John Swan was born John Archibold Dixon Swan in Glasgow, Scotland in 1952.
He emigrated to Australia with his family in 1961 and was the only child of six to keep his natural father’s surname when his mother remarried in the mid-60s (his younger brother is Aussie rocker and ex-Cold Chisel vocalist, Jimmy Barnes).
After a stint as vocalist with Fraternity and with Feather, Swan released his debut single with the band Swanee (Crazy Dreams) in September 1979.
The death of two members of the band’s touring road crew in a road accident on 12 April 1980 kept Swanee out of the limelight for a while.
The group fell apart for a while, then took another listen to the album they had been recording, scrapped it and started again.
The resulting album, Into The Night, was dedicated to the late Alan Dallow and Billy Rowe.
In late 1981, Swanee’s version of If I Were a Carpenter became a national hit.
The single was a precursor to the 1982 album This Time It’s Different – a self-admitted attempt to score airplay on AM radio which spawned another two hit singles with Temporary Heartache and Lady What’s Your Name.
In 1987, Swan replaced Angry Anderson as the lead singer of The Party Boys, a touring band with floating membership, formed in 1983. Swan’s tenure with the band proved to be the group’s most successful period with a cover of the John Kongos hit He’s Gonna Step on You Again becoming a #1 hit, followed up with a version of Argent‘s Hold Your Head Up that also went Top 10.