19 April 2009

Grapefruit - Dear Delilah (b/w "Dead Boot")


Label: RCA
Year of Release: 1968

McCartney-esque cries of "You bounder! You cheat!" are likely to come floating up from the virtual ether about this one, since it was technically a hit, nosing up to number 21 in the British charts. Still, a staple of golden oldie radio it most certainly is not, and I think we can safely give both it and the band an entry on this blog without too many people shouting about their mainstream nature.

Grapefruit are yet another example of the ubiquity of the Young family in rock music, as the lead singer Alexander Young is the sibling of George Young of the Easybeats, and of course also Angus and Malcolm Young of AC/DC. Unlike those particular notables, however, his career appears to have been restricted to a couple of minor hits with this outfit then a tumble into obscurity.

They were certainly given opportunities in spades, being signed to the Beatles' publishing arm of Apple, touted by Lennon and McCartney as a great up-and-coming act (Young can also be heard shouting on "Hey Jude" somewhere deep in the mix), and generally given a lot of preening and attention. Sadly, like a great many Apple acts they didn't register as highly with the public as perhaps the Fab Four anticipated, although the fact they managed minor hits at all still puts them head and shoulders above other colleagues such as Jackie Lomax and Fire, and - erm - The Black Dyke Mills Band.

"Dear Delilah" is their most successful single, and if we wanted to be really critical, we could argue that it's not actually as good as numerous flops which were released by other artists around the same time. For all that, though (and we could carp on about the fairness of the charts forever) it utilises phasing, moody melodies and a chorus that's just about catchy and swirly enough to pass the electric lemonade test. The B-side "Dead Boot" is slight melodically but conceptually strange, appearing to be a mourning ditty written as an ode to a knackered old shoe, which one can only assume came from the John Entwhistle school of lyric writing, involving quite literally writing about "what's around you".

The guitarist John Perry later tasted success again in The Only Ones - the rest seem to have slipped off the radar, with Young working mostly as a session musician in the industry after Grapefruit finally split in 1969.

Download it Here.

Oh look - and somebody's uploaded a French TV appearance of theirs on to YouTube:

One of my personal Grapefruit favourites is "Lullaby For A Lazy Day" which is frequently incorrectly identified as a Beatles out-take - you can hear it for yourself over on YouTube where it's been mislabelled once again.

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