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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
full bio

Selected Discography


Track List: World On Fire

1. World On Fire

2. Sorcery

3. Abandon

4. Top Down, Foot Down

5. Lost In The Machine

6. Largo

7. No Rest For The Wicked

8. Soldier

9. Duf 1220

10. Abandon (Slight Return)

11. Nacht Musik


Track List: Relentless

1. Overture

2. Critical Mass

3. Shot Across The Bow

4. Look At You Now

5. Relentless

6. Enemy Within

7. Knight Of The Vasa Order

8. Caged Animal

9. Into Valhalla

10. Tide Of Desire

11. Adagio B Flat Minor Variation

12. Axe To Grind

13. Blinded

14. Cross To Bear

15. Arpeggios From Hell


Track List: High Impact

1. Caprici Di Diablo

2. Brothers

3. Blitzkrieg

4. Trilogy Suite

5. Red House

6. Finale

7. Magic City

8. Arpeggios From Hell

9. Far Beyond The Sun

10. Cantabile

11. Blue

12. Overture 1622

13. Fugue

14. Beat It (Michael Jackson Cover)


Track List: Angels Of Love

1. Forever One

2. Like An Angel

3. Crying

4. Brothers

5. Memories

6. Save Our Love

7. Ocean Sonata

8. Miracle Of Life

9. Sorrow

10. Prelude To April


Track List: 20th Century Masters - The Millenium Collection: The Best Of Yngwie Malmsteen

1. Black Star

2. Far Beyond The Sun

3. I'll See The Light, Tonight

4. Soldier Without Faith

5. You Don't Remember, I'll Never Forget

6. Liar

7. Queen In Love

8. Trilogy Suite Op: 5

9. Hold On

10. Heaven Tonight

11. Deja Vu

12. Making Love (Extended Guitar Solo)


Track List: Attack!!

1. Razor Eater

2. Rise Up

3. Valley Of Kings

4. Ship Of Fools

5. Attack

7. Stronghold

8. Mad Dog

9. In The Name Of God

10. Freedom Isn't Free

12. Valhalla

13. Touch The Sky

14. Iron Clad


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

1. Icarus Dream Fanfare

3. Fugue

4. Prelude To April

5. Toccata

6. Andante

7. Sarabande

8. Allegro

9. Adagio

10. Vivace

11. Presto Vivace

12. Finale


Track List: Facing The Animal

1. Braveheart

2. Facing The Animal

3. Enemy

4. Sacrifice

5. Like An Angel

6. My Resurrection

7. Another Time

8. Heathens From The North

9. Alone In Paradise

10. End Of My Rope

11. Only The Strong

12. Poison In Your Veins

13. Air On A Theme


Track List: Seventh Sign

1. Never Die

2. I Don't Know

3. Meant To Be

4. Forever One

6. Brothers

7. Seventh Sign

8. Bad Blood

9. Prisoner Of Your Love

10. Pyramid Of Cheops

11. Crash And Burn

12. Sorrow

13. I Can't Wait


Track List: Fire And Ice

1. Perpetual

2. Dragonfly

3. Teaser

4. How Many Miles To Babylon?

5. Cry No More

6. No Mercy

7. C'est La Vie

8. Leviathan

9. Fire And Ice

10. Forever Is A Long Time

11. I'm My Own Enemy

12. All I Want Is Everything

13. Golden Dawn

14. Final Curtain


Track List: The Yngwie Malmsteen Collection

1. Black Star

2. Far Beyond The Sun

3. I'll See The Light Tonight

4. You Don't Remember, I'll Never Forget

5. Liar

6. Queen In Love

7. Hold On

8. Heaven Tonight

9. Deja Vu

10. Guitar Solo (Trilogy Suite Op: 5/Spasebo Blues) (Live)

11. Spanish Castle Magic (Live)

12. Judas

13. Making Love (Extended Guitar Solo)

14. Eclipse


Track List: Eclipse

1. Making Love

2. Bedroom Eyes

3. Save Our Love

4. Motherless Child

5. Devil In Disguise

6. Judas

7. What Do You Want

8. Demon Driver

9. Faultline

10. See You In Hell (Don't Be Late)

11. Eclipse


Track List: Live In Leningrad

1. Liar (Live In Leningrad)

2. Queen In Love (Live In Leningrad)

3. Deja Vu (Live In Leningrad)

4. Far Beyond The Sun (Live In Leningrad)

5. Heaven Tonight (Live In Leningrad)

6. Dreaming (Tell Me) (Live In Leningrad)

7. You Don't Remember I'll Never Forget (Live In Leningrad)

8. Guitar Solo (Trilogy Suite Opus 5 / Spasebo Blues) (Live In Leningrad)

9. Crystal Ball (Live In Leningrad)

10. Black Star (Live In Leningrad)

11. Spanish Castle Magic (Live In Leningrad)


Track List: Trilogy

1. You Don't Remember, I'll Never Forget

2. Liar

3. Queen In Love

4. Crying

5. Fury

6. Fire

7. Magic Mirror

8. Dark Ages

9. Trilogy Suite Op 5


Track List: Rising Force

1. Black Star

2. Far Beyond The Sun

3. Now Your Ships Are Burned

4. Evil Eye

5. Icarus' Dream Suite

6. As Above, So Below

7. Little Savage

8. Farewell


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Once again Yngwie Malmsteen, The epitome of a rock guitarist icon. This guy just totally shreds the f****** guitar! & one of my favorite all-time metal guitarist ever! This Jam one of my favorite instrumental s by him, far beyond the sun totally rocks a**! Such an amazing & awesome technique Style to this guys guitar playing. I first started listening to him in 1985. & i have been ever since then. Yngwie Malmsteen is the master at playing heavy metal guitar. And in my opinion, ranks among the gre
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Just totally amazing! Yngwie Malmsteen & Rising Force. What an awesome Kick-A** phenomenal rock band. These guys just totally rip it up. He's one of my all-time favorite guitarist ever! Malmsteen & Rising Force are totally awesome! & so is this Jam, arpeggios from hell. It's totally amazing, he shreds this guitar. & in my opinion, he is one of the best guitarist ever! Totally amazing, what a kick-a** rock band. And Yngwie Malmsteen is such a phenomenal Rock guitarist! Totally incredible! Rock o
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The best! Though I do love Hendrix as much as Bach! What a combo, love ya. . .
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BEST SHREDDER EVER! Tragic about his condition...
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What the what?! Why no mention of his tour with G3??? You've GOT to admit - G3 Denver may be one of his best performances EVER! Please update! Sheesh.
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Is it wrong that I feel nothing but pure envy when he starts playing?
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msilvermerli n
forgot Bucket Head LOL love him
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msilvermerli n
say what you will, he is THE GUITAR MASTER of the century, no one will come close to his skills or sound, I mean their are some greats close to him like, Kirk, Prince, Stevie Ray, Steve V,, Steve Stevens,love his flavor, new lady in 3rd eye band, she can shred, that classical duo Rodrigo y Gabriela awesome Metallica covers, list can grow and grow.. but technical ability, and musicality, and diversity Yngwie Is the MASTER
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sandymcleod1 7 5
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I love me sum.malmstee n . . .
But demon driver sounds like a cassette being eaten(a "tape"...aud i o used 2 b on tape after' o n people...bei n g stretched)
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Yngwie is God was written on every wall in Los Angeles when he first got here. The man has mad skills no matter what you think of his music. I have seen him many times. He never disappoints.
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I saw yngwie in 2005 in Tucson. Best concert of my life. I was in awe at seeing him play 3 feet in front of me. Greatest player to ever live
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Jason lost you
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If only scalping ur neck is what you think it takes to play like him everyone would do it you nitwit
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Anybody that has picked up guitar since 82 owes the man respect outside of Hendrix then the Eddie V phase this guy has changed the way people play for the last 30 yrs don't hate appreciate
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Scalp your guitar neck and you can play just like him
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The Best Guitarist in the world.
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A friend of mine met him at a party and had no idea who he was. Yngwie was SO furious that my friend wasn't impressed with being in the same room as him. Apparently he thought rather too highly of himself. lol
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That is an interesting bio...
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One of my favorite YJM tracks! Love the multiple barn burning (count them) solos on this one!!��
Been listening to Yngwie since he was a punk-kid in Steeler. The stuff with Alcatraz is phenomenal also!!
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He is the reason I picked up the guitar...
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The greatest metal guitarist on earth!!!!
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Ok Fronkus is diggin in on more obscure old s**t. Early yngwie. Period. Paragraph. That is as near metal as that s**t got. It's fine. It was a minor thing. I ponied up. Once the stuff gets "musicy" I got balls to protect and I bail. Once you water the s**t down for the art or money I see it and bail. Sorry.
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Screw that last number. Make that no. 10
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On the best composers scale of the best classical artists, I say he's no. 15
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One of the best classical artists besides Bach, Beethoven, Handel, Vierne, Widor, Sibelius, and Tchikovsky.
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This is how I like to end my day with some yngwie malmsteen
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The motherf**ker uses fender I love you man you kick a**
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Always liked him, but...Now I love this guy...fell out of favor Amen. Like he owes anyone an explanation.
Behavioral nightmare!
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I agree with John Farnsworth (below) I feel that Yngwie is and always will be a God amongst guitarists and composers!
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Malmsteen is the most educated neo classical guitarist of our time. He is like mozart with a strat.

VVV But you can listen to these idiots if you like.
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I do not regret selling my Strat (many years ago). It is just not where I was headed then musically, or where I am headed now musically.
However, I don't hate them. For example, Jimi Hendrix's Strat in no way diminished his sound. Hendrix had a both a tremendous and diverse sound. I still consider him as one of the best. He is not alone either. Several good musicians use Strats to get tremendous sound.
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I like Fender on some occasions, but not used this way. Malmsteen needs a guitar designed to play metal. To play metal with a Strat is nearly impossible without severe guitar modification s , as in the case of a band like Iron Maiden. I speak from experience. 20 years ago as a starting guitarist I was running a Fender Strat through a Crate GX130c. I knew Megadeth used Crate, and Maiden use Fender, so I was naive. My set up sounded like junk, until someone took the time to explain this to me.
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all you a** munch
yngwie mainsteen is guitar god
always be
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Yngwie malmsteen is a guitar God that's all I know can you do what he does with a guitar?
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boobnit you are such an a$$hole. do the world a favor, shut up or swallow a handful of vicodin and wash it down with a bottle of Drain-O.
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boobnit, if you would just crawl out from under that rock in the cow pasture you call home and listen to a wider variety of music such as 'classical' (very broad spectrum) you might and I reiterate 'might' enjoy the similarities between Yngwie and the music he covers... But that in itself is a lot to ask of a narrow minded simpleton such as yourself soooooooooo. . . . I doubt it.
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Malmstein may be technically accomplished but just wailing and shredding and making noise does not make a good song. In fact it makes a headache. Thumbs down. And if you are voting for Hillary, you must not be paying attention. That is exactly the kind of voters she hopes to attract. Proud of your stupidity ?
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markdaguitar g u r u
FOr the info of certain people on here Michael Angelo does not hate Yngwie. I was friends with him and went together to see Yngwie. GOD people always talk so much BS all over the internet!!!
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There may be contenders, there may be pretenders, but there is only one Yngwie J. Malmsteen!
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I love Yngwie, hate his clones.
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msilvermerli n
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I love the way he plays classical guitar
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A lot of people don't know what real guitarist are or do they actually know the fret board
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big whoopie you got a sword LMAO
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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
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msilvermerli n
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Numero Uno
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