K-Chuck Radio: The evolution of Dragon’s “Young Years”

Chuck Miller is a fan of the rock band Dragon, a New Zealand / Australian combo that has rocked Down Under for over 45 years.  And apparently one of their classic songs is making a push back into prominence in Australia … and may be poised to punch its way into the American music scene.

I hope I hope I hope.

Dragon’s lineup has fluctuated over time, going from prog-rock in the early 1970’s to carefully crafted pop and rock hits in the late 1970’s and 1980’s, and evolving into a classic rock band ever since.

By 1989, Dragon had released an album called Bondi Road, and their lineup was essentially the Hunter brothers, lead singer Marc and guitarist Todd, along with American keyboardist Alan Mansfield.  This track, “Young Years,” was the first single off the album, and it made the Australian Top 10.  The song was co-written by Alan Mansfield and his wife, New Zealand rock singer Sharon O’Neill.  This is important.  You will see why.

A few years later, Dragon released Incarnations, an album of reinterpreted Dragon classics.  On this CD, “Young Years” was covered as a country music song, with an up-and-coming Australian singer-guitarist named Keith Urban as one of the session musicians.  Hmm… Keith Urban… whatever became of him?

Several years later, Marc Hunter was diagnosed with aggressive throat cancer, and the beloved Dragon frontman was the recipient of two benefit concerts to honor Dragon’s legacy.  During that concert, “Young Years” was covered by Australian rock singers Kevin Bennett and Margaret Urlich, with Sharon O’Neill joining in.

We’re now going to fast forward to 2018.  Ben Ransom, a popular Australian country-rock performer, has covered “Young Years” – and Sharon O’Neill guest sings on it as well.  It’s been racing up the Oz Rock music charts … and Ben Ransom’s music has started to filter up to the United States.

I guess it is true.  You really CAN’T let a good song go.

Even if it is, at this point in time, enjoying its OWN young years. 😀