Childhood & Early Life
Malcolm Mitchell Young was born on January 6, 1953, in Glasglow, Scotland, UK to William and Margaret Young. He was the sixth child of his parents.
Malcolm was ten years old, when his family shifted base to Sydney, Australia. Soon, he earned the reputation as a schoolyard brawler. Leaving school, he started working as a machine maintenance engineer for a bra company.
Malcolm’s tryst with music, especially guitar started early in life. He was in school when he first picked up a guitar. Talented as he was, he soon progressed from playing acoustic guitar to an electric one, taking tips from his brother George, who was a member of the band Easybeats.
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Early on in his career, Malcolm Young started playing guitar in local bands. In 1971, he joined Australian band Velvet Underground. Though the band underwent a number of line-up changes, they never quite made an impact.
In 1973, Velvet Underground disbanded. Following this, Malcolm joined forces with his younger brother Angus. Together the brother duo played for an obscure recording ‘Marcus Hook Roll Band Tales of Old Granddaddy’, before teaming up to form their own band AC/DC. In 1974, Dave Evans joined the brother’s AC/DC group and the trio began to tour nationally.
In 1976, AC/DC shifted base from Australia back to UK. Apart from the Young brothers’ duo, the team had Bon Scott as the lead singer, Phill Rudd as a drummer and Mark Evans filling up as bassist.
From 1976 to 1979, AC/DC came up with five albums including ‘High Voltage’, ‘Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap’, ‘Let There Be Rock’, ‘Powerage’ and ‘If You Want Blood’. With a streak of successful albums in their kitty, AC/DC soon gained a reputation and a fan following outside Australia.
In 1979, AC/DC came up with their first international breakthrough album ‘Highway to Hell’. It became the first AC/DC album to break into the US top 100, eventually reaching #17. Following ‘Highway to Hell’, AC/DC’s popularity rose tremendously. They became known for their high-energy live performances and a string of successful albums.
In 1979, AC/DC collaborated with ‘Mutt’ Lange for a record deal. However, just when everything looked perfect, the band suffered from a major blow. Bon Scott, the band’s lead singer, died due to alcohol poisoning. The news came in as a shock and left them jolted and traumatized. Recovering from it, they soon regrouped replacing Scott with Brian Johnson.
Keeping up with the success story, the band released their most anticipated album ‘Back in Black’ in 1980. As expected the album did give them the breakthrough and proved to be the magnum opus of their career. It was also the first project after Scott’s death and the first with Johnson as the lead singer. Selling more than 50 million copies, it went on to become the second-highest-selling album in history. ‘Back in Black’ is included amongst the ‘greatest’ albums list. The ensuing world tour was also extremely successful and cemented their position in the global music industry.
Following the blockbuster success of ‘Back in Black’ there was no stopping AC/DC. Their next album ‘For those About to Rock We Salute You’ became the first album to reach the #1 spot at the US charts. The super successful graph met with a sudden halt in the coming years as their work failed to make an impression or create magic.
After a dull phase, AC/DC bounced back with their album ‘Blow Up Your Mind’ in 1988. The album reached the #2 position at the charts. It received positive reception from the critics and the audience alike.
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Malcolm was a part of the consequent World Tour that started in February but soon he took a leave of absence. He had realized that his alcohol addiction had worsened and fearing to follow Scott’s footsteps, he backed out so as to address his drinking problems. His place in the band was temporarily filled up by his nephew, Stevie Young.
Upon returning from his hiatus, Malcolm Young picked up right from where he had left. The band came up with one of their most successful commercial albums ‘The Razor’s Edge’ in 1990. Its singles became chartbusters, peaking at important position at the Billboard chart. The album went multi-platinum and reached the US top ten. Several shows on the Razors Edge tour were recorded for the 1992 live album, titled ‘Live’.
In 1994, Malcolm together with Angus and Rudd indulged in jam sessions. Consequently, they started working on their next album ‘Ballbreaker’ that was released in 1995. In 1997, they came up with ‘Bonfire’ followed by ‘Stiff Upper Lip’ in 2000.
In 2008, AC/DC came up with their first studio album since ‘Stiff Upper Lip’ titled ‘Black Ice’. The album became a phenomenal hit, debuting at #1 position in 29 countries. It further became Columbia Records' biggest debut album. The success of the album helped it bag a multi-platinum certification across eight countries. They followed it with their first live album—‘Live at River Plate’—in 20 years.
Malcolm’s health deteriorated in 2014, so much so that by April he became seriously ill and was unable to perform. Though Johnson claimed that the absence was only temporary until Malcolm’s health improved, in September, it was revealed that Malcolm had officially retired and wouldn’t be joining the band in future. His nephew Stevie Young filled up Malcolm’s place permanently.
Personal Life, Legacy & Death
Malcolm Young’s personal life has been in the wraps. Not much is known about his love life or relationship status as well.
Malcolm’s health concerns first came to limelight during their ‘Blow Up Your Video’ world tour. It was during the tour that Malcolm took a leave of absence to address to his problem of alcohol addiction which had worsened during the years. Fearing the same fate as Scott’s, Malcolm resolved to put an end to his growing addiction to alcohol.
Fighting from alcohol addiction and finally winning over it, Malcolm rejoined his group. He continued playing for the band until in April 2014, when he no longer was able to perform. He took a leave of absence that eventually led to his official retirement from the band.
Malcolm Young was suffering from dementia or short term memory loss. He was admitted to a nursing home for full-time care. It was later that his brother Angus revealed that Malcolm was experiencing memory loss before the Black Ice project
It was at the conclusion of the Black Ice World Tour that reports of Malcolm being diagnosed with early stage of lung cancer surfaced. Malcolm also suffered from an unspecified heart problem.
Malcolm Young died at Lulworth House in Elizabeth Bay, on November 18, 2017. He was 64.