Vanda & Young

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Dutch-born Harry Vanda and Dick Diamonde were living in Australia when they formed the highly successful Easybeats with English-born Stevie Wright, Scottish-born George Young, and English-born Snowy Fleet,…
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Dutch-born Harry Vanda and Dick Diamonde were living in Australia when they formed the highly successful Easybeats with English-born Stevie Wright, Scottish-born George Young, and English-born Snowy Fleet, in 1964. Wright and Young wrote the Easybeats' early hits, although it wasn't long before Vanda and Young took over songwriting duties, penning, amongst others, the classic single "Friday on My Mind." By the late '60s, Vanda and Young were the driving force behind the Easybeats, but it ended in the early '70s when the band broke up, leaving Vanda and Young with substantial debts.

The duo returned to the U.K. where they worked as songwriters, producers, and musicians for the next three years, releasing the single "Lazy River"/"Free and Easy" in October 1971. A series of singles released under various pseudonyms followed, including "Get Ready for Love"/"Can I Get to Know You?" by Paintbox in October 1971, "Shot in the Head"/"Bye Bye Bluebird" by Haffy's Whisky Sour in November 1971, "Natural Man"/"Boogalooing Is for Wrong" by the Marcus Hook Roll Band in August 1972, and "Louisiana Lady"/"Hoochie Coochie Har Kau" in March 1973.

They returned to Sydney in 1973 and recorded a rock album as Marcus Hook Roll Band, titled The Tales of Old Grand-Daddy, reputedly featuring the first studio efforts of George's younger brothers, Malcolm and Angus, who had just formed AC/DC. They produced the single "Can't Stand the Heat"/"Moonshine Blues" and EMI reissued the album as Full File in 1981. Throughout the mid-'70s, Vanda and Young scored several hits producing some of Australia's top acts, including John Paul Young, AC/DC, Ray Burgess, William Shakespeare, the Angels, Cheetah, and Rose Tattoo. With former Easybeat member Wright, they created the number one hit "Evie" in 1974.

Vanda and Young also enjoyed international chart success with their studio project Flash and the Pan; their first single, "Hey! St. Peter"/"Walking in the Rain" (later covered by Grace Jones), also reached number three on the Australian national charts. Their second single, "Down Among the Dead Men"/"Man Who Knew the Answer," also hit the Top Five and briefly made an appearance on the U.K. charts at number 54 when issued as "And the Band Played On (Down Among the Dead Men)."

Their self-titled debut album and third single, "American Shuffle"/"Hole in the Middle," followed in December and the band went to number one in Scandinavia. Leszek Karski (bass), Ray Arnott (drums), and Warren Morgan (piano) joined for their second album, Lights in the Night, which produced the singles "Welcome to the Universe"/"Lights in the Night" (July 1980) and "Media Man"/"Captains Beware" (December 1980). Their third album, Headlines, featured ex-Easybeats frontman Stevie Wright. The single, "Waiting for a Train"/"`A'," hit number seven in the U.K. and Headlines was Flash and the Pan's third number one album in Scandinavia. Their next album, Panorama, was only released in the U.K., where it reached number 69 in July 1983. Vanda and Young once again took on sole recording responsibilities for Early Morning Wake Up Call which comprised the singles "Midnight Man"/"Fat Night" (November 1984) and "Early Morning Wake Up Call"/"Look at That Woman Go" (February 1985).

In October 1986, the Easybeats reunited with Vanda and Young for a successful Australian tour and the EP Histor-Easy was released in November as a tour souvenir. Another Flash and the Pan album, Nights in France, was released in October 1987 before Vanda and Young once again revived the Flash and the Pan name for Burning Up the Night in 1992 and the singles "Burning Up the Night" (October) and "Living on Dreams" (March 1993).