Australian rock gods AC/DC earn their first Top 40 hit with “You Shook Me All Night Long”

Australian rock gods AC/DC earn their first Top 40 hit with “You Shook Me All Night Long”


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On October 25, 1980, AC/DC earn their first pop Top 40 hit with “You Shook Me All Night Long.”

Back when they were releasing albums like Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (1977), AC/DC would have seemed an unlikely candidate to become one of the top-selling pop-music acts of all time. But over the course of the coming decades, that’s exactly what these Australian rock gods became, and not by keeping pace with changes in musical fashion, but by sticking steadfastly to a musical style and business strategy that have helped the group stand the test of time.

With a hard and loud sound now recognized as influencing nearly all heavy metal music that followed, AC/DC quickly earned a loyal following among hard-rock audiences in the mid-to-late 1970s, but it was “You Shook Me All Night Long” that first gave a hint of their mainstream appeal. “You Shook Me All Night Long” was the lead single from what would prove to be AC/DC’s biggest-ever album, Back In Black (1980). Their previous release, Highway To Hell (1979) had been the first by the group to land on the U.S. album charts, but the group’s planned follow-up was put in jeopardy by the March 1980 death of lead singer Bon Scott, who choked on his own vomit during a bout of heavy drinking. With new singer Brian Johnson put in place just two months later, the group formed in the early 1970s by brothers Malcolm and Angus Young recorded Back In Black in the summer of 1980. The album would spend a solid year on the U.S. album charts, spawning a second Top 40 hit in the form of its title track and a sports-stadium anthem in the form of “Hells Bells” and ultimately selling more than 20 million copies worldwide.

AC/DC would never have another single as popular as “You Shook Me All Night Long,” but the group’s ongoing ability to sell full-length rock albums—even in an era when digital downloads have decimated album sales across all genres— is utterly without parallel. The group’s commercial success has been credited, in part, to their refusal to allow their song catalog to be cannibalized and repackaged into compilation albums..


The 50 Greatest AC/DC Songs Ever

Bon may have been the Shakespeare of smut, but with lines like ‘I’ve got my gun at the ready, gonna fire at will’ new boy Brian Johnson proved he could leer with the best of them, as on this Back In Black classic.

AC/DC’s raw power is shown to its best effect when it’s subordinate to a groove – and Shoot To Thrill has groove by the bucketload. The song’s main staccato riff cleverly slots into a nailed-on mid-tempo rhythm provided by bassist Cliff Williams and drummer Phil Rudd, while Brian Johnson adds the icing on the cake with a simply irresistible vocal melody.

Angus Young’s solo – wild yet somehow perfectly controlled – drives things up a further notch before Johnson contributes an ear-splitting, almost scat-like climax to proceedings. Sublime.

Rachel Bolan (Skid Row): "Everything about Shoot To Thrill rocks! The energy. The lyrics. When Angus comes back in after the breakdown with the guitar line in the low register. Jeez! That lit me up the first time I heard it and it still lights me up now. Greatest air guitar line ever."


Why he's not doing Brian's songs

He meets NRK.no just minutes after his hourlong set at the UtenRicks rock club in Knarvik, just outside Bergen, Norway. Although most of the audience was AC/DC-diehards well in the know, not everyone had done their homework in Rock & Roll-history. Two young blonde girls quickly became the centre of attention, when they complained about the show's opening songs, «Can I Sit Next To You, Girl» and «Rockin' In The Parlour», the A- and B-side of the band's first single.

The girls didn't know the songs and demanded to hear «You Shook Me All Night Long» instead. Evans politely declined, offering the following explanation after the show:

– It’s a great song, but I'm not singing any of Brian Johnson's songs. Brian’s very much alive and can do his own songs. It would be childish for me to do them. I do my own stuff and some of Bon's, because they're the most popular ones. And he used to sing my songs too, Evans says.


Every AC/DC song with “rock” in the title – ranked in order of how much they rock

Since forming in Australia in 1973, AC/DC have defied the odds time and again to become one of rock’s biggest success stories. The band’s iconic comeback album, ‘Back In Black’, which recently celebrated its 40th anniversary, is one of the best-selling albums in history. The band have aso churned out more bluesy rockers with some form of the word “rock” in the title than any other.

Every one of these songs boasts big chords, big choruses and those signature Angus Young guitar solos – but some just stand out more than others. In the spirit of rock‘n’roll, here’s a definitive list of the whole rockin’ lot of ’em.

Upon hearing this song you may be thinking, “What sort of cruel trick is this? This isn’t AC/DC!” Sorry to break it to you, but it is technically AC/DC, only the Young brothers hadn’t discovered the rock god that was Bon Scott and had some guy named Dave Evans singing with them. Lyrically, it’s not that far away from so many of the band’s later songs, but for your sanity, it’s probably best to just pretend this song isn’t part of the band’s library.

Does it rock, though? The only way this would rock is if we lived in a universe were songs like ‘T.N.T.’ and ‘Hells Bells’ didn’t exist.

If glossy country singer Luke Bryan were tasked with writing an AC/DC song, this is what it would sound like. AC/DC have many songs about having a good time, but this sounds a little too much like Angus was simply trying to write something that might make for a good beer commercial. It has the standard Angus solo and big Brian Johnson chorus, but lacks the personality of so many of their other songs.

Will it rock your blues away? Eh – it’ll make for background noise while waiting for your hot wings to arrive.

This song isn’t bad, it just isn’t nearly as strong as other songs AC/DC has delivered over the years – it’s not even as good as the other cuts on the ‘Black Ice’ album. Consider this: the song’s chorus is “She’s rockin’ all the way” and, while it’s not terrible, they already have a better song called ‘She Likes Rock ‘N’ Roll’ on the same album.

Does it really rock all the way? Let’s just say that if it had been dropped from the album, the rock wouldn’t have suffered.

Alcohol has played a part in AC/DC since the beginning. While ‘Whiskey on the Rocks’ certainly delivers on big power chords and the promise of a good time, the lyrics aren’t what one imagines when hanging at the bar with AC/DC. With references to Lemon Drops, Mai Tais and Singapore slings, you can’t help but wonder if AC/DC wrote this while on a Caribbean cruise.

Is it a shot of rock? Yes, but it leaves a weird taste.

Just in case fans didn’t get the memo that “Rock ‘n’ roll ain’t never gonna die” with 1980’s ‘Rock And Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution’, AC/DC thought it was a good idea to issue a reminder 20 years later. The pre-chorus of “Don’t you give me no lies” and chorus of “You can’t stop rock ‘n’ roll” make up 90% of the song, but it’s an effective message.

Rockability: It rocks… just very repetitively.

‘Thunderstruck’ and ‘Moneytalks’ were the big hits from this multi-platinum comeback album, and this track gets buried along the better-known singles. Unlike its predecessors, Johnson handed off lyrical duties to the Young brothers, but you really can’t tell from the song’s command to keep rockin’ at all costs necessary. It seems to be a trend in AC/DC songs, in case you hadn’t noticed.

Will it rock you? Sure, just not as hard as others.

How AC/DC made it 40 years without using the lyric “In rock we trust” is sort of a miracle. A lesser band would have surely relied on that lyric by the third album. If it sounds like AC/DC were kind of going through the motions with this album, that perhaps because they had to make it without the aid of longtime rhythm guitarist, Malcolm Young, due to his ill health. The song doesn’t deliver any surprises, but it also doesn’t fall short when compared to many of the band’s biggest Brian Johnson-era hits.

Is this song a bust? Nah, it still rocks.

AC/DC have always been a blues band pushing their amps to maximum volume, but early songs like Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap’ track make it incredibly apparent how much of an influence Elvis and Chuck Berry had on the band. ‘Jailbreak’ and the title track might have more headbang appeal, but this track showcases the band’s musical foundation.

Will there be some rockin’? Yes, but it’s more of the toe-tappin’ variety.

With lyrics like “Hey, hey, hey / I got some rock and roll thunder”, the band might not be trying to stretch their lyrical chops, but so what? Props to them for still finding catchy ways to incorporate “rock” into a chorus more than 38 years into their career. The song is a bit of a paint-by-numbers AC/DC jam, but it still manages to get the job done and rock the listener.

Rock scale: Six out of 10 devil horns.

Big guitars aside, this song is worth a listen if for no reason other than to hear Brian Johnson growl out nonsense lyrics like Oh be bopper lubba baby.” Perhaps he was trying to channel the late, great Little Richard? The song’s lyrics about wanting to turn off the rest of the world and simply rock out should appeal to anybody who needs a break from the responsibilities of everyday life.

Will it make you wanna rock out? A-wop-bop-a-loo-bop-a-lop-bam-rock!

Contrary to popular belief, rockin’ isn’t always about getting laid and partying your ass off. As AC/DC show us with this sombre, bluesy number, sometimes it’s about trying to make sense of life’s ups and downs. Malcolm Young’s arpeggiated guitar work, complementing Angus’ lead fills in the verse, make for a refreshing departure from the band’s typical hard-hitting chords. Don’t worry, though, they don’t stray too far and still come back big for the chorus.

Will you be rockin’? Sure, but you’ll be thinkin’ and contemplatin’ at the same time.

If you’re keeping score, this is the fourth song from ‘Rock Or Bust’ with “rock” in the title, and it’s definitely the best one. Angus Young kicks right into the sort of looping guitar riff that Joe Perry had abandoned by 1977. Even with the absence of Malcolm, cousin Stevie Young and rhythmic duo Phil Rudd and Cliff Williams hold down a fast-paced rhythm for the song’s 2:42 runtime. With lyrics like Hold on tight, she plays a tease / Squeeze you around, she aim to please,” the song fits right in with the band’s other tongue-in-cheek numbers.

Will your house be rocking? Perhaps surprisingly, the answer is – very much so.

Much like AC/DC’s previous entry ‘That’s The Way I Wanna Rock ‘N’ Roll’, the song is all about wanting to shut off the rest of the world and crank up the rock. This time, though, the lyrics are courtesy of Bon Scott and the music delivers more of a boogie feel than the power chords of the 1980s jam. While Scott doesn’t borrow any of Little Richard’s lyrical style, he does reference the late singer, as well as Jerry Lee Lewis and Chuck Berry.

Will you be rockin’? Again, the answer here is a definite “yes.”

This song was a track on AC/DC’s massive, massive-selling Black Ice album, but could have easily been written 28 years earlier as a B-side for ‘You Shook Me All Night Long.’ A real highlight of the song is Malcom Young’s “She digs rock ‘n’ roll/ She gives rock ‘n’ roll” background vocals that ring like a nod to ‘Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap.’

Does it rock? Considering that “rock” is mentioned 21 times in the song –um, yes.

From the simple intro Angus plays over the guitar’s ringing B and high E strings to Malcom’s pounding chord shuffle, ‘Hard As A Rock’ does indeed rock quite hard. Like so many AC/DC songs, Johnson is singing about a woman he has the hots for and you can probably guess what he’s talking about in the chorus when he sings “Well, it’s harder than a rock.” ‘Ballbreaker’ was somewhat of a lacklustre album, but this song is a clear standout amid some more forgettable tunes.

Does it have rock power? Yes, it rocks harder than… well, you know.

With rockabilly swing and punk attitude, ‘Rocker’ is one of AC/DC’s few songs that isn’t mid-tempo, but instead is a fast-paced jolt of chaotic energy. Bon Scott describes himself as a “wheeler… dealer… woman stealer… a bruiser… a cruiser” and it’s easy to believe every word he says. Angus Young’s guitar solo is straight out of the Chuck-Berry-on-speed playbook, and the band set the stage early that they were rockers ready to bring the rock.

Is it a rocker?Damn straight it is.

This ‘T.N.T.’ track didn’t take off the way the album’s other singles did, but paints a biographical picture of singer Bon Scott’s aspirations to be a musician. Scott, of course, nails it with the chorus, but it’s also the little details that make the song – like when he quips “I had other plans” and “I’m all ears,” before belting out his destiny of becoming a rock star. In a similar vein to Waylon Jennings’ and Willie Nelson’s ‘Mama Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys,’ Scott testifies that “nine to five livin’” isn’t for him.

Does it bring the rock? The song brought it 45 years ago and it still brings it in 2020.

It’s a damn shame that classic rock radio doesn’t occasionally give ‘Highway to Hell’ a break to play this all out rock monster. As we’ve already noted, ‘Black Ice’ was the band’s biggest album in years and this was one of their catchiest tunes in a long, long time. It might not have a chance at claiming the rock ‘n’ roll title for train songs from ‘Crazy Train,’ but with its can’t-help-but-sing chorus, this is a train ride worth taking.

Is this song’s engine built to rock? There’s no stopping this rock locomotive.

‘Powerage’ has some great songs like ‘Sin City’ and ‘Down Payment Blues’ – and you’ll never hear any of them on the radio. ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Damnation’ was the only single released from the album and how it failed to become an instant classic is a mystery. It’s unclear what kind of song the listener is in for upon the opening chords, but once that drum beat kicks in, it becomes apparent that the song is going to be three minutes of good time, rock‘n’roll bliss.

Is this rock damnation worthy? From Scott’s and Malcom’s dual vocals on the chorus to the guitar solo, it’s one hell of a fun tune.

Dropkick Murphys may be the premier rock band when it comes to using bagpipes in their songs, but AC/DC did it first (reportedly at the suggestion of Angus and Malcom’s older brother). Whether you’re in a band trying to make it big, or paying your dues in an entry-level desk job, this anthem about slugging it out in the trenches is one of rock’s greatest pep rallies. Surely just about everyone can relate to the lyrics “Gettin’ ripped off/ Underpaid” at some point in their life, right?

Is it rock worthy? Go ahead and turn it up to 11.

So many AC/DC songs start off loud right out of the gate, but Angus and company take a step back with a bluesy intro that could have easily been written on an acoustic guitar. Add to that Brian Johnson’s casual way of speaking his lyrics in the beginning, and the song sets the listener up perfectly for its bombastic chorus. Critics have been warning of rock’s demise for years, but as Johnson testifies “It will survive / Yes it will.”

Is it noise pollution? No noise pollution here, just A+ rock ‘n’ roll.

Another rare uptempo gem in AC/DC’s catalog with unbelievable rhythm playing from drummer Phil Rudd. With Bon Scott playing the role of a rock ‘n’ roll preacher, he delivers his own electrified gospel to the masses and it’s impossible not to be swept up in it. Oh, and as far as guitar solos go? Godspeed to any aspiring guitarists who want to match Angus Young’s ferocity lick-for-lick here.

Is it a blessing from the rock gods? It rocks straight from the heavens.

From Angus’ lead riff in the song’s opening to that first drum fill, it’s instantly apparent with this song that AC/DC has set out to do one thing and one thing only: rock their balls off. There isn’t an AC/DC fan alive who doesn’t sing out Johnson’s call of “Stand up and be counted/ For what you are about to receive.” One couldn’t be faulted for declaring this to be rock’s greatest ode to itself. The band could have easily dropped the ball after their hugely popular comeback album ‘Back In Black’, but instead delivered one of their best songs.


Australian rock gods AC/DC earn their first Top 40 hit with “You Shook Me All Night Long” - HISTORY

Highway to Hell

Songfacts®:

The title is often attributed as a phrase AC/DC guitarist Angus Young used to describe touring in America. There is a much more literal explanation, however. "Highway to Hell" was the nickname for the Canning Highway in Australia. It runs from where lead singer Bon Scott lived in Fremantle and ends at a pub/bar called The Raffles, which was a big rock 'n roll drinking hole in the '70s. As Canning Highway gets close to the pub, it dips down into a steep decline: "No stop signs. speed limits. nobody gonna slow me down."

So many people where killed by driving fast over that intersection at the top of the hill on the way for a good night out, that it was called the highway to hell, so when Bon was saying "I'm on the highway to hell" it meant that he was doing the nightly or weekly pilgrimage down Canning Highway to The Raffles bar to rock and drink with his mates: "Ain't nothing I would rather do. Going down, party time, my friends are gonna be there too."

Mutt Lange, who has also worked with The Cars, Bryan Adams, and Def Leppard (and Shania Twain, who he was married to from 1993-2008), produced the album. Lange took over after after failed sessions with Eddie Krammer, who had a solid resumé that included work with Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix, but whose procedural style didn't work for AC/DC.

Lange was able to enhance the band's sound without altering their essence. On this song, he added robust background vocals to the choruses - something AC/DC didn't do on their previous efforts. This and other production refinements helped made the song a hit and expand their audience.

Along with "Shoot to Thrill," this was used in the 2010 movie Iron Man 2, which has a soundtrack made up entirely of AC/DC songs. Other movies to use the song include:

Megamind (2010)
Wild Hogs (2007)
Final Destination 2 (2003)
Detroit Rock City (1999)

It also appears in these TV shows:

Sleepy Hollow ("Freedom" - 2017)
How I Met Your Mother ("Symphony of Illumination" - 2011)
Blue Bloods ("The Blue Templar" - 2011)
Glee ("Hell-O" - 2010)
ER ("Finders Keepers" - 2003)
The Simpsons ("Simpsons Bible Stories" - 1999)

Comments: 95

  • Travler from West-by-god Hey Rocker. Ya hit the nail on tha head . The "Only Thing" Basic about AC/DC are their clothes .
  • Ian from Perth, Western Australia The steep decline that you are referring to in the article is not actually on the approach to The Raffles, but to the Leopold Hotel, which is at the other end of Canning Highway, closer to Fremantle, where Bon would have been coming from. The Leopold was also "a big rock 'n roll drinking hole" with a big band room to the side.
  • Rocker from Perth Western Australia Lots of strange, uninformed comments here. Comparing acdc to led zep is like comparing apples and oranges, both great in their own unique way, but completely different. Any one who says acdc’s music is basic and simple, doesn’t play an instrument well. Their timing, groove, and musicianship is outstanding, the riff in “riff raff” to the solo in “ride on” and Cliff’s great bass work is often overlooked.
  • Rustysurfer from Perth I live 5 minutes from Canning Highway and it still lives up to its reputation.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, Ny Per: www.cnn.com <11-17-2017>
    AC/DC co-founder and guitarist Malcolm Young has died after battling dementia for several years, the band announced Saturday. He was 64.
    Young died at home with his family at this bedside, the band said in a statement. Young, along with his brother Angus, founded the legendary rock band in 1975 in Australia.
    "Renowned for his musical prowess Malcolm was a songwriter, guitarist, performer, producer and visionary who inspired many," the statement said. "From the outset, he knew what he wanted to achieve and, along with his younger brother, took to the world stage giving their all at every show. Nothing less would do for their fans."
    Young played rhythm guitar to Angus' lead, and his driving riffs and mop-top hair were signatures of the band's sound and image for decades.
    Angus Young, in a separate statement added that Malcolm took "great pride in all that he endeavored."
    "His loyalty to the fans was unsurpassed," he wrote. "As his brother it is hard to express in words what he has meant to me during my life, the bond we had was unique and very special. He leaves behind an enormous legacy that will live on forever."
    Young left AC/DC in 2014 after the band said he had been struggling with an undisclosed ailment, later revealed to be dementia. He was replaced by his nephew, Stevie Young, for the band's world tour in 2015.
    "He was older than me -- I always looked up to him," Angus Young said of his brother in an interview last year with Rolling Stone Magazine, saying he was "always one to battle through."
    "He would look at me in times of crisis and go, 'We'll just go in and do some work. We'll sit and write some songs,'" he said. "He had that drive, and I feel obligated to keep it going, maybe because I was there in the beginning with him."
    AC/DC was inducted in 2003 into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, which described its sound as "scorched-earth, metallic hard rock which has rarely deviated from a template of headbanging-inducing guitar riffs, flashy drums and banshee-yell vocals."
    "In the process, AC/DC have carved out a niche somewhere between hard rock and heavy metal that's been an inspiration to aspiring musicians -- and given us crank-up-the-volume radio staples 'Back In Black,' 'Highway to Hell' and 'You Shook Me All Night Long,'" the hall of fame notes on its website.
    The band is also one of the best-selling in music history, according to the Recording Industry Association of America, having sold more than 70 million albums in the US. The band's original lead singer, Bon Scott, died in 1980. He was replaced by Brian Johnson.
    May he R.I.P.
  • Bandit from Albuquerque US 666 also went through New Mexico and Colorado. It paralleled US 66 for about 30 miles, either in Arizona or New Mexico. My family would travel from Phoenix to Amarillo, and before I-40 was complete part of the route was on US 666 - I distinctly remember seeing the sign and thinking about it. New Mexico changed the number because of the perceived increase of deaths on the road and, quite practically, the signs kept being stolen. The number was changed to US 491 in 2003. See en.wikipedia (dot) org/wiki/U.S._Route_491.
  • Henry from London, United Kingdom This song reached a new peak of No. 4 in the UK after a campaign to get it to Christmas No. 1
  • Zero from Nowhere, Nj To the guy waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down who said they've never done a ballad (Yeah I went comment surfing. ) listen to "Ride On" off "Dirty Deeds", a great song as well! And AC/DC use both power chords AND open chords. Thank you.
  • Logan from San Francisco, Ca @hehlvhine, New Jersey, NJ First of all,AC/DC has nothing to do with Heavy Metal.Comparing AC/DC with Led Zeppelin is like comparing a turd with a diamond.Now that that's cleared up let me tell you this : The reason you don't hear "Black Dog" in the song is because they're not lame.I know why you expect the title to be mentioned in a song,is because every AC/DC song chorus is the song title.How stupid is that?You say Robert Plant has annoying voice? lol No,he can actually sing.The most annoying voice I've ever heard is that of Bon Scott and especially Brian Johnson they both sound like Donald Duck.
  • Gianni from Padova, Italy My favorite song. It's a deep, but not boring, reflection on lifestyle of Bon (and his friends), that is similar to other millions, lived down the Cannings Highway (as in any street of the world). The best example of his poetry and, I believe, an involuntary and incredible response to the utopias of the '60s. Perfect in terms of composition: the intro, that is a kick in the ass, coincides with the verse formed by an incisive guitar riffs of Angus and following the drum, a pre-chorus crescendo preparing a chorus that can be sung together in a pub as in an arena, a bridge of great effect, a strange (for His style) guitar solo of Angus, evocative outro. All in 3:26 minutes! Listenable 1,000,000 times without getting tired. The masterpiece!
  • Kathy from Mission, Tx I Love this song lol it reminds me of last nite when i saw Little Nicky. AC/DC is one of the coolest bands on the planet Woooo Im on a Highway to Hell lol im so Retarted
  • James from Newark, , Nj I'm a Christian yes this song does say "Hey Satan, Paid my dues" I think this is because it is poetry Bon Scott was a great lyricist and because it is metaphoric and because Satan is a part of hell. If not, then they probably wrote it for commercialism or shock value. More of the lyrics pinpoint to it being about a highway or a pub anyway.
  • Homer from Springfield, Ky Best song ever. No contest.
  • Doctor Gregory House from Princeton-plainsboro, Nj This song was used on an episode of House, M.D.
    I forget the name of the episode but it was the one where the good doctor "pimps out" his new walking cane.
  • Steve from Owings, Md Mark from Washinton, I was right there with you at the old cap center 11 rows back,end seats, left side facing the stage. I believe they opened for Kiss.Anyhow, when Angus was on Bon scotts shoulders as they ran around the floor seats was something I'll never forget.
  • Mike from Denver, Co the band that offically got me into rock. amazing song. forever will this be an anthem! HIGHWAY TO HELL.
  • Mark from Washington, Dc I remember back in the late 70's, seeing AC/DC with Bon Scott at what was then the Cap Center out in Landover, MD(I think a ticket was like $7). The only thing that's ever come close as far as loudness was sitting front row at and indy car race, except at the concert, there was no lull in the audio. The wall of sound from the Marshall stack was something you had to experience.
  • Scott from Hamburg, -- what about The Who, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, The Styx, The Beatles . The classics rock just as good as Behemoth, Rammstein, Cradle of Filth, and Bad Religion
  • Austin from Bristow, Va My first AC/DC song. So sad Bon Scott's life ended with this song/album. RIP Bon, We miss you bro. AC/DC will always live on.
  • Blake from London, United Kingdom Jimmy Barnes says that before a gig or a show he would sit down with a glass of milk and listen to this song a few times just to psych himself up. I reckon the only person that can scream louder and more aggressively than Barnsies is Bon Scott
  • Austin from Bristow, Va My first AC/DC song. This made me the AC/DC fan I am today.
  • Joel from Columbia, Md Probably one of their better songs. It was used for WWE Summerslam. Shock rocker Marliyn Manson covered the song. Dixie Hayseed also covered the song on their tribute album. I really doubt that these guys worshiped El Diablo (bet you didn't know I spoke some Spanish). Like a lot of heavy metal/hard rock bands they wrote and sang lyrics just to get a reaction albiet sometimes those reactions were negative but then again when an album or group is considered controversial their music tends to really sell.
  • Luke from Manchester, England Bryan, Nashville: Bon Scott never had a Scottish Accent, he moved to Austrailia when he was very young so his accent would have been practically non-existant.
  • Luke from Manchester, England The bible is a book written Millenia ago in Hebrew and translated by people who couldn't speak Hebrew into English they then told us what they believed was in that book in order to stop people sinning - IT IS FICTION. AC/DC IS FACT AC/DC IS ROCK 'N' ROLL, NOT SATANIC BULLS**T, STOP TRYING TO BRINWASH AND LISTEN TO SOMETHING FUN YOU ZEALOT!!
  • Russel from Glenwood City, Wi Every time I hear the opening three chords, I feel the need to light up a smoke and shotgun a beer right on the spot! Really sucks when I hear it at work. Now I can't wait to get home!
  • Mauricio from San Jose, Ca F**k Ramirez, AC/DC is not satanic, it is all about Rock n' Roll lifestyle.
    As the facts up there say, this is about a highway going to the pub where Scott went. All the Highway to Hell stuff are just to add some controversy. Controversy sells.
    Yeah, they got some other "satanic messages" on other songs, but meh, AC/DC rocks. (Comeing from a slightly religious person)
  • Madison from Moscow, Malaysia Quite frankly, I think you all need a reality check. You can say what you like and do what you want, but you'll eventually see that what I'm about to tell you is true. Okay, I'm sure that all of you know about Heaven and Hell. Well Satan used to be an angel named Lucifer in Heaven. He was like the leader of the choir and everything. He was a very musical creature, and when he started thinking that he was better than God, he got kicked out of Heaven. He took his musical ability with him and is now possessing so many people's mind with it. You may not believe me, but all the backmasking you hear about, especially in Stairway to Heaven, is true. I've done it before, and it really is the honest truth. These people do this becaused they have demons possessing them. You may be thinking "Well why would they do that in the first place?" It's actually very simple. Satan got kicked out of Heaven, so he doesn't want you there either. Take what I'm telling you into consideration and think that maybe someone other than yourself is right. After all, have you researched it?
  • Taco from Salem, Nh Black Sabbath is a heavy metal band, one of the founders of heavy metal along with AC/DC. Black Sabbath is possibily the best heavy metal band of all time.
  • Goober from Hell, Ny Who's Black Sabbath?
  • Rebecca from Vancouver, Bc Yosephs right, I beleive angus is a great guitarist, but everybody does talk about him as if he was some kind of Jimi Hendrix or Clapton or somethin.
  • Rebecca from Vancouver, Bc I agree with the guy from Hueytown,but i do still like Led Zeppelin.
  • Mark from Byrdstown, Tn Great song/great cd.I graduated high school in 1980 and we wanted to make this our class song but of course the powers that be killed that idea.AC/DC recorded too many novelty type songs in later years like "Big Balls" and "Dirty Deeds" and crap like to be one of my all time favorite bands but the "Highway to Hell" and "Back in Black" CDs are two that I'll always groove on.
  • Brandon from Philadelphia, Pa Well yoseph he may not be the greatest, but he definitely is up there. him nd malcom made one of the greatest guitar duo's of all time. also angus is one of the best improvisational guitarists ive ever heard.
  • Selina from Perth, Australia Three chords and they've got a legendary song. Wow.
  • Bryan from Nashville, Tn I wonder if anyone has a possible explanation as to why when you're listening to the first stanza that Bon Scott sounds like he says "Season nickel on a one way ride" instead of "Season ticket. ". I've heard and read stories that due to Bon's excessive drinking habits, he showed up drunk to sing the lyrics during recording. So, I figured that he might have done the same thing here, which was why "ticket" sounded like "nickel." I'm not quick to suggest that it was all about his accent, but being inebriated could have amplified his Scottish accent.
  • Yoseph from Cupertino, Ca Angus young isnt that good. I mean well, hes really good, but the way people talk about him you would think hes the greatest guitarist in all of guitar history.
  • Carly from Vestal, Ny ever thouhgt bonn died they still kick ass
  • Mike from Hueytown , Al AC/DC will always be better than Led Zepplin as far as I'm concerned. Awesome song !
  • Mitchell from Fresno, Ca During my Junior and Senior Year in High school.This Song Glued in My head ..I Seen So Many friends died in car crash and motorcycles of this song ..living it wild drinking Heavy and Driving Crazy.We Lived It. My best friend build and 71 Veges with in v-8 engine and racing tranaxle and he was racing it for Pink in 79-80. Always Playing this Song.Until He got so many warrant out for his arrest. We both became so wild over this song and we did alot crazy things too in thous days ..AC/DC Band was so electrify..Boy!! did they send Waves every where..today it still lives on.They will be Best ever in their Heavy Music. This song took away Fear
  • Hehlvhine from New Jersey, Nj Led Zeppelin is good and i know that!but AC/DC?they are the BEST!they are pioneers of the heavy metal era of music!!so theres no reason to compare the led out to acdc!!and by the way theres some there who sez that AC/DC got some aspects on led zep? esp on the song tittle!?can that guy tell me if a led zepp. has a song that can compare to the AC/DC's For Those about to ROCK we salute You. dont tell me the BLACK DOG coz i've been listening to that song for over 5 yrs and i can't still find out wheres the word black dog!all i heard is robert plant's annoying voice!!and yah ur right john bonham is irreplacable coz theres his son dont want to join the band because of jimmy page stupidity!!what an adict!
  • David from Tracy, Ca Man i Love this song. i'm 18 i've been listen to classic rock since i was able to understand what it was. this was one of the first songs that i listened to. i listen to it in the locker room befor every football game. i figure that if i'm gonna play the game perfect i better think that the games gone to hell and just have fun as i'm goin down. only lost one game since i've been listining to it and that was cause i got injured
  • Britt Moore from Torrance, Ca The beginning of this article is wrong. The name AC/DC acutally came from Angus Young's sister's sewing machine. She did their costumes for them early in the beginning and AC/DC was written on the side of her sewing machine and that's wherer the name came from.
  • Joaquin from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico good song, great lyrics, a classic rock riff.

Don't get me wrong, AC/DC is a great bad, but Led Zeppelin is something else. AC/DC have sold about 150 million records worldwide. Led Zeppelin has sold 300 million +. Yes, more than double.

Led Zeppelin is a truly unique band that had been copied in style by various band such as AC/DC and Guns N' Roses.

Don't get me wrong again, AC/DC has a unique sound, but they do have certain Zeppelin aspects to there music. It's inevetable, Led Zeppelin is too big a band.

I read that if you play this song backwards you can here "nanu nanu" of Mork and Mindy vintage.
cute, but nothing compared to what i just read in the 'stairway to heaven comments' a young lady posted a comment that played backwards, the zep song says "you're ruining your record stupid!"

LOL. Oh God, that was funny. I hope she wasn't joking. I truly look forward to hearing that!

I had the privilege once of standing in a near empty 2,500 head (you wouldn't call them seats because no one sat down in these places) auditorium with The Angels cranking out this song at full bore and note perfect. You could tell by the way all of the guys were into the song with no crowd that they revered AC/DC.

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Double VisionForeigner

Foreigner got the title for "Double Vision" after watching a hockey game where goalie John Davidson got a concussion. It was announced over the PA system that he was suffering from "Double Vision."

Don't You (Forget About Me)Simple Minds

The prom scene in Pretty in Pink was shot to "Don't You (Forget About Me)," but "If You Leave" was used in the film. That's why the dancers are out of time with the music.

Shut Up And DanceWalk the Moon

Walk The Moon vocalist Nicholas Petricca got the idea for "Shut Up and Dance" when he and his girlfriend were taking forever to get drinks at a Los Angeles club bar. Petricca was getting frustrated, so his girlfriend told him to, "Shut up and dance with me!'"

I Melt With YouModern English

"I'll Melt With You" by Modern English is about a couple who melt together because a nuclear bomb drops.

Brian WilsonBarenaked Ladies

Brian Wilson played Barenaked Ladies "Brian Wilson" at some of his concerts. He was "honored" by the song.

Velcro FlyZZ Top

The music video for ZZ Top's "Velcro Fly" was choreographed by Paula Abdul.

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Contents

Formation and name (1973–1974)

In November 1973, Malcolm and Angus Young formed AC/DC with bassist Larry Van Kriedt, vocalist Dave Evans, and ex-Masters Apprentices drummer Colin Burgess. [16] Gene Pierson booked the band to play at Chequers nightclub on New Year's Eve, 1973. [17] By this time, Angus Young had adopted his characteristic school-uniform stage outfit. The idea was his sister Margaret's. Angus had tried other costumes: Spider-Man, Zorro, a gorilla, and a parody of Superman, named Super-Ang. [18] In its early days, most members of the band dressed in some form of glam or satin outfit. On stage, Evans was occasionally replaced by the band's first manager, Dennis Laughlin, who was the original lead singer with Sherbet. In Paul Stenning's book AC/DC: Two Sides To Every Glory it was stated that Evans did not get along with Laughlin, which also contributed to the band's bitter feeling toward Evans. [19]

Malcolm and Angus Young developed the idea for the band's name after their sister, Margaret Young, saw the initials "AC/DC" on a sewing machine. "AC/DC" is an abbreviation meaning "alternating current/direct current" electricity. The brothers felt that this name symbolised the band's raw energy, power-driven performances of their music. [20] [21] "AC/DC" is pronounced one letter at a time, though the band are colloquially known as "Acca Dacca" in Australia. [22] [23] The AC/DC band name is stylised with a high voltage sign separating the "AC" and "DC" and has been used on all studio albums, with the exception of the international version of Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap. [24]

By the middle of 1974, the band had built up a strong live reputation, which led to a support slot for the visiting Lou Reed. Sometime in 1974, on the recommendation of Michael Chugg, veteran Melbourne promoter Michael Browning booked the band to play at his club, the Hard Rock. He was not pleased with their glam rock image and felt that Evans was the wrong singer for the band, but was impressed by the Young brothers' guitar playing. Shortly afterward, he received a call from the band Laughlin had quit as manager, and they were stuck in Adelaide with no money. Browning agreed to bail them out and booked them for another gig at the Hard Rock. Following the gig, they agreed to take him on as their new manager, with the co-operation of their older brother George and Harry Vanda. [25] The Young brothers decided to abandon the glam rock image which had already been adopted by Melbourne band Skyhooks and pursue a harder blues-rock sound. To this end, they agreed that Evans was not a suitable frontman for the group. [19] Around this time, they also moved their base to Melbourne, where they frequently played at the Hard Rock.

Bon Scott era (1974–1980)

Beginnings (1974–1976)

In September 1974, Bon Scott, an experienced vocalist and friend of George Young, replaced Dave Evans [26] after friend Vince Lovegrove recommended him to George Young. [5] Scott's appointment coincided with him working as a chauffeur for the band at the time until an audition promoted him to lead singer. [27] Like the Young brothers, Scott was born in Scotland and emigrated to Australia in his childhood. The band had recorded only one single with Evans, "Can I Sit Next to You, Girl" / "Rockin' in the Parlour" the song was re-written and re-recorded with Bon Scott.

By October 1974, AC/DC recorded their first studio album, High Voltage. It was released exclusively in Australia on 17 February 1975. It took only ten days [28] and was based on instrumental songs written by the Young brothers, with lyrics added by Scott. Within a few months, the band's line-up had stabilised, featuring Scott, the Young brothers, bassist Mark Evans, and drummer Phil Rudd. Later that year they released the single "It's a Long Way to the Top", for which a well-known promotional video was made for the program Countdown, featuring the band miming the song on the back of a flatbed truck. AC/DC released their second studio album, T.N.T., on 1 December 1975, which was also released only in Australia and New Zealand.

AC/DC were scheduled to play at the 1975 Sunbury music festival however, they went home without performing following an altercation with the management of headlining act Deep Purple. [29]

Between 1974 and 1977, aided by regular appearances on Molly Meldrum's Countdown, the ABC's nationally broadcast pop-music television show, AC/DC became one of the most popular and successful acts in Australia. Their performance on 3 April 1977 was their last live TV appearance for more than 20 years. [28]

Initial success, record deal (1976–1977)

Browning sent promo material to contacts in London, which came to the attention of Phil Carson of Atlantic Records. In 1976, the band signed an international deal with Atlantic Records. On arrival in London, their scheduled tour with Back Street Crawler was canceled following the death of Paul Kossoff. As a result, they went back to playing smaller venues to build a local following until their label organised the "Lock Up Your Daughters" tour sponsored by Sounds magazine, the only major music magazine which was still relatively receptive to traditional rock music. At the time, punk rock was breaking and came to dominate the pages of the major British music weeklies, NME and Melody Maker. AC/DC were sometimes identified with the punk rock movement by the British press, but the band hated punk rock, believing it to be a passing fad—manager Michael Browning wrote that "it wasn't possible to even hold a conversation with AC/DC about punk without them getting totally pissed off". [25] Their reputation managed to survive the punk upheavals and they maintained a cult following in the UK throughout this time. [3] Angus Young gained notoriety for mooning the audience during live performances.

The first AC/DC album to gain worldwide distribution was a 1976 compilation of tracks taken from the High Voltage and T.N.T. LPs. Also titled High Voltage, and released on the Atlantic Records label, the album has to date sold three million copies worldwide. [30] [31] The track selection was heavily weighted toward the more recent T.N.T., including only two songs from their first LP. The band's third studio album, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, was released in the same year in both Australian and international versions, like its predecessor. Track listings varied worldwide, and the international version of the album also featured the T.N.T. track "Rocker", which had previously not been released internationally. The original Australian version included "Jailbreak" (now more readily available on the 1984 compilation EP '74 Jailbreak or as a live version on the 1992 Live album). Dirty Deeds was not released in the US until 1981, by which time the band were at the peak of their popularity.

After a brief tour of Sweden, they returned to London where they set new attendance records during their residency at the Marquee. However, their appearance at the 1976 Reading Festival failed to get a response from the crowd. They toured extensively throughout Europe, then returned to tour Australia in late 1976 to rebuild their finances and record their fourth studio album, Let There Be Rock.

In early 1977, they returned to Britain and began a European tour with Black Sabbath. While Bon Scott and Ozzy Osbourne quickly became friends, relations were less than cordial between the other members of the respective bands. In one incident, Geezer Butler pulled a "knife" on Malcolm Young, though it was a "silly" flick-knife comb. [32] [33] Later in the year they toured with Rainbow.

Cliff Williams joins, death of Bon Scott (1977–1980)

Towards the end of 1977, bassist Mark Evans was dismissed. Evans described disagreement with Angus and Malcolm as a contributing factor. He was replaced by Cliff Williams, an experienced bass player who had played with several UK bands since the late 60s. [5] Neither of the Young brothers has elaborated on the departure of Evans, though Richard Griffiths, the CEO of Epic Records and a booking agent for AC/DC in the mid-1970s, later commented, "You knew Mark wasn't going to last, he was just too much of a nice guy." [18] Mark Evans' autobiography, Dirty Deeds: My Life Inside/Outside of AC/DC, released in 2011, predominantly dealt with his time in AC/DC, including being fired. [34]

AC/DC's first American radio exposure was through Bill Bartlett at Jacksonville station WPDQ/WAIV in 1975, [35] two years before they played their first US concert as support band for Canadian group Moxy in Austin, Texas, on 27 July 1977. [36] Under the guidance of booking agent Doug Thaler of American Talent International and later the management of Leber-Krebs, they gained invaluable experience of the US stadium circuit, supporting leading rock acts such as Ted Nugent, Aerosmith, Kiss, Styx, UFO, and Blue Öyster Cult, and co-headlined with bands such as Cheap Trick.

AC/DC released their fifth studio album, Powerage, on 5 May 1978, and with its harder riffs, followed the blueprint set by Let There Be Rock. [37] Only one single was released from Powerage, "Rock 'n' Roll Damnation/Sin City". An appearance at the Apollo Theatre, Glasgow during the Powerage tour was recorded and released as If You Want Blood You've Got It.

The major breakthrough in the band's career came in their collaboration with producer "Mutt" Lange on the band's sixth studio album Highway to Hell, released in 1979. Eddie Van Halen notes this to be his favourite AC/DC record, along with Powerage. [38] It became the first AC/DC LP to break into the US top 100, eventually reaching No. 17, [28] and it propelled AC/DC into the top ranks of hard rock acts. [3] Highway to Hell had lyrics that shifted away from flippant and comical toward more central rock themes, putting increased emphasis on backing vocals but still featured AC/DC's signature sound: loud, simple, pounding riffs and grooving backbeats. [39]

In 1980, the band began to work on their seventh studio album Back in Black before tragedy struck. On 19 February 1980, Scott purportedly passed out in the car on the way back to the apartment of an acquaintance called Alistair Kinnear after a night of drinking and alleged drug-taking at The Music Machine in Camden, London. According to Kinnear, upon arrival at his home, he was unable to move Scott from the car into his home for the night, so he left him in the car overnight to sleep off the effects of the alcohol. Unable to wake Scott early on the evening of 20 February 1980, Kinnear rushed him to King's College Hospital in Camberwell, where Scott was pronounced dead on arrival. Pulmonary aspiration of vomit was cited as the cause of Scott's death, and the official cause was listed as "acute alcohol poisoning". [4] Scott's family buried him in Fremantle, Western Australia, the area they emigrated to when he was a boy. [40]

Brian Johnson era (1980–present)

Rebirth (1980–1983)

Following Scott's death, the band briefly considered quitting, but encouraged by the insistence from Scott's parents that he would have wanted them to carry on, they decided to continue, and went about finding a new vocalist. [5] Allan Fryer of Fat Lip, ex-Rick Wakeman vocalist Gary Pickford-Hopkins, [41] and the Easybeats' singer Stevie Wright were touted by the press as possible replacements. [42] Various other candidates were also considered, including ex-Moxy member Buzz Shearman, who was not able to join because of voice issues, [43] Slade vocalist Noddy Holder, [44] and ex-Back Street Crawler vocalist Terry Slesser. [45]

At the advice of Lange, the group brought in ex-Geordie singer Brian Johnson, who impressed the group. [46] For the audition, Johnson sang "Whole Lotta Rosie" from Let There Be Rock and Ike & Tina Turner's "Nutbush City Limits". [21] After the band begrudgingly worked through the rest of the list of applicants in the following days, Johnson returned for a second rehearsal. [47]

Angus Young later recalled, "I remember the first time I had ever heard Brian's (Johnson) name was from Bon. Bon had mentioned that he had been in England once touring with a band and he had mentioned that Brian had been in a band called Geordie and Bon had said 'Brian Johnson, he was a great rock and roll singer in the style of Little Richard.' And that was Bon's big idol, Little Richard. I think when he saw Brian at that time, to Bon it was 'Well he's a guy that knows what rock and roll is all about.' He mentioned that to us in Australia. I suppose when we decided to continue, Brian was the first name that Malcolm and myself came up with, so we said we should see if we can find him." [48]

On 29 March, Malcolm Young called the singer to offer him a place in the band, much to Johnson's surprise. Out of respect for Bon Scott, the band wanted a vocalist who would not be a mere imitator of him. In addition to his distinctive voice, demeanor and love of classic soul and blues music, the group was impressed by Johnson's engaging personality. [49] Johnson was officially announced as the new lead singer of AC/DC on 1 April 1980.

With Johnson as the new vocalist, the band completed the songwriting that they had begun with Scott for the album Back in Black. Recording took place at Compass Point Studios in The Bahamas a few months after Scott's death. Back in Black, produced by Mutt Lange and recorded by Tony Platt, became their biggest-selling album and a hard-rock landmark hits include "Hells Bells", "You Shook Me All Night Long", "Rock and Roll Ain't Noise Pollution" and the title track. The album reached No.1 in the UK and No.4 in the US, where it spent 131 weeks on the Billboard 200 album chart. [28]

The band's eighth studio album, For Those About to Rock We Salute You, was released in 1981, also sold well and was positively received by critics. The album featured two of the band's most popular singles: "Let's Get It Up" [50] and the title track, "For Those About to Rock", which reached No.13 and No.15 in the UK, respectively.

Lineup changes and commercial decline (1983–1989)

The band parted ways with producer Mutt Lange for their ninth studio album, Flick of the Switch, released in 1983, in an effort to recover the rawness and simplicity of their early albums, but it was considered underdeveloped and unmemorable [52] one critic stated that the band "had made the same album nine times". [53] AC/DC were voted the eighth-biggest disappointment of the year in the 1984 Kerrang! readers' poll. However, Flick of the Switch eventually reached No. 4 on the UK charts, [21] and AC/DC had minor success with the singles "Nervous Shakedown" and "Flick of the Switch".

After having problems with drugs and alcohol, [54] drummer Phil Rudd's friendship with Malcolm Young deteriorated and eventually escalated to a physical confrontation after which Rudd was fired halfway through the Flick of the Switch sessions. [21] Former Procol Harum drummer B.J. Wilson was drafted in to help complete the recordings, but his drum parts were eventually not used, as Rudd had already completed the drum parts. [55] Rudd was replaced by Simon Wright in the summer of 1983 after the band held over 700 auditions in the US and UK. [56] Simon Kirke of Free and Bad Company fame, and Paul Thompson of Roxy Music were two of the drummers auditioned. [57]

The band's tenth studio album, Fly on the Wall, produced by the Young brothers in 1985, was also regarded as uninspired and directionless. [58] A music concept video of the same name featured the band at a bar, playing five of the album's ten songs.

In 1986, the group returned to the charts with the made-for-radio "Who Made Who". The album Who Made Who was the soundtrack to Stephen King's film Maximum Overdrive [59] it brought together older hits, such as "You Shook Me All Night Long", with newer songs such as title track and two new instrumentals, "D.T." and "Chase the Ace".

In February 1988, AC/DC were inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association's Hall of Fame. [60] AC/DC's eleventh studio album, Blow Up Your Video, released in 1988, was recorded at Studio Miraval in Le Val, France, and reunited the band with their original producers, Harry Vanda and George Young. The group recorded nineteen songs, choosing ten for the final release though the album was later criticised for containing excessive "filler", [61] it was a commercial success. Blow Up Your Video sold more copies than the previous two studio releases combined, reaching No. 2 on the UK charts—AC/DC's highest position since "Back in Black" in 1980. The album featured the UK top-twenty single "Heatseeker" [50] and popular songs such as "That's the Way I Wanna Rock 'n' Roll". The Blow Up Your Video World Tour began in February 1988, in Perth, Australia. That April, following live appearances across Europe, Malcolm Young announced that he was taking time off from touring, principally to begin recovery from his alcoholism. Another member of the Young family, Stevie Young, temporarily took Malcolm's place.

In 1989, Wright left the group to work on the upcoming Dio album Lock Up the Wolves, and was replaced by session veteran Chris Slade. Johnson was unavailable for several months while finalising his divorce, [21] so the Young brothers wrote all the songs for the next album, a practice they continued for all subsequent releases through Rock or Bust in 2014.

Popularity regained (1990–1998)

The band's twelfth studio album, The Razors Edge, was recorded in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and was mixed and engineered by Mike Fraser and produced by Bruce Fairbairn, who had previously worked with Aerosmith and Bon Jovi. Released in 1990, it was a major success for the band, and included the hits "Thunderstruck" and "Are You Ready", which reached No. 5 and No. 16 respectively on Billboard's Mainstream Rock Tracks Chart, and "Moneytalks", which peaked at No. 23 on the Billboard Hot 100. [50] The album went multi-platinum and reached the US top ten. In September 1991, 1.6 million people attended the Monsters of Rock festival in Moscow to enjoy the first open-air rock concert to be held in the former Soviet Union. The show, also featuring Pantera, The Black Crowes and Metallica, had one of the largest attendances ever for a musical event. [62]

Several shows on the Razors Edge tour were recorded for the 1992 live album, titled Live. Live was produced by Fairbairn, and has been called one of the best live albums of the 1990s. [63] AC/DC headlined the Monsters of Rock show during this tour, which was released on DVD as Live at Donington. During The Razors Edge tour, three fans were killed at a concert at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City, Utah in January 1991: when the concert began fans rushed the stage crushing the three and injuring others. It took 20 minutes before venue security and the group understood the severity of the situation and halted the concert. AC/DC settled with the victims' families out of court. As a result of this incident, the Salt Palace eliminated festival seating from future events. [64] [65]

In 1993, AC/DC recorded "Big Gun" for the soundtrack of the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie Last Action Hero. Released as a single, the song reached No. 1 on the US Mainstream Rock chart—the band's first No. 1 single on that chart. [28]

In 1994, Pacific Gameworks created a proposal for a beat 'em up video game project intended for the Atari Jaguar CD titled AC/DC: Defenders of Metal, which would have prominently featured the AC/DC crew, however production of the game never started and it was left unreleased. [66]

In 1994, Angus and Malcolm invited Rudd to several jam sessions. He was eventually rehired to replace Slade, whose amicable departure arose in part because of the band's strong desire to again work with Rudd. Recorded at the Ocean Way Studios in Los Angeles by the reunited 1980–83 line-up and produced by Rick Rubin, the band's thirteenth studio album, Ballbreaker was released in 1995. The first single from the album was "Hard as a Rock". Two more singles were released from the album: "Hail Caesar" and "Cover You in Oil".

In 1997, a box set named Bonfire was released. It contained four albums a remastered version of Back in Black Volts (a disc with alternative takes, outtakes, and stray live cuts) and two live albums, Live from the Atlantic Studios and Let There Be Rock: The Movie. Live from the Atlantic Studios was recorded on 7 December 1977 at the Atlantic Studios in New York. Let There Be Rock: The Movie was a double album recorded in 1979 at the Pavillon de Paris and was the soundtrack of a motion picture, AC/DC: Let There Be Rock. The US version of the box set included a colour booklet, a two-sided poster, a sticker, a temporary tattoo, a keychain bottle opener, and a guitar pick. [67]

Popularity confirmed (1999–2013)

In 1999, AC/DC recorded their fourteenth studio album, Stiff Upper Lip, produced by brother George Young at the Warehouse Studio, again in Vancouver. Released in February 2000, the album was better received by critics than Ballbreaker but was considered lacking in new ideas. [68] [69] The Australian release included a bonus disc with three promotional videos and several live performances recorded in Madrid, Spain in 1996. Stiff Upper Lip reached No.1 in five countries, including Argentina and Germany No.2 in three countries, Spain, France and Switzerland No.3 in Australia No.5 in Canada and Portugal and No.7 in Norway, the US and Hungary. The first single, "Stiff Upper Lip", remained at No.1 on the US Mainstream Rock charts for four weeks. [28] The band also performed that song live when they appeared as the musical guest on Saturday Night Live in March 2000. [70] The other singles released also charted – "Satellite Blues" and "Safe in New York City" reached No.7 and No.31 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock Tracks.

In 2002, AC/DC signed a long-term, multi-album deal with Sony Music, [71] who went on to release a series of remastered albums as part of their AC/DC remasters series. Each release contained an expanded booklet featuring rare photographs, memorabilia, and notes. [72] In 2003, the entire back-catalogue (except Ballbreaker and Stiff Upper Lip) was remastered and re-released. [73] Ballbreaker and Stiff Upper Lip was later re-released in 2004. [74] Also in 2003, the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

On 30 July 2003, the band performed with the Rolling Stones and Rush at Molson Canadian Rocks for Toronto. The concert, held before an audience of half a million, was intended to help the city overcome the negative publicity stemming from the effects of a 2003 SARS epidemic. The concert holds the record for the largest paid music event in North American history. [75] The band came second in a list of Australia's highest-earning entertainers for 2005, [76] and sixth for 2006, [77] despite having neither toured since 2003 nor released an album since 2000. Verizon Wireless has gained the rights to release AC/DC's full albums and the entire Live at Donington concert to download in 2008. [78]

On 16 October 2007, Columbia Records released a double and triple DVD titled Plug Me In. The set consists of five and seven hours of rare footage, and even a recording of AC/DC at a high school performing "School Days", "TNT", "She's Got Balls", and "It's a Long Way to the Top". As with Family Jewels, disc one contains rare shows of the band with Bon Scott, and disc two is about the Brian Johnson era. The collector's edition contains an extra DVD with 21 more rare performances of both Scott and Johnson and more interviews. [79]

AC/DC made their video game debut on Rock Band 2, with "Let There Be Rock" included as a playable track. [80] The setlist from their Live at Donington live album was released as playable songs for the Rock Band series by means of a Wal-Mart-exclusive retail disc titled AC/DC Live: Rock Band Track Pack. [81]

No Bull: The Directors Cut, a newly edited, comprehensive Blu-ray and DVD of the band's July 1996 Plaza De Toros de las Ventas concert in Madrid, Spain, was released on 9 September 2008. [82]

On 18 August 2008, Columbia Records announced 18 October Australian release, and 20 October worldwide release, of their fifteenth studio album, Black Ice. The 15-track album was the band's first studio release in eight years, was produced by Brendan O'Brien and was mixed and engineered by Mike Fraser. Like Stiff Upper Lip, it was recorded at The Warehouse Studio in Vancouver, British Columbia. Black Ice was sold in the US exclusively at Walmart and Sam's Club and the band's official website. [85]

"Rock 'n' Roll Train", the album's first single, was released to radio on 28 August. On 15 August, AC/DC recorded a video for a song from the new album in London with a special selection of fans getting the chance to be in the video. [86] Black Ice debuted at No.1 on album charts in 29 countries and also was Columbia Records' biggest debut album (since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking sales data for Billboard in March 1991). Black Ice has been certified Multi Platinum in eight countries, including the US, Australia, Canada, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Germany, and the Czech Republic. Additionally, Black Ice has achieved Platinum status in twelve countries (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, UK, Argentina, Singapore, and New Zealand) and Gold status in four countries (Netherlands, Spain, Poland, and Brazil). The 18-month Black Ice World Tour supporting the new album was announced on 11 September and began on 28 October in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. [87]

On 15 September 2008, AC/DC Radio debuted on Sirius Channel 19 and XM channel 53. The channel plays AC/DC music along with interviews with the band members. [88]

With the North American release of Black Ice on 20 October 2008, Columbia Records and Walmart created "Rock Again AC/DC Stores" to promote the album. In October 2008, MTV, Walmart, and Columbia created "AC/DC Rock Band Stores" in New York City, at Times Square, and in Los Angeles. "Black Ice" trucks were also dispatched on the streets of these two cities after the release, playing AC/DC music aloud and making various stops each day to sell merchandise. [89]

In late September 2009, the band rescheduled six shows when Brian Johnson underwent an operation for ulcers. [90] On 29 September, the band announced a collection of studio and live rarities, Backtracks, which was released on 10 November 2009 as a 3-CD/2-DVD/1-LP box-set. [91]

On 4 November, AC/DC were announced as the Business Review Weekly top Australian earner (entertainment) for 2009 with earnings of $105 million. This displaced The Wiggles from the number one spot for the first time in four years. [92]

On 19 April 2010, AC/DC released Iron Man 2, the soundtrack for the eponymous film which compiled earlier tracks from the band's studio albums. [93] One month later, the band headlined Download Festival at Donington Park, [94] and closed the Black Ice World Tour in Bilbao, Spain on 28 June 2010, after 20 months in which AC/DC went to 108 cities in over 28 countries, with an estimated audience of over five million people. [95] Three concerts in December 2009 at the River Plate Stadium in Argentina were released as the DVD Live at River Plate on 10 May 2011. [96] An exclusive single from the DVD, featuring the songs "Shoot to Thrill" and "War Machine", was issued on Record Store Day. [97] In 2011, the band also issued on DVD and Blu-ray the concert movie AC/DC: Let There Be Rock, which had its theatrical release in 1980. [98]

On 19 November 2012, AC/DC released Live at River Plate, [99] their first live album in 20 years.

Multiple lineup changes and hiatus (2014–2018)

On 16 April 2014, in response to earlier reports that the band may be disbanding due to Malcolm Young's illness, [100] Brian Johnson commented that AC/DC were not completely disbanding, stating "We are definitely getting together in May in Vancouver. We're going to pick up guitars, have a plonk and see if anybody has got any tunes or ideas. If anything happens we'll record it." In July 2014, AC/DC announced that they had finished recording their next album and that Malcolm's nephew, Stevie Young, replaced Malcolm in the studio. [101] On 23 September 2014, Alberts Management confirmed that Malcolm had officially departed from the band. [1] Malcolm's last show with the band was on 28 June 2010 in Bilbao, Spain [102] he died on 18 November 2017 at the age of 64. [103]

Drummer Phil Rudd released his first solo album, Head Job, on 29 August 2014. He confirmed that there would be another AC/DC tour, and stated that the band had no intention of retiring. On 23 September 2014, Alberts Management revealed that the band's sixteenth studio album, Rock or Bust, featuring eleven new tracks, would be released on 28 November 2014 as the first AC/DC album in the band's history without Malcolm Young on the recordings. [1] The band also announced plans for a world tour to promote the new album with Malcolm and Angus' nephew Stevie Young as Malcolm's replacement. [104]

On 6 November 2014, Rudd was charged with attempting to procure a murder, threatening to kill, possession of methamphetamine, and possession of cannabis, following a police raid on his home. [105] [106] The charge of attempting to procure a murder was withdrawn the following day, but the other charges remained. [107] AC/DC released a statement clarifying that the tour promoting Rock or Bust would continue, but did not say whether or not Rudd would participate, or if he was still a member of the band. [108]

At the charity signing before the Grammy Awards, the band was photographed together with former drummer Chris Slade. It was later confirmed that he had rejoined the band for the Grammys and upcoming tour. [109] In April 2015, Rudd pleaded guilty to drug charges and threatening to kill a former assistant. [110] Shortly thereafter, the band's web site removed Rudd as the band's drummer and replaced him with Slade. [111] On 9 July 2015, Rudd was denied a discharge without conviction and sentenced to eight months of home detention. [112]

On 7 March 2016, the band announced that the final ten dates of the Rock or Bust World Tour would be rescheduled as Johnson's doctors had ordered him to stop touring immediately, as his hearing loss had accelerated and he risked complete deafness if he persisted on the road. The ten cancelled dates would be performed "likely with a guest vocalist" later in the year, leaving Johnson's future in touring with the group uncertain. [113] Johnson later stated on The Howard Stern Show that his hearing loss did not come from performing for 36 years with AC/DC, but rather his love of auto racing and having forgotten to put in ear plugs during one race that ruptured his left ear drum. [114] [115]

On 19 April 2016, Johnson made an official statement regarding his health problems and inability to tour. In the statement, he acknowledged his ongoing hearing difficulties but stated his intentions to continue recording and potentially resume touring if his health improves sufficiently. He also specifically thanked Angus Young and Cliff Williams for their support during his AC/DC tenure. [116] His last show with AC/DC was on 28 February 2016 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City. [117]

On 16 April 2016, AC/DC released a statement announcing the addition of Guns N' Roses frontman Axl Rose as the band's lead vocalist for the remainder of their 2016 tour dates. The statement read: "AC/DC band members would like to thank Brian Johnson for his contributions and dedication to the band throughout the years. We wish him all the best with his hearing issues and future ventures. As much as we want this tour to end as it started, we understand, respect and support Brian's decision to stop touring and save his hearing. We are dedicated to fulfilling the remainder of our touring commitments to everyone that has supported us over the years, and are fortunate that Axl Rose has kindly offered his support to help us fulfill this commitment. AC/DC will resume their Rock or Bust World Tour with Axl Rose joining on vocals." [118] [119]

On 8 July 2016, Cliff Williams indicated he was leaving the band in an interview with Gulfshore Life, saying "It's been what I've known for the past 40 years, but after this tour I'm backing off of touring and recording. Losing Malcolm, the thing with Phil and now with Brian, it's a changed animal. I feel in my gut it's the right thing." [120] At the end of the Rock or Bust World Tour, he released a video statement confirming his departure. [121] His final show with AC/DC was in Philadelphia on 20 September 2016. [122]

After completing the Rock or Bust tour in 2016, AC/DC went on hiatus. Over the next few years, speculation began that former members Johnson and Rudd were back and working with the band again, after a fan living near The Warehouse Studio in Vancouver, B.C. claimed to have observed them in the outdoor area of the studio from her apartment window. [123] [124]

Reunion and Power Up (2018–present)

On 28 September 2020, AC/DC updated their social media accounts with a short video clip depicting an illumination of a neon light in the shape of the band's lightning bolt logo. This led to speculation that they were "preparing to announce its comeback, possibly as early as this week or next week." [125] On the next day, the band's official website was redirected to pwrup.acdc.com, and updated with an AC/DC online store and a "Power Up" e-mail sign-up, leading to speculation that Power Up would be the title of the new album. This speculation was also fuelled by another teaser video from AC/DC, simply featuring the hashtag #PWRUP. [126]

On 30 September 2020, AC/DC officially confirmed the return of Brian Johnson, Phil Rudd and Cliff Williams to the band, alongside Angus and Stevie Young [127] reuniting the Rock or Bust recording line-up.

On 1 October 2020, AC/DC released a snippet of their new song "Shot in the Dark." [128] Shortly thereafter, the band's official website published a few photographs of several different posters displayed in different cities (from different countries) – such as Ashfield (in front of Angus Young's Ashfield Boys High School), Lille, London and Dallas – featuring the writing "PWR/UP" (stylised as PWRϟUP).

On 7 October 2020, the band confirmed the upcoming release on 13 November 2020 of their new studio album, Power Up, and released the first single taken from it, "Shot in the Dark". [129] [130] The album's track listing was revealed on their website via a spinning promotional album. [131] Angus Young also noted that the new album, as was Rock or Bust, is dedicated to Malcolm Young, much in the same way that Back in Black was dedicated to Bon Scott. [132]

AC/DC have referred to themselves as "a rock and roll band, nothing more, nothing less". [3] In the opinion of Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic, they are "one of the defining acts of '70s hard rock" and reactionary to the period's art rock and arena rock excesses: "AC/DC's rock was minimalist – no matter how huge and bludgeoning their guitar chords were, there was a clear sense of space and restraint." [133] According to Alexis Petridis, their music is "hard-edged, wilfully basic blues-rock" featuring humorous sexual innuendo and lyrics about rock and roll. [134] Music academic Robert McParland described the band's sound as being defined by the heavy rock guitar of the Young brothers, layered power chords, and forceful vocals. [2] "For some, AC/DC are the ultimate heavy metal act", Tim Jonze wrote in The Guardian, "but for others, AC/DC aren't a heavy metal act at all, they're a classic rock band – and calling them heavy metal is an act of treachery." [135] On the controversy of categorising their music, McParland wrote:

AC/DC will assert that they are not specifically a metal band. Their music—loud, hard, and guitar driven—may best be described as hard rock. However, there are people who will say that they are indisputably metal. Therein lies the ongoing problem of categorisation. While AC/DC has referenced the underworld and they have given their listeners 'Highway to Hell' and 'Hell's Bells,' their songs are constructed on straightforward major and minor power chords. They are not modally developed as are a good deal of heavy metal compositions. Their sound is loud and crisp, not muddy or down-tuned. [2]

According to Vulture music journalist David Marchese, the instrumental foundation of the band's simple sound was the drummer—Rudd, Wright, or Slade—striking the kick drum on the first and third beat of every measure, and the snare drum on the second and fourth beat bassist Williams consistently downpicking an eighth note Angus Young performing lead parts that possessed "a clear architecture and even sort of swing, in a frenzied, half-demented way" and Malcolm Young's "propulsive" yet nuanced rhythm guitar featuring "little chuks, stutters, and silences that give the monstrous riffs life". [136] For the majority of Malcolm Young's tenure in AC/DC, he used a Marshall Super Bass head to amplify his rhythm guitar while recording in the studio. According to Chris Gill of Guitar World, the amplifier helped define his signature guitar tone: "clean but as loud as possible to ride on the razor's edge of power amp distortion and deliver the ideal combination of grind, twang, clang and crunch, with no distorted preamp 'hair,' fizz or compression", as heard on songs such as "Let There Be Rock", "Dirty Deeds", "For Those About to Rock", and "Thunderstruck". During 1978 to 1980, however, Young used a Marshall 2203 100-watt master volume head, which Gill speculates may have contributed to a "slightly more distorted and dark" guitar tone on the albums from that period, including Powerage and Back in Black. [137]

With the recording of Back in Black in 1980, rock journalist Joe S. Harrington believed the band had departed further from the blues-oriented rock of their previous albums, and toward a more dynamic attack that adopted punk rock's "high-energy implications" and transmuted their hard rock/heavy metal songs into "more pop-oriented blasts". The band would remain faithful for the remainder of their career, to this "impeccably ham-handed" musical style: "the guitars were compacted into a singular statement of rhythmic efficiency, the rhythm section provided the thunderhorse overdrive, and vocalist Johnson belowed and brayed like the most unhinged practitioner of bluesy top-man dynamics since vintage Robert Plant." [138]

In a comparison of AC/DC's vocalists, Robert Christgau said Bon Scott exhibited a "blokelike croak" and "charm", often singing about sexual aggression in the guise of fun: "Like Ian Hunter or Roger Chapman though without their panache, he has fun being a dirty young man". Johnson, in his opinion, possessed "three times the range and wattage" as a vocalist while projecting the character of a "bloke as fantasy-fiction demigod". By the time Johnson had fully acclimated himself with 1981's For Those About to Rock We Salute You, Christgau said he defined "an anthemic grandiosity more suitable to [the band's] precious-metal status than Bon Scott's old-fashioned raunch", albeit in a less intelligent manner. [139]

Throughout the band's career, their songs have been criticised as simplistic, monotonous, deliberately lowbrow, and sexist. David Marchese from Vulture wrote that, "regardless of the lyricist, whether it was Scott (who was capable of real wit and colour), Johnson, or the Young brothers, there's a deep strain of misogyny in the band's output that veers from feeling terribly dated to straight-up reprehensible." [136] According to Christgau in 1988, "the brutal truth is that sexism has never kept a great rock-and-roller down—from Muddy to Lemmy, lots of dynamite music has objectified women in objectionable ways. But rotely is not among those ways", in regards to AC/DC. [139] Fans of the band have defended their music by highlighting its "bawdy humour", [140] while members of the group have generally been dismissive of claims that their songs are sexist, arguing that they are meant to be in jest. [136] In an interview with Sylvie Simmons for Mojo, Angus called the band "pranksters more than anything else", while Malcolm said "we're not like some macho band. We take the music far more seriously than we take the lyrics, which are just throwaway lines." [140] Marchese regarded the musical aspect of the Youngs' songs "strong enough to render the words a functional afterthought", as well as "deceptively plain, devastatingly effective, and extremely lucrative". [136]

For the book Under My Thumb: Songs That Hate Women and the Women Who Love Them, The Guardian arts critic Fiona Sturges contributed an essay evaluating her love for AC/DC. While acknowledging she is a feminist, and that the band's music is problematic for her, she believed it would be "daft as opposed to damaging" for female listeners if they can understand the band to be "a bunch of archly sex-obsessed idiots with sharp tunes and some seriously killer riffs". In spite of the "unpleasant sneering quality" of "Carry Me Home", the "rape fantasy" of "Let Me Put My Love in You", and the generally two-dimensional portrayals of women, Sturges said songs such as "Whole Lotta Rosie" and "You Shook Me All Night Long" demonstrated that the female characters "are also having a good time and are, more often than not, in the driving seat in sexual terms. it's the men who come over as passive and hopeless, awestruck in the presence of sexual partners more experienced and adept than them." [140]

As with many bands of their era, AC/DC ran afoul of the Satanic panic of the 1980s. This general fear of modern hard rock and heavy metal was greatly increased in the band's case when serial killer Richard Ramirez was arrested. Ramirez, nicknamed the "Night Stalker" by the press, told police that "Night Prowler" from the 1979 Highway to Hell album had driven him to commit murder. Police also claimed that Ramirez was wearing an AC/DC shirt and left an AC/DC hat at one of the crime scenes. Accusations that AC/DC were devil worshippers were made, the lyrics of "Night Prowler" were analysed, and some newspapers attempted to link Ramirez's Satanism with AC/DC's name, arriving at the conclusion that AC/DC actually stood for Anti-Christ/Devil's Child (or Devil's Children). [141] [142] [143] [144] [145]

AC/DC were a somewhat formative influence on the new wave of British heavy metal bands who emerged in the late 1970s, such as Saxon and Iron Maiden, in part as a reaction to the decline of traditional early 1970s hard rock bands. In 2007, critics noted that AC/DC, along with Thin Lizzy, UFO, Scorpions, and Judas Priest, were among "the second generation of rising stars ready to step into the breach as the old guard waned." [146]

AC/DC were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on 10 March 2003. [147] During the ceremony the band performed "Highway to Hell" and "You Shook Me All Night Long", with guest vocals provided by host Steven Tyler of Aerosmith. He described the band's power chords as "the thunder from down under that gives you the second most powerful surge that can flow through your body." [148] During the acceptance speech, Brian Johnson quoted their 1977 song "Let There Be Rock". [149]

On 22 March 2000, the municipality of Leganés (near Madrid) named a street in honour of the band as "Calle de AC/DC" ("AC/DC Street"). Malcolm and Angus attended the inauguration with many fans. Later that day, the plaque with the name of the group was stolen, perhaps by an enthusiast or collector. The plaque was replaced two hours later, and stolen once again a mere three days after the fact. The plaque had since been stolen numerous times, forcing the municipality of Leganés to begin selling replicas of the official street plaque.

In May 2003, the Young brothers accepted a Ted Albert Award for Outstanding Service to Australian Music at the 2003 Music Winners Awards, during which Malcolm paid special tribute to Bon Scott, who was also a recipient of the award. [150]

On 1 October 2004, a central Melbourne thoroughfare, Corporation Lane, was renamed ACDC Lane in honour of the band. The City of Melbourne forbade the use of the slash character in street names, so the four letters were combined. [151] The lane is near Swanston Street where, on the back of a truck, the band recorded their video for the 1975 hit "It's a Long Way to the Top". [152]

They sold over 1.3 million CDs in the US during 2007 despite not having released a new album since 2000 at that point. Additionally, the group's commercial success continues to flourish despite their choice to refrain from selling albums in digital online formats for many years. [153] However, in November 2012, the entire catalogue (excluding the TNT album and the Australian versions of the High Voltage, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap and Let There Be Rock albums) became available on the iTunes Store. [154]

In 2009, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) upgraded the group's US sales figures from 69 million to 71 million, making AC/DC the fifth-best-selling band in US history and the tenth-best-selling artist, selling more albums than Madonna and Mariah Carey. [7] The RIAA also certified Back in Black as double Diamond (20 million) in US sales, and by 2007 the album had sold 22 million copies, which made it the fifth-best-selling album of all-time in the US. [10]


25. Night Prowler

It was always sinister, this creepy blues song from Highway To Hell, on which Bon adopted the persona of a murderous stalker. But in 1985, six years after that album was released, Night Prowler came back to haunt AC/DC.

American serial killer Richard Ramirez &ndash dubbed the ‘Night Stalker’ &ndash claimed after his arrest that it was this song that had driven him to commit 16 murders. Only when separated from this context can the song be viewed for what it really is: a deeply flawed yet immensely powerful piece of music.

Angus never played a better blues solo than the one on Night Prowler. And for all the grisly imagery in the lyrics, this infamous song ended with a weird joke, as Bon quoted mock alien language from 70s sci-fi sitcom Mork & Mindy: &ldquoShazbot! Nanu nanu!"


It's shocking that AC/DC never went to #1

Throughout rock history, many bands have replaced their lead singer – Van Halen and Black Sabbath, for example. Popular '70s Australian metal band AC/DC did, too, due to tragic circumstances. According to Ultimate Classic Rock, the group's 33-year-old singer, Bon Scott, died in February 1980. The rest of AC/DC opted to continue and, with newly hired singer Brian Johnson in the lineup, released Back in Black just six months later. Remarkably, AC/DC was even more successful with its second frontman. Back in Black has sold a whopping 25 million copies — only three LPs have sold more in the U.S., per the RIAA. And then the band just kept selling records. Well into the 2000s, AC/DC routinely went multi-platinum in the U.S. With RIAA-certified sales of 75 million albums, AC/DC are the most successful heavy metal band and Australian act in American music history.

Despite their days of generating perpetual staples for classic rock radio, AC/DC only got within the Top 30 of the Billboard Hot 100 once, in 1991, with the #23 hit "Moneytalks." Better-known songs "You Shook Me All Night Long" and "Back in Black" barely scraped into the Top 40.


Contents

Prior to Big & Rich's foundation, John Rich was a founding member of the band Texassee, which later became Lonestar. [5] Rich played bass guitar in the band and alternated with Richie McDonald on lead vocals he also co-wrote their singles "Come Cryin' to Me" and "Say When". [6] After Lonestar released its second album, Rich departed from the band in 1998, leaving McDonald as the band's sole lead singer. [7] Kenny Alphin (aka Big Kenny) was signed to Hollywood Records in 1998, [8] where he recorded a rock album called Live a Little a year later. [9] Although one of its songs was featured in the soundtrack to the film Gun Shy, [10] Live a Little was not released, and Hollywood Records held the rights to the songs for five years. [9] In the meantime, The Mavericks recorded one of Alphin's songs ("I Hope You Want Me Too") on their 1998 album Trampoline, [11] and Danni Leigh recorded his "Beatin' My Head Against the Wall" on her album 29 Nights. [12] Big Kenny then befriended Rich after meeting him at a club, [6] and the two began writing songs together. Their first songwriting collaboration was "I Pray for You," which they wrote in October 1998. [13]

Following his departure from Hollywood Records, Big Kenny recorded in a short-lived band called luvjOi, [1] whose lead guitarist Adam Shoenfeld and drummer Larry Babb would later become part of Big & Rich's road band. [14] In 2000, Rich began recording as a solo artist as well. He charted two singles of his own — "I Pray for You" and "Forever Loving You," which respectively reached numbers 53 and number 46 on the U.S. Hot Country Songs charts [15] — but his debut album, Underneath the Same Moon, was not released at the time. [7] The two then founded the MuzikMafia (an abbreviation for Musically Artistic Friends in Alliance), [16] a roundtable aggregation of singer-songwriters including Cowboy Troy, James Otto, Gretchen Wilson and Shannon Lawson. [1] [17] This group held its first official show at a Nashville, Tennessee, nightclub in 2001. [18] Big & Rich performed at The Bluebird Cafe on January 1, 2002. [19]

Among Big Kenny and John Rich's first outside cuts as songwriters was "Amarillo Sky", which was the title track to McBride & the Ride's 2002 album Amarillo Sky [20] and later a top 5 hit for Jason Aldean in 2007. [21] The two also wrote and sang backing vocals on "She's a Butterfly", which was recorded by Martina McBride on her album Martina. [1] [22] After McBride cut this song, manager Marc Oswald suggested that Rich and Big Kenny begin recording as a duo. Rich was apprehensive at first, as he had been told by BNA staff that he was "too rock for country" and was unsure of what major labels would think of Big Kenny's rock influences. [23] The two began recording songs together at a songwriting seminar. After they recorded a demo of "Holy Water", Rich was convinced that the duo would be successful. [24] They then met with Paul Worley, a record producer who was then the head of creative affairs at Warner Bros. Records Nashville, and Worley helped sign Big & Rich to a recording contract in late 2003. [1]

In 2007, Reservoir Media Management acquired the publishing rights to Rich's and Kenny's song catalogs. [25]

2004–2005: Horse of a Different Color Edit

The two then began writing songs for their debut album. Among these was "Wild West Show," which they wrote before a trip to Deadwood, South Dakota. The duo decided to use wild West imagery to convey "an argument between a man and a woman." [26] In February 2004, it was released as their debut single, [1] going on to peak at number 21 on the Billboard country singles charts. [17] It was the first release from their debut album Horse of a Different Color. [1] Following the album's release, Big & Rich began touring with Tim McGraw. [27]

Big & Rich debuted their second single, "Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)", at that year's Academy of Country Music awards. [28] For this song, Big & Rich employed Deaton-Flanigen Productions, a music video directing duo composed of Robert Deaton and George Flanigen IV. [29] Deaton-Flanigen and Oswald, along with the duo, decided to make "a big, big show of a video", featuring cameo appearances from Gretchen Wilson and Cowboy Troy, as well as a marching band and a dancing troupe. [29] The song peaked at number 11 on the country singles charts, [17] and the video was the most-requested on the television networks Country Music Television (CMT) and Great American Country (GAC) for four weeks. [30] "Save a Horse" was also a minor hit in Germany, reaching number 87 on the Media Control Charts. [31] ESPN also used the song as the theme music for its World Series of Poker. [32] They and Cowboy Troy performed "Rollin' (The Ballad of Big & Rich)" at the Country Music Association awards telecast, where they were also nominated for the Horizon Award. (Now known as the New Artist award, this is awarded to new artists who make significant commercial success from a first or second album.) [33]

"Holy Water" was the third single release, reaching number 15 on the country singles charts. [17] The duo wrote this song about Big Kenny's sister Charlene, a domestic abuse victim. [34] Finishing off the album's single releases was "Big Time", which peaked at number 20 in early 2005. [17] Big & Rich also released a special Independence Day single titled "Our America", with guest vocals from Wilson and Cowboy Troy, which charted for two weeks and peaked at number 44. [17]

Horse of a Different Color was met with generally positive reviews. Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic called it "wilder and stranger than most contemporary country albums of 2004," [35] and Chris Willman of Entertainment Weekly said that "the disc really flies when Big & Rich just honor the straight-up rowdiness of Bocephus." [36] Country Weekly also gave a positive review, praising the variety of musical influences and saying that all of the songs worked "ridiculously well." [37]

2005–2006: Comin' to Your City Edit

The duo's second album, Comin' to Your City, was released on November 15, 2005. [1] The first single, "Comin' to Your City" received a similar reaction as "Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)" had a year earlier, although rather than poker, ESPN utilized an altered version of the song as the opening theme for its Saturday program College GameDay. [28] The song peaked at number 21. [17] In its music video, the duo appeared in a guitar-shaped spaceship. [38]

Their next single, "Never Mind Me", reached a peak at number 34. Next came "8th of November", while only peaking at number 18, garnered the duo nominations for the CMA Awards, Grammy Awards, and the ACM Awards. The song was inspired by the story of Niles Harris. A subsequent documentary titled "November 8: a true American story of honor" was released also, debuting on Great American Country television network over the July 4 weekend. The documentary tells the story of Niles Harris and shows the making of the music video for the single.

An extended play of live studio performances, Rolling Stone Original, was also released in November 2005. [39] During a benefit concert held on October 9, 2006 in Atlanta, Georgia to raise money for the construction of the 173d Airborne Memorial, Big & Rich were awarded the status of Honorary Members of the 503d Regiment of the 173d Airborne Brigade. The concert was the subject of a documentary on Great American Country in November 2006.

Also in 2005, Hollywood Records released Big Kenny's debut album and in 2006 BNA Records released Rich's.

2007–2008: Between Raising Hell and Amazing Grace Edit

In early 2007, the duo released "Lost in This Moment", which was the lead-off single to their third album, Between Raising Hell and Amazing Grace. [1] "Lost in This Moment" became Big & Rich's only Number One single, spending two weeks at the top of the country music charts. [17] The song also began receiving airplay on adult contemporary radio and became their first chart entry for that format, reaching number 12.

They released their second single, "Between Raising Hell and Amazing Grace" to country radio in August 2007, although it failed to make an impact on the charts, peaking at number 37 follow-up "Loud" became the duo's first single to miss the Top 40. [17] Another cut from this album, a cover of AC/DC's "You Shook Me All Night Long," also charted at number 59 as a non-single two months before the release of the title track. [17]

The duo also released three live in the studio extended plays during 2007: Walmart Soundcheck, Rhapsody Originals [40] and Unplugged at Studio 330. [41]

2008–2011: Hiatus, solo projects, and reunion Edit

In 2008, Rich announced that Big & Rich would go on hiatus while Big Kenny recovered from an existing neck injury. In the meantime, Rich said that he would release a solo album, "with Kenny's blessing." [42] Warner Bros. released Rich's second solo album, Son of a Preacher Man, in early 2009. [43] The album produced three singles, including the number 12 country hit "Shuttin' Detroit Down". Later in the same year, Big Kenny released The Quiet Times of a Rock and Roll Farm Boy via his own Glotown label, and charted at number 34 with the single "Long After I'm Gone".

In 2010, Big Kenny released his second solo album, Big Kenny's Love Everybody Traveling Musical Medicine Show Mix Tape, Vol. 1 exclusively through BigKenny.TV and BigSouthMusic.com. [44] Rich released two extended plays in early 2011: Rich Rocks and For the Kids, both on Reprise Records. The former produced his second solo top 40 hit in 2010, "Country Done Come to Town," also peaking at number 34. [45] Big & Rich reunited later in 2011 to record the song "Fake I.D." for the soundtrack to the 2011 film Footloose. It includes a guest vocal from Gretchen Wilson, with whom the duo toured that same year. [46] [47]

2012–2013: Hillbilly Jedi Edit

In 2012, Big & Rich announced that they would release their fourth studio album, Hillbilly Jedi, led by the single "That's Why I Pray". Danelle Leverett, formerly one-half of The JaneDear Girls, wrote the song with Blair Daly and Sarah Buxton. Rich said that he felt that the song could be the biggest of the duo's career. [48] The single debuted at number 24 on the country charts, the highest debut achieved by a duo since the charts were first tabulated by Nielsen BDS in 1990. [49]

Preceding the album's release was an extended play by the name of That's Why I Pray, which featured the single was well as three previously released songs. The EP was only issued on CD and available exclusively at Walmart. [50]

Released on September 18, 2012, the album produced two more singles, "Party Like Cowboyz" and "Cheat on You," both of which failed to make Top 40. In 2012, Big & Rich were nominated for Vocal Duo of the Year at the CMA Awards and in 2013 at the ACM Awards.

2013–present: Big & Rich Records, Gravity and "Did It For the Party" Edit

In July 2013, Rich announced that the duo was already working on their fifth studio album. [51] Kenny revealed that their new material would be more along the lines of the music on their debut album, and that the executives at Warner Bros. Nashville told them that it was their "best material in years." [52] Early in 2014, the duo announced that a new single, titled "Look at You", would be sent to radio soon and that the new album would be released later in 2014. Kenny and Rich also formed their own record label, Big & Rich Records, to handle their future musical endeavors. [53]

On January 28, 2014, the lead off single to the album was released and the album title was revealed as Gravity. [3] [54] On July 28, the album's release date was confirmed to be September 23, 2014. In addition, the track listing and cover art were also revealed the next day. [55] The duo said that their decision to start their own label was the result of Warner Bros. Nashville's schedule not allowing for Gravity to be released until 2015 at the earliest. Rather than have the project shelved, Big & Rich opted to strike out on their own and release the album sooner. Of the decision to form their own label, Kenny said that "it’s the kind of thing we believed in ten years ago as the Musik Mafia. Just anyway to get the music out there." [56] The second single from Gravity, "Run Away with You", charted at number 11 on Country Airplay. "Lovin' Lately", a duet with Tim McGraw, is the third single.

The duo released a new single, "California", in April 2017. The song was previously recorded by McGraw on his album Damn Country Music, and his version featured them on backing vocals. Their sixth studio album, Did It for the Party, followed in September 2017 to largely rave reviews. [57]

Since their first collaboration with Martina McBride in 2003, the duo has appeared on several other albums. Wilson and Cowboy Troy then appeared on Comin' to Your City on the track "Our America". Their third album featured John Legend on "Eternity" and Wyclef Jean on "Please Man", as well as Lil Jon on a remix of "Loud" featured on the album's iTunes release. Legend played the piano and sang a verse during the duo's performance of "Lost in This Moment" at the 2007 ACM Awards.

In 2005, the duo contributed vocals to a rerecording of Billy Joe Shaver's 1993 song, "Live Forever." [58] Big & Rich also co-wrote several songs and provided background vocals on several cuts from Cowboy Troy's two Warner Bros. releases: 2005's Loco Motive and 2007's Black in the Saddle. In 2006, the Hank Williams, Jr. song "That's How They Do It in Dixie" was released, a single to which Big & Rich, Gretchen Wilson and Van Zant contributed guest vocals. [17] It debuted one month after the duo's own single "Never Mind Me."

Rich co-wrote several of Gretchen Wilson's singles, including her debut release "Redneck Woman". He also co-wrote singles for Jason Aldean ("Hicktown", "Amarillo Sky", "Johnny Cash"), Wynonna Judd ("Attitude"), Faith Hill ("Mississippi Girl", "Like We Never Loved at All", "Sunshine and Summertime") and Keith Anderson ("Pickin' Wildflowers"). Big Kenny wrote Tim McGraw's "Last Dollar (Fly Away)", which went to number one in 2007, and co-wrote Wilson's "Here for the Party" with Rich. Rich has also produced for Wilson, Cowboy Troy, James Otto, Shannon Brown, Jewel, and the JaneDear girls.

Since 2005, the duo's song "Comin' to Your City" has been used as the opening theme to ESPN's College GameDay. In 2011, the song was reworked and re-recorded by the duo specifically for the event. [59] The duo also contributed to Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur with a cover of John Lennon's "Nobody Told Me" in 2007. That same year, the duo was also featured in a duet with rock band Bon Jovi on their Lost Highway album. The song, titled "We Got It Going On", was selected as a promotional song for the Arena Football League's 2007 season. In 2008, Big & Rich recorded a cover of the Beastie Boys' "(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!)" for the compilation album The Imus Ranch Record. In 2014, the duo performed a cover of "Same Old Situation" on a Mötley Crüe tribute album. 2015 saw Big & Rich provide background vocals on albums by Tim McGraw and Clint Black. For the McGraw album, the song "California" was written by John Rich.


7 AC/DC songs that influenced a rock generation

There was good news and bad news for fans of rock pioneers AC/DC as they announced their first new album for six years but revealed that founder member, guitarist Malcolm Young, will not be returning to the band due to illness.

Rock or Bust will be the first album in the band’s 41 year history to not feature him but the role of rhythm guitarist is being kept in the family with his nephew, Stevie Young, joining as a permanent member.

AC/DC are revered in rock circles and their longevity is in no small part due to their roster of classic heavy hits and their legendary live shows. To celebrate the news of another album, here are seven songs that influenced a generation of rock.

1. Highway to Hell

One of Malcolm Young’s greatest guitar riffs powers Highway to Hell, which is one of AC/DC’s signature tunes.

Recorded in 1979, it appeared on the album of the

same name and was the last to feature original singer Bon Scott, before he died in 1980.

Rock glitterati from Bruce Springsteen to Marilyn Manson have cited it as an influence with a host of bands covering it including Maroon 5 on a recent tour.

2. Hell’s Bells

Taken from their Back in Black album, Hell’s Bells ushered in the new era with flat-capped Geordie, Brian Johnson taking on the vocals.

It has been heavily used in Major League Baseball for closers throughout the seasons and it has been suggested that it should be honoured by National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

3. Back in Black

If you are asked to name an AC/DC song, then Back in Black is usually the answer. The song is often found in the upper echelons of lists naming the best metal songs ever as well as having one of the most recognisable guitar riffs in rock.

From Foo Fighters to Shakira, everyone feels the energy of Back in Black, though the ultimate tribute must come from Hayseed Dixie and their Hillbilly Tribute to AC/DC.

4. Whole Lotta Rosie

When the late Bon Scott had a one night stand with an obese Tasmanian lady, it was only natural that he would write a song about this experience. Now a lot of people know about Rosie and what she has a whole lotta of.

A cover version of this song was recorded by Guns n’ Roses and used as the B-side to their single, Welcome to the Jungle.

5. You Shook Me All Night Long

Another great sing-a-long from AC/DC, You Shook Me All Night Long was voted in the top ten songs of the eighties by VH1. It has touched all manner of genres and singers with Celine Dion and Anastacia performing a duet of it during a Divas concert. It was also the first AC/DC song to reach the American Billboard Top 40.

6. For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)

This song has become the traditional live set closer, even having a 21 gun salute to accompany it, in case it wasn’t loud enough. Their opus to rock is apparently inspired by the salute that Roman gladiators made as they entered the arena. Not for the faint hearted!

7. Thunderstruck

This represented a return to form for AC/DC in 1990 after a few desolate years. All of a sudden they were relevant again and have maintained their position as Rock Gods ever since.

It has become widely used at sporting venues across the world to pump up the crowd including the rather sedate surroundings of Sussex County Cricket Club as they start their Twenty20 matches.


Watch the video: ACDC - You Shook Me All Night Long Official Video


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