Malcolm Young of AC/DC: Listen to 10 Essential Songs


Brian Johnson, Angus Young and Malcolm Young in 2008 as the band prepared to release “Black Ice.” Malcolm Young died on Saturday at 64. Credit Tyler Hicks/The New York Times

Malcolm Young, who died on Saturday at 64, was the self-effacing guitarist in AC/DC, the one who stood back while his brother Angus ran around arena stages in schoolboy knickers, brandishing a flashy lead guitar. But it was Malcolm who gave the band its architectural foundation, forging many of its best power-chorded riffs and cagily using his rhythm guitar to make AC/DC swing as much as it stomped. Here are 10 songs that reveal his essential role in the band.

‘Soul Stripper’ (1975)

Recorded in 1974 for AC/DC’s 1975 debut album, “Soul Stripper” has the Young brothers jamming their way into the song, goading one another for a full two minutes before the vocal arrives, then continuing to grapple all the way through.

‘Let There Be Rock’ (1977)

AC/DC celebrates the birth of rock ’n’ roll with a song that runs at the speed of punk. When Angus’s lead guitar takes over at the end, Malcolm’s rhythm chords start as little sparks and then flare into a full conflagration.

‘Whole Lotta Rosie’ (1977)

Malcolm and Angus Young turned a basic blues and boogie riff into a battering ram for a song that became an AC/DC perennial.

‘Riff Raff’ (1978)

A cloud of annunciatory noise gathers and then explodes into one of AC/DC’s fast and tricky ones. True to the title, the guitars churn out so many riffs that they nearly crowd out the verses.

‘Down Payment Blues’ (1978)

Big, blaring open chords make no secret of AC/DC’s admiration for the Who as the Young brothers unite for a double-barreled attack.

Continue reading the main story

Leave a Response