Skip to main content

Ode to Yngwie Malmsteen's "Black Star"

(Image credit: Steve Thorne/Getty Images)

“I’ve been playing 'Black Star,' or variations of it, since I was a teenager in Sweden,” Yngwie Malmsteen recently told his fan club.

“I used to play really long, uninterrupted improvisations when I played local shows in Stockholm back then, and it developed from that. I didn’t sit down and actually write out the notes for it; when I’m feeling inspired, the music just flows out of me. It’s in my head and my ears and flows out of my fingers.”

“Black Star” flew through Malmsteen’s fingers on his solo debut album, recorded in 1984 at Rocshire Studios in Anaheim, California, with the guitarist producing as well as playing bass and, of course, all guitar parts.

“We recorded all the basic tracks and then Yngwie had to go on the road with Alcatrazz,” recalls keyboardist Jens Johansson. “He flew in here and there to do overdubs. There are probably three guitar tracks on ‘Black Star,’ and I remember watching Yngwie doing them and being blown away at how he could effortlessly synchronize the vibrato if he was overdubbing a harmony.

  • "It all happened pretty fast and on ‘Black Star,’ especially, he knew what he wanted it to sound like it. And he got it.”

Yngwie Malmsteen performs "Black Star" in 1998:

"Black Star" tutorial by Malmsteen:

"Black Star" by Eva Vergilova:

"Black Star" by U.K. shredder Andy James: