AC/DC guitarist Malcolm Young, who with his brother Angus Young co-founded the legendary hard rock band, has died, according to a statement released by the band on their official Facebook page. He was 64.
The statement did not reveal a cause of death, but the musician had been suffering from dementia, which had officially forced his retirement from the band in 2014. After his departure, his nephew Stevie Young took his place in the group.
Born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1953, Young’s family moved to Australia in 1963. In Sydney in 1973, he and his younger sibling, lead guitarist Angus, formed the hard rock/heavy metal band AC/DC, and went to to become not only life-long collaborators, but rock and roll legends. Their recording career began in 1975, and they released a string of successful albums that reached multi-platinum heights, such as Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, Highway to Hell, and High Voltage with singer Bon Scott, and Back In Black, For Those About to Rock We Salute You, and The Razors Edge with singer Brian Johnson, who joined the group after Scott’s death.
Without question the two Australian guitarist brothers formed a band and created a sound that remains on sky high one of the most influential, successful, and trailblazing in the history of recorded music. Named after an electrical current marker on their sister’s sewing machine, what the Young brothers did with AC/DC and the legacy they created and that remains, is a testament to not only their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame worthiness, but also their global status, one that was already popular in a cult sense when it started in the early 1970s and reached superstar heights in the early 1980s and which continues to this current day.
Whether it was with the band’s original singer, the late Bon Scott, whose combination of dirty, filthy yet perfectly mired in the bluesy grist for the mill sounds that was so essential to their early formative years, or the Beatles-type success levels with albums like Back in Black and For Those About To Rock, there was a simple yet perfectly razor-sharp, razor’s-edge attack to the music, which treaded on Stooges-style less-chords-is-more approach and wound up becoming an instantly recognizable and influential sound at once.
And of course, it was mainly because of the work put in by the Young brothers, lead by Malcolm. As songwriters, Malcolm and Angus came up with classic and now so memorable riff after riff in hits like, “Back in Black,” “Highway to Hell,” “For Those About to Rock, We Salute You,” the wildly popular “You Shook Me All Night Long,” and dozens more. With Malcolm’s steady rhythms in tandem with his younger brother’s more visually charismatic stage presence, replete with schoolboy outfit and Chuck Berry-like duck walks, they, and the band, visually and aurally, were a sight to behold, a musical powerhouse that sold and continues to sell millions of records, to all different types of fans all around the globe, all of whom have special places reserved for what AC/DC and the work of Angus and Malcolm Young have meant to them and continue to do so.
George Young, the brothers’ older sibling who was AC/DC’s longtime producer and a guitarist in the 1960s group The Easybeats who had a hit “Friday on my Mind,” also passed away in October this year at the age of 70.
Malcolm Young leaves behind a legacy with AC/DC that will never be equaled or tarnished, a musical endeavor that stretched and broke through conventions and became a global, communal hammer through a loudspeaker for all. He will be missed by legions upon legions of loyal fans who more than ever, should blare the music of AC/DC today as they have done every single day and will do so for the rest of their lives.
“I’m gonna ride on…”
RIP Malcolm Young
January 6, 1953 – November 18, 2017
Full statement from the official AC/DC Facebook page, with brother Angus Young’s part at the end of it.
Today it is with deep heartfelt sadness that AC/DC has to announce the passing of Malcolm Young.
Malcolm, along with Angus, was the founder and creator of AC/DC.
With enormous dedication and commitment he was the driving force behind the band.
As a guitarist, songwriter and visionary he was a perfectionist and a unique man.
He always stuck to his guns and did and said exactly what he wanted.
He took great pride in all that he endeavored.
His loyalty to the fans was unsurpassed.
As his brother it is hard to express in words what he has meant to me during my life, the bond we had was unique and very special.
He leaves behind an enormous legacy that will live on forever.
Malcolm, job well done.