Revisiting Grapefruit, the Band That Connects The Beatles to AC/DC

Musical history has some surprises

19th January 1968: A press conference attended by (from left) Brian Jones, Donovan, Ringo Starr, John Lennon, Cilla Black and Paul McCartney to launch the pop group 'Grapefruit', whose records will be released on the Beatles' Apple label. 'Grapefruit' are (from left) George Alexander, Pete Swettenham, Geoffrey Swettenham and John Perry.
Getty Images

Look far enough into the annals of musical history and you’ll eventually find unexpected connections between artists you might never have expected. It’s the kind of musical history that leads to legendary punk bassist Mike Watt playing on a Kelly Clarkson album, for instance. Sometimes, the right artist can act as a bridge between two other seemingly disparate musicians. You might not think that The Beatles and AC/DC have much in common, for instance — but dig a little deeper and you’ll find some convergence there as well.

A new article in Far Out Magazine by Sam Kemp revisits the career of a band called Grapefruit who were signed to the Beatles’ Apple Records in the 1960s. As the article details, the band’s vocalist and bassist was one George Alexander, previously known as Alexander Young. And yes, he’s the older brother of Malcolm and Angus Young, who would go on to form AC/DC.

The group took their name from a book by Yoko Ono at John Lennon’s suggestion; as Kemp writes, Lennon and Paul McCartney also produced the band’s second single. What can listeners venturing into Grapefruit’s music in 2022 expect? An AllMusic review by Richie Unterberger of the group’s debut, Around Grapefruit, describes it as “tuneful, upbeat mid-tempo late-’60s British rock with good harmonies, creative ornate arrangements, and a very slight and very sunny psychedelic tinge.”

That certainly sounds promising. And if it’s a bridge between the Beatles and AC/DC you’re looking for, that sounds a lot easier on the ears than trying to mash up “Strawberry Fields Forever” with “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap.”

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