R.I.P. Malcolm Young, who “leaves behind an enormous legacy that will live on forever”

By on November 18, 2017

We here at Night Flight HQ were saddened today to learn that Malcolm Young — guitarist and co-founder (with brother Angus) of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-inducted band AC/DC — has died after suffering from dementia for the past three years. He was 64.

If you’re an AC/DC fan you may want to check out our previous blog post on AC/DC: Highway To Hell, A Classic Album Under Review, a behind-the-scenes look at their fifth studio album (their sixth in Australia) released in 1979, and the band’s last album with lead singer singer Bon Scott.

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The AC/DC band’s Facebook page published the following statement today (November 18, 2017) about Young’s passing:

“It is with deepest sorrow that we inform you of the death of Malcolm Young, beloved husband, father, grandfather and brother. Malcolm had been suffering from Dementia for several years and passed away peacefully with his family by his bedside.

Renowned for his musical prowess Malcolm was a songwriter, guitarist, performer, producer and visionary who inspired many. From the outset, he knew what he wanted to achieve and, along with his younger brother, took to the world stage giving their all at every show. Nothing less would do for their fans.”

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His brother Angus added:

“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.”

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In October, the Young brothers lost their older brother George Young, the Easybeats guitarist and AC/DC’s longtime producer, at the age of 70.

Malcolm Young had formed AC/DC with brother Angus in 1973, taking on the role of rhythm guitarist to add big heavy rock riffs for lead guitarist Angus’s blistering solos.

As Joe Bonomo — author of AC/DC’s Highway to Hell (33 1/3 Series) — wrote on his music blog No Such Thing As Was today: “The greatest AC/DC songs were perpetual motion machines, and Malcolm was the one who set them in motion.”

Malcolm was an indispensable foil to his brother, and quite frequently could be seen standing behind Angus in band photos and cracking up at his antics (or trying not to).

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AC/DC’s first six studio albums (and one live album) offered up a muscular heavy rock sound and ferocity that prefigured punk rock and heavy metal both.

Rock journo Joe Carducci described the band this way in 1991’s Rock and the Pop Narcotic: Testament for the Electric Church:

“They kind of took the lumpen stomp of Slade and sort of added the blues croak of early Savoy Brown (Chris Youlden) and came up with a raw, narrowly focused, grittily compacted hard rock sound somewhere in the vicinity of the intersection of blues and metal at boogie … They became so popular by 1980, that today, if you cut open young execs, young housewives, rappers, house mixers, salsa fans, hip hopsters you’ll likely as not find that about fourteen rings back there’s a layer of molten rock sediment spewed by this Australian eruption.”

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Both brothers were credited as co-writers on every song the band recorded from their 1975 debut album High Voltage through their final album, 2014’s Rock or Bust.

It was after this last release, in September 2014, that Malcolm Young announced he would be permanently leaving the band due to suffering from dementia.

The family of Malcolm Young have asked instead of flowers to send donations to The Salvation Army.

R.I.P. Malcolm Young

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AC/DC in 1976

You can watch AC/DC: Highway To Hell, A Classic Album Under Review (read more about it here) and Back in Black: A Classic Album Under Review (we’ll have more to say about this one soon), as well as other great music documentaries — over on our Night Flight Plus!

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About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, assistant editor for the When You Awake blog, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.