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AC/DC Include Two Tributes to Malcolm Young in ‘Rock or Bust’ Art

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Health issues forced Malcolm Young out of the AC/DC lineup before the band reconvened to record its new ‘Rock or Bust‘ LP, but his presence is definitely felt in the new music — and the album’s liner notes, where Young’s bandmates pay tribute in a couple of different ways.

The band has always taken a less-is-more approach to its music, and that’s the same way they’ve chosen to honor their co-founder here — no long essays or flowery sentiments, just simple reflections of how much he’s meant to AC/DC’s music and how deeply he’ll be missed. You can see it in the image we’ve included above, which appears as a panel in the ‘Rock or Bust’ artwork and depicts Malcolm’s guitar alongside one belonging to his brother Angus, both leaning up against a Marshall amp underneath the legend ‘In Rock We Trust.’ And just to drive the point home, the last page of the booklet includes the simple benediction, “And most important of all, thanks to Mal, who made it all possible.”

Angus and AC/DC singer Brian Johnson opened up to ABC News Australia about the difficulty of soldiering on without Malcolm, who was replaced by the Youngs’ nephew Stevie. “To me, it was always up to Angus, really,” mused Johnson. “‘Cause Angus was part of these two men that made these riffs that nobody else made for a long time — since they were in school. So I really thought it may not happen. I thought if Ang had turned around and said, ‘I can’t do it without Malcolm,’ I would have understood perfectly. But, thankfully, he didn’t. He said, ‘Stevie’s there. I think we can do it.’ And I think we did.”

“We had the same thing with [former AC/DC singer Bon Scott],” added Young. “It’s kind of a hard decision you’ve gotta make: Do you keep going or do you stop? And it’s the same thing now. But Malcolm had that … I guess it’s that drive of his. He always wanted to finish what he started, more or less. So that’s how I’ve always looked at it. … We’ve gotta give it a shot.”

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