Jesse Fink: The Youngs: The Brothers That Built AC/DC

Aussie journo looks at AC/DC through a family-oriented lens.

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With their no-nonsense approach to rock’n’roll extending to their reluctance to talk about it, Malcolm, Angus and co-songwriting elder brother George have always been a tough clan to get under the skin of. But this attempt by an Australian journalist to shed some light on one of rock’n’roll’s best-loved family businesses benefits from tracking down the band’s erstwhile colleagues and cohorts Down Under and unearthing some enlightening accounts from them.

From uncovering the truth about Bon Scott’s dabblings with hard drugs to the machinations behind Brian Johnson’s succession of Bon Scott in 1980, Fink’s ability to overcome the Youngs’ code of Scottish-Australian omertà is impressive. He’s also admirably unflinching in highlighting their ruthless, sometimes downright dictatorial approach to driving the band.

Meanwhile, the various interviewees’ analysis of just what makes AC/DC’s apparently simple musical formula so effective treats their deceptively skilful approach to their sound with the respect it deserves.

Sometimes he gets too bogged down in correcting trivial errors in other books on the band, but then this is a cut above other AC/DC tomes, and Fink knows it./o:p

Johnny Sharp

Johnny is a regular contributor to Prog and Classic Rock magazines, both online and in print. Johnny is a highly experienced and versatile music writer whose tastes range from prog and hard rock to R’n’B, funk, folk and blues. He has written about music professionally for 30 years, surviving the Britpop wars at the NME in the 90s (under the hard-to-shake teenage nickname Johnny Cigarettes) before branching out to newspapers such as The Guardian and The Independent and magazines such as Uncut, Record Collector and, of course, Prog and Classic Rock