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Australian music icon George Young dead at 70

ONE of the architects of the Australian songbook, George Young has died at age 70.

A member of The Easybeats and older brother of AC/DC's Angus and Malcolm Young, Young would become of the greatest songwriters and producers in Australian history with his former bandmate Harry Vanda.

George's career was synonymous with Albert Music, the record label and production house which has been home to dozens of Australian acts from Stevie Wright to John Paul Young, who is no relation.

"It is with great sadness that Alberts acknowledge the passing of George Young," Albert's CEP David Albert said.

"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.

"George was a pioneer who, with close friends Harry Vanda and Ted Albert, created a new sound for the Australian music industry.

"He will be missed."

 

Harry Vanda and George Young in the heyday of The Easybeats.
Harry Vanda and George Young in the heyday of The Easybeats.

 

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TRIBUTES FLOW FOR AUSSIE MUSIC LEGEND

AC/DC paid tribute to their "beloved brother and mentor."

"It is with pain in our heart that we have to announce the passing of our beloved brother and mentor George Young. Without his help and guidance there would not have been an AC/DC," they posted on their website.

"As a musician, songwriter, producer, advisor and much, much more, you could not ask for a more dedicated and professional man.

"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."

Fellow Glaswegian Jimmy Barnes was among the rockers paying tribute to George on Monday.

"What a huge loss for music. A great songwriter, producer and a great human being," he posted.

 

Bon Scott, Angus Young, George Young, Harry Vanda and Ted Albert in the studio.
Bon Scott, Angus Young, George Young, Harry Vanda and Ted Albert in the studio.

 

YOUNG'S AUSSIE SONGBOOK

The Vanda and Young partnership were responsible for dozens of songs which remain Australian classics from The Easybeats' Friday On My Mind and Good Times, Stevie Wright's Evie trilogy, John Paul Young's Love Is In The Air, Yesterday's Hero and I Hate The Music and Flash In The Pan's Hey St Peter and Down Among The Dead Man.

The man with the Midas touch in the studio, Young helmed most of the early recordings for the legendary Albert Music including albums for AC/DC, The Angels, Rose Tattoo and Ted Mulry gang.

Young immigrated from Scotland with his family and met his future bandmate at the Villawood Migrant Hostel in the mid 1960s.

They formed the Easybeats in 1964, reaching the upper echelons of the charts with their second single She's So Fine in 1965 and quickly followed that with Wedding Ring.

The Easybeats set their sights on conquering the world and moved to London in 1966, recording Friday On My Mind, which reached No. 1 in Australia, No. 6 in the UK and the top 20 in America.

But further success eluded them and the disillusioned band returned to Australia, where declining popularity lead to the band breaking up in 1969.

Vanda and Young stuck it out in London as songwriters for hire until coming back to Australia in 1973 as the in-house production team for Albert Productions, run by revered record legend Ted Albert.

They put their talents to work as producers for the first six AC/DC records and launching the solo career of Easybeats frontman Stevie Wright.

They also formed their own new wave group Flash In The Pan, initially as a studio band as the pair weren't keen on courting rock stardom again after The Easybeats.

The first single Hey St Peter would reach the top 5 of the Australian charts.

"I love the story behind Hey St Peter, which Harry and George recorded as Flash and The Pan," John Paul Young said last year.

"George was in New York chatting to the hotel doorman about the weather and the African-American guy says 'Oh well, man, when my time comes, I am going to say to St Peter 'You can't send me to hell, I have done my time in hell in New York!'

"George just picked up things you and I would say and turn them into songs."

Topics:  dead editors picks george you



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