Personalities | Angus Young | On a Highway to Hero | Guitar Heroes
AC/DC guitarist Angus Young – all five feet two inches of him – is a larger-than-life figure. Rising up from working-class Scottish roots to become the heart and soul of one of the greatest rock’n’roll bands of all time, Young, with his schoolboy outfit and Gibson SG in hand, has become the definitive rock-guitar icon.
Born in Glasgow, Scotland, in March 1955, Young moved to Australia with his family in the 1960s. Inspired by their big brother George (guitarist in The Easybeats) as well as by Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters and The Rolling Stones, the Young brothers (Angus and Malcolm) teamed up to form AC/DC in 1973. After a couple of years, the brothers hooked up with singer Bon Scott and subsequently signed a deal with Atlantic Records, releasing their debut, High Voltage, in 1975.
In contrast to the glam-rock and disco sounds that were popular in the mid-1970s, AC/DC pounded out no-nonsense three-chord rock with a good-time message, thus setting the band apart from the crowd. Although there were countless rock guitarists playing power chords and minor pentatonic licks on Gibson SGs through Marshall amps, nobody sounded like Angus Young. His singular tone and vibrato, in addition to his wild stage antics not only made Young a rising guitar hero but also turned AC/DC into a must-see live act.
After several more highly successful albums, including 1979’s Highway To Hell, tragedy struck AC/DC, when singer Scott died of acute alcohol poisoning after a night of heavy partying. Downhearted, the band nearly called it quits, until they met British singer Brian Johnson. The fit was perfect, and AC/DC rebounded with one of the top five albums in rock history, Back In Black (1980). Songs like the title track, ‘Hells Bells’, and ‘You Shook Me All Night Long’ helped enshrine AC/DC as the world’s greatest rock’n’roll band.
Thirty-odd years and millions of albums later, AC/DC remain an iconic hard-rock band, and guitarist Young, who has never strayed from his SG-Marshall sound or from his schoolboy uniform and high-voltage stage act, remains a bona fide hard-rock guitar hero. AC/DC were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2003.
AC/DC: Highway To Hell
AC/DC: Back In Black
AC/DC: For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)
AC/DC: Black Ice
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