Brian Johnson’s emotional tribute to Malcolm Young

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FORMER AC/DC star Brian Johnson has paid tribute to his former bandmate Malcolm Young.

The band’s former singer penned a long note on his official website with a headline that stated, “For 32 years we stood side-by-side on stage.”

“I am saddened by the passing of my friend Malcolm Young,” he wrote.

“I can’t believe he’s gone. We had such great times on the road. I was always aware that he was a genius on guitar, his riffs have become legend, as has he. I send out my love and sympathy to his wife Linda, his children Kara and Ross, and Angus, who will all be devastated … as we all are.”

Brian Johnson performing next to guitarists Malcolm Young and Angus Young of Australian legendary hard rock band AC/DC at the Palais Omnisport of Paris Bercy, on September 15, 1984 in Paris. Picture: AFP
Camera IconBrian Johnson performing next to guitarists Malcolm Young and Angus Young of Australian legendary hard rock band AC/DC at the Palais Omnisport of Paris Bercy, on September 15, 1984 in Paris. Picture: AFPPicture: AFP

Johnson also said that Young had left a legacy no one could match and described him as being very humble.

“He has left a legacy that I don’t think many can match,’ he said.

“He never liked the celebrity side of fame, he was too humble for that. He was the man who created AC/DC because he said ‘There was no Rock ‘n’ Roll’ out there. I am proud to have known him and call him a friend, and I’m going to miss him so much. I salute you, Malcolm Young.”

Heavy metal band AC/DC members Angus Young, Brian Johnson, Cliff Williams, Malcolm Young & Phil Rudd. Picture: Supplied
Camera IconHeavy metal band AC/DC members Angus Young, Brian Johnson, Cliff Williams, Malcolm Young & Phil Rudd. Picture: SuppliedPicture: News Limited

Johnson left the band in April last year after being advised by doctors to stop touring due to hearing loss that could have been made worse by performing.

Young was diagnosed with dementia earlier in the decade, and performed his last show with AC/DC in 2010.

Unassuming and down-to-earth, Young did not appear to embody the typical characteristics of a hard-rocking megastar guitarist.

Yet when the Scottish-born Australian burst onto the world stage as part of the band AC/DC in the 1970s, Young kicked off an incredible era of music-making that saw him hailed as the world’s greatest rhythm guitarist.

Young was born in 1953 and spent his early years living in a housing estate in Glasgow before moving with his family to Australia aged 10.

Malcolm Young, Brian Johnson, Angus Young, Cliff Williams, and Phil Rudd in 2001. Picture: Getty
Camera IconMalcolm Young, Brian Johnson, Angus Young, Cliff Williams, and Phil Rudd in 2001. Picture: GettyPicture: Supplied

From early on, music was in the blood of the Youngs. George Young paved the way for younger brothers Malcolm and Angus when he shot to fame in the 1960s as a member of the popular Sydney-based The Easybeats.

Inspired by George, the pair formed AC/DC in 1973, recruiting another member of Scottish origin, Bon Scott, as lead singer the following year, before adding Phil Rudd (drums) and Mark Evans (bass guitar).

The band’s debut album in 1975, “High Voltage”, established AC/DC’s signature sound of blues-tinged rock ‘n’ roll and pounding beats.

The group went on to record 16 more albums, becoming became one of the world’s biggest-selling bands in history.

They were inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 2003 after a string of hits including “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap”, “Jailbreak” and “Highway to Hell”.

“There’s very few rock ‘n’ roll bands … There’s the (Rolling) Stones and us, and their sound is completely different to us,” Young said in a Dutch television interview around 2000 of the band’s music.

“So we really aim, you know, in an area that’s going back in time with the sounds, the old analog sounds. So we try to even keep that and the sounds are bigger than digital.

“Rock bands don’t really swing. Rock ‘n’ roll has a swing … the jungle of it all. It’s a feeling.”



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