Saturday 18th November started off as a pretty ordinary day. I wasn’t working, which was a rare miracle, as any bartender working down one of Manchester’s busiest streets would understand.
My upbeat and elated mood was diminished when I read a breaking news article by Team Rock. Malcolm Young, the founder and driving force behind one of the world’s biggest rock bands, AC/DC, passed away following a long battle with dementia, aged only sixty-four.
After learning of his diagnosis of the illness and retirement from AC/DC back in 2014, it was sadly something that I was bracing myself for.
Rewinding back to 2009, this was the year I experienced my first-ever live concert. Despite my hesitations as a fourteen-year-old at going to watch a “Dad band,” as my classmates would call it, I am eternally grateful to my father for taking me out of school for the day and driving four and a half hours down to London to watch AC/DC at Wembley Stadium. He has his priorities right.
My first-ever concert changed my perceptions on music for the rest of my life. Seeing the band that Malcolm created standing so strong together after all of their years, and delivering such a magnificent show, was mind-blowing. The love and admiration their crowd had for them and how they united as a community was truly astonishing to experience for my adolescent self. It was something I wanted to be a part of.
This taught me to look past the taunting in the school corridors for my “weird” music taste and the “uncool” brand I was given by my delightful peers. I learnt from this experience to not conform to what was cool at the time. I discovered a passion for music that will certainly be with me for the rest of my life. And it is figures such as Malcolm Young that ignited this flame.
Without Malcolm Young, there would be no AC/DC. And without AC/DC, rock music wouldn’t be what it is today.
Despite his quiet presence in the band and always remaining at the back corner of the stage behind his whirlwind brother Angus, Malcolm Young held perhaps the most important role within AC/DC. His musical drive and ambition made AC/DC who they are, a responsibility which takes a truly exceptional leader to accomplish.
Malcolm ensured the band got what they wanted, when they wanted. As he famously demanded to Download Festival, AC/DC would only headline if they had their very own stage over the main stage. And indeed, they did.
He called the shots in AC/DC, despite remaining in the shadows and allowing his brother to step into the limelight and do the talking. He was the engine that drove AC/DC, and rock music truly won’t be the same without his presence.
A tragic loss that has struck the world of rock music, Malcolm Young was a true inspiration. What he did for not only rock, but for millions across the world will never be forgotten.
There never will be anybody of his kind again, yet his presence and legacy will live on in the world of rock.
Malcolm, we salute you.