AC/DC

AC/DC

Formed 1973, Sydney, Australia: Dave Evans – vocals; Angus Young – lead guitar; Malcolm Young – rhythm guitar; Larry Van Kriedt – bass; Colin Burgess – drums. As children, the Glasgow born Young brothers had emigrated to Australia with their family, including older brother George who achieved worldwide success as a member of the Easybeats in the 1960s. When the band folded, George and former bandmate Harry Vanda helped found the Albert Productions label, signing Malcolm and Angus’s fledgling AC/DC and producing much of their early material. After a one-off single Can I Sit Next To You Girl in 1974, vocalist Evans was replaced by Ronald Scott, another ex-pat Scotsman who had been given the nickname Bon Scott, apparently as an abbreviation of “Bonnie Scotland”. With Scott, the Young brothers and new members Mark Evans (bass) and Phil Rudd (drums), AC/DC quickly became major stars in Australia with albums such as High Voltage (1974), T.N.T. (1975) and Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (1976). With new bassist Cliff Williams, further albums Let There Be Rock (1977) and Powerage (1978) increased the band’s profile outside of Australia; the latter album spawning a UK top thirty hit single Rock And Roll Damnation and an appearance on Top Of The Pops. 1979’s Highway To Hell became AC/DC’s first top ten album in the UK and the band was poised for huge international success in the 1980s when, after a night of heavy drinking, Bon Scott died of acute alcohol poisoning on 19 February 1980.

With encouragement from Scott’s relatives, AC/DC continued. After considering several replacements, including Slade frontman Noddy Holder, the band recruited English vocalist Brian Johnson, whose performance with previous band Geordie had impressed Scott a few years earlier. The band’s first album with Johnson, Back In Black – released in a plain black sleeve as a sign of mourning for Scott – topped the UK chart, went on to sell an estimated fifty million copies worldwide and is now the second biggest selling album of all time (behind Michael Jackson’s Thriller). Having made the breakthrough, the band followed up with albums For Those About To Rock We Salute You (1981, #3), Flick Of The Switch (1983, #4) and Fly On The Wall (1985, #7). In 1986 the band’s music was used on the soundtrack to the Stephen King movie Maximum Overdrive; this mix of old and new material formed the #11 album Who Made Who. 1988 saw the band score its biggest UK hit single to date when Heatseeker reached #12 in advance of the album Blow Up Your Video which made #2. 1990’s The Razor’s Edge was another top five album and included the top twenty hit Thunderstruck; they also recorded Big Gun (1993, #23) for the soundtrack of the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie The Last Action Hero. Former drummer Phil Rudd returned to the band and performed on the albums Ballbreaker (1995, #6), Stiff Upper Lip (2000, #12) and Black Ice (2008, #1). A compilation of tracks featured on the soundtrack for the 2010 movie Iron Man 2 also reached #1 in the UK, while the band finally scored a top ten single when Highway To Hell reached #4 in December 2012. Rumours of the band’s retirement began to circulate in 2014 and after much speculation it was announced that Malcolm Young would no longer perform with the band for health reasons, his place being taken by his nephew Stevie Young on comeback album Rock Or Bust (2014, #3) and ensuing world tour. This was followed in 2016 by Brian Johnson’s withdrawal from live performance in order to avoid potential hearing loss; Guns n’ Roses singer Axl Rose stepped in for the band’s remaining tour dates. Despite these health issues (and former drummer Rudd’s conviction for drug possession and threatening to kill a former employee), AC/DC’s place as one of the most popular rock bands of all time seems unshakable.

ESSENTIAL ’80s AC/DC

SINGLES

You Shook Me All Night Long sleeve

YOU SHOOK ME ALL NIGHT LONG
August 1980, #38

Spotify Buy from Amazon.co.uk Watch on YouTube

For Those About To Rock (We Salute You) single sleeve

FOR THOSE ABOUT TO ROCK (WE SALUTE YOU)
June 1982, #15

Spotify Buy from Amazon.co.uk Watch on YouTube

Who Made Who sleeve

WHO MADE WHO
May 1986, #16

Spotify Buy from Amazon.co.uk Watch on YouTube

 

ALBUMS

Back In Black LP sleeve

BACK IN BLACK
July 1980, #1

Spotify Buy from Amazon.co.uk

For Those About To Rock We Salute You LP sleeve

FOR THOSE ABOUT TO ROCK WE SALUTE YOU
November 1981, #3

Spotify Buy from Amazon.co.uk

Blow Up Your Video LP sleeve

BLOW UP YOUR VIDEO
January 1988, #2

Spotify Buy from Amazon.co.uk

Add your voice