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Angus Young, AC/DC, LA, 1978

Rennie Ellis

type C photograph (sheet: 62.0 cm x 47.0 cm, image: 30.1 cm x 43.9 cm)

Angus Young (b. 1955), guitarist and songwriter, was a founding member of Australia's most successful ever band, AC/DC. Glasgow-born, he and his older brother Malcolm formed the band in Sydney in 1973, with Angus soon adopting his trademark school uniform and energetic antics onstage. The band’s line-up was confirmed in 1974 when Ronald 'Bon' Scott joined AC/DC as lead singer. Between 1975 and 1977 they released their first five studio albums, all co-written by Angus, Malcolm and Bon. With four huge singles in Australia, the band was signed to an international deal, but American success did not come until the title track from their sixth album Highway to Hell reached number 17 on the US charts in 1979. The multi-platinum album was the last to feature Scott, who died of alcohol poisoning in London in February 1980. Significantly, however, largely thanks to Angus Young's star status, the band weathered the loss of Scott and his replacement by Brian Johnston. Back in Black was released five months after Scott's death and vastly outsold the band’s previous albums, going platinum 22 times in the USA alone. AC/DC have since released a further nine studio albums. In 2014 Malcolm Young retired due to worsening dementia; he was replaced as rhythm guitarist by his nephew Stevie. Johnston left in 2014 having been advised that he risked total hearing loss if he continued with the band. Angus Young is the only band member remaining from the heydays of the late 70s and early 80s. A biography of him, High Voltage: the life of Angus Young, was released in 2017. Back in Black is still held to be the second-highest-selling album of all time worldwide, after Michael Jackson's Thriller; and it is the USA’s fifth-highest selling album ever.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2006
© Rennie Ellis Photographic Archive

Accession number: 2006.69

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Rennie Ellis (age 38 in 1978)

Angus Young (age 23 in 1978)

Subject professions

Performing arts

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