George Young started his music career in Sydney, where on rhythm guitar he formed a beat pop band, the Easybeats, in late 1964 alongside Dick Diamonde (born Dingernam Vandersluys) on bass guitar, Gordon “Snowy” Fleet on drums (ex-Mojos), Harry Vanda (born Johannes Vandenberg) on lead guitar (ex-Starfighters, Starlighters) and Stevie Wright on lead vocals (ex-Chris Langdon and the Langdells). All of the members had a connection with Villawood Migrant Hostel and their early rehearsals were held in its laundry room. Aside from performing and recording, Young co-wrote nearly all of their tracks. Early top 10 hits on the Australian singles chart for the Easybeats were co-written by Young with band mate Wright: “She’s So Fine” (No. 3, 1965), “Wedding Ring” (No. 7, 1965), “Women (Make You Feel Alright)”(No. 4, 1966), “Come and See Her” (No. 3, 1966), “I’ll Make You Happy” (track on Easyfever extended play, No. 1, 1966), and “Sorry” (No. 1, 1966). Later top 10 hits were written with Vanda, “Friday on My Mind” (No. 1, 1966) and “Heaven and Hell” (No. 8, 1967). The group had relocated to United Kingdom to record and perform; they disbanded in late 1969. After the Easybeats dissolved George Young formed a production and song writing duo with Vanda, as Vanda & Young in 1970, initially living in London. They provided pop and rock songs for other recording artists, and for themselves under various stage names: Paintbox, Tramp, Eddie Avana, Moondance, Haffy’s Whiskey Sour and Band of Hope. The pair worked with Young’s elder brother Alex in Grapefruit. Young and Vanda returned to Sydney in 1973 where they worked for Ted Albert, at his Albert Productions recording studio to become the in house producers.
One studio-based group Marcus Hook Roll Band, was joined in 1974 by Young’s brothers, Malcolm and Angus. The brothers had already formed a hard rock group, AC/DC, in 1973. Young helped them with AC/DC, which went on to become a success internationally. He declared to his brothers “that he didn’t believe a band can ever call itself a band until it’s done at least 200 gigs”. With Vanda he co-produced AC/DC’s early albums, T.N.T. (1975), High Voltage (1976), Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (1976), Let There Be Rock (1977) and Powerage (1978). George Young briefly played as AC/DC’s bass guitarist for a short stint, early in their career. He produced AC/DC’s 2000 album, Stiff Upper Lip. Malcolm was replaced in the group by their nephew, Stevie Young, in 2014. In mid-1976 George Young formed Flash and the Pan, initially as a studio-based duo with himself on guitar, keyboards and vocals, and Vanda on guitar and keyboards. They had local top 10 hits on the Kent Music Report Singles Chart with “Hey, St. Peter” (No. 5, September 1976) and “Down Among the Dead Men” (No. 4, July 1978). The group’s ninth single, “Waiting for a Train” (December 1982), had lead vocals by their former band mate, Stevie Wright. When the single was issued in Europe in April 1983 it peaked at No. 7 in the UK, No. 15 in Belgium and No. 26 in the Netherlands. Vanda & Young also co-produced work for Wright, John Paul Young (no relation), the Angels and Rose Tattoo. As song writers they provided “Evie” (April 1974) for Wright, which was a number-one hit in Australia. They co-wrote, “Love Is in the Air” (December 1977), for John Paul Young, which reached No. 3 in Australia. After retiring from the music industry in the late 1990s, George Young resided mainly in Portugal with his family. He died on 22 October 2017.
- November, 06, 1946
- Glasgow, Scotland
- October, 22, 2017