Malcolm Young, brother of Angus and a co-founder of AC/DC, has died at the age of 64. He’d retired from the band in 2014 as a result of dementia issues and had been out of sight for the last couple of years. His nephew Stevie acted as a fill-in.
There are ten things about Malcolm and the history of AC/DC:
1. Before AC/DC, he was part of a band called The Velvet Underground. No, not that one.
2. There was also a band called Marcus Hook Roll Band, for which his brother George (who died last month at the age of 70) recruited him and Angus.
3. There was one Marcus Hook Roll Band record before Angus and Malcolm formed AC/DC. George served as the group’s producer. They recruited singer Dave Evens and released their first single on July 22, 1974.
4. That’s was it for Dave. He was replaced by roadie Bon Scott and–well, things turned out pretty well for a couple of years.
5. Angus and Bon got all the attention, but it was Malcolm steady, driving rhythm guitar that formed the foundation of the band’s sound. Here’s a great example.
6. AC/DC moved to London in 1976 with new bass player Mark Evans, who was then fired and replaced with Cliff Williams. Things really began to gel with the Powerage album.
7. Then Bon died after a drinking binge on February 19, 1980. His last single and video for the band was “Highway to Hell.”
8. Rather than pack it in, AC/DC found Brian Johnson from a band called Geordie. Just five months after Bon’s death, the group returned with Back in Black which has sold 50 million copies so far. In this song from the album, Malcolm’s rhythm guitar carries much of the song.
9. AC/DC ruled hard rock in the 90s with a series of best-selling albums. Malcolm, though, ran into trouble with drinking issues and had to sit out the Blow Up Your Video tour in 1988. This was the first time his nephew Stevie filled in. Malcolm went through rehab and returned to the band until September 2014 when he was no longer able to continue with the group. He was experiencing increasing lapses in memory and concentration as early as the Black Ice tour in 2010. In fact, he didn’t play on the Black Ice album at all. That was Stevie again. And once the tour was finished, he was diagnosed with lung cancer and required surgery. Heart problems also developed and he was fitted with a pacemaker.
Although Malcolm had been receiving treatment for his various health conditions beginning in 2010 at the age of 54, it was obvious that he wasn’t able to continue by early 2014. On April 16, the group said that Malcolm was taking a break from the band “due to ill health.” That September, the diagnosis of dementia hit the news. Finally, everything caught up with him and he died with his family next to him on Saturday, November 18.
10. Here’s the statement from the family.
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 on Saturday 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.
Malcolm is survived by his loving wife O’Linda, children Cara and Ross, son-in-law Josh, three grandchildren, sister and brother.
While thanking all for their overwhelming support and heartfelt condolences, the family ask that you respect their privacy during this time of heartbreak and grief.
For those wishing to send messages to the family please visit the Sydney Morning Herald tribute site for Malcolm Young which will be available later today.
The family have asked instead of flowers to send donations to The Salvation Army.
Brother Angus had this to say on Facebook.
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.