A party can never go wrong with an AC/DC album, and that's the reason they have staying power. Sometimes you need to think. Sometimes you need to rock. AC/DC is for the latter.
Scroll down past the album listings for a history of the band.
Most critics complain Back in Black, the album AC/DC recorded after the death of their original lead screamer Bon Scott, is ridiculously juvenile, obvious, snickering, bludgeoning, derivative, single-minded about sex and booze, a big cartoon. All true, of course, and--on rock 'n' ragers like "What Do You Do For Money Honey," "You Shook Me All Night Long," and the title track--all great. As Scott's replacement Brian Johnson reminds us, loud and crunchy, no-holds-barred "rock and roll ain't noise pollution...it makes good, good sense." Never trust anyone who refuses to drink domestic beer, laugh at the Three Stooges, or crank Back in Black. --David Cantwell
The 1980 album digitally remastered and reissued in a special digipak plus a 16 page full color booklet containing all original album art, many unpublished photos, classic memorabilia and new 2003 liner notes. Epic.
While Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap sounds like every other AC/DC album, it is distinguished by a lyrical puerility spectacular even by Bon Scott's standards. Two tracks--"Love at First Feel" and "Squealer"--are ruminations on the morality of sex with schoolgirls. "Big Balls," ostensibly a narrative from the perspective of an aristocrat socialite, is actually a somewhat labored excuse for the band to chant "We've got big balls." This juvenile posturing was, to a large degree, AC/DC winding up their burgeoning foreign audience by playing to stereotypical expectations of Australians. On Dirty Deeds, however, AC/DC try too hard. Only on "Ain't No Fun (Waiting Round to Be a Millionaire)" is Scott's laconic wit deployed to real effect: the sheer glee in the line "Get your f'in' jumbo jet off my airport!" is almost worth the album's purchase price. --Andrew Mueller
The 1981 album digitally remastered and reissued in a special digipak plus a 16 page full color booklet containing all original album art, many unpublished photos, classic memorabilia and new 2003 liner notes. Epic.
Lesser bands might have been put off their stride by the death of their lead singer, but not AC/DC. No sooner had Bon Scott met his whiskey-sodden end in 1980 than AC/DC recruited a new singer, Brian Johnson--who sounded almost exactly like Scott--and released, in Back in Black, the biggest-selling album of their career. For Those About to Rock...We Salute You is a suitably triumphant follow-up. The cannon-punctuated title track--the most auspicious marriage of music and artillery since Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture"--still provides a spectacular finale to AC/DC concerts. For Those About to Rock also confirmed that Johnson's lyrical preoccupations were broadly congruent with those of his predecessor: "Let's Get It Up" and "Inject the Venom" are as subtle as their titles sound. This is a record Beavis and Butthead would describe as "cool"--and, as usual, they'd be right. --Andrew Mueller
This remastered reissue of 1981 album. Packaged in a digipak with 16 page color booklet containing all original album art, many unpublished photos, classic memorabilia and liner notes. Epic.
AC/DC's fourth album is the lull after the triumph of Let There Be Rock and before the mighty peaks of If You Want Blood You've Got It and Highway to Hell. Powerage contains all the familiar AC/DC trademarks: Bon Scott's rather less than Yeatsian lyrical vision ("Rock & Roll Damnation," "Up to My Neck in You"), Angus Young's brilliantly minimal guitar playing, a rhythm section as relentless and efficient as an infantry regiment, and the astute production of former Easybeats Harry Vanda and George Young; however, it lacks a truly transcendent moment, a "Whole Lotta Rosie" or a "T.N.T." Of course, even an average AC/DC album is an eloquent lesson in the fundamentals of rock & roll, and by that token Powerage still blows most opposition out of the water. Bon Scott's exultant declaration of working-class solidarity, "Riff Raff," is worth six Bon Jovi albums on its own. --Andrew Mueller
AC/DC is an Australian hard rock band.
The group formed in Sydney, Australia in December, 1973. Their albums have sold in colossal numbers, the total now being estimated at well in excess of 150 million copies worldwide, with the 1980 album Back in Black selling over 21 million in the US alone and 40+ world wide. The band has had two distinctive lead singers, and its fans tend to divide its history into the "Bon Scott era (1974-80)" and the "Brian Johnson era (1980-present)".
Although the group is generally considered to be a pioneer of hard rock and heavy metal music (they are ranked number 4 on VH1's "100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock"), the members have always referred to their music as rock 'n' roll. Their music is rhythm & blues-based with a higher level of distortion in the lead and rhythm guitars. Overall, AC/DC is the most successful and well-known band to hail from Australia, ahead of other notables such as INXS.
Since 2003, AC/DC has recently been working on an album featuring new material. But as of February 2006, no formal plans to release it have been made. In a 2005 interview with Brian Johnson, he has confirmed that the band does not know where the album will be recorded and finished. Also during the year, it was announced that the album might be a double.
Born in Glasgow, Scotland, the brothers Angus, Malcolm and George Young moved with their family to Sydney, Australia as children. George began playing guitar first and became a member of Australia's most successful band during the 1960s, The Easybeats. They were the first local rock act to score an international hit ("Friday On My Mind" in 1966). Malcolm and Angus soon followed in his footsteps. Malcolm first played with a Newcastle, New South Wales band called The Velvet Underground (not to be confused with the New York based Velvet Underground which included Lou Reed).
The early lineups of the band changed often; original drummer Colin Burgess (ex-The Masters Apprentices) was sacked after passing out on stage (reportedly because someone spiked his drink) and a number of different bassists and drummers passed through the band over the next year.
In September 1974, the original vocalist, Dave Evans, was replaced by another Scot, the charismatic singer Ronald Belford "Bon" Scott, born in Kirriemuir, Scotland, and former lead vocalist for The Spectors in 1966. This signified the beginning of real success. With Evans, they recorded a three song single, which has "Rockin In The Parlour", "Show Business", and "Can I Sit Next To You Girl". "Show Business" and "Can I Sit Next To You Girl" were also recorded by Scott.
Another vital innovation was Angus Young's adoption of his now-famous school uniform as a regular stage outfit; the original was reputedly Angus' real uniform from his secondary school, Ashfield Boys High School, in Sydney. This idea was suggested by his sister.
Between 1974 and 1978, aided by regular appearances on the nationally-broadcast TV pop music show Countdown, AC/DC became one of the most popular and successful acts in Australia, scoring a string of hit albums and singles including their perennial rock anthem "It's A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)".
AC/DC signed an international deal with Atlantic Records. They worked all over the UK and Europe to establish themselves, touring almost constantly and gaining invaluable experience on the stadium circuit supporting the top hard-rock acts of the day including Alice Cooper, Black Sabbath, Kiss, Cheap Trick, Nazareth, Foreigner, Thin Lizzy, and The Who.
Their third Australian album Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap was released in 1976. Bon Scott did an excellent job on "Jailbreak" a rough and raw tune, and "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" , which was banned by many parents across the world.
They survived the punk rock upheavals of 1976–1978, partly because they were tagged as a punk band by the British music press. They gained a solid cult following in the UK with their powerful performances and outrageous stage antics; Angus Young quickly became notorious for mooning the audience and the group was banned from several British venues. Their meaty hard-rock sound and Scott's provocative, leering stage persona are also reputed to have been significant influences on The Sex Pistols' lead singer Johnny Rotten.
It was their 1979 effort, Highway To Hell, produced by Mutt Lange, that propelled them into the top ranks of hard rock acts; its anthemic title track is still a radio staple and is still widely popular in the U.S.
Bon Scott died on 19 February 1980. He passed out after a night of routine partying, and was left in a car owned by an acquaintance named Allistair Kinnear. Sometime the next day, Bon was found dead by Kinnear. The cause of death was hypothermia, although a common story cites choking in one's own vomit as the reason for death. There are many inconsistencies in the official story, which in recent years have lead to many conspiracy theories, many involving heroin overdoses.
The band members considered quitting, but they were encouraged to continue by Bon Scott's parents. Shortly after, the band found their new lead singer in an Englishman, former Geordie lead singer Brian Johnson. With Johnson, they completed the song-writing and began recording Back in Black, also produced by Lange. This became their biggest-selling album, a hard-rock landmark. Among the album's hits, the title track, an unstated tribute to Scott, and "You Shook Me All Night Long", are quintessential AC/DC: pounding guitars, start-stop rhythms, and the vocal style one critic affectionately described as "crotch on barbed wire." The follow-up album, For Those About to Rock We Salute You, released in 1981, also sold very well and was well received by critics.
The band split with Lange for their self-produced 1983 album, Flick of the Switch. Predictably, perhaps, its production values were not on par with the previous three LPs, despite some memorable tracks. Amid rumours of alcoholism, drummer Phil Rudd left after a mysterious argument with a band member, possibly Malcolm. Rudd was replaced by Simon Wright from Tytan, after the band held an anonymous audition. With the new lineup they recorded the less successful Fly On The Wall, produced by the Young brothers, in 1985. Many fans and critics felt the band was by this time over the hill, eclipsed by newer rock bands. An ambitious series of music videos featuring the band at a bar playing five of the album's ten songs and supplemented by a variety of goings-on, including an animated fly, was also released.
In 1986, the group returned to the charts with the title track from Who Made Who, the soundtrack to Stephen King's film Maximum Overdrive. The album also included two new instrumentals along with old hits, only one of which was from the Bon Scott era; the band's first compilation sold reasonably well. In February 1988 AC/DC were inducted into ARIA Hall of Fame. The next album, Blow Up Your Video (1988) saw them reunited with their original producers, Harry Vanda and George Young; it sold better than any album since For Those About to Rock We Salute You. Although its production values were an improvement on Flick of the Switch and Fly on the Wall, it was not the return to the success of their earlier work many fans had hoped for, despite scoring a British Top 10 single with "Heatseeker".
Following Video, Wright left the group, replaced by session veteran Chris Slade. Johnson was unavailable for several months (it was said he was tending to his ailing father, but he was also in rehabilitation). The Young brothers wrote the songs for the next record themselves, as they would do for all subsequent releases. Joining with Bon Jovi producer Bruce Fairbairn, the first album with this new lineup was The Razor's Edge, a big comeback for the group that included the hits "Thunderstruck" and "Money Talks". The album went multiplatinum and went into the top ten in the United States and elsewhere around the world.
By 1994, a sober Rudd had returned. The departure of Chris Slade was, however, amicable and mainly due to the band's strong wish to return with Rudd. According to Angus Young, Slade was the best musician in AC/DC, but the wish to regroup with Rudd was stronger. With the 1980–1983 lineup back, the group recorded Ballbreaker (1995) and Stiff Upper Lip (2000) with hip hop and heavy metal producer Rick Rubin.
In 2002, Q magazine put AC/DC at the very top of the "50 Bands To See Before You Die" list. AC/DC have entered into a long-term, multi-album deal for new recordings, which will be released through Epic Records.
In March 2003, the walls at New York City's historic Waldorf Astoria hotel shook, as AC/DC performed "Highway To Hell" during part of their induction to the Rock'n'Roll Hall Of Fame, and "You Shook Me All Night Long" with guest vocals by Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, who inducted AC/DC into the hall of fame. "AC/DC became the litmus test of what rock does," Tyler said. "Does it make you clench your fist when you sing along? Does it scare your parents to hell, and piss off the neighbors? Does it make you dance so close to the fire that you burn your feet--and still don't give a rat's ass? Does it make you want to stand up and scream for something that you're not even sure of yet? Does it make you want to boil your sneakers, and make soup outta your girlfriend's panties? (audience laughter) If it doesn't, then it ain't AC/DC. "Alongside the band were two of Scott's nephews. In a brief acceptance speech, the band again thanked the fans for their support. Brian Johnson quoted the band's 1977 song "Let There Be Rock," written by Bon Scott. "'In the beginning, back in 1955, man didn't know about the rock 'n roll show and all that jive. The white man had the schmaltz, the black man had the blues, but no one knew what they was gonna do, but Tchaikovsky had the news, he said, let there be rock,'" Johnson said. "Bon Scott wrote that. And it's a real privilege to accept these awards tonight."
In May 2003, Malcolm Young accepted the Ted Albert Award For Outstanding Service To Australian Music and paid special tribute to Bon Scott. That same year, the Recording Industry Association of America upgraded the group's US sales figures, increasing their cumulative sales from 46.5 million to 63 million, making AC/DC the fifth-best-selling band in US music history, behind The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and the Eagles. The RIAA also certified the classic Back in Black album as double diamond (20,000,000) US sales, making it the sixth-best-selling U.S. album in history. As of 2005, the album has sold 21 million copies, moving it into fifth place.
On July 30 of the same year, the band gave a performance with the Rolling Stones at the "Sarsfest", Toronto Rocks, in Toronto, Canada. Held before an audience of 500,000, the concert was held to help the city overcome the effects of the 2003 SARS epidemic.
Johnson has long been working on a musical version of Helen of Troy; he was inspired to do so after seeing Cats and describing it as 'f**king shite, wrist-cuttingly bad'.
On 1 October 2004 Melbourne's road Corporation Lane was officially renamed "ACDC Lane" in honour of the band (street names in the City of Melbourne cannot contain the "/" character). It is near Swanston Street, the location where, on the back of a truck, the band recorded their video for the 1975 hit "It's a Long Way to the Top". (Two members of the band were born in Melbourne.) There is also a street named after the band in Leganés, Spain (near Madrid) named Calle De AC/DC.
There is much controversey over AC/DC's upcoming album. While many sources have said that the album will be called Get Back to Rock and be released in March 2006, there is still no official word verifying this claim.
Origin of the Name
A rumour stated that an early name suggested for the band by Cliff Williams was "The Razor's Edge". This is false, as Cliff Williams did not join AC/DC until 1977 and had no prior contact with the band. The name "AC/DC" (alternating current/direct current) was suggested by the Young brothers' sister Margaret after she read it on her electric sewing machine's label (often mistaken for a vacuum cleaner).
The band was initially unaware of the bisexual connotation of the term; public response brought it to their attention. This public perception was exacerbated by their early "glam rock" image, which included satin jumpsuits (common rock attire in the early '70s) and other costumes including Angus' schoolboy persona. Note that many bands adopted a deliberately theatrical and androgynous look at the time, including two of Malcolm's heroes: The Rolling Stones and Marc Bolan.
Some have suggested that the name stood for "Anti-Christ/Devil's Children"; the rumour has long persisted both among critics who, already disliking the band's image, use it to paint the band as Satanists, The band has stated this is not true and these accusations are laughed at (Malcolm adding, "Me mum would kill me for that!") . This was also denied stating publicly, "We write songs like this to make a point and to give the listeners a picture in their minds." The band state that Highway To Hell was written about living life on the road with a touring rock band.
The name AC/DC is pronounced one letter at a time, although the band is nicknamed by its Australian fans as "Acca Dacca".
One country music band has named themselves Hayseed Dixie, as a parody of the AC/DC name. In a similar vein, a German AC/DC cover band call themselves AM/FM. There was also a Swedish and an Italian group by the name AB/CD, a Canadian AC/DC tribute band known as BC/DC, after the province of British Columbia, a Dutch tribute band that calls itself ACtion in DC and everal all-female cover bands of AC/DC exist, including AC/DShe, Whole Lotta Rosies, Thund-Her-Struck, and Hell's Belles.
Feb 1975 - High Voltage
Dec 1975 - T.N.T.
Sep 1976 - Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
Mar 1977 - Let There Be Rock
Jun 1978 - Powerage
Nov 1978 - If You Want Blood You've Got It
Nov 1979 - Highway to Hell
Aug 1980 - Back in Black
Nov 1981 - For Those About to Rock We Salute You
Aug 1983 - Flick of the Switch
Jun 1985 - Fly on the Wall
Jun 1986 - Who Made Who
Jan 1988 - Blow Up Your Video
Sep 1990 - The Razor's Edge
Oct 1992 - Live
Nov 1992 - Live: 2 CD Collector's Edition
Sep 1995 - Ballbreaker
Nov 1995 - AC/DC Volume 1 - 6 CD Box Set
Nov 1995 - AC/DC Volume 2 - 5 CD Box Set
Nov 1997 - Bonfire - 4 CD Box Set
Feb 1999 - Boom Box - 15 CD Box Set
Feb 2000 - Stiff Upper Lip
Jan 2001 - Stiff Upper Lip - Australian Tour Edition - 2 CD set
Jan 2001 - AC/DC Box Set - 17 CD Box Set
Europe & United States
May 1976 - High Voltage
Dec 1976 - Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (European release only)
Oct 1977 - Let There Be Rock
May 1978 - Powerage
Oct 1978 - If You Want Blood You've Got It
Aug 1979 - Highway to Hell
Jul 1980 - Back in Black
Apr 1981 - Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (United States release)
Nov 1981 - For Those About to Rock We Salute You
Aug 1983 - Flick of the Switch
Aug 1984 - '74 Jailbreak (Five tracks from the Australian releases of High Voltage and one track from Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap)
Jul 1985 - Fly on the Wall
May 1986 - Who Made Who (soundtrack to the Stephen King movie Maximum Overdrive)
Feb 1988 - Blow Up Your Video
Oct 1990 - The Razor's Edge
Oct 1992 - Live (released as both a double and a single album)
1992 - Live: Collector's Edition
Sep 1995 - Ballbreaker
Dec 1997 - Bonfire (boxed set tribute to the late Bon Scott)
Feb 2000 - Stiff Upper Lip
Mar 2005 - Family Jewels (2 DVD set)
1982 - AC/DC by Malcolm Dome Proteus
1982 - AC/DC-Hell Ain't No Bad Place To Be by Richard Bunton
1986 - AC/DC (Monsters of Metal) by Tim Holmes Ballantine
1991 - AC/DC If You Want Blood ... YOU GOT IT!!! by Malcolm Dome. Reprinted 1995, 2001.
2003 - Highway to Hell: The Life and Times of AC/DC Legend Bon Scott by Clinton Walker. Reprinted 1994–1995, 1997, 2002–2003.
2005 - AC/DC: Two Sides to Every Glory: The Complete Biography by Paul Stenning
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