NEW YORK (CBSNEWS/AP) – Malcolm Young, the rhythm guitarist and guiding force behind the bawdy hard rock band AC/DC who helped create such head-banging anthems as “Highway to Hell,” ”Hells Bells” and “Back in Black,” has died. He was 64.
“With enormous dedication and commitment he was the driving force behind the band,” the band said on its website. “As a guitarist, songwriter and visionary he was a perfectionist and a unique man. He always stuck to his guns and did and said exactly what he wanted.”
Young founded the Australian rock band with his brother Angus in 1973. He was the group’s rhythm guitarist until 2014, when the band announced he was taking a leave of absence for health reasons. It was later revealed he had been diagnosed for dementia.
The family put out a statement posted on the band’s website calling Young a “visionary who inspired many.”
While Young’s younger brother, Angus, the group’s school-uniform-wearing lead guitarist, was the public face of the band, Malcolm Young was its key writer and leader, the member the rest of the band watched for onstage changes and cutoffs.
AC/DC were remarkably consistent for over 40 years with its mix of driving hard rock, lusty lyrics and bluesy shuffles, selling over 200 million albums, surviving the loss of its first singer and creating one of the greatest rock records ever in “Back in Black,” the world’s second best-selling album behind Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”