Rhythm guitarist was the co-founder of, and driving force behind, the Australian rock band AC/DC
Malcolm Young, who has died aged 64, was the driving force behind AC/DC, the rock outfit that sold more than 200m albums over 40 years to become one of the highest-grossing bands of all time. His brother Angus, the band’s lead guitarist, may have been the most recognisable character in AC/DC, largely thanks to his habit of wearing school uniform on stage, but it was Malcolm whose inventive rhythm guitar and storming riffs formed the backbone of the band’s sound. Malcolm often took the crucial decisions about the band’s strategy, and he became notorious for abruptly firing various managers, producers and band members.
AC/DC rocketed into rock’s front rank with the release of Highway to Hell in 1979. Its swaggering juggernaut of a title track encapsulated everything that would make AC/DC great. Bass, drums and crushing guitar chords created a roaring bulldozer of sound, enhanced by Angus Young’s molten soloing, while the lead singer Bon Scott howled soulfully overhead. Disaster threatened the following year when the charismatic Scott died from alcohol poisoning. They came back with their next album, Back in Black (1980), featuring a new vocalist, Brian Johnson. It bristled with such powerhouse tracks as Hells Bells, You Shook Me All Night Long and the title song, and was a defiant statement of intent that sold over 50m copies.