SYDNEY (AFP) - Australian music pioneer George Young, a driving force behind AC/DC which was fronted by his brothers Angus and Malcolm, has died aged 70, the band and his publishing house said Monday.
Young shot to fame in the 1960s as a member of Sydney-based The Easybeats and became an established songwriter, penning classics like Love Is In The Air and Friday On My Mind with long-time collaborator Harry Vanda.
But he was best known for his behind-the-scenes work helping create one of the biggest rock acts in the world, co-producing many AC/DC albums including Let There Be Rock, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, and High Voltage.
"It is with pain in our heart that we have to announce the passing of our beloved brother and mentor George Young," the band said in a statement.
"Without his help and guidance there would not have been an AC/DC.
"As a musician, songwriter, producer, advisor and much, much more, you could not ask for a more dedicated and professional man." George was a teenager when he emigrated from Scotland to Australia with his brothers and was the first to win acclaim as a guitarist for the extremely popular The Easybeats.
After the band broke up, Young and Vanda concentrated on writing and producing pop and rock songs for other artists under the umbrella of Albert Productions.
"George was a pioneer who, with close friends Harry Vanda and Ted Albert, created a new sound for the Australian music industry," said Albert chief executive David Albert.
"He will be missed."
Fellow Glaswegian and Cold Chisel frontman Jimmy Barnes also paid tribute, tweeting: "George Young RIP. What a huge loss for music. A great songwriter, producer and a great human being."