If ever a musician belonged to the 'Internet Age' then it has to be John. I was signed up to John's internet mailing list before I had ever heard him play, met him or had any idea what he sounded like! If that sounds bizarre...it probably is! I was on a John Wetton list and many there were recommending JY as an artist worth checking out. He seemed to be playing regularly in and around the area where I lived so I signed up to the list to find out dates of future gigs etc.
John had played with 'Asia' in 1989 during a brief period when Geoff Downes left the band...that was enough to get me interested in the first place. However, his CV reads like a 'Who's Who' of Prog Rock! Asia, Wetton, Greenslade, Qango, Fish, Scorpions, Mammoth...and he is also a long time member of Bonnie Tyler's back up band!
John played regular concerts at a small Hampshire pub - 'The Star' in the tiny village of Bentworth (Nr. Alton) and these proved invaluable in building a hard-core of devoted, proselytising supporters who are willing to spread the word far and wide that there is better music to listen to than the chart fodder fed to the unthinking masses. It is another of John's great bug-bears that labels and TV spend a fortune trying to 'manufacture' pop idols rather than investing in the talent which many of us know is already under their noses if they could be bothered to look.
As well as being a talented keyboardist, John Young is also a very accomplished song-writer. He has written songs on each of John Wetton's last 4 solo albums: including the amazing 'Crime of Passion' from Battle Lines/Voicemail, 'All Grown Up' and 'Arkangel' from 'the album of that name, 'After All' from Welcome to Heaven/Sinister and 'Take Me Down to the Waterline' from Rock of Faith. (In addition, the original version of 'Arkangel', 'Last One Home' was a highlight of the Qango shows and was played live by Asia in 1989 when John was a member.)
Solo albums by John include 'Life Underground', 'Significance' and a few albums of instrumental music created specifically for TV themes and jingles. One track has been used continuously by CNN since the start of the Iraq conflict to introduce coverage. I the last couple of years John has concentrated more on establishing his new ensemble, 'The John Young Band' which consists of John on keys/vocals and ex-members of IQ, Deacon Blue and Fish on drums, bass and guitar. A live album was released in 2003 which has met with deserved critical acclaim wherever it has been heard...but, like most good music, getting it heard in the first place is the hardest task of all! With the band's album now available on iTunes and JY and his fans (actually, FRIENDS is a far better term) doing all they can to spread the word we can but hope that we might find some keen ears who'll prefer to hear 'Unknown Soldier' to whatever the Pussycat Dolls have to offer!
My review of a John Young concert at Bentworth with John Wetton
My review of Greenslade live at The Brook
The official John Young Website
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