Happy Birthday Angus Young: Watch AC/DC Perform ‘Jailbreak’ In 1991
Today is Angus Young’s 66th birthday. The iconic founding lead guitarist of AC/DC was born on March 31, 1955 in Glasgow, Scotland. After a historically harsh winter in 1963, a number of the Young clan moved to Syndey, Australia where Angus formed AC/DC in 1973 with his older brother rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young and lead singer Bon Scott, among others. The Young brothers settled on the name AC/DC after their sister Margaret Young saw the acronym on the back of her sewing machine and the group thought the electric moniker was fitting for their explosive style of rock ‘n’ roll.
Margaret also had a hand in crafting Angus’ now-iconic stage image, that of a schoolboy. While he experimented with a number of costumes including Zorro and Superman, Angus settled on the schoolboy outfit at Margaret’s suggestion and she also created his first uniform until it fell apart and he began using his now famed Ashfield Boys High School uniform from the institution he attended in Sydney. The band even went so far as to tell the press that Young was born in 1959 rather than ‘55 to further the schoolboy image. Young was also heavily influenced by Chuck Berry and did a version of Berry’s duckwalk onstage along with other wild moves.
With all the pieces in place — the music, the name and the showmanship — AC/DC released their debut album, the aptly named High Voltage, in February 1975. But it was their follow-up albums like T.N.T., Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, Let There Be Rock, Powerage and their 1979 commercial breakthrough album Highway To Hell that cemented them as one of the hardest rocking bands in the world armed with an arsenal of riff-driven hits that have become rock anthems and classic rock radio mainstays.
Sadly, at the height of their success, lead singer Bon Scott died of complications due to alcohol. Scott passed away as AC/DC was working on their landmark album, Back In Black, and while the band considered calling it quits they soldiered on with a new singer who embodied Scott’s iconic voice without doing a direct impersonation of him, Brian Johnson. Johnson helped AC/DC finish Back In Black, which became the band’s best-selling album (and the second best-selling album of all time) and propelled them to international superstardom.
Ten years later AC/DC performed for a massive audience at Donnington Park in Leicestershire, England. The band released the performance as a concert film, Live At Donnington Park, which is a veritable live greatest hits album with performances of “Thunderstruck,” “Shoot to Thrill,” “Back in Black,” “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap,” “Hells Bells,” “You Shook Me All Night Long,” “Highway to Hell,” “For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)” and more.
The concert also included one of the band’s earlier singles, “Jailbreak.” Originally appearing on the Australian version of 1976’s Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, the song became a live solo vehicle for Angus in later years. The nearly 20-minute Donnington performance is a master class in shred as well as stage presence and showmanship.
To celebrate Angus Young’s birthday, watch AC/DC perform “Jailbreak” at Donnington Park in 1991 below: