John Paul Young set to be Upper Hunter town's Australia Day Ambassador

THERE’LL be plenty of love in the air at Merriwa on Thursday.

An icon of the music industry, John Paul Young, will be the Upper Hunter town’s Australia Day Ambassador.

He is renowned for hits such as “Love Is in the Air”, “Yesterday's Hero” and “I Hate the Music”.

In 1966, John (known as Squeak or JPY) and his family moved from Glasgow, Scotland to Australia and settled in Sydney.

John began is interest in music at an early age and learned to play the piano accordion. 

He joined the Sydney-based band Elm Tree in 1969 before winning a major supporting role in Harry M. Miller’s production of Andrew Lloyd-Webber and Tim Rice's rock musical Jesus Christ Superstar three years later.

ON HIS WAY: Celebrated musician John Paul Young will be in Merriwa on Australia Day. Picture: David Stewart

ON HIS WAY: Celebrated musician John Paul Young will be in Merriwa on Australia Day. Picture: David Stewart

John became well known when working with producers/composers Harry Vanda and George Young. 

Between 1975 and 1980, John was one of the most popular male performers in Australia.

His records were also hugely success overseas, topping the charts in Europe, the USA and South Africa.

In 1978, he released Vanda and Young's “Love Is in the Air”; it is one of the best known of all Australian popular songs and was included on the soundtrack of the hit film Strictly Ballroom and by its use in the Sydney Olympics closing ceremony. 

John has appeared on many national television programs including the Coca Cola Summer Promotion, Channel 7's The Hard Yards, the premiere of Channel 9's Don't Forget Your Toothbrush, Roy & HG's Club Buggery, Channel 9's This is Your Life tributes to Molly Meldrum & Jon English, Channel 10's Monday to Friday show presenting the entertainment and music news segment and 7's Full Frontal in which he appeared in a spoof on The Footy Show performing Simply the Tops and Popstars TV series.

In 2012, he was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia.

Away from his musical work, John is a long-time resident of Lake Macquarie, where he is active in the Landcare movement and an outspoken community activist on issues related to mining in the western Lake Macquarie area.

John will be joined by fellow Ambassador and ‘Where There’s A Will’ co-founder Pauline Carrigan.

The awards ceremony will start at 10.30am. A free barbecue will follow at Merriwa RSL Club. 

HIT SONG: John Paul Young performing 'Love is in the Air'.