Johnny Young rose to fame in Australian pop music during the mid-1960s, having his first recording hits with “Step Back” and “Cara-Lyn” for the Clarion label. In this picture, which I shot backstage at Festival Hall for Go-Set magazine on the evening of 28 January 1967, he is being presented with his first gold record. Johnny was in Brisbane for the final leg of 'The Big Show' having toured Australia with Roy Orbison, The Yardbirds and The Walker Brothers.
Johnny is on the right of the shot. On the left is Radio 4BH DJ Graham Cherry, who was a team member with Bill Gates and John Daley. Second from left is Ivan Dayman, director of Festival Records, who was also the manager of Normie Rowe and the ill-fated Mike Furber. Readers may be able to help identify the remaining gent in the picture (please drop us a line via our Contact form. Many thanks to Rob Moffatt for identifying Graham Cherry!).
Apart from being a heart-throb for his legions of teenage girl fans, Johnny was a prolific song-writer, notably penning “The Real Thing” for Russell Morris. In 1971, he became the presenter of the tremendously popular television series Young Talent Time, which launched the careers of several other singers. They included Dannii Minogue, Jamie Redfern, Debra Byrne and Tina Arena.
Young Talent Time ran for an incredible eighteen years, after which time Johnny continued his involvement with performing, striking some sad times with the deaths of close friends and family members in the early 1990s.
In 2010, Tina Arena inducted him into the Australian Recording Industry Association’s (ARIA) Hall of Fame. He is still going strong, always memorable for his amiable ways and smiling face, and is currently presenting a musical radio program on Magic 2CH 1170.