Yngwie Malmsteen

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Yngwie Malmsteen
Malmsteen in 2008
Malmsteen in 2008
Background information
Birth nameLars Johan Yngve Lannerbäck
Also known asLars Y. Loudamp
Born (1963-06-30) 30 June 1963 (age 61)
Hässelby-Vällingby, Sweden
  • Musician
  • bandleader
  • producer
Years active1978–present
Member of
Formerly of

Yngwie Johan Malmsteen (/ˈɪŋv/ /ˈmɑːlmstn/; born Lars Johan Yngve Lannerbäck, Swedish pronunciation: [lâːʂ ˈjuːhan ˈʏŋvɛ lânːɛrbɛk]); born 30 June 1963) is a Swedish guitarist. He first became known in the 1980s for his neoclassical playing style in heavy metal, and has released 22 studio albums in a career spanning over 40 years. In August 2009, Time magazine named Malmsteen No. 9 on its list of the 10 best electric guitar players of all time.

Early life

Malmsteen was born Lars Johan Yngve Lannerbäck in Stockholm, Sweden, the third child of a musical family. At age 10, Malmsteen created his first band, Track on Earth, consisting of himself and a friend from school playing the drums. At age 12, he took his mother's maiden name Malmsten as his surname, then slightly changed it to Malmsteen and altered his third given name Yngve to "Yngwie". As a teenager he was heavily influenced by classical music, particularly 19th century Italian virtuoso violinist and composer Niccolò Paganini as well as Johann Sebastian Bach. During this time, he also discovered his most important guitar influence, Ritchie Blackmore. Malmsteen has stated that Jimi Hendrix had no musical impact on him and did not contribute to his style. However watching the TV news reports on 18 September 1970 of Hendrix's death, which included footage of Hendrix smashing and burning his guitar at the Monterey Pop Festival of 1967, made Malmsteen think, "This is really cool."



In early 1982, Mike Varney of Shrapnel Records first heard Yngwie Malmsteen's music through record store owner Bill Burkard, who played for him a demo tape of Malmsteen's early work (likely the 1978 "Powerhouse" demo) recorded when Yngwie was 15. Later in 1982, Malmsteen sent to Varney an untitled demo recording as a submission for Varney's Guitar Player magazine column. Guitar Player magazine published this demo for the February 1983 edition of the magazine.

In 1983, Varney brought Malmsteen to the United States to play on the recording of Shrapnel recording artist Steeler for its self-titled album. He then appeared with Graham Bonnet in the band Alcatrazz, playing on its 1983 debut No Parole from Rock 'n' Roll and the 1984 live album Live Sentence. Bonnet and Malmsteen clashed about who was the frontman and had a fight during a show. Malmsteen was fired on the spot from Alcatrazz and replaced by Steve Vai. Vai had one day to learn the songs for the ongoing tour.

In 1984, Malmsteen released his first solo album Rising Force, which featured Barrie Barlow of Jethro Tull on drums and keyboard player Jens Johansson. His album was meant to be an instrumental side-project of Alcatrazz, but it ended up featuring vocals by Jeff Scott Soto and Malmsteen left Alcatrazz soon after the release of Rising Force.

Rising Force won the Guitar Player's award for Best Rock Album and was nominated for a Grammy Award for 'Best Rock Instrumental', reaching no. 60 on the Billboard album chart. Yngwie J. Malmsteen's Rising Force (as his band was thereafter known) next released Marching Out (1985). Then he recruited Jens Johansson's brother Anders to play drums and bassist Marcel Jacob to record and tour with the band. Jacob left in the middle of a tour and was replaced by Wally Voss. Malmsteen's third album, Trilogy, featuring the vocals of Mark Boals (and Malmsteen on both guitar and bass), was released in 1986. Boals left the band in the middle of the tour and was replaced by the former singer Jeff Scott Soto. The tour was cancelled after Malmsteen was involved in a serious car accident, smashing his V12 Jaguar E-Type into a tree, which put him in a coma for a week. Nerve damage to his right hand was reported. During this time, Malmsteen's mother died from cancer. New line-up changes for the next album with former Rainbow vocalist Joe Lynn Turner joined the band, along with session bassist Bob Daisley, who was hired to record some bass parts and help with the lyrics. In April 1988, he released his fourth album Odyssey. Odyssey was his most successful album, in part due to the success of its first single "Heaven Tonight". Shows in the Soviet Union during the Odyssey tour were recorded and released in 1989 as a fifth album Trial by Fire: Live in Leningrad. The classic Rising Force line-up with Malmsteen and the Johansson brothers was dissolved in 1989 when both Anders and Jens left. That year later, Jens joined Dio replacing keyboardist Claude Schnell.

Malmsteen's neoclassical style of metal became popular among hordes of guitarists during the mid-1980s, with contemporaries such as Jason Becker, Marty Friedman, Paul Gilbert, Tony MacAlpine, and Vinnie Moore becoming prominent.[citation needed] 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 two albums, Eclipse (1990) and Fire & Ice (1992), with the singer Göran Edman, followed by The Seventh Sign (1994) and Magnum Opus (1995) with former Loudness singer Mike Vescera. Despite his early and continuous success in Europe and Asia, by the early 1990s heavy metal styles such as neoclassical metal and shredding had gone out of fashion in the US.

Around 1993, Malmsteen's future mother-in-law – who opposed his engagement to her daughter – had him arrested for allegedly holding her daughter hostage with a gun. The charges were later dropped. Malmsteen continued to record and release albums under the Japanese record label Pony Canyon and maintained a devoted following with fans in Europe and Japan and to a lesser extent in the US.

In the mid 1990s, Malmsteen released the albums Inspiration (1996) featuring three of his former singers Soto, Boals and Turner, Facing the Animal (1997) featuring Mats Levén on vocals and Cozy Powell on drums, followed by a live record Double Live! (1998) and another studio recording Alchemy (1999) featuring once again Mark Boals on vocals.

Special guest appearances and side projects

In 1996, Malmsteen joined forces with former band members Jeff Scott Soto and Marcel Jacob on the "Human Clay" album where he played lead guitar on the track "Jealousy". In the same year, Malmsteen recorded guitar solos for two different Deep Purple tribute albums, "Smoke on the Water" and "Black Night – Deep Purple Tribute According to New York" on the last one using the alias "Lars Y. Loudamp" to avoid contractual conflicts. He also guested with Saxon on the song Denim And Leather on their live album The Eagle Has Landed – Part II (released in 1997). Later that year, Malmsteen recorded the tracks "Enigma suite" and "All opposable thumbs" with his former band members Jens Johansson and Anders Johansson on their album Johansson/Sonic Winter.


Malmsteen with Tim "Ripper" Owens, 2008

In 2000, he signed a contract with the US record label Spitfire and released his 1990s catalog on 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 in Prague.

After the release of War to End All Wars in 2000, singer Mark Boals left the band. He was replaced by former Rainbow vocalist Doogie White, whose vocals were well received by fans. In 2003, Malmsteen joined Joe Satriani and Steve Vai as part of the G3 supergroup, a tour showcasing guitar performances. Malmsteen made two guest appearances on keyboardist Derek Sherinian's albums Black Utopia (2003), and Blood of the Snake (2006) where Malmsteen plays on the same tracks as Al Di Meola and Zakk Wylde. In 2004, Malmsteen made two cameo appearances on Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law. In 2005 Unleash the Fury was released through Spitfire Records. As stated in an issue of "Guitar World" magazine, he titled this album after an infamous 'airline incident', which occurred on a flight to Japan during a 1988 tour. He was drunk and behaving obnoxiously, until he fell asleep and was roused by a woman pouring a jug of iced water on him. Enraged, he shouted, "You've released the fucking fury!" The audio from this incident was caught on tape by a fellow band member. Malmsteen says that the name of the album refers to both the energy of the album and the incident. The release of Unleash the Fury was followed by a DVD release of Concerto Suite For Electric Guitar And Orchestra in E Flat Minor, Op. 1 – With The New Japan Philharmonic Live. The DVD chronicles Malmsteen's first time playing in front of a live audience with an orchestra, an experience that he describes as "fun but also extremely scary".

In 2007, Malmsteen was honored in the Xbox 360 version of Guitar Hero II. Players can receive the "Yngwie Malmsteen" award by hitting 1000 or more notes in succession. February 2008 saw the replacement of singer Doogie White with former Iced Earth and Judas Priest and current Beyond Fear singer Tim "Ripper" 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 titled Perpetual Flame and was released on 4 October. On 25 November 2008, Malmsteen had three of his songs ("Caprici Di Diablo", "Damnation Game", and "Red Devil", all from this latter album) released as downloadable content for the video games Rock Band Rock Band 2 and later Rock Band 3.

In 2008, Malmsteen was a special guest on the VH1 Classic show "That Metal Show". On 10 March 2009, Malmsteen's label Rising Force released Angels of Love, an all-instrumental album, which featured acoustic arrangements of some of his best-known ballads. In August 2009, Time magazine named Malmsteen No. 9 on its list of the 10 best electric guitar players of all-time. Malmsteen recently released another album compilation entitled High Impact on 8 December 2009.


Malmsteen in Barcelona, 2009

On 23 November 2010, Relentless was released, the second album to feature Tim "Ripper" Owens on vocals. The US version featured a remake of "Arpeggios From Hell" as a bonus track. Yngwie appeared on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on 3 February 2011 to promote his album. On 6 August 2011, Malmsteen made another appearance in the United States, playing a rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" before a game between the St. Louis Cardinals and Florida Marlins at Sun Life Stadium. Although rarely seen in his native country of Sweden, Malmsteen played one gig there in 2012. On 7 July, he ended the Getaway Rock Festival in Gävle, which he was headlining with Nightwish and Manowar. On 5 December 2012, Malmsteen released the album Spellbound. 2013 saw the release of Yngwie's official autobiography Relentless.

On 12 June 2014, Malmsteen kicked off his "Guitar Gods 2014 Tour" at the F.M. Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania alongside ex-Guns N' Roses guitarist Bumblefoot and guitarist Gary Hoey. In February 2015, it was announced that Malmsteen was in the studio working on a new album. In April and May 2016, Malmsteen was one of five guitarists featured on the Generation Axe tour.

Malmsteen in Gävle, 2012

In 2018, it was announced that Malmsteen had signed with Mascot Records, with a new studio album expected the following year. In 2019, Malmsteen released Blue Lightning, featuring blues rock songs – mainly covers – with Malmsteen's virtuoso playing. As Malmsteen was quoted:

I've been asked to do a blues album for the last 30 years this time I finally said, "Sure, why not? Let's try it!" I just didn't want to be stuck in the standard, pentatonic, play a 12-bar thing. I didn't want to do that.

On 8 May 2021, Yngwie Malmsteen was reported to have launched the Parabellum album and video for the "Paganini-referencing" track "Wolves at the Door". Since COVID-19 restrictions prevented touring, Malmsteen had more time to record the album, and was "clearly delighted with the results."

On 17 July 2023, Yngwie Malmsteen announced his first-ever interactive video guitar masterclass on TrueFire. Yngwie uses a variety of backing tracks pulled from 10 of his most popular songs as the framework for the masterclass and the way in which he demonstrates his creative process, technical skills, and performance insights. It was released on 31 July 2023.

Personal life

Malmsteen was married to Swedish singer Erika Norberg (1991–1992) and was subsequently married to Amber Dawn Landin (1993–1998). Since 1999 he has been married to April Malmsteen, with whom he has a son named Antonio, after Antonio Vivaldi. The family now resides in Miami Shores, Florida.

A Ferrari enthusiast, Malmsteen owned a black 1983 308 GTS for 24 years before selling it on eBay, and a red 1962 250 GTO.

In a 2005 issue of Guitar Player magazine, Malmsteen discussed his often-ridiculed behaviour, saying that, "I've probably made more mistakes than anybody. But I don't dwell on them. I don't expect people to understand me, because I'm pretty complex, and I think outside the box with everything I do. I've always taken the untraveled path. Obviously, people have their opinions, but I can't get too wrapped up in that, because I know what I can do, and I know what kind of person I am. And I have no control over what anybody says about me. Back in Sweden, I'm 'Mr Personality' in the tabloids, but obviously I can't take that seriously. I know in my heart that if I do the absolute best I can do, maybe ten years from now people may turn around and say, 'he wasn't that bad'."


Yngwie Malmsteen Signature Stratocaster

Maple fretboard YJM Stratocasters
Scalloped maple fretboard on a YJM Strat
Yngwie Malmsteen Signature Stratocaster with rosewood fretboard

Malmsteen has been a longtime user of Fender Stratocasters with DiMarzio HS3 single-coil pickups "for playing at blistering volume with no hum or screechiness". His most famous Stratocaster is his 1972 blonde Stratocaster, nicknamed "The Duck" because of its yellow finish and the Donald Duck stickers on the headstock. An alternative nickname for this guitar is "Play Loud" due to a sticker that Anders Johansson put on the upper horn of the guitar in Rockshire studios in 1984. Fender made 100 replica copies of this guitar and marketed it as the "Play Loud Guitar". He also has a Fender Yngwie Malmsteen Signature Stratocaster since 1986. It comes in a Vintage White finish with a maple neck, either a maple or rosewood scalloped fretboard and, from 2010, Seymour Duncan STK-S10 YJM "Fury" Model pickups. There is also a signature YJM100 Marshall amplifier, based on the "1959" amplifier range.

Other guitars

Besides Stratocasters, Malmsteen has played and appeared in ads for non-Fender guitars (like Aria Pro II and Schecter in the early 1980s) and played non-Strat-shaped guitars (like Gibson Flying Vs), early in his career. Today, for acoustic and nylon string guitars, Malmsteen uses his signature Ovation YM68s. Malmsteen uses light-gauge strings on his guitars, stringing his 25-1/2" scale instruments with his signature string sets by Fender (gauges: .08, .011, .014, .022w, .032, .046 and .08, .011, .014, .026, .036, .048) and pairing them with Dunlop Delrin 500 series guitar picks.

Band members

Current members

  • Yngwie Malmsteen – guitars, vocals (1978–1982, 1984–present)
  • Nick Marino – keyboards, vocals (2005–2006, 2010–present)
  • Emilio Martinez – bass, vocals (2017–present)
  • Kevin Klingenschmid – drums (2023- present)



Year Title Label US peak chart positions
1983 Steeler Shrapnel
2005 Metal Generation: The Steeler Anthology Majestic Rock


Studio albums

Year Title Album details US peak chart positions
1983 No Parole from Rock 'n' Roll Released: 15 October 1983
Label: Polydor

Live albums

Year Title US peak chart positions
1984 Live Sentence 133
No Parole from Rock 'n' Roll Tour Live in Japan 1984.1.28 Audio Tracks (2010 Reissue)
Live in Japan 1984 Complete Edition (2018 Reissue)
2010 Live '83
2018 The Official Bootleg Boxset 1983-1986: Live, Demo, Rehearsals (6CD-Boxset)


  • Metallic Live (1984, VHS)
  • Alcatrazz Live Sentence 1984 (2010, DVD Reissue)


Live albums

Year Title US peak chart positions
2004 G3: Rockin' in the Free World



Studio albums

Year Title Album details Peak chart positions Sales Certifications
1984 Rising Force Released: Late 1984
Label: Polydor
14 19 60
  • JPN: 18,000
1985 Marching Out Released: 30 September 1985
Label: Polydor
9 18 54
  • JPN: 22,000
1986 Trilogy Released: 4 November 1986
Label: Polydor
18 16 44
  • JPN: 40,000
1988 Odyssey Released: 8 April 1988
Label: Polydor
75 7 19 40 27
  • JPN: 42,000
1990 Eclipse Released: 20 April 1990
Label: Polydor
46 12 11 112 43
  • JPN: 63,000
1992 Fire & Ice Released: 7 February 1992
Label: Elektra
11 1 121 57
  • JPN: 148,000
1994 The Seventh Sign Released: 9 May 1994
Label: Pony Canyon
11 2
  • JPN: 262,000
  • RIAJ: Platinum
1995 Magnum Opus Released: 17 October 1995
Label: Pony Canyon
17 9
  • JPN: 166,000
1996 Inspiration (cover album) Released: 14 October 1996
Label: Pony Canyon
35 9
  • JPN: 108,000
1997 Facing the Animal Released: 23 February 1997
Label: Pony Canyon
39 4
  • JPN: 105,000
  • RIAJ: Gold
1998 Concerto Suite for Electric Guitar and Orchestra Released: 30 June 1998
Label: Pony Canyon
  • JPN: 88,000
1999 Alchemy Released: 23 November 1999
Label: Pony Canyon
  • JPN: 72,000
2000 War to End All Wars Released: 7 November 2000
Label: Pony Canyon
  • JPN: 32,000
2002 Attack!! Released: 15 October 2002
Label: Pony Canyon
  • JPN: 28,000
2005 Unleash the Fury Released: 26 July 2005
Label: Universal Music
2008 Perpetual Flame Released: 13 October 2008
Label: Rising Force
52 15
2009 Angels of Love Released: 10 March 2009
Label: Rising Force
52 55
2010 Relentless Released: 23 November 2010
Label: Rising Force
2012 Spellbound Released: 5 December 2012
Label: Rising Force
2016 World on Fire Released: 1 June 2016
Label: Rising Force
2019 Blue Lightning (cover album) Released: 29 March 2019
Label: Mascot
35 80
2021 Parabellum Released: 23 July 2021
Label: Music Theories Recordings/Mascot Label Group
22 89

Live albums

Year Title Peak chart positions
1989 Trial by Fire: Live in Leningrad 98 20 128 65
1998 Double Live 48
2002 Concerto Suite for Electric Guitar and Orchestra in E flat minor LIVE with the New Japan Philharmonic
2014 Spellbound Live in Tampa


Year Title Peak chart positions
1991 The Yngwie Malmsteen Collection
2000 Yngwie J. Malmsteen : The Best of '90–'99
2000 Anthology 1994-1999
2001 Yngwie Malmsteen Archives
2002 The Genesis 94
2004 Instrumental Best Album
2009 High Impact


Year Title Album details Peak chart positions
1994 I Can't Wait Released: 21 October 1994
Label: Pony Canyon


Year Title Type
1985 Rising Force: Live '85 Live
1989 Trial by Fire: Live in Leningrad '89 Live
1991 Yngwie Malmsteen Instruction
1992 Yngwie Malmsteen Collection MV
1993 Leo Fender Benefit Live Live
1994 Live at Budokan (LD)/Live in Budokan (2009 DVD Reissue) Live
1995 Play Loud! The 1st Movement Instruction
Play Loud! The 2nd Movement
Play Loud! The 3rd Movement
1998 Live!! (VHS)/Live Animal (2009 DVD Reissue) Live
2000 Yngwie Malmsteen Video Clips MV
Play Loud! "Full Shred" Instruction
2002 Concerto Suite for Electric Guitar and Orchestra in E Flat Minor Live with the New Japan Philharmonic Live
2007 Far Beyond The Sun (Rising Force: Live in Japan '85, Trial By Fire: Live in Leningrad '89 & Bonus Features) Live compilation
2009 Live in Korea Live
2010 Raw Live Live compilation
2014 Spellbound Live in Orlando Live

Music videos

  • "Island in the Sun" (1983) (with Alcatrazz)
  • "Hiroshima Mon Amour" (1983) (with Alcatrazz)
  • "I'll See the Light Tonight" (1985)
  • "We're Stars" (1986) (with Hear 'N Aid)
  • "You Don't Remember, I'll Never Forget" (1986)
  • "Heaven Tonight" (1988)
  • "Making Love" (1990)
  • "Save Our Love" (1990)
  • "Bedroom Eyes" (1990)
  • "Teaser" (1992)
  • "Dragonfly" (1992)
  • "Forever One" (1994)
  • "The Only One" (1995)
  • "Carry On Wayward Son" (Kansas cover) (1996)
  • "Alone in Paradise" (1997)
  • "Like an Angel" (1997)
  • "Hanger 18, Area 51" (1999)
  • "Crucify" (2000)

Guest appearances

Year Artist Song Album Notes
1986 Hear'n Aid "Stars" Hear 'n Aid
1988 Tone Norum "Point of No Return" This Time...
1990 Erika "Emergency" Cold Winter Night
1991 Various "Leviathan" Guitars That Rule The World
1994 "Speed King" Smoke on the Water: A Tribute Vo. Kelly Keeling
1994 "Lazy" Vo. Joe Lynn Turner
1995 Carmine Appice's Guitar Zeus "This Time Around" Carmine Appice's Guitar Zeus Vo. Doug Pinnick
1995 Various "Burn" Black Night: Deep Purple Tribute According To New York Guitar solo, as Lars Y. Loudamp
1996 Human Clay "Jealousy" Human Clay
Saxon "Denim & Leather" The Eagle Has Landed – Part II
Johansson "Enigma Suite" Sonic Winter
"All Opposable Thumbs"
Various "Keep Yourself Alive" Dragon Attack (A Tribute To Queen) Vo. Mark Boals
1997 MVP "Say A Prayer" Windows
1999 Various "Dream On" Tribute To Aerosmith – Not The Same Old Song And Dance Vo. Ronnie James Dio
"Light Up The Sky" Little Guitars – A Tribute To Van Halen Vo. Doug Pinnick
2000 "Mr. Crowley" Bat Head Soup – Tribute To Ozzy Vo. Tim "Ripper" Owens
2002 Åsa Jinder "Göksbypolska" Tro, Hopp & Kärlek – Visor Om Livet
2003 Derek Sherinian "The Fury" Black Utopia
"Axis of Evil"
Various "Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy" Influences & Connections – Volume One: Mr. Big Guitar solo, Vo. Joe Lynn Turner
2005 Radioactive "Shattered" Taken
Violent Storm "Fire in the Unknown" Violent Storm/Storm Warning
"Pain Is For Me"
DJ Schmolli "What's This Name For?" Schnipseljagd Vol. 01
2006 Various "Magical Mystery Tour" Butchering The Beatles – A Headbashing Tribute Vo. Jeff Scott Soto
Derek Sherinian "Blood of the Snake" Blood of the Snake
"The Monsoon"
"Prelude To Battle"
"Viking Massacre"

See also


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  41. ^ "Japanese album certifications – Yngwie Malmsteen – Fire & Ice" (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan. Select 1992年3月 on the drop-down menu
  42. ^ "Japanese album certifications – Yngwie Malmsteen – The Seventh Sign" (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan. Select 1995年10月 on the drop-down menu
  43. ^ "Japanese album certifications – Yngwie Malmsteen – Facing the Animal" (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan. Select 1997年9月 on the drop-down menu
  44. ^ a b "Yngwie Malmsteen". Billboard. Retrieved 27 September 2021.

Further reading