Rockbrat Wonders: About the ‘other’ Young brother, Grapefruit & Accept.

Posted: November 5, 2013 by Cowboy Col in Rockbrat Wonders:
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Amongst four Young brothers (and one sister Margaret), its well-known that three of those brothers went on to phenomenal music careers. Easybeat George, Malcolm and Angus to AC/DC (obviously) – but what do you know about the other brother, the one that stayed behind in Scotland, Alexander Young ?  The Young’s parents, William (1911–85) and Margaret (1913–88), emigrated from the Cranhill area of Glasgow, Scotland, to Sydney, Australia, in May 1963 with their children George, Margaret, Malcolm, and Angus  (eventually settling in the suburb of Burwood where Malcolm and Angus attended Ashfield Boys High School). When The Young family emigrated in 1963, Alexander would have been 25 years of age, 8 years older than George, 15 years senior to Malcolm and 17 years older than Angus. He chose to remain in Britain to pursue musical interests. Can’t help but wonder whether he would have had success with George as part of The Easybeats. Anyway, as time showed he took a different path – and counted the Beatles as his peers. In the early 60’s he was in a band called the Bobby Patrick Big Six and spent some time touring in Germany, before forming the band he became most famous for – Grapefruit. In 1967, at 29 years of age, Alexander was playing bass in the London based outfit, who also included three former members of Tony Rivers and the Castaways. Young was signed as songwriter with Apple Music Publishing Ltd. by Terry Doran, managing director of Apple, (friend of the Beatles and Lennon in particular), and later manager of Grapefruit, during the summer of 1967. The song writing contract was based on the strength of the song “Lullaby for a Lazy Day”, which John Lennon liked (he and McCartney also produced it). A tape with this song was found in Lennon’s personal belongings after his death. The song was originally called “Sgt. Pepper Circus”. Released on Apple , it sounds very trippy and very much of its period – with lyrics about dreaming and colours – its 67 era LSD fare. Grapefruit were named by John Lennon after his future wife, Yoko Ono’s book ‘Grapefruit’. Terry Doran saw some commercial potential in them. It certainly helped having heavyweights like the Beatles pushing your wagon – as Grapefruit received much support from The Beatles from 68- 69. The group was launched by the Beatles with a press conference in 1968, on 17 January, with the first single “Dear Delilah”.  As well as Lennon, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones, Donovan, and Cilla Black attended the press launch and all were photographed with the band. Jimi Hendrix was also reportedly also in attendance. Grapefruit were also, apparently, part of the Hey Jude Recording sessions.  Interestingly, Grapefruit were also signed to a US label Equinox, run by Terry Melcher, who had produced ‘Dear Delilah’. That song went on to be their most well-known, and most successful. It went to number 21 in the UK single chart in February 1968. Paul McCartney directed a promo film (never released) for the single “Elevator”.  John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison attended and helped in their recording sessions for the singles, as Grapefruit didn’t have a producer at the time.  As evidenced by all this support –  the Beatles must have been fairly confident that Grapefruit were headed for bigger things and no doubt thought that crossing Apple and Grapefruit spelt dollars and not fruit salad. However, after only two years, the group broke up in late 1969, leaving a handful of singles and two albums, Around Grapefruit (1968) and Deep Water (1969). The hard rocking “Deep Water” did crack the German Top 20, peaking at No. 19. Toward the end of their career, following the new material being written by Alexander, Grapefruit shifted from melodic pop to more of a rock-based sound. In 1969 Alexander joined forces with his brother, George Young, and his Easybeats partner Harry Vanda and, in 1970, they recorded for the Young Blood label as Paintbox and Tramp. He also participated in sessions for Vanda and Young’s Marcus Hook Roll Band. Alexander, along with George Young and Harry Vanda, revived the Grapefruit name in 1971 issuing, “Universal Party” / “Sha Sha”, but the reunion was short-lived. (Check out the catchy ‘Universal Party’ here). A song written by Alex Young,  “I’m a Rebel”, was recorded in 1976 by AC/DC but was never released. The song remains in Albert Productions vaults, being almost impossible to find (not included in ‘rare track’ box sets either). The song was later covered by Accept in 1979 for their 2nd album, 1980s ‘Im A Rebel’ , and is apparently, very close sounding to the original. Accept guitarist Wolf Hoffmann recalled the circumstances that led Alex Young to work with Accept: “He got involved with Accept through the producer, Dieter Dirks. Everybody after the first record said we have to have a radio hit. ‘Guys,  you need a radio hit and we have just the song for you. Why don’t you try this here?'”  If you think how good it sounds with Udo, one can only imagine how great it sounds with Bon on vocals. From 1995 till August 1997, Alex Young worked as a music manager with “Proud and Loud Management”, based in Hamburg. He sadly died of lung cancer in Hamburg-Sasel on 4 August 1997.  Go check out some of Alex Young’s music – and remember that the senior Young brother also made killer rock n roll, particularly if you dig stuff from the mid to late 60s, like the Easybeats / Small Faces etc.  Both Grapefruit albums (as well as a BBC Sessions CD) are available on CD here. What an amazingly talented set of brothers.     

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