This Swedish-born guitar virtuoso was the originator of the high-speed, technically precise, neo-classical style that developed during the 80s. Influenced by Jimi Hendrix, Ritchie Blackmore and Eddie Van Halen, Malmsteen first picked up a guitar at the age of five and had formed his first band Powerhouse by the time he entered his teens.
1963 - (June 30th)Lars Johann Yngwie Lannerback is born in Stockholm, Sweden.
1970 - (September 18th) Yngwie seriously takes up the guitar after watching a TV news item on the death of Jimi Hendrix. Begins playing in earnest along to artists like Jimi Hendrix and particularly Ritchie Blackmore of Deep Purple. Yngwie's fascination with Blackmore's music leads to Genesis and then to classical great like Bach, Vivaldi, Beethoven, Mozart and Paganini.
1973 - Yngwie takes his mothers maiden name of Malmsteen.
1978 - Yngwie leaves school after such antics as riding his motorbike through the corridors, he takes a job at a small music store in Stockholm as an assistant luthier. It was here Yngwie was to discover scalloped fretboards in the form of 17th century lute. Yngwie decided to try this on his guitars and loved the results so much he's scalloped his fretboards ever since.
1978-81 - Yngwie plays in a number of bands around Stockholm. Members include Jens Johansson and Marcel Jacob. Set lists contain both original material and covers such as Deep Purple's 'Highway Star' and Scorpions 'We'll Burn The Sky'.
1982 - In an early incarnation of Rising Force a 3 track demo was recorded for CBS Sweden, nothing became of these however. Frustrated Yngwie started sending demo's out to a number of labels around the world. One was sent to the writer of a column in Guitar Player magazine, this writer also happened to be the label president of Shrapnel Records. Varney was so impressed with what he heard he invited Yngwie to come and join a band in Los Angeles called Steeler. Yngwie accepted desperate to get out Sweden and moved to the USA with 2 strats and 2 pairs of jeans.
1983 - Steeler release their self titled debut, the material is generally sub standard but Yngwie's fretboard antics and sublime solo on 'Hot On Your Heels' were enough to secure listeners attention. Frustrated at the lack of talent in the band Yngwie decided it was time to move on.
Yngwie joined Alcatrazz, the new band from ex Rainbow and MSG vocalist Graham Bonnet. One classic studio album was recorded 'No Parole For Rock & Roll', this was followed up by a tour and the release of a live album 'Live Sentence' which again showcased Yngwie's virtuoso talents. Yngwie again became frustrated at no being able to run a band his way and grabbed what originally was a Japanese only solo deal. The results would be released the following year.
1984 - 'Yngwie J Malmsteen's Rising Force' hit the Japan markets and gained such acclaim was swiftly picked up for worldwide distribution. 'Rising Force' became perhaps the definitive guitar album of the 1980's and pioneered the Neo Classical Metal genre. The album even hit the Billboard top 60 and was nominated for a Grammy! The album saw Yngwie reunite with old friends from Sweden in Jens Johansson (Keyboards) and Anders Johansson (Drums). The 2 vocal cuts featured the classic voice of Jeff Scott Soto, but it was the instrumental tracks like 'Black Star', 'Far Beyond The Sun', 'Evil Eye' and 'Icarus Dream Suite Op.4' that made the album so special. To this day its one of the best selling instrumental albums ever.
1985 - The band quickly entered the studio to record the much more song orientated 'Marching Out'. The album built on the success of Rising Force and a world tour followed. A live video from this tour was released in the form of 'Live 85'.
1986 - Line up changes were afoot with Jeff Scott Soto being replaced by Mark Boals. The resulting album was 'Trilogy' which remains one of fans and Yngwie's favorites to this day and includes such classics as 'You Don't Remember, I'll Never Forget', 'Queen In Love' and 'Trilogy Suite Op.5'.
1987 - (June 22nd) Yngwie has a near fatal car crash, wrapping his Jaguar (as featured in the 'You Don't Remember...' video) around a tree, Yngwie broke the steering wheel with his head. The impact caused a blood clot on Yngwie's brain which left him in a coma for a week, when he finally woke Yngwie's right hand was paralysed. It is testament to Yngwie's dedication and ability on the guitar that he was able to make a full recovery.
1988 - Rock music was the world leader at the time with acts such as Bon Jovi and Def Leppard selling millions of albums. Yngwie's label saw the financial rewards of this music and demanded a commercial album from Yngwie. What they got was not only commercial but full of exceptional songs. The vocal spot again saw a new addition in ex Rainbow vocalist Joe Lynn Turner. The album was a commercial success and spawned the hit 'Heaven Tonight'. The band went on another world tour this time taking in the Soviet Union (becoming one of the first international artists to tour the nation), a live video was again released 'Live In Leningrad' and a joint live album 'Trial By Fire' hit the racks in 1989.
1990 - Feeling that Rising Force was becoming a little stale Yngwie changed the whole line up for his next album 'Eclipse'. Vocalist Goran Edman and keyboardist Mats Olausson added greatly and the album 'Eclipse' contained such gems as 'Bedroom Eyes', 'Save Our Love' and 'Demon Driver'.
1991 - Unhappy with the promotion from Polygram Yngwie severed links and signed with Elektra.
1992 - 'Fire & Ice' was released and contained the singles 'Teaser' and 'Dragonfly'. The album is a superb mix of Yngwie's classical roots and crunching hard rock. 'Fire & Ice' was the first album were Yngwie got to trade licks with a real orchestra on the track 'Cry No More'. The album sold more than 100,000 units on its first day of release in Japan! A world tour followed again and by June Yngwie had returned home to Miami to begin work on his next album.
1993 - A turbulent year for 'The Maestro'. Yngwie's manager Nigel Thomas died of a heart attack in January, March saw Elektra drop Yngwie from their ranks (in the light of the grunge explosion), Yngwie broke his right hand in a freak accident in July and to top it all off Hurricane Andrew damaged Yngwie's home in August. September did see some relief in the form a new contract in Japan with Pony Canyon records. Serious writing for the next album got underway with a new band of Michael Vescera (vocals), Mike Terrana (drums) and Mats Olausson (keys).
1994 - The troubled year before musically had not hampered Yngwie in the slightest as 'The Seventh Sign' proved. The album was Yngwie's most aggressive since 'Marching Out' and superb reviews helped it reach triple platinum in Japan as well as shifting many units in the rest of the world. The US market was a bigger obstacle (with Grunge riding high) but this still did not stop Yngwie from reaching his fans even if it meant playing smaller venues.
Yngwie released an E.P. 'I Can't Wait' and a live video 'Live At Budokan 94' in Japan only, the EP sold well on import elsewhere but sadly the 'Live At Budokan' video has been all too hard to obtain elsewhere (it now fetches high prices for bootleg copies).
1995 - Work began at Yngwie's home on his own home studio. This new environment saw some of the parts for 'Magnum Opus' recorded there as well as at Criteria Studios. 'Magnum Opus' saw the line up of 'The Seventh Sign' used again this time with the addition of touring bassist Barry Sparks added. The result is 'Magnum Opus' which is one of Yngwie's most overlooked albums but a gem. European tour dates followed and then a record breaking tour of Japan covering an unprecedented 17 cities!
1996 - With Yngwie's home studio now complete he set to work on a collection of cover tunes that were an inspiration in Yngwie's formative years. The result was 'Inspiration' a superb album of covers from the likes of Deep Purple, Rainbow, Scorpions, UK and Rush. Many former band members were used which gave the album a great fun vibe. A tour followed which saw the return of vocalist Mark Boals and the addition of ex Whitesnake/Ozzy drummer Tommy Aldridge.
1997 - Work began on a new studio album, in came a couple of new faces in ex Abstract Algebra vocalist Mats Leven and legendary drummer Cozy Powell. The resulting album was perhaps Yngwie's strongest of the 90's in 'Facing The Animal'. Back with a new major label deal in the US the future looked rosy. Sadly Cozy Powell was suddenly killed in a car accident in England, this sent shockwaves through the rock community. Yngwie continued with a tour of the world which was dedicated to Cozy and a few words were said on most dates in remembrance of the classic drummer. Jonas Ostman has the task of filling Powells shoes on the tour.
On a brighter note Yngwie began work on what was to become his new masterpiece, this was to come to fruition in 1998.
1998 - The release of 'Concerto' showed what Yngwie could really do in a classical setting. Mixing his burning Strat licks to an orchestra showed how well the two combine. Words cannot describe this album so just buy it. This release slightly overshadowed a live album and video recorded in Brazil - Live! - but the live set gained more press acclaim.
1999 - After several months in Studio 308 with Mark Boals, Mats Olausson, Barry Dunaway (bass) and John Macaluso (drums) the results were unleashed in the guise of 'Alchemy'. The album was Yngwie's heaviest yet with some of his most frantic lead work in years. The fans lapped it up and the supporting tour was another success.
2000 - The 'Alchemy' band minus Barry Dunaway reunited to record the next album 'War To End All Wars' which saw Yngwie's music take an even more brutal direction. The album was warmly greeted and a world tour in support is continued well into 2001.
2001 - After much speculation Yngwie finally got the chance to play the 'Concerto' release in a live setting in Japan. The shows were recorded for a cd / video release which were released late in the year. Musical chairs ruled the roost with a succession of members for the continuing WTEAW tour, finally some stability was found with Dougie White, Derek Sherinian, Patrik Johansson and Mick Cervino.
2002 - The lineup that completed the WTEAW (minus Mick Cervino) headed into the studio to record 'Attack' which saw release in September. A tour is being planned to support with album.