Famous Like Me > Composer > M > Yngwie Malmsteen
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|Also Know As:
|Date of Birth:
||30th June 1963
|Place of Birth:
||Stockholm, Stockholms län, Sweden
Yngwie J. Malmsteen (born Lars Yngve Johann LannerbÃ¤ck, June 30, 1963) is a guitarist from Sweden who achieved widespread acclaim in the 1980s due to his technical proficiency and fusion of classical music elements with heavy rock guitar. The Americanized pronunciation of his first name is ING-vay.
Born into a musical family in Stockholm, Yngwie was the youngest child in the family. At an early age, he showed little interest in music. It wasn't until September 18, 1970 at age seven when he saw a TV special on the death of Jimi Hendrix. Malmsteen became obsessed with the guitar. To quote his official website (www.yngwie.org) "The day Jimi Hendrix died, the guitar-playing Yngwie was born."
Malmsteen was in his teens when he first encountered the music of the 19th-century violin virtuoso Niccolo Paganini, whom he cites as his biggest classical influence. Through his emulation of these pieces on guitar, Malmsteen developed a prodigious technical fluency. Malmsteen also cites Jimi Hendrix, Genesis, Uli Jon Roth, and Deep Purple as influences.
Malmsteen's contributions to the evolution of modern rock guitar, particularly his embracing of modal progressions and classically-influenced techniques not widely used in rock music, were unique. Thus, neoclassical metal was born.
In late 1982 Malmsteen was brought to the USA by Mike Varney of Shrapnel Records, who had heard a demo tape of Malmsteen's playing. Shrapnel is synonomous with the "shred" style music. He had brief engagements with Steeler, for their self-titled album of 1983, then Alcatrazz, for their 1983 debut No Parole From Rock N' Roll, and the 1984 live album Live Sentence. He left Alcatrazz in 1984, replaced by Steve Vai, and began his solo career.
Malmsteen released his first solo album "Rising Force" (winner of Guitar Player Magazine's Best Rock Album and nominated for a 1984 Grammy for Best Rock Instrumental) which achieved #60 on the Billboard album chart. He was nominated for a Grammy and later Rising Force topped the charts at number 1. This was followed by "Marching Out" (1985). Jeff Scott Soto was the singer in the first two albums.
His third album, Trilogy, was released in 1986. In 1987, former Rainbow vocalist Joe Lynn Turner joined his band. That year, Malmsteen was in a serious car accident, smashing his Jaguar into a tree and putting him in a coma for a week. Nerve damage to his right hand was reported.
In the summer of 1988 he released his fourth album, Odyssey. Odyssey would be his biggest hit album, mainly because of its first single "Heaven Tonight". Shows in Russia during the Odyssey tour were recorded, and released in 1989 as his fifth album Trial By Fire: Live in Leningrad. The concert in Leningrad was the largest ever by a western artist in the Soviet Union, and Malmsteen's record sales in Russia totalled 27 million.
In late 1988, his signature series Fender Stratocaster was released, making him the second artist so honored, after Eric Clapton.
Malmsteen's style "Neoclassical" became somewhat popular during the mid 1980s, with notable contemporaries such as Paul Gilbert, Tony MacAlpine and Vinnie Moore appearing in Malmsteen's wake.
In the early 1990s he released the albums Eclipse (1990), The Yngwie Malmsteen Collection (1991), Fire and Ice (1992) and The Seventh Sign (1994).
Despite his early success, and continued success in Europe and Asia, by the early 1990s the gratuitous over-the-top stylings of 1980s heavy metal had become unfashionable in the USA. This was displaced by the Seattle grunge movement, where technical ability was replaced by simpler, more emotionally-driven songs. The grunge rock movement may have arisen in part as a backlash to the overly technical metal inspired by Malmsteen and his contemporaries, which despite its often impressive technique was regarded by some as ponderous, bland and self-indulgent.
In the 1990s, Malmsteen continued to record and release albums under the Japanese record label Pony Canyon, and maintained a devoted following in Europe and Japan, and to a lesser extent in the USA. In 2000, he once again acquired a contract with a US record label, Spitfire, and released his 1990s catalog into the US market for the first time, including what he regards as his masterpiece Concerto Suite for Electric Guitar and Orchestra, recorded with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra in Prague.
After the release of War to End All Wars in 2000, singer Mark Boals left the band. Yngwie went on tour with former Ark vocalist Jorn Lande. Due to various tensions on tour, Jorn left before the recording of Yngwie's next album, Attack!!. He was replaced by former Rainbow vocalist Doogie White. White's vocals were well received by fans, and it seems that he has become a permanent member of the band.
In 2003, Malmsteen joined Joe Satriani and Steve Vai, with whom he toured as part of the G3 supergroup.
Yngwie released Unleash the Fury in 2005, humorously titled after the infamous "airplane incident" that had occurred a decade earlier .
Aside from technical prowess, distinctions of Malmsteen's guitar style include a wide, violin-like vibrato inspired by classical violinists, almost exclusive use of Fender Stratocaster guitars, and use of such minor scales as the Harmonic minor, and minor modes such as Phrygian, and Aeolian. Malmsteen cites the Fender Stratocaster and the single coil pickups (of which he uses his custom design by Di Marzio) as a large part of his sound. The Malmsteen signature model Stratocaster made by Fender is based accurately upon this combination.
The guitars he uses are instantly recognisable by the addition of a custom scalloped fretboard. This is similar to a regular fretboard, but with wood 'scalloped' or scooped away to form a concave shape in between the frets. Malmsteen conceived this design as a teenager while working in a music store in Stockholm, Sweden when he came across a 17th century Lute with a scalloped neck using the raised wood as frets.
Although he was initially regarded with respect by the musical fraternity, and is revered by many guitar enthusiasts, Malmsteen's music has also been heavily criticized. A review of 1988's Odyssey notes "little difference in approach from his previous output, lending credence to critics' charges that Malmsteen plays with mindless technique at the expense of substance, fire, and emotion."
The most frequent criticism of Malmsteen is that his musical style focuses more on showing technical prowess than on substance, although a comparison between his different solos shows that he rarely chooses to play close to the edge of his skills or speed. Further, some of the lyrics employed in some of Malmsteen's songs have been questioned as commercial or "cheesy", but it is likely that these were merely a tool to gain more exposure and radio play in order to showcase his guitar playing. Instrumental passages such as "Sorrow" and "Far beyond the Sun" are generally considered to be his finest work.
Malmsteen's personality has also caused criticism. Both his friends and enemies have said that he is usually a very pleasant and friendly person but sometimes gets provoked and acts intolerably, and has a huge ego.
- Rising Force (1984)
- Marching Out (1985)
- Trilogy (1986)
- Odyssey (1988)
- Trial By Fire: Live in Leningrad (1989)
- Eclipse (1990)
- Collection (1991)
- Fire and Ice (1992)
- The Seventh Sign (1994)
- Magnum Opus (1995)
- Inspiration (1996)
- Facing the Animal (1997)
- LIVE! (1998)
- Concerto Suite for Electric Guitar and Orchestra in Em, Opus 1 (1998)
- Alchemy (1999)
- War to End All Wars (2000)
- Concerto Suite LIVE (2002)
- The Genesis (2002)
- Attack!! (2002)
- G3 Live: Rockin' in the Free World (2004)
- Unleash the Fury (2005)
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