Saturday, November 18, 2017

Malcolm Young dead at 64

Malcolm Mitchell Young
January 6, 1953 - November 18, 2017
(photo credit: Wikicommons- click here for source)

Malcolm Young, rhythm guitarist and co-founder of Australian rock legends AC/DC, died Saturday morning after a three to four year battle with dementia. According to a statement released by the Young family, Young passed away peacefully with his family by his side. AC/DC released their own statement, saying "Today it is with deep heartfelt sadness that AC/DC has to announce the passing of Malcolm Young." His passing is almost a month after the passing of older brother and producer, George Young- who passed on October 22. Young was 64 years old. 

Born in Glasgow, Scotland, Malcolm was the seventh of eight children born to William and Margaret Young. Two years later, Malcolm's brother Angus was born. In 1963, most of the Young family would emigrate from Scotland to Australia. Growing up, Malcolm listened to rock music. He and his brother Angus got a glimpse of rock n roll stardom as their older brother George was a member of the Easybeats. During the early to mid 1960s, the Easybeats were fairly successful in Australia as they had several hit singles in the Australian top 10 charts- their most notable being "Friday on My Mind" in 1966. Given their brother's success, the Young brothers were in several bands throughout the late 1960s. By November 1973, Malcolm and Angus decided to join forces and form their own band. The brothers called their band AC/DC, after seeing the letters on their older sister Margaret's sewing machine. The band would go through many line up changes, with Malcolm and Angus being the only two consistent members. By 1975, the band were fronted by fellow Scotsman Bon Scott. With their older brother George and his former Easybeats bandmate Harry Vanda producing, AC/DC released their first few albums. These early albums featured future classics such as "TNT", "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap", "Let There Be Rock", and "Whole Lotta Rosie." All of these songs were written by the Young brothers and Scott. Along with being rhythm guitarist, Malcolm also served as the band's leader- with brother Angus serving as the band's mascot, decked out in a school boy's uniform. 

In 1979, the band released Highway to Hell. The album saw a more polished approached to the AC/DC sound and as a result, the band were on their way to reaching a more mainstream audience. Sadly in early 1980, the band were hit with a devastating blow when Bon Scott suddenly died at the age of 33 after a long night of drinking. With the blessing of Scott's family, AC/DC decided to continue on without Scott. Of the singers auditioned, the band hired former Geordie singer Brian Johnson. With Johnson, the band released Back in Black- which would go on to sell in the millions and become one of the best selling albums of all time. Given the album's success, AC/DC were able to continue with Johnson as their frontman. While he stayed in the band until his retirement, Malcolm briefly left the band in 1988 when he decided to enter rehab. Nephew Stevie Young would fill in for him for the band's two North American legs of their tour in support for Blow Up Your Video. During the later part of their career, AC/DC were honored with various awards- including an induction into the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame in 2003. 

In the last decade of his life, Malcolm's health slowly started to decline. Prior to the band recording and touring for 2008's Black Ice, Malcolm is said to have started struggling with his memory and concentration. By the end of the album's tour in 2010, he was diagnosed with lung cancer. The cancer, however, was detected early and was successfully removed. During the surgery, it was also discovered that Malcolm had a heart condition that would require him to have a pacemaker installed. In 2014, Malcolm was admitted to a nursing home to be treated for his dementia. With this, Malcolm was forced to retire from AC/DC. Nephew Stevie Young returned to AC/DC, this time as Malcolm's permanent replacement, who they recorded 2014's Rock or Bust with.  After Malcolm's retirement, the band were seemingly cursed with bad luck- with Phil Rudd's arrest for an attempted hit in 2014, Brian Johnson's  unceremonious firing due to a deafness scare and Cliff William's exit after the Rock or Bust tour in 2016. As of this writing, the future of AC/DC is unknown.

Malcolm is survived by his wife Linda and their two children, Cara and Ross. He is also survived by his sister Margaret and his brothers Angus, John and William.