Alexander Young (musician)

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Alex Young
Born 28 December 1938
Glasgow, Scotland, UK
Died 4 August 1997(1997-08-04) (aged 58)
Hamburg, Germany
Cause of death Lung Cancer
Other names George Alexander

Alexander Young (28 December 1938 – 4 August 1997), also known as George Alexander, was a Scottish singer, songwriter, saxophonist, bassist, guitarist and session musician. He is an elder brother of George Young, the rhythm guitarist and founding member of the Easybeats, as well as Malcolm and Angus Young, founding members of the Australian hard rock band AC/DC, and the younger brother of Stephen Young, the father of Stevie Young, who was also a member of AC/DC.


William Young (born February 16, 1911) and his family lived at 6 Skerryvore Road in the Cranhill district of Glasgow in Scotland.[1] William worked first as a wheel boy in a rope works and then as a machine / saw operator in an asbestos / cement business. In 1940 William joined the Royal Air Force serving in World War 2 as a flight engine mechanic. After the war William worked as a yard man for a builder and then as a postman. His wife Margaret (born July 14, 1913, her maiden name was also Young) was a housewife.[1]

The 'big freeze' of 1963 was the worst winter on record in Scotland with snow eight feet deep.[2] A TV advertisement at the same time offered assisted travel for families for a different life in Australia.[2] 15 members of the Young family left Scotland by aeroplane in late June 1963[2] including fifth son, George (6 November 1946 – 22 October 2017), and younger brothers, Malcolm (January 6, 1953 – November 18, 2017) and Angus Young (born March 31, 1955).[1][2] Also aboard were his eldest brother Stephen (June 24, 1933 – 1989), his only sister, Mrs Margaret Horsburgh (born May 2, 1935) and brother, William Jr (born December 15, 1940).[3]:6–7 Alex chose to remain in Britain to pursue musical interests.


When his family emigrated to Sydney, Alex was in a band called the Bobby Patrick Big Six and spent some time in Germany.[4] Later, in 1967, Alexander formed and played bass in the London-based band Grapefruit, initially called "The Grapefruit", with three former members of Tony Rivers and the Castaways, John Perry, Geoff Swettenham, and Pete Swettenham.[5]

Young was signed as songwriter with Apple Music Publishing Ltd. by Terry Doran, managing director of Apple, friend of The Beatles, and later manager of Grapefruit, during the summer of 1967.[5] The song writing contract was based on the strength of the song "Lullaby for a Lazy Day", which John Lennon liked. A tape with this song was found in his personal belongings.

Grapefruit received some support from The Beatles and released two albums and several singles during 1968 and 1969. The group was launched by The Beatles with a press conference in 1968, on 17 January, with the first single "Dear Delilah". 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".[5] John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison attended and helped in their recording sessions for the singles, as Grapefruit did not have a producer at the time. However, the group broke up in late 1969, with only Young remaining in the music business as a session musician.

A song written by Young, "I'm a Rebel", was recorded in September 1976 by his brothers' band AC/DC, but was never released. Young sang lead vocals on the track, with regular AC/DC vocalist Bon Scott on backing vocals. The song was later covered by the German group Accept.[6]

He released another single, "Sha-Sha"/"Universal Party", under the name Grapefruit with George Young and Harry Vanda.[5]

From 1995 until August 1997, Young worked as a music manager with "Proud and Loud Management", based in Hamburg. He died of lung cancer in Hamburg-Sasel on 4 August 1997.[7]


  1. ^ a b c "Item details for: A1877, May 1963 Young W". National Archive of Australia. 13 February 2009. Retrieved 23 October 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Easy Beats to AC/DC, The Story of Aussie Rock". BBC TV. Retrieved 4 November 2017. 
  3. ^ Tait, John Francis; ProQuest (2010), Vanda & Young: Inside Australia's Hit Factory, University of New South Wales Press, ISBN 978-1-74223-217-1 
  4. ^ "The Bobby Patrick Big Six". 
  5. ^ a b c d Richie Unterberger. "Grapefruit". AllMusic. 
  6. ^ Dome, Malcolm and Ewing, Jerry: The AC/DC Encyclopaedia. Chrome Dreams, 2008, p. 101
  7. ^ "Rockbrat Wonders: About the 'other' Young brother, Grapefruit & Accept. - The Rockbrat Blog". The Rockbrat Blog. 

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