Malcolm Young, one of the co-founders of the Australian rock band AC/DC, passed away on Saturday at the age of 64.
The Young family became a phenomenon for their role in shaping the rock world with hard-hitting music that bridged generations. Malcolm’s younger brother Angus, 62, is famous for the on-stage antics that he performs while wearing a schoolboy’s uniform. On Saturday morning, the band posted a photo of their late star with a statement on Facebook:
Malcolm spent the last three years struggling with dementia, which forced him to retire from the group a few years ago. In their statement, the band wrote, “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,” adding, “His loyalty to the fans was unsurpassed.”
It’s been a hard time for the family, as they lost their brother George in October, Rolling Stone reports. In a statement to Australian website SBS, the band said that Malcolm died peacefully on Saturday with his family beside him. They added, “From the outset, he knew what he wanted to achieve and, along with his younger brother, took to the world stage giving their all at every show. Nothing less would do for their fans.” SBS notes that the last time Malcolm was on stage with the group was in their “Black Ice” tour, running from 2008 to 2010–it was the forth highest-grossing tour of all time.
Already, fellow musicians have begun mourning the passing of the legend.
Canadian rockers “The Trews” thanked him “for all the riffs.”
Former Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Gus G. called Young “co-founder Of the greatest Rock n Roll band ever.”
Rolling Stone put AC/DC 72nd on their “100 Greatest Artists” list. The commentary for the entry was written by legendary music producer and co-president of Columbia Records Rick Rubin, who wrote, “Nothing gets in the way of the push-and-pull between the guitarists Angus and Malcolm Young, bassist Cliff Williams and drummer Phil Rudd. For me, it’s the embodiment of Rock & Roll.” Rubin added, “I’ll go on record as saying they’re the greatest Rock & Roll band of all time.”
According to Rolling Stone’s bio of the band, they were formed in 1973, ten years after Angus and Malcolm moved, with their family, from Scotland to Australia. In 1979, their album “Highway to Hell” propelled them into the spotlight and from there, it was all uphill for the group. Legendary singer Bon Scott, who spit out the growling vocals that are still iconic today died in 1980 after a drinking binge. He was replaced by Brian Johnson, who sings on their hit record “Back in Black.”
In 1991, three teens died at an AC/DC concert and the band went silent for a few years, reappearing in 1995 with their album “Ballbreaker,” produced by Rick Rubin. In 2008, they released “Black Ice,” which was sold only at Walmart and moved just under 800,000 copies in the first month.
Today, the band is nothing less than a staple of rock music. They’re in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland and Angus’ schoolboy costume has even spent time in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Malcolm is survived by a wife and two children.