The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC Paperback – August 11, 2015
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"It's extraordinarily well written and presents a fascinating view of the band and the people that helped make it happen... a great piece of research and magnificently presented."
- Phil Carson, former vice-president of Atlantic Records who signed AC/DC
"A fascinating, insightful look at the brothers who changed the face of rock 'n' roll and the politics and business that goes hand in hand with the music we all know and love."
- Jimmy Stafford, guitarist of Train
About the Author
LAID BARE is being released in a new edition in 2017 while Fink's fourth book, BON: THE LAST HIGHWAY, a biography of legendary AC/DC singer Bon Scott, will be released in November 2017 in several countries. He lives in Sydney, Australia, with his wife and daughter.
- Publisher : St. Martin's Griffin; Updated edition (August 11, 2015)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 320 pages
- ISBN-10 : 125006872X
- ISBN-13 : 978-1250068729
- Item Weight : 11.2 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.64 x 0.9 x 8.25 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #905,639 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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This book is a collection of long forgotten quotes from old AC/DC books, old interviews with the players involved, mixed with new interviews and commentary from the author. It paints a picture of the early musical influences that grew from Young and Vanda. Very organic in the evolution from all of their previous works. Discovering this music is worth the price of the book. While the music is taking shape so is the story of how to "break" the band.
The bulk of the book are record company executives, DJs and managers trying to jockey for position for taking the most credit possible. It is any wonder why Angus, Malcolm and George fire anyone and everyone that crosses them? One former manager pats himself on the back about how much money he still receives from Back In Black because he retained the rights because he is just so smart. The theme is that everyone wanted to bleed this band dry.
However, the Young brothers are notoriously ruthless in chopping people out of nowhere. Story after story, the body count rises. By the time the book gets around to Simon Wright it barely gets a sentence with a did-he-quit-or-Malcom-fire line. None of the people in this book are terribly likable and by the end of the book you come away feeling they all deserved some bad luck to come their way.
The best aspect of this book are snippets from Mark Evans, the engineers and others that were in the recording rooms watching everything unfold. Hearing first hand of the process is excellent. Digging up the drummer from High Voltage and hearing his perspective was also brilliant. There are a lot of excellent things in this book.
Having said that I wouldnt recommend this to just any AC/DC fan. If you want a walk down the path of going from nowhere to stardom via the record company then I would recommend this. If you want inside scoop or details about the music and the inspiration then move along because it's not in this book.
The mystery about who wrote the Back In Black lyrics is an excellent topic that isnt resolved and will never be resolved but having so many perspectives in one book is an excellent aspect of the music to be found in here.
The research done by the author is the most comprehensive I've ever come across in a book about the music industry. The photos that were used are gems. The book leaves no stone un-turned.
It's a long way to the top.
Still, it is elusive as to how they peaked, slumped, and roared back, perhaps because members of the band "don't do critics: and thus say so little.
Much is not flattering. At all. Yet as a long-time fan, I would bet a lot of bucks there is no successful band things are always rosy with.
That is because (shockingly) entertainers are humans, and humans are flawed.
Top reviews from other countries
Given the title of the book, I would have expected a bit more biography on the brothers, but I guess that one can get this info elsewhere. I also would have to confess that much of the bio’ on the cooperate players, the men in suits – people that the Youngs seemed to despise- behind the music didn’t always interest me.
Through much of the book we encounter the darker side of the Youngs. One certainly has the impression that Angus and Malcolm were not the easiest guys to get along with. They come across as two bitter Glaswegian lads who would always get their own back, with interest, on any perceived slight. In truth, I do suspect that even the most devoted AC/DC fan would have ended up loathing them if they had to work with them.
The brothers come across as two highly ambitious, ruthless and greedy men who would happily walk over anybody to get to the top. Certainly a lot of men, many of whom gave everything to aid the band on their meteoric rise to power, got ditched for little reason. And for Angus and Malcolm ‘the top’ was, not even so much the music, but the money. If ‘Money Talks’ certainly the brothers knew that language.
All of that said- what can’t be disputed is that the two brothers from the wrong side of Glasgow pioneered, Down Under, the most High Voltage Rock and Roll band in history. They will probably never tell their own story, unless a highly lucrative deal comes their way, so they can hardly begrudge others for trying to tell the story.
The Forward of the book is almost 25% of the book mainly about the Author being refused access to the Young Brother’s which is a problem when you are writing a book about them.
A lot of interesting information about Australia and the States but very little about the UK and Europe which is a very important part of the AC/DC story especially London where Bon Scott died which was the big game changer for the band.
The Author hasn’t got a good word for Bon’s replacement Brian Johnson. Brian had big shoes to fill and I think he done a great job in fact probably suited the States better and helped break the band in the states. AC/DC to this day plays a lot Bon’s Songs in there set. In fact, I don’t think you could get a bigger Bon fan than Brian himself. Even with “Geordie” Brian was not the main Song Writer, but he was one hell of a singer.
About the “Back in Black” Album. Yes, a lot of the songs were probably either written, Half written or at least heavily influenced by Bon. A third of the song writing royalties are reportedly given to Bon’s family. If the band was writing for the new Album when Bon Died yes, the band would use them! Wouldn’t you? But I think Brian is quite an honest guy who everyone knows wears his heart on his sleeve probably helped in the song writing even though it was not his forte. Also, AC/DC didn’t finish touring until the 27th January 1980 at Southampton Gaumont (I was lucky enough to of attended this concert).Bon Died twenty three days later. So, except what was written ideas on tour I can’t see many completed songs. I don’t imagine that the Album would have been called “Back in Black” either.
The Author also has it in somewhat for the previous Authors of books on the band. Especially Mike Wall who has interviewed AC/DC on numerous occasion which I found quite petty at times. These books which he must have used for research seeing the Youngs were not helping at all in the writing of the book.
What s said about the Youngs isn’t too good. The dynamics of any band is usually love and hate. The Youngs come across as not very nice people. They come from Glasgow in Scotland then settle in Australia during their early to mid-teens. This is time when your character is developing. I think the Author has got this part wrong. I think the Brothers may be insular, but they are loyal to their own. Yes, they have got rid of Band Mates, but they have also brought these same band mates back into the fold. With all the touring you are going to get fall outs even between Brothers & Best Mates. George Young was royally ripped of while with the “Easy beats” so you are bound to make sure this doesn’t happen to your equally talented sibling.
As I said very thought-provoking book about how AC/DC broke the States but not much information about the Young Brothers!
There are some quality books on AC/DC out there which I really like, but as has been said before, The Youngs is the best serious book about the band, no doubt about it.