52 guitarists, week 9—Angus Young

There are few bands that seem to do well with a decades-long approach to a single style of music. Most bands fade away after a decade while others alter their style in attempts to remain relevant. One band that has evolved while staying true to its origins is AC/DC. The band has experienced a vocalist change—arguably recovering from that loss like no other band in history—and several other lineup changes. One thing that has pretty much been constant however has been Malcolm and Angus Young. As much as I admire that duo, I will today focus on the guitarist who originally grabbed my attention in that band.

The ever-young school boy, Angus.

As I have stated in earlier entries for this series, lead guitar is not really my thing. I prefer a solid rhythm guitarist any day. One of the things I’ve always admired about Angus Young however is his ability to be an absolute showman and play lead guitar in a way that wasn’t so excessive that it took away from the rest of the band and their importance. Sure, he’s in costume and he is the band member who runs around the stage like he’s somehow found a way to never run out of energy. But he does this all while allowing the songs be the true heroes.

True AC/DC fans know the other players. True AC/DC fans know the songs. Angus Young is not the guitarist most likely to release a solo album.

Angus’ ability to balance the guitar work with his brother Malcolm is amazing. This is not two guitarists for the sake of it. This is two guitarists building songs together with incredible depth. It’s this skill I believe that has allowed AC/DC to remain relevant for so long. It’s why their fans are generally fans for life.

Another thing I like is that when AC/DC was starting off, Angus was determined to create a song that featured the chord structure of ACDC. If you didn’t know that, admire the chorus that is High Voltage.

Ah … The Bon Scott era. I did love that period. Having said that, few bands have released an album like AC/DC did after the tragic death of their vocalist. Back In Black was amazing. there are so many epic guitar moments on that album. Angus’ guitar playing—and more importantly to me, his riff work—was truly amazing on that album. Angus and the band let the world know that they had a whole lot more to give the world with this release.

It was this decade that showcased Angus’ abilities as a song writer and as a guitarist in my opinion. He doesn’t seem to have stopped in recent years, or even slowed down for that matter. And that’s why he remains an inspiration to me.

Recognise your strong suit and play to it—or in it perhaps. Don’t try to be something you’re not. If you’re lucky, other people will come along with you for the ride. Even if they don’t, you should at least allow yourself to enjoy your own ride.

Maybe by taking that ride with a duck walk.

This is not a top guitarists list and there is no significance in the order the guitarists are placed in the list. This is simply a collection of guitarists that have been influential to me.

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