AC/DC guitarist and cofounder Malcolm Young died Saturday at the age of 64 after a long battle with dementia. Malcolm co-founded the band in 1973 with brother and fellow guitarist Angus, whose schoolboy outfit and onstage aggression made him the focal point of the band throughout its career. But Malcolm’s crushing rhythm guitar anchored the band musically, and his no-nonsense toughness anchored it in virtually every other way.
Malcolm’s last show with the band took place in Spain in 2010, and his illness forced him to leave officially in 2014, although the band continued to tour and record with his nephew, Stevie. The band’s biggest album, 1980’s “Back in Black,” has sold more than 50 million albums worldwide.
Tributes to Malcolm from rock luminaries flooded social media on Saturday.
It is a sad day in rock and roll. Malcolm Young was my friend and the heart and soul of AC/DC. I had some of the best times of my life with him on our 1984 European tour. He will be missed and my deepest condolences to his family, bandmates and friends.
— Eddie Van Halen (@eddievanhalen) November 18, 2017
The driving engine of AC/DC has died.A tragic end for a sometimes unsung icon. One of the true greats. RIP. https://t.co/cJe1Xr17IA
— Paul Stanley (@PaulStanleyLive) November 18, 2017
— Ozzy Osbourne (@OzzyOsbourne) November 18, 2017
AC/DC’s Malcolm Young’s guitar lit up the whole world. His lean & ferocious playing mainlined rhythm and melody into our culture like Beethoven and James Brown. My hero, RIP. pic.twitter.com/W7GzZUDgLE
— matt sweeney (@theheavyjamz) November 18, 2017
RIP Malcolm Young
He was the founding member of AC/DC & the engine that roared behind the most powerful band in the world.
He wrote Back In Black, Highway to Hell, You Shook Me All Night Long, Highway to Hell, so many songs…
Travel safely to the stars, Malcolm.
— Ryan Adams (@TheRyanAdams) November 18, 2017
It’s sad to hear of Malcolm Young’s passing. He was the heart, soul, & velvet hammer of AC/DC. We’ll definitely miss him. pic.twitter.com/L7hWurwqH2
— Zac Brown Band (@zacbrownband) November 18, 2017
Every single show that I got to play I thought of Malcolm Young. He was the anchor. Loose. Precise. Exciting. Subtle. Powerful. Spare. He made it all happen for everyone else. That’s what I wanted to be.
— Clay Tarver (@cbtarver) November 18, 2017
— Bryan Adams (@bryanadams) November 18, 2017