With the sad news this morning of the death of AC/DC Guitarist and co-Founder Malcolm Young it seems like another chapter in Rock History has closed. The irony is that, only a few weeks earlier, we heard of the death of Malcolm’s older brother George, himself co-founder of The Easybeats, a pivotal band of an earlier generation, and we just felt a little older and a little less willing to accept we’re starting to pass through this life. Malcolm’s death feels more tragic in a way – battling with Dementia and finally succumbing at 64, that still seems young (maybe not if you’re 21), and AC/DC, if we’re to look at bands like The Rolling Stones, still doing it after some 54 years as an example, still had many miles left to go and audiences left to discover their music. A band whose intent was purely visceral and not cerebral – a band that came along when things were in a state of musical flux. A band that, despite their claim at being Hard Rock, were embraced and emulated by countless Heavy Metal bands. A band that really didn’t ask more than to bang your head on the wall and scream at the top of your lungs. A band that won the respect of musicians across the board – as was evidence by who auditioned during their many replacement searches.
At a time when Hard Rock bands were transitioning over to Heavy Metal, AC/DC always stood out as something different. My first encounter with AC/DC came by way of their third album, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap. They were raw, loud, sinister and appealing in a primal sort of way.
And where some bands used that as a stepping off place, they stuck with it, not venturing too much past the snotty drunk kid, just around to raise hell and figure out the consequences in the morning. And they never failed to deliver.
But now that Malcolm is gone, leaving only Angus as the original member, (even though Malcolm left the band in 2014 when the early diagnosis of Dementia forced him into retirement) it signifies the end of an era, at least to those who remember their formative years.
As a reminder, here is a performance recorded at Golders Green in London on October 13, 1977 by BBC Radio 1 for their In Concert series.
Play loud – play very-very loud. And hoist a few for Malcolm. I’m sure he’d do the same for you.