Colin Burgess death: AC/DC drummer dies as band pays emotional tribute

No cause of death was disclosed at the time of writing

Maanya Sachdeva
Sunday 17 December 2023 12:08 GMT
AC/DC drummer Colin Burgess dies aged 77

AC/DC’s original drummer Colin Burgess has died, according to a statement on the band’s social media accounts. The Hall of Fame musician was 77.

The statement was shared on AC/DC’s Facebook page on Friday (15 December). It read: “Very sad to hear of the passing of Colin Burgess. He was our first drummer and a very respected musician.

“Happy memories, rock in peace Colin.”

The band’s tribute post did not specify a cause of death.

Fans of the Australian hard rock band – best known for the 1979 hit “Highway to Hell” – paid tribute to Burgess, who was inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association’s Hall of Fame in 1998.

“Very sad news, as I love rock music especially from Australia, and he was a part of a generation of great musicians that kicked off the music industry in Australia,” one person wrote. “Condolences to his family and friends.”

Another comment read: “Wonderful guy – there will only ever be one of him.”

“Sad so many talented artist [sic] from my youth are passing. We are all getting older,” a third fan comment read.

Born in Sydney on 16 November 1946, Burgess was part of the band’s original line-up, joining the group alongside guitarists, siblings Angus and Malcolm Young, singer Dave Evans, and bassist Larry Van Kriedt.

Their first performance together was at Sydney’s most famous nightclub in the Sixties, Chequers.

Burgess played with AC/DC from November 1973 until February 1974, when he was fired for being drunk on stage. While the drummer insisted his drink had been spiked, his fellow bandmates remained resolute in their decision, leading to Burgess’s sudden exit.

His dismissal was followed by a string of replacement drummers before Phil Rudd permanently replaced Burgess’s place band’s drummer in 1975.

However, when Rudd injured his hand during a fight in Melbourne in September 1975, Burgess was asked to fill in for him for a few weeks.

Before joining AC/DC, Burgess was also the drummer for the Australian rock band for The Masters Apprentices for four years, from 1968 until 1972. The group was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 1988.

AC/DC in its current form includes Rudd, Young, bassist Cliff Williams, Brian Johnson, who became the group’s third lead singer after Bon Scott died in 1980, and guitarist Stevie Young.

The band has sold over 200 million records worldwide, with the album “Highway to Hell” reaching the number eight spot in the UK charts.

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