kids encyclopedia robot

Malcolm Young facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Malcolm Young
Malcolm Young en 2010.jpg
Young performing in 2010
Background information
Birth name Malcolm Mitchell Young
Born (1953-01-06)6 January 1953
Glasgow, Scotland
Died 18 November 2017(2017-11-18) (aged 64)
Elizabeth Bay, New South Wales, Australia
Occupation(s) Musician
  • Guitar
  • vocals
Years active 1969–2014
Associated acts
  • AC/DC
  • Marcus Hook Roll Band

Malcolm Mitchell Young (6 January 1953 – 18 November 2017) was an Australian musician who was the co-founder, rhythm guitarist, backing vocalist and songwriter of AC/DC. Except for a brief absence in 1988, he was with the band from its beginning in 1973 until retiring in 2014 due to health reasons. As a member of AC/DC, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003.

Though his younger brother Angus was the more visible of the brothers, Malcolm was described as the driving force and the leader of the band. In 2014, Young stated that despite his retirement from the band, AC/DC was determined to continue making music with his blessing.

Young left AC/DC in mid-2014 to receive treatment for dementia. In September 2014, the band's management announced that he would be retiring permanently. He died from the effects of dementia on 18 November 2017.

Early life

Young's father, William Young (1911–1985), lived with his family at 6 Skerryvore Road in the Cranhill district of Glasgow. William worked first as a wheel boy in a rope works and then as a machine and saw operator in an asbestos and cement business. In 1940, he joined the Royal Air Force and served in World War II as a flight engine mechanic. After the war, he worked as a yard man for a builder and then as a postman. He married Margaret (1913–1988; maiden name also Young), who was a housewife.

The "big freeze" of 1963 was one of the worst winters on record in Scotland, with snow 8 feet (2.4 m) deep. A TV advertisement shown in Scotland at that time offered assisted travel for families to start a different life in Australia. Fifteen members of the Young family left Scotland in late June 1963, including fifth son George (1946–2017) and younger brothers Malcolm and Angus (b. 1955). Also in tow were his eldest brother Stephen (1933–1989), his only sister Margaret Horsburgh (1935–2019) and brother William Jr (b. 1940). Another elder brother, Alex (1938–1997), who was a member of Tony Sheridan's backup group The Bobby Patrick Big Six, stayed in Europe and was later a member of London-based group Grapefruit. Another brother, John (b. 1937), had migrated to Australia separately.

Malcolm later detailed the family's musical background: "All the males in our family played, Stevie, the oldest played accordion, Alex and John were the first couple to play guitar, and being older it was sort of passed down to George, then myself, then Angus." Initially staying at Villawood Migrant Hostel (a site later turned into Villawood Immigration Detention Centre) in Nissen huts, George met and became friends with another migrant, Harry Vanda. The Young family then moved into a semi-detached house at 4 Burleigh Street in the Sydney suburb of Burwood.

Music career

Malcolm Young at ACDC Monster of Rock Tour
Young in 1990

Both Angus and Malcolm Young were in a band with their brother George and his music partner Harry Vanda called Marcus Hook Roll Band. The project released an album in Australia called Tales of Old Grand Daddy. Malcolm Young played guitar on the 1974 release "Evie" by Stevie Wright, written and produced by Harry Vanda and George Young. The song is 11 minutes long and has three parts. Young played the guitar solo in Part One of the song. Malcolm Young was in a short lived Newcastle-based band The Velvet Underground (not the well-known 1960s band).

Malcolm Young was 20 when he and younger brother Angus formed AC/DC in 1973. Angus was on lead guitar, Malcolm on rhythm guitar, Colin Burgess on drums, Larry Van Kriedt on bass guitar and Dave Evans on vocals. "Can I Sit Next To You Girl," their first single, was later re-recorded with Bon Scott as their vocalist. They decided upon the name AC/DC after seeing the letters "AC/DC" on the back of their sister Margaret's sewing machine. In 1975 AC/DC had moved to Melbourne.

In early 1977 they returned to Britain and began a European tour with Black Sabbath. While Bon Scott and Ozzy Osbourne quickly became friends, some other members of the two bands did not get on so well. In one incident, Young alleged that Geezer Butler pulled a knife on him, although Butler has since refuted that.

Towards the end of 1977, bassist Mark Evans was fired; purportedly to find someone who could sing backup vocals with him. Evans described disagreement with Angus and Malcolm as a contributing factor. He was replaced by Cliff Williams.

In 1988, Young missed the majority of AC/DC's Blow Up Your Video World Tour. During his absence he was replaced by his nephew, Stevie Young.

Playing guitar in AC/DC from 1973 until his last live gig with the band in June 2010, Malcolm Young toured the world with few breaks on a 37-year run with the band. He continued to write songs in AC/DC until his self-imposed departure from the band in 2014, being replaced once again by his nephew Stevie.

During production of their album Power Up, a source inside the band leaked that they were working with tracks that Malcolm recorded before his passing, recordings even going as far back as 2003.

Illness and death

At the conclusion of the Black Ice World Tour, Young was diagnosed with lung cancer. It was treated at an early stage, so surgery was successful and the cancer was removed. He also had an unspecified heart problem and had a pacemaker.

In April 2014, Young became seriously ill and was unable to continue performing. On 16 April 2014, AC/DC released a note stating that Young would be "taking a break from the band due to ill health". However, singer Brian Johnson stated that despite earlier reports, AC/DC are not retiring: "We are definitely getting together in May in Vancouver. We're going to pick up guitars, have a plonk and see if anybody has got any tunes or ideas. If anything happens we'll record it." In July, Johnson revealed that Young was in hospital receiving treatment for an unspecified condition and during May recording sessions had been replaced in the studio by guitarist Stevie Young, his nephew. On 24 September 2014, the band's management announced that Young was officially retiring and would not be rejoining AC/DC. Stevie Young continued to fill in for Malcolm on the band's 2015 Rock or Bust World Tour and eventually became his full-time replacement.

On 26 September 2014, The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Young had been diagnosed with dementia and had been admitted to a nursing home where he could receive full-time care. A source close to Young was quoted in this article as saying that he had "complete loss of short-term memory". Young's family confirmed four days later that he had dementia, saying that Young "is suffering from dementia and the family thanks you for respecting their privacy".

In subsequent interviews, Angus stated that his brother had been experiencing lapses in memory and concentration before the Black Ice project and had been receiving treatment during the Black Ice World Tour which ended in 2010. Angus confirmed that although his brother did not play on the 2014 Rock or Bust album: "He still likes his music. We make sure he has his Chuck Berry, a little Buddy Holly." He added that AC/DC would continue according to his brother's wishes and standards: "Look, even with his health, Malcolm was touring until he couldn't do it anymore." In that same interview, Angus stated that Young was rehearsing AC/DC's songs repeatedly before every concert just to remember how they went.

Young died from the disease on 18 November 2017 at the age of 64, at Lulworth House in Elizabeth Bay. His funeral was held at St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney, on 28 November. Young's elder brother George died a few weeks before him, on 22 October 2017.

Legacy and influence

Malcolm Young street art (Nov 2017)
A street artist painting a Young portrait one day after Malcolm died

Influenced by 1950s rock and roll and blues-based rock guitarists of the 1960s and 1970s, Young was regarded as a leading rock exponent of rhythm guitar.

Guitar Player magazine has stated that the secret to Young's guitar technique was playing open chords through a series of Marshall amplifiers, set to low volume without high gain. This is contrary to a common belief of many rock guitarists that rhythm guitar should involve loud and overdriven power chords.

Dave Mustaine of Megadeth stated in a 2004 interview that he considered himself, Young, Rudolf Schenker of The Scorpions, and James Hetfield of Metallica to be the best rhythm guitarists in the world.

In 2006, he was the subject of a song (and album) title by Australian punk rock band Frenzal Rhomb: "Forever Malcolm Young".

In 2017, Gretsch guitars reissued the Gretsch G6131MY, a signature guitar based on Young's modified 1963 Gretsch Jet Firebird.

On the day of Young’s passing, several of the biggest names in rock and metal sent out tributes to Young, including Eddie Van Halen, Ozzy Osbourne, Black Sabbath, Lars Ulrich of Metallica, Guns N’ Roses, Dave Mustaine of Megadeth, Billy Idol, Paul Stanley of Kiss, Joe Walsh, Joe Satriani, Def Leppard, Scott Ian of Anthrax, Foo Fighters, Alice Cooper, and Vince Neil and Nikki Sixx of Mötley Crüe and many more. Many of these artists covered an AC/DC song at their concerts on the day of or around the time of Young’s passing as part of their tribute.

Awards and nominations

APRA Awards

The APRA Awards are presented annually from 1982 by the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA), "honouring composers and songwriters". They commenced in 1982.

Year Nominee / work Award Result
1995 "Big Gun" – Angus Young, Malcolm Young Most Played Australian Work Overseas Won
2001 "It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)" – Bon Scott, Angus Young, Malcolm Young Ten Best Australian Songs Ninth
2006 "Highway to Hell" – Bon Scott, Angus Young, Malcolm Young Most Played Australian Work Overseas Nominated
2007 "Highway to Hell" – Bon Scott, Angus Young, Malcolm Young Most Played Australian Work Overseas Nominated
2009 "Highway to Hell" – Bon Scott, Angus Young, Malcolm Young Most Played Australian Work Overseas Won
2010 "Rock 'n' Roll Train" – Angus Young, Malcolm Young Most Played Australian Work Overseas Won
Angus Young, Malcolm Young Songwriters of the Year Won
2011 "Highway to Hell" – Bon Scott, Angus Young, Malcolm Young Most Played Australian Work Overseas Won
2015 "Play Ball" - Angus Young, Malcolm Young Song of the Year Shortlisted
"Rock or Bust" - Angus Young, Malcolm Young Song of the Year Shortlisted
2022 "Shot in the Dark" Most Performed Rock Work Pending
"Realize" - Angus Young, Malcolm Young Song of the Year Shortlisted

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Malcolm Young para niños

kids search engine
Malcolm Young Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.