Young was the older brother of the band’s Angus and Malcolm Young, who confirmed his death on Facebook. “It is with pain in our heart that we have to announce the passing of our beloved brother and mentor George Young,” the band wrote. “Without his help and guidance there would not have been an AC/DC. As a musician, songwriter, producer, advisor and much, much more, you could not ask for a more dedicated and professional man.”
The Young brothers added, “As a brother, you could not ask for a finer brother. For all he did and gave to us throughout his life, we will always remember him with gratitude and hold him close to our hearts.” No cause of death was provided.
After emigrating from Scotland to Australia with his family as a teenager, George Young formed the Easybeats with four other European musicians, including Dutch guitarist Harry Vanda.
After a string of successful singles in Australia, the British Invasion-inspired Easybeats, along with the Bee Gees, were among the first Australian rock acts to have international impact as their single “Friday on My Mind,” co-written by Young and Vanda, reached Number 13 on the Hot 100. Artists ranging from David Bowie (on Pin-Ups) to Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band (at a Sydney, Australia concert in 2014) covered the single.
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Following the Easybeats’ breakup, Young and Vanda became one of Australia’s most successful songwriting tandems. However, it was Young’s work with his younger brothers Angus and Malcolm that will be his most enduring contribution.
On George Young’s suggestion, AC/DC recruited singer Bon Scott after firing Dave Evans in 1974; Scott’s previous band, the Valentines, had released some Vanda/Young compositions as singles in the late Sixties.
Starting with AC/DC’s 1975 debut LP High Voltage, Young and Vanda co-produced the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band’s first five studio albums, including 1975’s T.N.T., 1976’s Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, 1977’s Let There Be Rock and 1978’s Powerage. Young and Vanda also co-produced the 1978 live LP If You Want Blood You’ve Got It.
Following AC/DC’s decade-long collaboration with producer Robert “Mutt” Lange, Young and Vanda reunited with the band to produce 1988’s Blow Up Your Video. Young, sans Vanda, would go on to produce one more AC/DC LP, 2000’s Stiff Upper Lip.
Vanda said of his longtime bandmate and producing partner’s death, “Rest in Peace my dear friend.”