The Jakarta Post
Brian Johnson performs next to guitarists Malcolm Young and Angus Young of Australian legendary hard rock band AC/DC at the Palais Omnisport of Paris Bercy, on Sept. 15, 1984 in Paris. AC/DC guitarist and cofounder Malcolm Young has died aged 64, the band announced on Nov. 18. (AFP/Jean-Claude Coutausse)
The outpouring of tributes for Malcolm Young, the rhythm guitarist of AC/DC who died this weekend, is a testament to how influential his role in crafting the signature sound of the Australian rock and roll collective. There's no denying that AC/DC's music is underpinned mostly by Young's riffs. AC/DC came from a different era where one bone-crushing riff (Led Zeppelin's 'Black Dog' for instance) could decide the future of a rock band. AC/DC came of age during that era and the band will forever be immortalized for its ability to craft some of rock's best and most memorable riffs. These are five of AC/DC's best songs which happen to have some of Young's best guitar works.
Highway To Hell
The intro to this song is probably the most famous 10-second in rock; the crunchy power chords that moves in a lockstep with Phil Rudd's steady drumming. Jack Black uses this song's opening riff for the movie School of Rock's most memorable scene where he teach middle school students how riffs work in rock, effectively introducing "Highway To Hell" to new legion of fans the world over.
Back in Black
Malcolm and his younger brother Angus operate at an instinctual level and "Back in Black" is the perfect example for it. With his Gretsch guitar, Malcolm works on the monster riff, while Angus squeeze in melodic hooks that drives the song forward. The formula worked and "Back in Black" became one of the best selling records of all time.
This is AC/DC at its most experimental. Opening this composition with church bells clang--which will be replicated by Metallica for "For Whom the Bell Tolls"--Malcolm did away the heavy riffing and decided to pull individual notes from his strings to a glorious effect.
You Shook Me All Night Long
Written today, lyrics to this song could draw condemnation from feminists who accuse the band of objectifying women, but there's no denying that this is one song that captures the youthful energy from a band at its glorious peak.
For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)
Great song from a mediocre record. Other than the iconic cover art, this title track is the most memorable thing from AC/DC's eighth studio album. With a stop-start guitar riff that evokes Who's Next-era The Who, this song is the best tribute to rock and roll (well may be second best after Led Zeppelin's "Rock and Roll").