This guitar was played and autographed by Angus Young of the Australian rock band AC/DC. Bursting on to the Sydney pub circuit in the mid 1970s, AC/DC went on to unparalleled international success as Australia’s most successful rock export. AC/DC was formed around the guitar-playing brothers Malcolm and Angus Young. Their elder brother George, who in the 1960s was a member of Australia’s most popular group the Easybeats, guided the band in its rise to fame.
Like the Youngs, lead singer Bon Scott was a Scottish-born immigrant. His larrikin image, bad-boy charisma and raw vocal style were perfectly suited to the band’s hard-rocking sound. They developed a unique style of metallic hard rock built around bluesy power chords and sizzling solos from Angus Young. AC/DC performed with an aggressive, irreverent attitude and developed a repertoire of shocking stage antics. The band’s riotous image was emphasised in the coarse, juvenile and menacing humour of their lyrics, with which their largely male audience could identify.
AC/DC became one of the first Australian bands to successfully base themselves overseas. After establishing themselves in the UK, the USA was next. The ‘Let there be Rock’ album put AC/DC on both the US and English album charts. However it was the 1979 album ‘Highway to Hell’ which consolidated the band’s success in the United States.
Bon Scott personified the hard-drinking rocker until his death in 1980. Brian Johnson stepped in and the band released ‘Back in Black’, which sold twelve million copies. Since then the band has not changed its trademark sound or tried to broaden its musical directions. AC/DC’s tours continue to fill stadiums around the world.
The Gibson guitar company is one of the oldest guitar manufacturers in the world. The SG model was developed in the late 1950s as a standard solid body alternative to Gibson’s Les Paul and semi-acoustic instruments. Its classic design has not changed since then. The SG has been used by many rock guitarists including Eric Clapton, Frank Zappa and Jerry Garcia. It was a favourite with punk guitarists in the late 1970s.
In recent years items used or signed by rock stars have become highly collectable. Before donating it to the museum, Angus autographed this guitar in silver ink.