Malcolm Young might not be the most famous guitarist in the world of rock n roll, see Eddie Van Halen or Slash but the driving force behind AC/DC who passed away recently from dementia was one of the most influential players in the history of music.
So many legends of Rock have since come out and payed their respects to the rhythm guitarist who helped form AC/DC in Sydney in 1973 and co-wrote so many of the bands greatest songs. Dave Grohl, Kiss singer Paul Stanley, Gun N Roses and Ozzy Osbourne have expressed how much Malcolm meant to them.
Everybody has their own memories of the first time they listened to AC/DC. I first discovered the riff-masters as I was lying in a hospital bed at 16 years old after my accident. Another double amputee Alan Marriott came in to visit and give me a pep talk, he gave me a tape of ‘Back in Black’, the album that would go on to hit 200 million in sales, right up there with Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’.
I think Alan sensed I might need it, an outlet to vent my frustration of what was happening, he was right. For me AC/DC were a gateway to Slayer, Metallica, Manson, Nine Inch Nails. The songs became iconic across a lot of their albums, mostly thanks to Malcolm Young. ‘TNT’, ‘Dirty deeds done dirt cheap’, ‘Highway to Hell’, I could go on.
Almost anywhere you’d go, AC/DC were being played somewhere, parties, record stores, on the radio, at sporting events, even as warm up music for thousands of bands worldwide, you want to get a crowd in the mood for your gig, play AC/DC. They were accessible enough to penetrate the mainstream but edgy enough to get street cred.
The critics would say the songs were simple, that any 14 year old in his bedroom with a $30 amp could play, but that was never the point, the riffs were pile drivers, and that mixed in with Bon Scott or Brian Johnson’s voice and the Angus showmanship created emotions that few bands could match.
Malcolm Young played it straight, didn’t care about trends or fame, he may have stood behind Angus on stage but that never made him less important. He loved to play guitar and was bloody good at it, he inspired so many kids to pick up a six string and he gave millions of people a gift, the gift of so many wonderful memories of listening to the songs he helped create. RIP Malcolm.