George Young: An Australian music legend

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George Young (second from right) with The Easybeats.

Australian music legend, George Young, has died at 70.

He is best known as a member of the 1960s Australian supergroup, The Easybeats, as well as as a legendary producer and mentor, whose acts included the ball-tearing AC/DC.

He is also known as the longtime songwriting partner of Dutch immigrant Harry Vanda.

Vanda and Young were credited with creating a new sound in the Australian music industry and were inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame (1988) for their efforts.

Young was born George Redburn Young on 6 November 1946 in Glasgow, Scotland, and emigrated to Australia in 1963, becoming a naturalised Aussie along with his younger brothers, Malcolm and Angus. While he was at Sydney's Villawood Immigration Centre waiting to be processed, Young met Vanda and a lifelong friendship was formed.

After taking up rhythm guitar while still in high school, Young formed The Easybeats with Vanda and Dick Diomonde, who was also from The Netherlands. English immigrants Stevie Wright and Gordon "Snowy" Fleet rounded out the stellar lineup. Young co-wrote nearly all of their songs, first with Wright and later with Vanda.

The Easybeats were the antipodean version of The Beatles and the first Australian act to score an international pop hit with 'Friday On My Mind' (1966).

They also blasted the airwaves with hits such as 'I'll Make You Happy', 'Come and See Her', 'Wedding Ring' and 'Sorry'.


When The Easybeats broke up in 1970, Vanda and Young concentrated on writing and producing songs for other artists.

'Love Is In The Air', a disco number for John Paul Young, released in 1978, was a chart success, reaching number seven in the United States.

Young and Vanda also wrote songs for Meatloaf and former Easybeats lead singer Stevie Wright, including the epic 'Evie Parts 1, 2 and 3'.

In addition, they were heavily involved with Rose Tattoo, The Angels, the Ted Mulray Gang and Flash In The Pan.

With Vanda, Young formed a company called Albert Productions in 1973 and set his younger brothers, Malcolm and Angus, on the road to worldwide domination with their group AC/DC.

Young sternly informed his kid brothers that they could not call themselves a band until they had done "at least 200 gigs" and they took him at his word. Young produced many of their early albums, including 'Let There Be Rock', 'TNT', 'Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap', 'Powerage' and 'High Voltage'.

In their early years, led by an incendiary lead singer called Bon Scott, AC/DC ripped stereo speakers apart with songs such as 'Jail Break'  — it simply doesn't get any better than this!

After Scott died following a heavy night of alcohol consumption in 1980, Malcolm and Angus Young recruited ex-Geordie singer Brian Johnson and they went on to even greater success with songs like 'Back in Black'.

In a statement, AC/DC said they would not exist if it weren't for their friend, mentor and producer, Young.

'As a musician, songwriter, advisor and much more, you could not ask for a more dedicated and professional man," their statement read. "You could not ask for a finer brother. We will always remember him with gratitude and hold him close to our hearts.'

Other tributes flooded in following the death of Young.

Jimmy Barnes described him as

' ... a great songwriter, producer and human being.'

David Albert, the CEO of the music publishing house Alberts, said Young was

... a consummate songwriter, trailblazing producer, artist, mentor and extraordinary musician.

George was, above all else, a gentleman who was unfailingly modest, charming, intelligent and loyal — a man with a wonderful sense of humour ... He will be missed.

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