John Swan was born in Glasgow, Scotland, and immigrated with his family to Australia when he was still a child. He has been on the Australian music scene since he was 14 years old and has become part of this country’s musical backbone playing first as a drummer, then as a singer with many of the country’s top rock and roll outfits.
In 1978 he released his first album “Into The Night” with WEA Records. Swanee’s first major chart success was a great rendition of Tim Hardin’s “If I Were A Carpenter” from the album “This Time It’s Different”. Success with the next 2 singles from the album immediately followed. “Lady What’s Your Name” and “Temporary Heartache” both screamed straight up the charts.
Swanee played all over the country, winning new fans wherever he went. He built a reputation as one of the best and most respected rock‘n’roll singers in the country.
John has supported many international tours including AC/DC, Tina Turner, Joe Cocker, Bad Company, Deep Purple, Robin Trower, 10CC and Johnny Winter. Also, by invitation on the Australian tours of INXS, John Farnham, Marcia Hines, Tommy Emmanuel, Midnight Oil, Renee Geyer, Jimmy Barnes and many others. Swanee enjoyed continued success leading up to a phone call from Party Boy Paul Christie looking for a new front man and he needed, by his admission, “the best rock ‘n’ roll voice in the country”.
Along came the Party Boys’ self titled album which went #1 in 3 weeks thanks to the success of the number one single ‘He’s Gonna Step On You Again’ and two top 10 hits ‘Hold Your Head Up’ and ‘Gloria’.
After a break Swanee released a new CD ‘Heart and Soul’ with his old record company Warner Music as well as the compilation ‘Days Gone By’ – Swanee’s hits that had not previously been available on CD.
In 2000, John came off the road to get sober after too many years of hard partying. A long distance recording project with Australian producer Mark Moffat, now based in Nashville, soon turned into a full blown album, ‘Have A Little Faith’. “It was initially going to be an acoustic album but then it started to rock… I truly believe my singing has gotten much stronger since I’ve been sober.”
“My main thing these days,” he says, “is working with the next generation. I’m trying to show them from my own experiences that you don’t have to screw up your life and that you can be more creative and challenge yourself when you’re straight… in fact, the longer you do it that way, the better you get!”
Swanee has become the ambassador for the Orana Inc disabled workshops. To do this properly he is moving back to Adelaide. Its very exciting times – “I will also be taking a drug and alcohol program into schools in S.A. Its unfinished business; i want to give back to the community.”