Angus Young Reveals His Take On Singer That Defined Rock N’ Roll
Angus Young live in 2016 - AC/DC / Youtube
From the very beginning, Angus Young’s passion was pure, unadulterated rock and roll. He and his brother Malcolm, the driving forces behind AC/DC, were determined to create music that sent shivers down your spine with the raw power of a distorted amplifier. AC/DC epitomized the essence of balls-to-the-wall rock, but according to Angus, there was one icon who truly embodied the spirit of rock at its best.
In the early days, as the Young brothers were shaping their rock and roll dreams in Australia, the foundations of rock were being laid.
Emerging from the blues, artists like Chuck Berry were crafting the blueprint for what good rock and roll should sound like.
Berry’s songs, rooted in the standard I-IV-V blues progression, were infused with tales of school days and the joy of playing the guitar. His music struck a chord with listeners, including legendary artists like John Lennon. However, it was Little Richard who brought something wild and untamed to the table.
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Little Richard, limited to the piano during performances, was electrifying on stage.
With glamorous makeup and a fierce vocal style, he created a thunderous sound that would influence countless hard rock singers. Angus Young, known for his iconic ‘duckwalk,’ admired Richard’s energy and punchy songs, stating:
“Little Richard, I loved the energy. Still to this day if I want to hear rock and roll and that energy and songs that pack a punch it’s Little Richard.”
For AC/DC, Little Richard was more than just an influence; he was a guiding force.
The raspy, razor-blade style of singing employed by AC/DC vocalists Bon Scott and Brian Johnson mirrored Richard’s approach. Young revealed how Richard profoundly impacted Scott and even played a role in Johnson joining the band. According to Young, “Bon was a great fan of Little Richard. He always said that for someone singing rock & roll, Little Richard was the icon.”
Both Little Richard and AC/DC shared a fundamental approach to their music: simplicity in chords but an explosion of energy on stage. It was not about complex melodies or intricate harmonies; it was about the sheer force of their music. Young, much like Little Richard, had a knack for turning the audience inside out with his electrifying stage presence.