Malcolm Young, AC/DC guitarist, dies at age 64

LOS ANGELES — Malcolm Young, rhythm guitarist of AC/DC, the thunderous Australian rock band that he co-founded with his brother Angus in 1973, died Saturday after a long battle with dementia. He was 64.

The band, which was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003, announced his passing on its website with a plainspoken simplicity that reflected their music. At least part of the post was clearly written by Angus:

“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.”

While Angus’ schoolboy outfit and onstage aggression made him the focal point of the band throughout its career, his older brother’s crushing rhythm guitar anchored the band musically, and his no-nonsense toughness anchored it in virtually every other way. Malcolm’s last show with the band took place in Spain in 2010. His illness forced him to leave officially in 2014, although they continued to tour and record. with his nephew, Stevie.

AC/DC’s music is rock and roll stripped down to pure muscle and bone, like a supercharged version of Chuck Berry. It sounds simple but it isn’t — it has a melodic directness that makes for indelible, unforgettable hooks with songs that are as to-the-point as their titles: “Back in Black.” “Highway to Hell.” “TNT,” “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” and their biggest hit, “You Shook Me All Night Long.” The songs make as much use of air and tension as they do sound: A skull-crushing riff is often followed by silence or a stripped-down but driving beat; the brothers’ guitars often answer each other like singers duetting.

The two brothers co-wrote virtually every song the band recorded until 2014’s “Rock or Bust,” released after he’d left the band. The group’s early material was co-produced by their older brother George, a founder of Australian legends the Easybeats, who died last momth.

The Young brothers were born in Glasgow, Scotland and lived there until the early ’60s when the family emigrated to Sydney, Australia. Like several other transplants from the U.K. — AC/DC’s polar opposites the Bee Gees, for one — the brothers thrived in the country’s burgeoning music scene and George quickly found fame with the Easybeats and their global hits “Friday on My Mind.”

His younger brothers had a longer road to the top, and slogged it out before tough crowds in Australia’s bars before connecting with Scottish-born singer Bon Scott and releasing their first two albums, initially only in Australia, in 1975: “High Voltage” and “T.N.T.” The albums were produced by brother George and his songwriting partner Harry Vanda, who brought out the pop sensibilities in the band’s crushing template. The first album contains the formula from which the group rarely deviated: big riffs, a driving beat, throat-shredding vocals, shouted, stomping, fist-pumping choruses — and not least a sense of humor: The second song on the group’s debut album is called “She’s Got Balls”; their early hit “It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock and Roll” features a bagpipes solo.

The group signed with Atlantic Records in 1976 — they played New York’s punk mecca CBGB on their first U.S. tour — and their reputation grew quickly as albums followed in rapid succession: “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap,” “Let There Be Rock,” “Power Age.” Angus quickly became one of rock’s most unusual frontmen, and the contrast between his schoolboy clothes and the band’s crushing riffs only made them seem heavier. The group scored a hit album in Britain with 1978’s live “If You Want Blood You Got It” — the cover of which featured Angus with a bloodied guitar neck sticking out of his chest, cementing the band’s image.

Yet their music vaulted into another realm when they united with producer Robert John “Mutt” Lange — who at that point had worked mostly with British alternative acts but would later craft multiplatinum albums for Def Leppard and Shania Twain — for the 1979 album “Highway to Hell.” His razor-sharp production cast the band’s inherent melodicism into an even greater light, and the album was an international hit that over the years has sold more than 7 million copies in the U.S. alone.

The band was poised for even greater heights when vocalist Scott died of alcohol poisoning in early 1980. Scarred but undeterred, the band soon recruited British singer Brian Johnson — more of a screecher than a snarler like Scott — and recorded the biggest album of their career: 1980’s “Back in Black.” Driven by the singles “You Shook Me All Night Long” and the title track, the album vaulted the group into superstardom and has sold more than 50 million copies worldwide.

Its influence on the burgeoning heavy metal scene of the 1980s can’t be understated — their songs have been covered by hundreds of artists including Guns N’ Roses, whose Axl Rose filled in for Johnson on a 2016 AC/DC tour — but less obvious was the influence it had on other forms of music. Producer Rick Rubin has said that AC/DC is his all-time favorite band, and he brought the band’s stripped-down approach to both early hip-hop albums he helmed — LL Cool J’s “Radio” in 1985, Run-DMC’s “Raising Hell” the following year, which included a collaboration with Aerosmith that Rubin orchestrated — but also the rock and pop albums he’d oversee in the ensuing decades by artists from Slayer to Tom Petty and even Johnny Cash.

After “Back in Black,” the band eased into a global superstardom that would continue for the next three decades. More albums ensued and sold in multiplatinum quantities — “For Those About to Rock,” their last with Lange, “Flick of the Switch,” “Fly on the Wall” — but the sound became a bit repetitive and more years elapsed between releases. Still, the band remained a formidable touring force and continued to pack in giant crowds across the globe, its crushing sound and simple lyrics needing no translation. Malcolm suffered from alcoholism in the late 1980s and missed much of the “Blow Up Your Video” tour, but became sober and rejoined the band, remaining until his illness forced him to leave officially in 2014.

On Saturday morning Twitter was filled with tributes to him, from Ozzy Osbourne and Eddie Van Halen to Zac Brown and Ryan Adams.

ad-high_impact_4
Entertainment
Artists from Cirque du Soleil contribute art to Las Vegas art exhibit
Artists from Cirque du Soleil contribute art to Las Vegas gallery exhibit
Red Plate on the Las Vegas Strip serves a cocktail made with blooming jasmine tea
Red Plate on the Las Vegas Strip serves a cocktail made with jasmine tea
Benny the Ice Skating Dog
Benny is a Las Vegas Labrador who was rescued by former pro skater Cheryl Del Sanyo, and trained to ice skate. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Nevada State Museum
The Nevada State Museum of Las Vegas, located at the Springs Preserve, covers all eras of the state, from prehistoric to today.
Throw a better dinner party
Cash appears at Baseball Winter Meetings
Lights FC mascot Cash plays the electronic drums at the EZ Inflatables’ booth on Tuesday at the Baseball Winter Meetings trade show at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.
5 albums to soundtrack your holiday gatherings in style
1. Various Artists, “Holidays Rule," with Rufus Wainwright, The Shins, Calexico and more. 2. Various Artists, “We Wish You a Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year," with Lemmy Kilmister, Alice Cooper, Chuck Billy and others. 3. Various Artists, “Christmas on Death Row," featuring Snoop Dogg and Nate Dogg to name but a few. 4. Bright Eyes, “A Christmas Album.” 5. Various Artists, "The Motown Christmas Album." (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Inside the kitchen at Springs Preserve
The staff of Divine Events do party preparation in the kitchen at Divine Cafe at Springs Preserve. With nine parties the following day, this is a particularly busy time for the crew. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
WinterFest
WinterFest in Henderson.
Miss Rodeo America Fashion Show
The 28 women contestants of Miss Rodeo America compete in a fashion show at the Tropicana on Dec. 7, 2018.
Tournament Of Kings Holiday Show
Wizards and warriors are ready for the holidays at Excalibur's Tournament of Kings Holiday Dinner Show.
Take a dive with the Silverton mermaids
A visit to the Silverton Casino Hotel is not complete without taking in the popular, and very unique, mermaid show.
Cowboys and western aficionados can buy virtually anything at Cowboy Christmas
Vegas Golden Knights Christmas Display
In the Las Vegas Valley, the chances of getting a white Christmas are slim. But this year, you can have a “Knight” Christmas. A Henderson resident has a Christmas lights display that is synchronized to the entrance music for the Golden Knights. GG Misa’s Knights light show is played every 30 minutes from 5 to 10 nightly. His light show consists of two songs: Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” and the entrance music, “Le Castle Vania,” from the movie “John Wick.” The display is located at 730 Bollons Island St. (Richard Brian/Las Vegas Reivew-Journal)
Holiday Hooch At El Cortez is Just in Time For Repeal Day And Christmas
Holiday Hooch At El Cortez Is Just In Time For Repeal Day And Christmas. Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal
TV's LGBT superheroes
Green Valley Ranch's Winter's Village
The Mob Museum
Best Friend Menu Reveal Wednesday
Chef Roy Choi tells us what to expect from Wednesday’s Facebook Live Menu Reveal for his new Park MGM restaurant Best Friend. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Quick Chat With Criss Angel
James D. Gish and Susan Anton rehearse
Susan Anton will be special guest at James D. Gish’s holiday concerts Dec. 7 at Summerlin Library and Dec. 9 at Clark County Library. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio Winter Wonderland
"Majestic Holiday Magic" at the Bellagio Conservatory.
Underwater Santa At The Silverton
Santa takes a dive Sunday, December 2, at the Silverton Casino Hotel. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Cowabunga Bay Christmas Town
Las Vegas Natural History Museum
Las Vegas Natural History Museum, which opened in 1991, has exhibits of mechanical dinosaurs and taxidermied animals, along with live snakes, fish and sharks. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Magical Forest Lights
Cirque Du Soleil Performers Team Up For New Show "Kinekt"
Through dance, acrobatics and aerial arts, “Kinekt” tells a story all too familiar to modern families: how to maintain a human connection in the digital age. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ethel M Holiday Cactus Garden
The Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas
The Pinball Hall of Fame was created by Tim Arnold and opened in 2006. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jump! The Ultimate Dog Show at Springs Preserve in Las Vegas
Trainer Lou “Mack” McCammon guides several rescue dogs through a series of tricks and jumps two shows a day weekends through December at the Springs Preserve in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like