Malcolm Young

I got a shock last night, reading Mrs 1537’s tablet over her shoulder I saw she was browsing the Daily Mail website* when I spotted the words AC/DC and swooped like a hawk to see what was up.  Sadly it was a story about how Malcolm Young is really ill and may never record, or play live again.  It’s all very vague and wildly speculative, with unconfirmed reports of a stroke and references to an unnamed band member’s illness during the making of Black Ice.  Which, basically, is entirely to be expected given the levels of secrecy and privacy AC/DC operate under when not strutting their stuff.

But anyway, I was really saddened to hear the news, such as it was because Malcolm Young’s rhythm guitar is such an underrated component of my favourite band’s sound.  I once read that this is because he plays runs more than most players, which lets Cliff Williams bass riff underneath, fattening the sound**.    I’ve always thought he was cool as fuck, being the guy in the background driving the sound onwards, being a songwriter in the biggest hard rock band on the planet and pretty much being capable of walking down the road unmolested.  Rumour has it he really was the driving force within the band too in terms of when they worked, recorded and took time off, when Malcolm said it was time to go back to work, that’s when they reconvened and fired up the big rock machine.  I’ve seen AC/DC six times but only seen Malcolm Young five times, the first time I saw them in 1988 in my first ever gig he was on a brief sabbatical as his drinking had got on top of him and he was replaced for that end of the tour by a cousin Stevie Young^.

Malcolm Young 01

There’s a message up now on the official AC/DC site saying he’s taking a break and asking people to respect his family’s privacy.  As a fan I just want to send good vibes his way; Ride on.

And it’s another red light nightmare
Another red light street
And I ain’t too old to hurry
Cause I ain’t too old to die
But I sure am hard to beat
Ride on

376 Down (Still).

*entertaining website from the hatefully right-wing middle-class UK version of Pravda, which loses all the politics (mostly) and fills it with celebrity tittle-tattle and nonsense; subject of the great Radiohead track, umm, ‘Daily Mail’.

**Whether this half-remembered drivel I read once in my teenage years is accurate, or not I have no idea, as avid collector that I am, I don’t know my, increasingly shapely, ass from my elbow where musical technicalities are concerned.

^from the Starfighters, remember them? most don’t.

From the Steel Crazy compilation - also featuring Brian Johnson & Geordie
From the Steel Crazy compilation – also featuring Brian Johnson & Geordie

22 thoughts on “Malcolm Young

    1. Yup – I took myself off to Wembley Arena in London to see them at the tender age of 16, all by myself. I’ll have to tell the tale properly at some point, it was an adventure.

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  1. Not only did Malcolm lay down some fantastic rhythms and songwriting in ACDC but man when I think of Malcolm Young I think of the dude on the Highway To Hell album cover.
    Hope he pulls thru…..

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  2. We here in the house of Sim shed some tears over Mal Young too. The hubs worships this band and I think when Mal or Angus go, we’ll be having our own “State Funeral” for those dudes (or wear black with a red arm band in respect).

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      1. Yes. And already there’s been a bit of a media frenzy.

        I remember back when Blow Up Your Video was out and Malcolm had to take a break from touring. All you can do is hope for the man’s health, because let’s face it…as fans we do care about the artists who have impacted our lives.

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      2. Very much so, although if I was playing devil’s advocate you could also argue that it goes with the turf to an extent – but I don’t really believe that.

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  3. Very sad to have read about Malcolm Young as well. As a guitarist I can attest to his prowess as a premiere rhythm guitarist. And when I was a beginner guitarist as a wee lad the AC/DC songbook was my Bible, allowing me to feel as if I may just figure this music thing out.

    High Voltage, Let There Be Rock, Powerage, were my soundtracks to a very rock n’ roll youth. “Sin City” still sends chills down my spine. Let’s hope this is something he can beat.

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      1. Yes! Agreed! It’s as bad as Yahoo news. Canada has its own – The SUN newspapers. The Toronto Sun is our version of daily mail around here.

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