Love is not in the Air: Aussie legends sue US pop duo

Picture of Glass Candy from FacebookThe n music legends behind John Paul Young’s famed hit Love is in the Air – Harry Vanda and the late George Young – are suing an American electro pop duo and France’s national air carrier for allegedly ripping off the song.

The case was filed in the Federal Court just days ahead of Mr Young’s death in late October.

The owners of the copyright of the song, former rich lister Robert Albert’s Boomerang Investments, Mr Vanda and Mr Young allege in the claim that the song Warm in the Winter by Portland, Oregon, hipster band Glass Candy contains similarities to the beloved Aussie disco hit.

Societe Air France, a subsidiary of Air France-KLM SA which operates the airline Air France, is also named as a defendant in the case for its use of the song in a 2015 advertising campaign, France is in the Air.

The claim alleges that Warm in the Winter contains the same line ‘Love is in the Air’ as in the original song, Love is in the Air. The melody in which that line is sung is also alleged to mimic that of the Vanda-Young written hit.

The Glass Candy song includes different instrumentation to the Vanda-Young-written hit and does not include the song’s famous chorus-led crescendo.

The song was released by Glass Candy in 2011 but received international recognition when it was used by the French airline in the ad campaign and also its safety videos.

John Paul Young released the song in 1977 and it became a worldwide hit, reaching the top 10 charts in Britain, the US and . The song had a second life when it was used in the 1992 hit film Strictly Ballroom.

Justice Nye Perram on Friday allowed for the n music powerhouses to serve Glass Candy and the writers of the song, John Padgett – also known by his stage name Johnny Jewel – and Lori Monahan, while overseas.

In making his ruling allowing the service of the American-based defendants, Justice Perram found there was a case for Glass Candy, Mr Padgett, Ms Monahan and the band’s n distributor Kobalt Music and Air France to answer.

“The applicants say that Warm in the Winter contains the same line Love is in the Air as the applicants’ song and that, in effect, the melody for that line is also the same,” Justice Perram said.

“There is also some evidence that the subsequent chordal structure of both songs is the same,” Justice Perram said.

“I have listened to both songs and doing so arguably supports that view. I am satisfied, therefore, that there is a prima facie case.”

Kobalt Music, is believed to be defending the claim. It represents local artists and bands including Tim Minchin and Art vs Science, while its international roster includes LCD Sound System, Yeasayer and Pearl Jam. The company has been contacted for comment.

Air France has also been contacted for comment. It is also believed to be defending the claim.

Glass Candy and the writers of the song could not be reached for comment. The band includes Mr Padgett and Ida No as its members. Mr Padgett is also involved in electronic music group Chromatics.

Warm in the Winter also featured on the sound track for US television series Scream Queens.

Mr Vanda and Mr Young are widely known as two of the founding members of famed n 1960s breakthrough band, the Easybeats.

The duo were also a songwriting powerhouse with a long list of hits to their name, including several of John Paul Young’s key songs.

The Vanda-Young writing and production team were also behind several of n rock band AC/DC’s most successful albums, including Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, Let There Be Rock and High Voltage.

They also worked with n rock groups Rose Tattoo and the Angels.

Mr Young died on October 22. His brother Malcolm Young, the rhythm guitarist in AC/DC died a few weeks later.

Mr Albert is a member of the wealthy Albert family, the clan behind the radio and music empire founded through J Albert and Son. In the 1960s the family set up Albert Productions, one of ‘s iconic record labels, which included the Easybeats and AC/DC as signings.

The Albert Music empire was sold to BMG in 2016.

Boomerang Investments appears to be named after the family’s “gentlemen schooner” Boomerang, which was donated by the family to the Sydney Heritage Fleet in 1988. It is ultimately owned by members of the Albert family.

The case before Justice Perram continues.