The foundations of the music world were rocked on Saturday when Malcolm Young, legendary guitarist and co-founder of Australian band AC/DC passed away at age 64. Malcom Young was famed for his powerhouse performances and started AC/DC in 1973 with his younger brother, Angus Young. Their success continued for several decades, internationally and nationally, with ground-shaking riffs and lyrics that shook audiences to the core, and while Angus was the perceived leader of the band, Malcom Young was the main writer, a vital cog in the successful machine that was the classic line-up of AC/DC. It is with great sadness that the music community says farewell to such a wonderful person and performer, and in tribute, we’ve decided to outline five of AC/DC’s best songs.
1. It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘n Roll)
This hit was released in in 1975, headlining the album T.N.T, and was penned by the Young brothers and Bon Scott. This song is one of their most unique, with the now-signature addition of bagpipes combined with hard rock instrumentals. The lyrics outline the band’s success, as well as the rocky road they had to take to get ‘to the top’ and their acceptance of the difficulties that come with the industry.
T.N.T was released as a single in 1976 and peaked at no. 11 on the Australian Kent Music Report Singles Chart. Again, Bon Scott and the Young Brothers put together their brilliant minds to craft this song that has since become one of their most well known, having appeared in pop-culture consistently and repeatedly.
3. Highway to Hell
This is the opening track to the similarly titled album released in 1979, written by the dynamic trio and again skyrocketing AC/DC’s continual success. This song is immediately recognisable by the guitar riff written by Angus Young, now an unmistakable classic. This song, much like ‘It’s a Long Way to the Top’ outlines the incredibly arduous path the band had to take to ‘rock ‘n roll’; gruelling schedules and the toll of life on the road. ‘Highway to Hell’ is one of AC/DC’s most internationally recognised songs, having won the ‘Most Played Australian Work Overseas’ award at the 2009 APRA Awards.
4. Hell’s Bells
Significantly, this single is the first track in the ‘Back in Black’ album, the first released without Bon Scott after his tragic death.. It was in 1980 that this song made a mark and it has continued to make a mark, resurging back into the charts in 1981 and once again in 2012. It reached certified gold in America and Canada and has appeared in pop-culture, most notably in Stephen King’s film Maximum Overdrive. A replica of Denison Bell was created for the song and weighed in at a staggerig 910kg. It was made after the band failed to record the original Denison Bell.
With the release of ‘The Razor’s Edge’ in 1990 came the famed track Thunderstruck. It soon peaked at no.5 on the U.S Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks and continued to hurl into international spheres of success, arguably becoming a song that reached mythic proportions of success. Undoubtedly, this song is one of AC/DC’s most popular. Thunderstruck is one of five AC/DC songs that topped the Ultimate 500 Rock Countdown.
None of these songs would have been possible without the ingenuity of the members of AC/DC, and Malcom Young was an integral part of that. More than that, these songs have touched the lives of so many people and have united thousands upon thousands of people. It goes without saying that Malcom Young took carpe diem to heart and rocked all the way to the top.
Written by Taylor Rawson