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Warren 'Pig' Morgan, John Paul Young, Mark TinsonIn 2012, John Paul Young is celebrating 40 years in the Australian music industry with both a solo tour and another turn in the massive Long Way To The Top concert production.

John Paul Young was the child of one of the wave of British families that emigrated to Australia in the 50s and 60s, “I arrived at the age of just 11. I arrived with a three-piece Italian suit with cloth buttons and winkle-picker shoes, and within days  I was sitting on the banks of Williams Creek in a pair of shorts. I was loving it, I didn’t really understand the significance of why I was enjoying it but now I know I’d gotten my childhood back. Honestly, if I’d stayed in Glasgow I’d have been married at 16, divorced at 18 and working on the docks like Billy Connolly.”

“I was too young for the older kids and too old for the younger kids so it really was an awkward age.”

Ted Mulry, Bon Scott, Jim Keays, Colin Hay, Grace Knight, Jimmy Barnes, John Swan, Billy Thorpe, Doc Neeson – there’s a long list of people who became a generation of highly successful musicians in Australia.

“I thank my Dad especially for having the intestinal fortitude to do what he did. They arrived here with 30 quid – that was it – after selling the furniture in Glasgow. In 1952 they were actually going to go to Canada but mum said, ‘No, it’s too cold.'”

Can John imagine doing a similar thing to his father? “Frightens the life out of me. The closest thing I’ve done to what my Dad did was move out of a very comfortable existence in the eastern suburbs of Sydney and move up here. I sort of did it backwards to what Dad did, I left a very comfortable house and everything elseand moved into a house that had no sewerage, no drainage, it was really back to basics.”

John’s early success was huge, but it wasn’t easy, and led to his move to Lake Macquarie. “It was the economic conditions at the time. Being a muso, banks won’t lend you money, so I was on a shocking interest rate of something like 22% when everything was going crazy back in the 80s and I just had to sell up and get out. My sister nearly kicked a syringe outside the place we were renting in Bondi and I had two young kids and I just thought, ‘No, I’m not putting up with this anymore, I’m gonna leave town’. I don’t regret it one bit.”

The songwriters and producers who worked with John Paul Young were the legendary team of Harry Vanda and George Young of Easybeats fame and they delivered his first hit, “Pasadena”. JPY’s long-time keyboard player, Warren ‘Pig’ Morgan recalls that Vanda and Young also had a rough trot. “It wasn’t all beer and skittles for George and Harry being out there with the Easybeats, I think they came back with $90 each after having a number 3 hit with St Louis – someone else got all the money – but while they’re touring they’re learning and bringing that experience back home.”

John adds, “They were determined after basically being ripped off in America with St Louis, they were determined to get back on top. This time, they would make sure that any money that was made, they’d know where it was, they’d know how to account for it. They were in London in a flat trying to write songs, Pasadena was one of them, and they used to go to the rubbish bins outside EMI and pull out bits of discarded tape, take them back to their flat and put them through their tape recorder. They were some of the first guys to have drum loops, just get a bit of tape with some drums on and turn it into a loop.”

Warren says, “They were open to good influence. They went and saw the Swingle Singers and to cut a long story short in Friday On My Mind you have a part that was inspired by that.”