Talking to Rolling Stone about his late friend and bandmate Brian Johnson said:
“Malcolm gave rock and roll a fist. He’d give it a kick in the ass. People always used to ask Mal, ‘How do you get that sound, man?’ Malcolm either wouldn’t tell them or just really couldn’t explain it. He would just go, ‘We just play.’ I used to stand next to him at the end of ‘Let There Be Rock’, where there is a big huge build at the end and it builds and builds. Malcolm would go through two guitar picks during that one song. He would wear them down. He was the most precise guitarist.”
“Malcolm would have been absolutely stunned at the outpouring of tributes and grief,” Johnson told Rolling Stone. “He didn’t think of himself in that way, that he was great and all that. I learned the team spirit from Malcolm. You are just a cog in a well-oiled machine. If we all pulled together at the same time, you get this amazing thing happening. And it worked, you know. Mal is not here anymore, but if I ever have a problem, I stop and go, ‘What would Mal do?’ He just always seemed to do the right thing.”
Life and career
One of eight children of Scottish couple William and Margaret Young, Malcolm Mitchell Young was born in Glasgow on 6 January 1953. In 1963, he emigrated from Scotland to Australia, settling in Sydney with his parents, brothers George and Angus, and older sister Margaret. His older brother, Alex, remained in Scotland and later formed the London-based group Grapefruit. His oldest brother Stephen was the father of his future AC/DC replacement Stevie Young.
The musician and songwriter was best known as a co-founder, rhythm guitarist, backing vocalist and songwriter for the hard rock band AC/DC. Except for a brief absence in 1988, he was with the band from its November 1973 beginning until retiring in 2014 for health reasons. Young and the other members of AC/DC were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003.
Though his younger brother Angus is the more visible of the brothers, Malcolm was described as the driving force and the leader of the band. In 2014, he stated that despite his retirement from the band, AC/DC was determined to continue making music with his blessing.
As the rhythm guitarist, he was responsible for the broad sweep of the band’s sound, developing many of their guitar riffs and co-writing the band’s material with Angus. He was married to Linda Young and had two children, Cara and Ross.
Young took a leave of absence from AC/DC in April 2014, to receive treatment for dementia. In September 2014, the band’s management announced that he would be retiring permanently.