It With You” put JPY back in the Top 10 in Australia and delivered him a fourth Top 10 hit in South Africa making the country his second most popular location.
JPYs next two singles “Here We Go” and “Where the Action Is” did not do as well as the two peaked at No. 43 and No. 33 on the chart.
April 1978 saw the Australian release of JPY’s most famous recording “Love Is in the Air”, it was No. 1 on the Adult Contemporary chart in the United States, No. 2 in South Africa, Norway and Sweden, No. 3 in Australia, No. 5 in the United Kingdom, No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 plus it charted in several other countries.
JPY had ten songs chart consecutively between 1975 and 1978 with
“The Day That My Heart Caught Fire” the last when it peaked at No. 20 on the chart, it had also peaked at No. 20 in South Africa.
JPY continued to release singles after “The Day That My Heart Caught Fire” though only four of them would chart but one of his hits would hit the charts again, fourteen years after its original release.
Six albums were also released between 1975 and 1981 with two peaking at No. 9 and three in the Top 20 with all six albums charting in the Top 100.
“Love is In the Air” was back on the charts in 1992 as it was used in the popular Australian movie “Strictly Ballroom” and the song peaked at No. 3, exactly where it did in 1978.
This was called “Love Is in the Air (Ballroom mix)” and a new music video was made featuring JPY and cast members from Strictly Ballroom as well as scenes from the movie.
Unlike the song that started the ten song chart run, JPY is not considered to be “Yesterday’s Hero” as he is considered to be a music hero today, tomorrow and into the future all while love is in the air.