Saturday, June 06, 2015

Easybeats, Grapefruits and AC/DC - A History Of The Young Brothers & Show # 563

When looking on the back of any AC/DC album that was released up to 1978’s Powerage, you will notice the production credits will read “Produced by Harry Vanda and George Young”. The two have a long musical history together working together in songwriting, producing and in having a connection to AC/DC. Both are perhaps best known for being songwriters and member of the Australian rock band The Easybeats. Influenced by the 60s British Invasion sound, many regard The Easybeats as Australia’s answer to The Beatles. The band released several albums and a string of successful singles throughout their time as a band, which lasted from 1964-1969. The Easybeats had a successful international hit with the song “Friday On My Mind” in 1966. The single was very successful in the US, UK and Australia cracking the Billboard top ten or higher, but the song is also notable for the songwriting credits. Written by George Young and Harry Vanda, this song is one of the many examples of the Vanda/Young songwriting partnership that began in The Easybeats. It was also a partnership that would continue on long after the band broke up at the end of 1969.

George Young is also the older brother of Angus and Malcolm Young of AC/DC. He would go on to produce the early Bon Scott-era AC/DC albums up to 1978’s Powerage, along with his Easybeats songwriting partner Harry Vanda. They also produced AC/DC’s 1988 album Blow Up Your Video and George produced the band’s 2000 album Stiff Upper Lip on his own. George Young even played bass on some of the band’s early albums and helped out at a few live gigs. Prior to this, however, George Young became involved in a variety of recording projects after The Easybeats disbanded in 1969. George Young also had an elder brother Alexander Young. Alexander stayed in London to pursue musical interests in 1963 when his family decided to immigrate to Australia from Glasgow, Scotland. Changing his name to George Alexander, he would become a member of the band Bobby Patrick Six Pack, touring Germany before forming the band Grapefruit. Another interesting side note, Alexander also played in two other bands Johnny And The Copycats and a band called My Dear Watson.

Alexander was signed as a songwriter with Apple Music Publishing Ltd. (The Beatles label) based on the strength of his song “Lullaby For A Lazy Day”, which was a trippy, psychedelic oriented song originally titled “Sgt. Pepper Circus”. The song would be featured on Grapefruit’s first album Around Grapefruit that was released in 1968. Being the first band signed to the Apple label, The Beatles took an interest in Grapefruit who were reportedly named by John Lennon after a book by Yoko Ono. Lennon & McCartney co-produced the song “Lullaby” and members of the Beatles assisted in recording sessions for Grapefruit when they were starting out. However, their recorded output only lasted from 1967-1969, leaving behind two albums and a handful of singles. Grapefruit’s first album Around Grapefruit was more in the psychedelic, melodic pop direction, while 1969’s Deep Water was more hard rock.

Alexander reconnected with his brother George in 1969 and Alexander along with Harry Vanda and George Young collaborated on and released several recordings under different band names such as Paintbox and Tramp and Haffy’s Whiskey Sour. Grapefruit also recorded one last, one off single “Universal Party/Sha-Sha”. Most notably, Alexander participated in Harry Vanda and George Young’s Marcus Hook Roll Band project. This project not only featured George and Alexander, but it also featured Angus and Malcolm Young in their first studio recording. This can be found on the 1973 album Tales Of Old Grand Daddy, which was reissued in June 2014.

In 1976, a song penned by Alexander Young by was recorded by AC/DC entitled “I’m A Rebel”, but is still as of today unreleased and remains in the vaults. Harry Vanda and George Young in addition to producing records also wrote songs together under a different synth rock outfit entitled Flash And The Pan from 1977-1992, releasing several albums and singles. Currently, Stevie Young (son of Alexander) who filled in for Malcolm on AC/DC’s Canadian tour in 1988 has now replaced Malcolm Young. He is featured on AC/DC’s Rock Or Bust album and is playing with them on their 2015 tour. All of this leads back to the fact that you never know what you will find when on the back of an album cover.

Saturday Night Playlist:

1. The G’s - There’s A Time
2. The Mongols - Sleepwalk
3. Mick Futures - Whatever You Want
4. By Divine Right - The Hill
5. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Art Star
6. Built To Spill - Another Day
7. The Hives - Early Morning Wake Up Call
8. Grapefruit - Lullaby
9. The Easybeats - She’s So Fine
10. The Easybeats - Friday On My Mind
11. Flash And The Pan - Don’t Vote
12. Flash And The Pan - Early Morning Waking Up Call
13. AC/DC - Dog Eat Dog
14. B.B King - Everyday I Have The Blues (Live at San Quentin 1990)
15. Public Image Limited - Intruder
16. Peter Gabriel - Banging On The Door
17. Jah Wobble, Jaki Liebezeit, Holger Czukay - How Much Are They?
18. Can - Mushroom
19. Super Visas - Jay’s Place
20. Tim Bradford - On The Line
21. Hooded Fang - Graves
22. The Reverb Syndicate - Hello World
23. Chad Vangaalen - Clinically Dead
24. The Vapids - Mikey Was A Punk
25. The Smiths - Sweet And Tender Hooligan
26. Iggy Pop - Family Affair

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for June 6. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

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