Yngwie Malmsteen is a Swedish guitarist of considerable renown. He has been active for four decades and counting, meaning that he has had an enormous influence on a wide range of musicians in a wide range of genres. To name an example, Malmsteen is considered to be one of the pioneers of neoclassical metal.
1. Born in Stockholm, Sweden
Malmsteen was born in Stockholm, which is well-known for being the capital of Sweden. Furthermore, it should be mentioned that its metropolitan area is home to 2.4 million people, thus making it the most populous urban area in the whole of Scandinavia. As such, Stockholm is home to numerous cultural institutions of interest. For example, the Nobel Prize ceremonies are held at the Stockholm Concert Hall and the Stockholm City Hall on an annual basis. Similarly, there is the Vasa Museum, which is home to a 64-gun warship called Vasa from the 17th century.
2. Born Lars Johan Yngve Lannerbäck
Yngwie Malmsteen isn’t Malmsteen’s birth name. Instead, that would be Lars Johan Yngve Lannerbäck. Having said that, he started using his current name when he was still at the age of 12. Yngwie was a slight variation on Yngve. Similarly, Malmsteen was a slight variation on his mother’s maiden name Malmsten.
3. Inspired to Play the Guitar By Jimi Hendrix
Like a lot of modern musicians, Malmsteen became interested in music when he saw someone interesting on TV. For him, it was the news reporting on Jimi Hendrix, who had died on September 18 of 1970. In particular, Malmsteen remembered the sight of said individual smashing and burning his guitar at the Monterey Pop Festival of 1967. Having said that, while Malmsteen became interested in music because of Hendrix, he has also stated that his particular style of music wasn’t influenced by Hendrix.
4. His Most Important Guitar Influence Was Ritchie Blackmore
Instead, Malmsteen has said that his most important guitar influence was Ritchie Blackmore. In short, said individual is another well-known guitarist who has been to write songs as well. However, Blackmore came from England rather than Scandinavia. As such, he is considered to be one of the pioneers of heavy metal and hard rock, not least because he is a founding member of the band Deep Purple. Besides this, Blackmore is known for some other things as well. One example would be the heavy metal band Rainbow. Another example would be the traditional folk rock band Blackmore’s Night.
5. Influenced By Niccolo Paganini
Speaking of which, it is interesting to note that Malmsteen was also influenced a great deal by classical composers. One such example would be Niccolo Paganini, an Italian man who was the most celebrated violinist of his time. Thanks to this, the man had a huge influence on modern violin technique. Furthermore, it is important to note that Paganini was also a well-known composer who is remembered for the 24 Caprices for Solo Violin as well as other compositions.
6. Influenced By Johann Sebastian Bach
Malmsteen was also influenced by Johann Sebastian Bach, who is one of those classical musicians that people tend to know even if they don’t particularly care for classical music. Despite this, interested individuals should remember that classical music is a term that covers a huge period of time. Initially, it was intended to refer to the time from Bach to Beethoven, which is still quite a few decades because Bach died a couple of decades before Beethoven was even born. However, there are contexts in which classical music can mean everything from the medieval to the present, which covers one-and-a-half millennia. In any case, Bach himself falls under the late Baroque period. Italians were extremely influential in this time, as shown by how new developments in the Italian peninsula would be adopted throughout the rest of western Europe after a time that could be as long as 20 years.
7. Was Considered for a Spot in Kiss
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Malmsteen’s guitar-playing skills mean that he has been approached about playing with a number of well-known bands. One amusing example would be how he was considered for a spot with the iconic rock band KISS at one point in time, which fell through because of measurement issues. Supposedly, Malmsteen was asked whether he was tall or not. To this, he replied that he was 192, meaning that his height was 1.92 m under the metric system. However, the questioner apparently didn’t know what he was talking about, presumably because the United States is one of the few countries that still use the imperial system.
8. Apparently Ian Gillian Doesn’t Like Him
On a related note, there were murmurs of Malmsteen teaming up with Deep Purple in the past. Those weren’t unreasonable, seeing as how he apparently got along quite well with both the guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and the bassist Roger Glover. However, Malmsteen has also revealed that apparently the singer and lyricist Ian Gilliam doesn’t like him. It isn’t quite clear why this is the case, not least because he himself is either unclear about the matter or unwilling to shed light on the matter.
9. Pioneer of Neoclassical Metal
Regardless, Malmsteen can be considered a pioneer of neoclassical metal, which is notable for its technical playing as well as its influence from classical music. He wasn’t the first person to play this kind of music. In particular, it is worth mentioning that Ritchie Blackmore preceded him in this regard.
10. Huge Number of Releases
Given that Malmsteen has been active for four decades and counting, it should come as no surprise to learn that he has released a huge amount of material over the course of his career. For instance, even if one counts just his solo albums, there have been more than 20 of them. In fact, one such album called Parabellum came out very recently on July 23 of 2021. Similarly, Malmsteen has released multiple live albums, multiple compilations, and multiple releases while working with other acts.