Nov 18, 2017: AC/DC Co-Founder Malcolm Young—Obituary

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Malcolm Young (Photo via AC/DC’s Facebook page)

The news caused classic rock fans to drop whatever they were doing. AC/DC announced, on November 18, 2017, the death of their co-founder, rhythm guitarist, backing vocalist and songwriter, Malcolm Young. Young, born January 6, 1953, was 64. He had been diagnosed with lung cancer several years earlier and had taken a leave of absence from the band in 2014 for treatment for dementia.

On their Facebook page, the group wrote:

“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.”

Angus Young wrote: “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.”

Upon hearing the news, Eddie Van Halen wrote on his social media accounts: “Malcolm was my friend and the heart and soul of AC/DC. I had some of the best times of my life with him on our 1984 European tour. He will be missed.”

Related: Rock legends pay tribute to Young

The classic rock band suffered unspeakable tragedy that autumn. The Youngs’ brother George, the producer of many of the band’s albums, died on Oct. 22, 2017. George and Harry Vanda, bandmates in the Easybeats, produced AC/DC’s first five albums, beginning with the initial Australian version of High Voltage in 1975 and continuing with T.N.T. (also 1975), Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (1976), Let There Be Rock (1977) and Powerage (1978).

Watch this performance of this songwriting collaborations between Malcolm Young, Angus Young and Brian Johnson

Malcolm, Angus and George Young were born in Glasgow, Scotland and moved to Sydney, Australia in 1963. Malcolm and younger brother Angus, formed AC/DC in 1973 and in 1975, with brother George and Vanda producing, released their Australian debut, High Voltage.

AC/DC was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003. Rock of Bust, the group’s 2014 album, was their first that did not include Malcolm. He retired from touring with the band in 2010.

The group’s original lead singer, Bon Scott, passed away in 1980. Brian Johnson, AC/DC’s singer beginning in 1980, left the band in 2016 due to hearing loss before returning in 2020 for Power Up. The first album on which he sang with the group, 1980’s Back in Black, is the second-best-selling album of all-time worldwide, with more than 50 million copies sold. The title track from that album is considered one of AC/DC’s most iconic songs, along with classic rock anthems such as “Highway to Hell,” “For Those About to Rock (We Salute You),” “Dirty Deeds Done Cheap,” “Let There Be Rock” and “Whole Lotta Rosie.”

In all, AC/DC is said to have sold more than 200 million records worldwide.

Related: The inside story of AC/DC’s Black in Black

Best Classic Bands Staff

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