The Pulse Of Radio reports that AC/DC lead guitarist Angus Young turns 60 years old on Tuesday (March 31). Since 1974, Angus has been the iconic image of the band in his trademark schoolboy uniform, while also influencing generations of guitar players with his fluid solos and the no-nonsense, blues-inspired, straightforward writing style he’s shared for decades with his brother and AC/DC co-founder, guitarist Malcolm Young.
Angus was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1955, the youngest of eight children, to William and Margaret Young. The family emigrated to Sydney, Australia in 1963. Angus‘s first instrument was a banjo, followed by an acoustic guitar purchased second-hand by his mother, and then an electric guitar. He bought his first Gibson SG in 1970.
Angus played in local groups before he formed AC/DC at the age of 18 with Malcolm and other musicians from the area, including original singer Dave Evans. The band’s first single was called “Can I Sit Next To You Girl” and Angus tried a number of stage costumes before his sister suggested his now classic schoolboy jacket, tie and shorts.
AC/DC, now with Bon Scott on lead vocals, released its debut album, “High Voltage”, in February 1975. Over the course of four more years and four more studio sets, the hard-working act became increasingly popular in Australia, Europe and the U.S., with 1979’s “Highway To Hell” becoming its first million-seller in America. But tragedy struck as Bon Scott died of alcohol poisoning in February 1980 and the band’s fate seemed uncertain.
The Youngs recruited Scottish singer Brian Johnson and recorded 1980’s “Back In Black”, a tribute to Scott that became not only AC/DC‘s biggest album but the third best-selling record in music history with 50 million copies sold. Its follow-up, 1981’s “For Those About To Rock We Salute You”, was also a success, but the rest of the 1980s was a period of decline for AC/DC until 1990’s “The Razor’s Edge” became another multi-platinum smash for the group.
Since then, AC/DC has released four more studio albums, touring less frequently but still selling out arenas and stadiums every time they hit the road. The band’s latest release, “Rock Or Bust”, was its first without Malcolm Young, who bowed out of the group after being afflicted with dementia. Angus, the sole original member, stepped up to become the band’s leader, while 40 years later his “bad schoolboy” image and high-energy live performances remain intact.
Angus recalled the first time he ever heard his band on the radio. “The first time I was in, actually, Adelaide (Australia) at the time, was the first time, and that was in ’76,” he said. “I remember a DJ came down to one of our shows and he took a chance, because they canned him the next day. ‘Cause it was a very soft radio and he just said, ‘Hey, I’ve got to play this.’ And he got on and played one of our early tracks.”
Angus prefers to keep his life away from the band very private, but he is married and he and his wife Ellen live in an area of Sydney called Kangaroo Point. They also own a home in the Netherlands, which is Ellen‘s home country.