The news in music during these past few months reads tragically like a rock star’s obituary page. This past week, AC/DC’s rhythm guitar player and co-founder Malcolm Young was added to the list. Young passed away on November 18th, due to complications associated with dementia. He was surrounded by his family and passed peacefully. Together with his brother Angus, Young used the musical equivalent of dynamite to blast a path to critical and commercial success for himself and his AC/DC cohorts. He and his band cultivated a dark and hard-hitting yet melodic sound that, to this day, remains impossible to duplicate as well as to mistake for any other musical act. Perhaps, however, Malcolm Young’s alcohol recovery might be his most valuable accomplishment.
A Prolific and Unforgettable Career
Young was just 64 years old and leaves behind and incomparable musical legacy that includes 15 amazing records with AC/DC, a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and countless other accolades. He also serves as an example of the power of self-awareness in the context of substance abuse. After the death of AC/DC’s original singer, Bon Scott (from alcohol abuse-related circumstances), Young fell into a fierce battle with alcohol abuse himself. Eventually he realized he had a problem and that he needed to seek help for his drinking. He took a leave of absence, returning in 1989. Young was able to overcome his drinking with the help of Alcoholics Anonymous.
A Rare Self-Awareness
Malcolm Young’s alcohol recovery is unfortunately rare in modern music. He is one of the few people, particularly in the public eye, that recognized the writing on the wall when it came to their alcohol abuse and took it entirely upon themselves to do something about it. He is not only a credit to popular music; he’s also a credit to the recovery community and an example of how treatment and recovery can save lives. Recovery Unplugged extends our sincerest and most heartfelt condolences to Young’s family and the legions of admirers he leaves behind.