|George Redburn Young|
|Born||6 November 1946|
|Origin||Sydney, New South Wales, Australia|
|Died||22 October 2017(aged 70)|
|Musician, songwriter, record producer|
|Instruments||Guitar, bass guitar, piano, drums, vocals|
|1964-1992 (as musician)|
George Redburn Young (6 November 1946 - 22 October 2017) was an Australian musician, songwriter and record producer. He was a founding member of the bands the Easybeats and Flash and the Pan, and was one-half of the songwriting and production duo Vanda & Young with his long-time musical collaborator Harry Vanda.
Born in Scotland, Young moved to Australia with his family as a teenager, and became a naturalised citizen. He was a member of the 1960s Australian rock band the Easybeats, and co-wrote with bandmate Harry Vanda the international hits "Friday on My Mind" and "Love Is in the Air", the latter recorded by John Paul Young (who is unrelated). Vanda and Young were also the producers of early work by the Australian hard rock band AC/DC, formed by his younger brothers Malcolm and Angus Young. Vanda & Young were inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 1988 and the Easybeats were inducted in 2005.
William Young (born 16 February 1911) and his family lived at 6 Skerryvore Road in the Cranhill district of Glasgow in Scotland. William worked first as a wheel boy in a rope works and then as a machine and saw operator in an asbestos and cement business. In 1940 William joined the Royal Air Force serving in World War II as a flight engine mechanic. After the war, William worked as a yard man for a builder and then as a postman. His wife Margaret (born 14 July 1913, her maiden name was also Young) was a housewife.
The 'big freeze' of 1962-63 was the worst winter on record in Scotland with snow eight feet deep. A TV advertisement at the same time offered assisted travel for families for a different life in Australia. 15 members of the Young family left Scotland by aeroplane in late June 1963 including fifth son George, and younger brothers Malcolm (6 January 1953 - 18 November 2017) and Angus (born 31 March 1955). Also aboard were his eldest brother Stephen (24 June 1933 - 1989), his only sister, Mrs Margaret Horsburgh (born 2 May 1935) and brother, William Jr (born 15 December 1940).:6-7 Another elder brother, Alex (28 December 1938 - 1997), stayed in the UK, and was later a member of London-based group Grapefruit.:6-7 A final brother, John Young (born 17 May 1937), had migrated to Australia separately.:6-7 Malcolm later described the family's musical background, "All the males in our family played, Stevie, the oldest played accordion, Alex and John were the first couple to play guitar, and being older it was sort of passed down to George, then myself, then Angus.":6-7
Initially staying at Villawood Migrant Hostel (a site later developed as Villawood Immigration Detention Centre) in Nissen huts, George Young met and became friends with another migrant, Harry Vanda. The Young family moved into a semi-detached house at 4 Burleigh Street in the Sydney suburb of Burwood. For secondary schooling Young attended Sefton High School.
George Young started his music career in Sydney. He formed there a beat pop band, the Easybeats, in late 1964, himself playing rhythm guitar alongside Dick Diamonde (born Dingeman 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 bandmate 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 Easybeats relocated to the UK to record and perform, but the group disbanded in late 1969.
After the Easybeats dissolved, Young formed a production and songwriting duo with Vanda in 1970, as Vanda & Young, 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, High Voltage (1975), T.N.T. (1975), High Voltage (1976), Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (1976), Let There Be Rock (1977) and Powerage (1978). Young briefly played as AC/DC's bass guitarist for a short stint, early in their career. He and Vanda also co-produced the title track and two instrumental tracks on AC/DC's Who Made Who album in 1986 and the Blow Up Your Video album in 1988. Young alone also handled production duties for AC/DC's Stiff Upper Lip album in 2000.
In mid-1976 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 bandmate, 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 songwriters 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, Young resided mainly in Portugal with his family.
In 1988, Vanda & Young were inducted into the inaugural class of the ARIA Hall of Fame. Young's brothers, Angus and Malcolm, were inducted into the hall at the same ceremony as members of AC/DC. The Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) in May 2001 conducted a survey of music industry personnel to determine, the "ten best and most significant Australian songs of the past 75 years." The survey listed "Friday on My Mind" at No. 1, and at the APRA Music Awards of 2001 ceremony You Am I performed the track with Vanda guesting on guitar. At the ARIA Music Awards of 2005, the Easybeats, including Young and Vanda, were inducted into the Hall of Fame. In 2007, Australian Musician magazine selected the meeting of Vanda and Young at the Villawood migrant hostel in 1964 as the most significant event in Australian pop and rock music history. Since 2009 APRA has run the Vanda and Young Songwriting Competition.