George Young, a pioneer of Australian music as a member of The Easybeats and producer for AC/DC, the band fronted by his brothers Angus and Malcolm, has died.
Young “created a new sound for the Australian music industry”, the production company Alberts, where he spent many years producing hits for other acts, said in a statement on its website.
Young co-wrote Friday On My Mind, an enduring hit that charted around the world, with Harry Vanda, who became his long-time song-writing partner.
The pair were such a powerhouse songwriting partnership they were inducted in the ARIA Hall of Fame in 1988, and have a highly regarded song-writing award named for them.
Love Is In The Air, the disco number Young and Vanda penned for John Paul Young, was another chart success, reaching No.7 in the US.
Vanda and Young also wrote songs for Meatloaf and Stevie Wright, their former Easybeats colleague, including the latter’s acclaimed Evie, Parts 1, 2 and 3.
The cause of death has not been announced and the family has requested privacy.
Young a ‘trailblazing’ producer
“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,” Alberts CEO David Albert said in a statement.
“He will be missed.”
AC/DC said that without Young’s help and guidance “there would not have been an AC/DC”.
“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.”
Jimmy Barnes said Young’s passing was a loss for music.
George Young RIP What a huge loss for music. A great songwriter, producer and a great human being
— Jimmy Barnes (@JimmyBarnes) October 23, 2017
From Beatles-esque rocker to hitmaker
The Young brothers were born in Glasgow and came to Australia in 1963.
Around that time, a music company called Alberts Productions was established in Sydney.
Ted Albert, a keen musician who helped start the company, took an interest in The Easybeats, who as teenagers were “jamming in the laundry at Villawood Migrant Hostel”, where they lived, according to Ted Albert’s niece Jane Albert.
The Easybeats went on to find international success as Australia’s answer to The Beatles.
More than a dozen singles charted around the world.
They recorded Friday On My Mind in London, and the song was an instant classic, selling more than a million copies.
After the group disbanded in 1969, Young and Vanda spent a brief period living in London before returning to Sydney to begin their reign as sought-after songwriters and producers, working with a generation of Australian musicians including Rose Tattoo, The Angles and others.
Young himself produced the AC/DC albums Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, T.N.T, Powerage and High Voltage.