The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC

St. Martin's. Aug. 2014. 320p. discog. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781250053831. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466865204. MUSIC
Once upon a time, there was a Scottish immigrant family in Australia, the Youngs. When big brother George found some success with his band, the Easybeats, younger brothers Malcolm and Angus decided to follow in his footsteps and formed AC/DC. George and his fellow Easybeats band member Harry Vanda produced the band's first several albums, but AC/DC really hit it big when they fired them (sorry, bro) and hired Mutt Lange (whom they later fired as well). Remarkably, the band became even more popular after its lead singer, Bon Scott, died and they released the blockbuster album Back in Black with new screamer Brian Johnson. Fink—unauthorized biographer, critic, and fan—wrote this book without gaining access to any of the Youngs, current band members, or Lange (he sure tried, though). Instead, he weaves new interviews with many other people who worked with AC/DC over the last 40 years into this "critical appreciation."
VERDICT If you can get past the lengthy, meandering preface, Australian music references that might be unfamiliar to American readers, and mention of the brothers being "vertically challenged," this thought-provoking book definitely breaks some new ground. Arrangement by chapters dedicated to specific songs is a satisfying way of telling the AC/DC story while providing music criticism. Scholarly fans will appreciate the bibliography; this one's a must-read for fans.
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