1963 – Yngwie Malmsteen is born in Stockholm Sweden this day in rock history!

Yngwie Malmsteen

1963 – Yngwie Malmsteen is born in Stockholm Sweden this day in rock history!

Yngwie Johann Malmsteen (born Lars Johan Yngve Lannerbäck on June 30, 1963 in Stockholm, Sweden) is a Swedish guitarist, composer, multi-instrumentalist, and bandleader. Malmsteen became notable in the mid-1980s for his technical fluency and neo-classical metal compositions. Four of his albums, from 1984 to 1988, Rising Force, Marching Out, Trilogy, and Odyssey, ranked in the top 100 for sales


Early life

Malmsteen was born on June 30, 1963, as the first child of a musically talented family in Stockholm, Sweden. At age seven, he saw a television news report on the death of Jimi Hendrix. To quote his official website, “The day Jimi Hendrix died, the guitar-playing Malmsteen was born”. At the age of 10 he took his mother’s maiden name Malmsten as his surname, slightly changed it to Malmsteen, and Anglicised his given name Yngve to “Yngwie”. Malmsteen was a teenager when he first encountered the music of the 19th century violin virtuoso Niccolò Paganini, whom he cites as his biggest classical music influence.

Through his emulation of Paganini concerto pieces on guitar, Malmsteen developed a prodigious technical fluency. Malmsteen’s guitar style include a wide, violin-like vibrato inspired by classical violinists, and use of such minor scales as the Harmonic minor, and minor modes such as Phrygian, and Aeolian. Malmsteen also cites Brian May of Queen, Steve Hackett of Genesis, Uli Jon Roth, Alex Lifeson of Rush, and Ritchie Blackmore of Deep Purple as influences.


In late 1982 Malmsteen was brought to the U.S. by Mike Varney of Shrapnel Records, who had heard a demo tape of Malmsteen’s playing. 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. Malmsteen released his first solo album Rising Force in 1984, which featured Barrie Barlow of Jethro Tull on drums. His album was really meant to be an instrumental side-project of Alcatrazz, but it contained vocals, and Malmsteen left Alcatrazz soon after the release of Rising Force.

Rising Force won the Guitar Player Magazine’s award for Best Rock Album and was also nominated for a Grammy for ‘Best Rock Instrumental’, achieving #60 on the Billboard album chart. Yngwie J. Malmsteen’s Rising Force (as his band was thereafter known) next released Marching Out (1985). Jeff Scott Soto filled vocal duties on these initial albums. His third album, Trilogy, featuring the vocals of Mark Boals, was released in 1986. In 1987, another singer, former Rainbow vocalist Joe Lynn Turner joined his band. That year, Malmsteen was in a serious car accident, smashing his Jaguar XKE into a tree and putting him in a coma for a week. Nerve damage to his right hand was reported. During his time in the hospital, Malmsteen’s mother died from cancer. 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.

Malmsteen’s “Neo-classical” style of metal became moderately popular during the mid 1980s, with contemporaries such as Jason Becker, Paul Gilbert, Marty Friedman, Tony MacAlpine and Vinnie Moore becoming prominent. MacAlpine came to the neoclassical/shred field by applying his classical piano training to his guitar playing and Moore arrived at a similar style because he shared Malmsteen’s major influences. In late 1988, Malmsteen’s signature Fender Stratocaster guitar was released, making him and Eric Clapton the first artists to be honored by Fender.


In the early 1990s Malmsteen released the albums Eclipse (1990), The Yngwie Malmsteen Collection (1991), Fire and Ice (1992) and The Seventh Sign (1994). Despite his early success, and continuous success in Europe and Asia, by the early 1990s 1980s heavy metal styles such as neoclassical metal and lengthy, virtuoso shred guitar solos had become unfashionable in the US.

In the 1990s, Malmsteen continued to record and release albums under the Japanese record label Pony Canyon, and maintained a devoted following from some fans 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. In 1993, Malmsteen’s mother-in-law, who was opposed to his engagement with her daughter, had him arrested for threatening her with a shotgun and holding her daughter against her will . The charges against Malmsteen were dropped when he denied the incident.


After the release of War to End All Wars in 2000, singer Mark Boals left the band. Malmsteen went on tour with former Ark vocalist Jorn Lande. Due to various tensions on tour, Jorn left before the recording of Malmsteen’s next album, Attack!!. He was replaced by former Rainbow vocalist Doogie White. White’s vocals were well received by fans. In 2003, Malmsteen joined Joe Satriani and Steve Vai as part of the G3 supergroup. Malmsteen made two guest appearances on keyboardist Derek Sherinian’s albums Black Utopia (2003), and Blood of the Snake (2006) where Malmsteen is heard on the same tracks as Al Di Meola and Zakk Wylde. In 2004, Malmsteen made two cameo appearances on Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law- possibly alluded to his status as a guitarist.

Malmsteen released Unleash the Fury in 2005. He is married to April and has a son named Antonio after Antonio Vivaldi, and they live in Miami, Florida. A noted Ferrari enthusiast, he owned a black 1985 308 GTS February 2008 saw the replacement of singer Doogie White with former Iced Earth and Judas Priest and current Beyond Fear singer Tim Owens, with whom Malmsteen had once recorded a cover of Ozzy Osbourne’s song “Mr. Crowley”, for the 2000 Osbourne tribute album Bat Head Soup: A Tribute to Ozzy. The first Malmsteen album to feature Owens is entitled Perpetual Flame and will be released October 14.



Malmsteen uses Fender Stratocasters, especially vintage instruments from 1968 through 1972. His Strats tend to feature scalloped fingerboards and DiMarzio HS-3 pickups, and (more recently) the staggered-polepiece HS-3 released as the Dimarzio YJM. He routinely disconnects the middle pickup and tone controls on his guitars. Malmsteen briefly used Schecter Guitars in the 1980s, who built him Stratocaster-style guitars similar to his Fenders. While in Alcatrazz, he also used Aria Pro II.

Live equipment

Malmsteen uses vintage 1972 Marshall amplifiers for his live performances, sometimes performing with a “wall” of up to 27 vintage Marshall 4×12 Cabinets with Celestion G12T-75 (75 watt) speakers. All of the 24 heads on the cabinets are Vintage 1972 Mark II Marshall 50 Watt heads. Floor effect pedals consist of a BOSS CS-3 Compression Sustainer, Roland DC-10 analog echo pedal, vintage Dunlop Cry-Baby Wah Pedal, Moog Taurus Bass Pedals, BOSS OC-2 Octave, DOD 250 Overdrive Pre-Amp pedal, BOSS NS-2 Noise Suppressor and a Custom Audio Electronics switching system for his effects rack.

Malmsteen’s guitars onstage are 1968-1972 Fender Stratocasters. For his acoustic sets, Malmsteen uses a nylon strung electro-acoustic black or white Ovation Viper. Prior to the Ovations, Malmsteen used Aria, Alvarez & Gibson classical acoustics on stage. Malmsteen regularly performs onstage with a custom light top, heavy bottom string gauge ranging from 0.08 through 0.48 gauge, which are considered by most guitarists to be very thin, especially with the downtuning used. Malmsteen’s picks are Jim Dunlop 1.5 white.

YJM308 Yngwie Malmsteen Overdrive

Malmsteen had used the Gray DOD250 overdrive pedal exclusively throughout most of his career because of its warm, smooth and almost violin-like tonal characteristics, plus its dramatic yet clean signal boosting ability.

In order to protect his favorite but now Vintage Gray 250 pedals from the abuse of regular gigging and also to modernize his sound further for the new millennium, he assisted DOD in creating a somewhat treblier, less bass intensive version of their popular 90’s reissue yellow DOD250 pedal, which then became his signature model YJM308 overdrive.

Yngwie’s signature pedal was a big success first time around but got discontinued. It was later re-released due to public demand but has now been discontinued yet again. He now often uses the re-creation, named YJM308 after Malmsteen’s initials and the name of his favorite car, the Ferrari 308.

Band members

Previous members

* Jeff Scott Soto – lead vocals (1984-1985)
* Mark Boals – lead vocals (1986-1996-1999-2001)
* Joe Lynn Turner – lead vocals (1988-1989)
* Goran Edman – lead vocals (1990-1992)
* Mike Vescera – lead vocals (1994-1995)
* Mats Leven – lead vocals (1997-1998)
* Doogie White – lead vocals (2001-2008)
* Anders Johansson – drums (1985-1989)
* Mike Terrana – drums (1994)
* Jens Johansson – keyboards (1984-1989)
* Mats Olausson – keyboards (1990-2001)
* Derek Sherinian – keyboards (2001-2003-2004; 2007-2008)
* Svante Henrysson – bass (1990-1992)
* Barry Sparks – bass (1994-1995)

Current members

* Tim “Ripper” Owens – lead vocals (2008-present)
* Yngwie Malmsteen – guitars (1978-present)
* Michael Troy – keyboards (2007-present)
* Bjorn Englen – bass (2008-present)
* Patrick Johansson – drums, percussion (2001-present)


Date of Release     Title     Label     Chart positions     US sales
1983     Steeler     Shrapnel

Date of Release     Title     Label     Chart positions     US sales
1984     No Parole from Rock N’ Roll     Polydor
1984     Live Sentence     Polydor

Year     Album     Publisher     Chart positions     US sales
1984     Rising Force     Polydor     60
October 1985     Marching Out     Polydor     54
1986     Trilogy     Polydor     44
March, 1988     Odyssey     Polydor     40
October, 1989     Trial By Fire: Live in Leningrad     Polydor     128
1990     Eclipse     Polydor     112
November, 1991     The Yngwie Malmsteen Collection     Polydor
1992     Fire and Ice     Elektra     121
February 18, 1994     The Seventh Sign     Pony Canyon
September 21, 1994     Power And Glory     Pony Canyon
October 21, 1994     I Cant Wait     Pony Canyon
June 06, 1995     Magnum Opus     Pony Canyon
November 05, 1996     Inspiration     Pony Canyon
September 03, 1997     Facing the Animal     Pony Canyon
February 04, 1998     Concerto Suite for Electric Guitar and Orchestra in Em, Opus 1     Pony Canyon
September 18, 1998     Double LIVE!     Pony Canyon
September 17, 1999     Alchemy     Pony Canyon
March 15, 2000     Anthology 1994-1999     Pony Canyon
May 09, 2000     The Best Of: 1990-1999     Dream Catcher
November 22, 2000     War to End All Wars     Pony Canyon
January 09, 2002     Concerto Suite LIVE With the New Japan Philharmonic     Pony Canyon
September 04, 2002     Attack!!     Pony Canyon
December 30, 2002     The Genesis     Pony Canyon
January 01, 2004     Oujya Ressou – Instrumental Best Album     Pony Canyon
March 10, 2004     G3: Rockin’ in the Free World     Epic
February 23, 2005     Unleash the Fury     Universal Music
October 14, 2008     Perpetual Flame     Rising Force Records

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