Brian Johnson is known for his powerful voice and energetic performances. He has contributed to many of AC/DC’s most popular and enduring songs. The Australian rock band has given us countless memories of how rock can shape the whole genre.
On the other part of the coin, Malcolm was the co-founder and guitarist of AC/DC. He and his brother, Angus Young, started the band in 1973, and Malcolm played a key role in shaping the band’s sound and direction. He was also known for his powerful rhythm guitar playing and was considered one of the best rock guitarists of all time.
Back in April 2014, the band announced Malcolm would be “taking a break from the band due to ill health.” Back then, not many details were shared about Young’s condition. There were lots of rumors and the public found out about his dementia later on. Young passed away on November 18, 2017.
Malcolm was the band’s main force. Malcolm’s nephew Stevie Young took his place in AC/DC after Malcolm left the band in 2014. Stevie has been in that position ever since. Brian Johnson has talked about the passing of Young in his new memoir The Lives of Brian. He is still sad over the fact that he is no more. He wrote,
“He was just sixty-four when the dementia that he’d been battling for years finally got the better of him, A truly awful day.”
“When Malcolm left AC/DC in 2014, the heart of the band stopped beating. To this day, I miss him more than I could ever put into words. He never missed a trick, from a band member’s performance to a crew member’s well-being. I don’t know how he did it. He had his demons, but he beat them, and he beat them good.”
“His guitar playing was masterful. And behind that powerful sound, there was a subtlety that music critics could never understand. Standing to his right onstage, I could only ever marvel at the man. But I kept my admiration to myself for the most part because he wasn’t the kind of guy who enjoyed taking a compliment.”
“It was hard to see Angus struggle with such grief. He and Malcolm weren’t twins, but they could have been.”
Brian Johnson himself was going through a dark period. He started experiencing hearing problems in the early 2000s and was warned by the doctor to stop touring. He was eventually diagnosed with acute hearing loss, which was caused by years of performing in loud environments without proper ear protection. But he returned to record new music after he got a new in-ear monitor which helped him with his hearing.
Despite Young’s passing, AC/DC has continued to tour and record new music with Johnson as the lead singer. The band has released several albums with Johnson, and he has received praise for his ability to bring his own style to the band’s music while still maintaining the spirit of their original sound.