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Yngwie Malmsteen

Yngwie Malmsteen is arguably the most technically accomplished hard rock guitarist to emerge during the '80s. Combining a dazzling technique honed over years of obsessive practice with a love for such classical composers as Bach, Beethoven, and Paganini, Malmsteen's distinctively Baroque, gothic compositional style and lightning-fast arpeggiated solos rewrote the book on heavy metal guitar. His largely instrumental debut album, Rising Force, immediately upped the ante for aspiring hard rock guitarists and provided the major catalyst for the '80s guitar phenomenon known as "shredding," in which the music's main focus was on impossibly fast, demanding licks rather than songwriting. Malmsteen released a series of albums over the course of the '80s that, aside from slight differences in approach and execution, were strongly similar to Rising Force, and critics charged him with showing little artistic progression. He was also reviled as an egotist whose emphasis on blazing technique ultimately made for boring, mechanical, masturbatory music with no room for subtlety or emotion. Malmsteen responded by insisting that since he was already playing music he loved, he had no desire to develop any further, and that his love did come through in his playing. He also vehemently insisted that it was his imitators, not him, who reduced songwriting and composition to merely generic vehicles to show off the guitar player's amazing technique. Toward the end of the decade, Malmsteen fell out of favor with metal audiences, and even some of his musician fan base seemed to tire of him and the incredible amount of practice it would take for them to emulate him. Following a series of personal setbacks, tragedies, and even injuries, Malmsteen eventually resurfaced on small, independent labels and then recorded at a prolific, rapid pace, continuing to play the music he loved in his patented neo-classical style.

Yngwie (pronounced "ING-vay") Malmsteen was born Lars Johann Yngwie Lannerback in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1963, later adopting his mother's maiden name following his parents' divorce. He was an unruly child, and his mother tried without initial success to interest him in music as an outlet. However, when seven-year-old Yngwie saw a television special on the death of Jimi Hendrix featuring live performance footage of Hendrix setting his guitar on fire, he became obsessed with the guitar, learning to play the music of both Hendrix and favorites Deep Purple. Through Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore's use of diatonic minor scales over simple blues riffs, Malmsteen was led toward classical music, and his sister exposed him to composers like Bach, Beethoven, Vivaldi, and Mozart. He spent hours practicing obsessively until his fingers bled, and by age ten, his mother allowed him to stay home from school to develop his musical talents, particularly since he was considered a behavioral nightmare. Also at age ten, Malmsteen became enamored of the music of 19th century violinist/composer Niccolo Paganini, as well as Paganini's flamboyant style and wild-man image; this would provide the blueprint for Malmsteen's synthesis of classical music and rock. By the time he was 18, Malmsteen was playing around Sweden with various bands attempting to find an audience for his technically staggering instrumental explorations, but most listeners preferred more accessible pop music; frustrated, Malmsteen sent demo tapes to record companies overseas. When Mike Varney, president of Shrapnel Records -- a label synonymous with the term "shredder" -- heard Malmsteen's tape, he invited the guitarist to come to the United States and join the band Steeler in 1981.

Steeler recorded one album with Malmsteen on guitar, but dissatisfied with the band's rather generic style, Malmsteen moved on to the group Alcatrazz, whose Deep Purple and Rainbow influences better suited the guitarist's style. Still not quite satisfied, Malmsteen formed his own band, Rising Force, with longtime friend and keyboardist Jens Johansson. The new band's first album, also called Rising Force, was released in 1984; it was a largely instrumental affair spotlighting Malmsteen's incendiary guitar work and Johansson's nearly equally developed technique. The album was an immediate sensation in guitar circles, winning countless reader's polls in guitar magazines, reaching number 60 on Billboard's album chart (no mean feat for an instrumental album), and receiving a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Instrumental Performance. Malmsteen's subsequent albums, Marching Out and Trilogy, also sold quite well and consolidated his reputation and influence as a composer as well as a soloist. However, on June 22, 1987, a speeding Malmsteen crashed his Jaguar into a tree; in breaking the steering wheel with his head, he received a blood clot in his brain that nearly killed him and extensively damaged the nerves leading to his picking hand. In the course of recovery, he learned that his mother had died and that his manager had swindled him out of his earnings. Undaunted, Malmsteen regained the use of his hand and recorded Odyssey, his most accessible, radio-friendly collection to date; the single "Heaven Tonight" widened his audience beyond a devoted core of guitar fans and helped push the album into Billboard's Top 40. Following a world tour including the then-Soviet Union, the Rising Force unit disbanded and Malmsteen formed a new band in his native Sweden for 1990's Eclipse. The album was a success in Europe and Japan, but stiffed in the U.S. without much promotion.

An angry Malmsteen left PolyGram and, prior to the release of 1992's Fire and Ice, he was married to and divorced from a Swedish pop singer. Fire and Ice debuted at number one on the Japanese charts, and Malmsteen toured the world again. However, disaster struck frequently over the next two years. Hurricane Andrew destroyed Malmsteen's Miami property; his manager of four years died of a heart attack; Elektra dropped him from their roster; a freak accident left the guitarist with a broken hand, in addition to frequent bouts of tendinitis caused by his lightning technique; and in August 1993, Malmsteen's future mother-in-law, opposed to his engagement to her daughter, had him falsely arrested for holding the woman hostage with a gun. The charges were quickly dropped, and Malmsteen secured a deal with the Japanese label Pony Canyon after his hand had healed completely. He returned to recording with a vengeance, releasing The Seventh Sign in 1994, as well as two mini-albums (Power and Glory and I Can't Wait), and then Magnum Opus in 1995 and the all-covers album Inspiration in 1996.

After several years in near obscurity, Malmsteen returned to the headlines in 2002, after a fellow airline passenger threw water on him after he allegedly made a slanderous comment about homosexuals. This incensed Malmsteen, who had to be escorted away by security, all the while screaming to the passenger that she had "unleashed the f*cking fury." This stint proved to be so popular in revitalizing his career that his comeback album in 2005 appropriated the phrases as its title. While his popularity has largely faded in the U.S. due to a backlash against the excesses of '80s shredders, Malmsteen still finds audiences in Europe and is more popular in Japan and Asia than ever. Instru-Mental was released in February 2007. ~ Steve Huey, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography


Track List: Concerto Suite For Electric Guitar And Orchestra In E Flat Minor Op. 1


A lot of people don't know what real guitarist are or do they actually know the fret board
I got a back pack for my sword too.
Yngwie is a good live band
big whoopie you got a sword LMAO
If you don't have Steeler you don't have s**t that was the beginning lived in a closet before that and most that listen to it actually became a guitarist
msilvermerli n
Numero Uno
newyorktwinm o m 1
This guy influenced me to pick up a guitar and shred.
Yngwie is a badd a** axe man!!!!
u are a JACKA$$ IZZY, so what if he gain some weight. NY here
I really like Asylum I Asylum best song he has by far
I have almost all of Alcatrazz's albums with him on it. Much of Rising Force came from his time with Alcatrazz.
... also check out Yng's work w/ Alcatrazz ...
steeler ... YES!!! ... Hot On Your Heels Malm's intro cranks!!! ...
I think ingwie malmsteen is a fucken master in wat ge does..hes awsome.
I love donuts,espec i a l l y with icing.I love pussie to,especiall y when the icing cumms!
My little bro is a VERY accomplished guitarist & he used to RAG on Malmsteen somethin' FIERCE. I'd always try to see his point of view but damn...
STEELER was the sh*t, man...'membe r them?
Some bodies seen the pantera home video! Lol " you don't eat donuts? Hostile"
I always associate Yngwie with donuts too.. can't help it. lol
Fucken amazing!!!!
msilvermerli n
yea true as that may seem.. but he might be nicer than media portrays him, anyway he is the master Po of guitar! History will look fondly on him as a composer/mus i c i a n , saw him in the 80's with lita he was mind blowing
cristianmarc o 2 0 1 2
The man dont like donuts. Much respect, but probably would not wanna meet him from behavior seen.
cristianmarc o 2 0 1 2
After listening to oddysey, i almost quit playing. Thank god i didnt.
msilvermerli n
Rawkn85 the eargasms are awesome
Traditionali s t s hate him. I enjoy his eargasms.
What a story... I still can't stop laughing about unleashing the fury!
Without yngwie there wouldn't be no metal guitar virtuosos. Steve vai ; Joe satriani; are the exception.
His YouTube videos:the craziest
Yngwie's the best metal guitarist EVER..luv him....
I think Yngwie recorded this album with Jeff Scott Sotto as vocalist.. Does anyone know him? awesome vocal..
Metal rulezzzzz I hope you New Yorkers lived and went to Lamours in Brooklyn
It is ing-vay because in Germany and Sweden, they pronounce all their w's as v's....idiot .
Hey Jesse, don't worry about my reading,worr y about why everyone talks about what a lame douchebag you are after you leave every party you go to
Precisely melodic. Yes fast but I definitely hear his heart and soul. If anything the backup music doesn't do him justice or singers. He is very inspirationa l to me. There are so many great guitarists and he is one of them it really is a matter of opinion and no one can take his greatness away if you try you are only undermining yourself and shortsighted . Just enjoy it he does and you can't help but hear it.
then didn't he correct me? if it's ing-way
Actually its not pronounced Ing-vay its Ing-way he took the name from the original name which was Yngve. read a book.
that first paragraph is pretty unfair.
One of the best guitar player ever
I don't really get people complaining about him not growing or having soul. Generally, an artist or band becomes famous because they get their sound just right, and growth from that point is typically decline. There are rare exceptions, but even some of the greatest acts grew into nothing. And for soul, well, soul doesn't require slow guitar and sad lyrics, like so many people seem to think. He pours himself into his music; that IS heart and soul right there.
no expression!! ! ! ! ! !
slow it down and maybe you'll hear it
I dig Yngwie and this is 1 of my favorite Neo-classica l songs of all time but, I've seen him live twice and I haven't seen a lot of growth from him over the years. Great Guitarists like MacAlpine, Howe, Vai, Satch, Johnson continue to grow, evolve and search for further exploration of their musical soul.
msilvermerli n
December 31, 1985 Yngwie rocks the old Seattle Coliseum.
Seen him live in a bar in the s**t hole of a city called Flint. It was cool for about 20 minutes.
He is easily the best living guitar player,much love to Yngwie.R.I.P . Randy Rhoads though.
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