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Angus McKinnon Young


1972-1974 Marcus Hook Roll Band - guitars  
1973- AC/DC - guitars (as Angus Young)  

Personal information

Born on: 31.03.1955

Angus McKinnon Young (born 31 March 1955) is a Scottish-born Australian musician and the lead guitarist, songwriter, and co-founder of the hard rock band AC/DC. Known for wild, energetic performances and schoolboy-uniform stage outfits, Young was ranked 96th on Rolling Stone's list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time".

Angus Young, the youngest of eight children of William and Margaret Young, was born in Glasgow, Scotland and moved with his parents to Sydney, Australia in 1963 with his older brothers Malcolm, George, and Alex, who all became musicians, and their elder sister Margaret. Angus started playing guitar when he was five years old-a local child had one and Angus would play it during visits. He got his own guitar as a gift from his older brother George.

As a teenager Angus Young played in a band called 'Kantuckee'. He was 18 when he and his 20 year old brother Malcolm formed AC/DC in 1973 with Angus on lead guitar, Malcolm on rhythm guitar, Colin Burgess on drums, Larry Van Kriedt on bass guitar and Dave Evans on vocals. "Can I Sit Next To You Girl", their first single, was later re-recorded with Bon Scott as their vocalist. They got the name AC/DC after seeing the letters "AC/DC" on the back of a sewing machine owned by their sister, Margaret.

Although Young prefers to keep his private life out of the media, it is known that he now lives in Sydney, Australia and also has a home in Aalten, Netherlands where his wife grew up. Young married his Dutch wife, Ellen, in 1980 shortly before Bon Scott died at the age of 33 after a night of heavy drinking in London.

On 24 August 2006, Young received Kerrang! magazine's Legend Award from the editor, Paul Brannigan. Brannigan called AC/DC "one of the most important and influential rock bands in history".

Angus Young has used Gibson SGs in various forms (his original, and the basis for his current signature model, was a 1968 SG) throughout his career. He is rarely seen with another guitar, though he also owns Fender Telecasters, Gibson Firebirds and ES335s. When AC/DC played a jam of "Rock me Baby" with the Rolling Stones in 2003, he played a Gibson ES-335 borrowed from Keith Richards, perhaps one of the only times he was without an SG onstage. Young's 1968 SG has T Top pickups. Another 1964 SG that he used on the recording of Ballbreaker, has patent # pickups. All of these are low output Alnico 5 pickups with matched coils typically reading 7.5k ohm Young has used Ernie Ball Slinky RPS strings for over 40 years, gauge .09 - .42 or .010 - .48

Angus Young's energetic guitar style has been an influence on many young hard rock guitarists. His work with AC/DC has been an influence on bands ranging from Guns N' Roses, The Cult, Jackyl, and Def Leppard to newer artists like Disturbed, Jet, Buckcherry, and You Am I. Young cites his own influences as Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, Leslie West, B.B. King, and other blues/rock and roll players

Angus Young's playing style is very straight blues, playing in both the minor and major pentatonic blues scale. His style is spiced by additional non-blues tricks. In AC/DC's earlier recordings, power chords can be heard in songs such as "T.N.T." and "It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)". He also utilises touches of Scottish folk in his playing, and pull-off arpeggios (pull-offs, played one-handed) are a popular trick, appearing in songs such as "Who Made Who", "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap", "Sin City" and "Let There Be Rock" (live). In 1976, the band recorded an instrumental arrangement of the Scottish traditional song "Loch Lomond", retitled "Fling Thing", which has appeared in their stage act over the years. The title refers to the Highland Fling.

He is especially noted for his vibrato, his intricate improvisation in live shows, and his stripped down approach to the guitar, with regard to amp-provided effects and guitar accessories.

He often receives criticism from the music press, many of his critics stating that AC/DC's songs sound too similar, focusing on the same handful of chords. However, as Young stated in an interview with the Atlanta Gazette in 1979:

" It's just rock and roll. A lot of times we get criticised for it. A lot of music papers come out with: 'When are they going to stop playing these three chords?' If you believe you shouldn't play just three chords it's pretty silly on their part. To us, the simpler a song is, the better, 'cause it's more in line with what the person on the street is.