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Johnny Young: Wikis


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Johnny Young (born John Benjamin de Jong, 11 March 1947) is an Australian singer, composer, record producer, disc jockey and television producer and host.


Early life

Young was born in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. He grew up in the Perth Hills suburb of Kalamunda, Western Australia.

After leaving school, he worked as a trainee disc jockey and started singing at local dances. For 18 months he was lead vocalist with a group called The Nomads, which was later known as The Strangers (no relation to the Melbourne group The Strangers).


Young had his first break when he became host of TVW-7 Perth television pop music show Club Seventeen in early 1965. At the same time, he released two singles, Club 17/Hi Ho and Go Johnny Go, both on the 7-Teen label.[1]

The following year he formed a backing band called Johnny Young and Kompany. Kompany members were John Eddy (guitar), Tony Sommers (guitar), Jim Griffiths (bass) and Warwick Findlay (drums). An Easybeats tour to Perth in early 1966 resulted in them presenting him with the rights to Step Back which was co-written by Stevie Wright and George Young. The single was released in May 1966, with Cara-Lin by the The Strangeloves on the B-side.[2] The single was a number-one hit in Perth, Sydney and Melbourne in July and was the second biggest-selling Australian single of the 1960s, behind Normie Rowe's Que Sera Sera/Shakin' All Over. In October, his EP Let It Be Me went to number-one in Sydney and number-four in Melbourne. Another major hit was a slow cover version of The Beatles' All My Loving for which he was later strongly identified with as it was used as the closing song for his long-running TV series Young Talent Time.[3]

Young and Kompany moved to Melbourne in late 1966 and in January 1967 released covers of the Everly Brothers' When Will I Be Loved? / Kiss Me Now which made national Top-ten charts. Soon after however, he disbanded Kompany to go solo and supported Roy Orbison, The Walker Brothers, The Mixtures and The Yardbirds at the Festival Hall, Melbourne on Australia Day, 1967. Later that year he hosted the short-lived television pop show Too Much and then took over the host role of The Go!! Show, following the resignation of Ian Turpie. He also won a Logie for 'Best Teenage Performer' in 1967.

In 1971 Young developed Young Talent Time, a children's variety show. The show was a launching pad for several notable Australian singers including Jamie Redfern, Debra Byrne, Dannii Minogue and Tina Arena. It ran 18 years, to 1989. While not part of Young Talent Time, Australian Idol runner-up Anthony Callea also trained with the Johnny Young Talent School.

As a songwriter, Young's most notable work is probably the psychedelic classic "The Real Thing", a seminal Australian pop song of the late 1960s recorded by Russell Morris and produced by another Australian music industry notable, Ian 'Molly' Meldrum. He also wrote and produced hits for Ronnie Burns ("Smiley"), Ross D. Wylie ("The Star") and former boxing champion Lionel Rose ("I Thank You").

At several points in his long career, Young has worked as a radio disc jockey and he still occasionally performs live. He is currently the breakfast host on Perth AM station 6IX and was briefly host of 'The Pet Show' on ABC television.

Philippines controversy

Young was arrested in the Philippines in 2000 under charges of involvement in running an illegal AIDS clinic after accompanying an old friend (a former director of Young Talent Time), who had been stricken with AIDS to the clinic. All charges were dropped, but Young's public image was damaged by media coverage of baseless rumours regarding his sexuality.

ABC Television produced an "Australian Story" feature of Young in February 2000[4] in which he discussed the events and their effect on his life and career.


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