There are few people who have had a greater impact on music after picking up the guitar than AC/DC’s Angus Young. The perenially school-uniformed guitar hero has soundtracked the teenage rebellion of countless generations, instilling within them a sincere desire to rock out whenever they can. But, for Young, there was one guitarist who truly blew everybody away — Jimi Hendrix.
It’s difficult to quantify the impact that Hendrix had on popular music. Away from the stage, he spoke gently and with authoritative spiritual intelligence as he continually encouraged people to fall into their art and find that art in the most mundane of places. It was a mantra of performance that inspired countless guitarists who would then shape the 20th-century rock scene as we know it. But, of course, it was on stage and on record that Hendrix truly shone. Young remembers hearing that mercurial sound bleed over the airwaves and how it changed his life.
Young was opening up about his favourite albums in a recent interview when he made the revelation. “The thing is a lot of what goes in those albums, when we were younger, that’s where a lot of it all goes back to, at that point — like when I was an early teenager; 13 or 14,” Young told Tiny TV. “Music excited me, still at that age.” It’s the time in our lives that we’re happy to push ourselves to the edge to indulge in pop culture and it’s also a time that many of us fall in love with our idols
“And I think back, in my time, what I liked music-wise, I had to wait up all night,” recalled the Aussie rocker. “I would be there all night, and then at about two o’clock in the morning, there was a man on the radio, and he would play rock music of this time. He was an American man. And I had a little radio, and I would sit there in my bed and wake up just for this guy. And there I was. And he would bang out the latest stuff,” he added.
“I heard [Jimi] Hendrix on there, I heard Cream — people like this. And later on, you started to get your [Led] Zeppelins and bands like this. And especially when Jimi Hendrix, when I heard ‘Purple Haze’, boy, that was it. I was so excited.” That wasn’t enough for Young, after hearing Hendrix he needed more. “And then I thought, ‘How am I gonna find out about Jimi Hendrix?’ I was out walking anywhere. I went up to a magazine store, and I’m trying to look if they’ve got a magazine from England, ’cause I knew he was in London. And I found a little picture of this guy with a guitar, and I was going, ‘Wow! I wanna look that cool.’”
We’re not entirely sure how Young went from that notion to deciding to wear a school uniform for the majority of his adult life, but it’s clear that Hendrix inspired the guitarist to be one of the century’s most prominent musicians.
You can watch AC/DC’s Angus Young open up about his love of Jimi Hendrix below, as he opens up to Tiny TV.