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AC/DC

AC/DC


William and Margaret Young left Glasgow, Scotland in '63 for Sydney, Australia. With a low population and abundant resources Australia promised a better life. Their eldest son George started a group in the mid-60s called the Easybeats, who were best remembered for the hit "Friday On My Mind." By '72 he had a new band and invited younger brothers Malcolm and Angus to join. George didn't really think the project would fly but he thought it would be good experience for his brothers. Angus and Malcolm launched AC/DC a year later playing their first performance New Year Eve '73. Their set included covers of the Rolling Stones, Beatles, and Chuck Berry. Over the next six months members came and went.

AC/DC took its name from a vacuum cleaner voltage label - Alternating Current/Direct Current. Angus and Malcolm's sister Margaret came up with the idea. It probably made sense that a band with electric instruments should have some electrical reference. However, the term also had bi-sexual connotations that caused the band some embarrassment in the early days.

In '74 Bon Scott replaced Dave Evans as lead singer. Scott had first auditioned as a drummer. However, a second chance as a singer turned the trick. By January '75 the band was in the studio to record their debut "High Voltage" which was a success in Australia. The band had George on bass but he was soon replaced by Mark Evans with Phil Rudd on drums. In early '76, AC/DC signed a deal with Atlantic Records and began their worldwide siege, playing U.K club dates and touring Europe with Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow.

Then they hit the U.S., opening for REO Speedwagon, Rush and KISS.

With producer Mutt Lange, AC/DC broke through with "Highway To Hell" which included "Touch Too Much." Everything was on track - right? Wrong. Bon Scott was found dead in a parked car in London on 2/20/80. He had gone out for a night on the town with the friend. Late in the evening he passed out in the car and his friend was unable to move him so he figured he'd let Scott sleep it off. When the friend checked on Scott in the morning, he found him unconscious. Scott was rushed to the hospital but it was too late. The official cause of death was "Death by Misadventure-Acute Alcoholic Poisoning." The Young brothers didn't know what to do - break-up or continue. They decided to continue with Brian Johnson. He auditioned singing "Whole Lotta Rosie" and the Ike & Tina Turner classic "Nutbush City Limits." Again with Mutt Lange, they recorded "Back In Black." They followed that success with "For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)."

Visually, the thing that stood out most was Angus Young's schoolboy outfit, which happened by accident. Angus came home from school and without changing, rushed off to band practice. Sister Margaret suggested he wear the uniform on stage. Angus thought it was a horrible idea until George said it would help people remember the band. No kidding.




AC/DC Key Moments of the 21st Century:

I: It's rare that a group is still relevant or even active when they get inducted into the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame. But AC/DC were both in '03. During the ceremony, host Stephen Tyler said the band's power chords were "the thunder from down under that gives you the second-most-powerful surge that can flow through your body." Then the band performed "Highway To Hell" and "You Shook Me All Night Long" with the Aerosmith frontman joining in.

II: In February, '07, a tribute to Scott attracted more than 10,000 fans to Perth, Australia's Claremont Showgrounds. Performers included former AC/DC bassist Mark Evans and Dave Evans, the singer who preceded Scott in the band. Organizers raised more than the $80,000 needed to fund a statue of Scott to be erected in his hometown of Fremantle.

III: That same year, AC/DC's DVD box set titled "Plug Me In" was unfurled. The two-disc collection contained rare concert and television footage. One disc focused on the Scott era while the other delved into Johnson's tenure.

IV: Ever Google AC/DC to get to their website and wind up somewhere else? Well it won't happen any more. In '07, AC/DC secured the rights to ACDC.com, which was previously held by a pornographic site. The band's announcement was straight-forward enough. "Feel free to visit us from work, school or, for longtime visitors to the site, from the usual privacy of your basement."

V: '08 saw the release of No Bull: The Directors Cut, a re-edited yet comprehensive Blu-Ray of the band's '96 Plaza De Toros de las Ventas (a bull fighting ring - the title being a play on words) concert in Madrid, Spain.

VI (Back In Black - sort of): Later in the year, AC/DC finished "Black Ice," their first studio album in eight years. "I was trying to just make people remember, 'This is the same band. I have missed this band. I love this band,'" explained producer Brendan O'Brien. The album, available exclusively at Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stores, could also be ordered on group's website.

Accused of "selling out" to corporate America (or the Wal-Mart segment of it), Johnson said, "Wal-Mart were the only big store to stock all of our albums . . . and they've never deviated. And they sold AC/DC shirts and pajamas for kids, which we thought was really cool." Some U.S. record stores sold imported copies of the album to get around the exclusive deal. AC/DC also began a series of album supporting North American arena shows beginning in Wilkes-Barre, PA.

"Rock N Roll Train," the set's first single, was heard in an episode of the CBS show Criminal Minds and used in the show's promos.

Though "Black Ice" only made it to #3 on the '08 Rolling Stone Readers Poll (behind Coldplay's "Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends" and Kings Of Leon's "Only By The Night," respectively), the group was named Best Hard Rock Band and the Best Comeback. But there was more. "Rock N Roll Train" landed in the survey's Top 5 songs. Also, AC/DC picked up a Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance ("War Machine," the b-side to "Rock N Roll Train").

VII: "Backtracks," an '09 retrospective of the band's lengthy career, arrived containing studio and live renditions of some of the AC/DC's best-known songs.

VIII: AC/DC songs comprised the Iron Man 2 soundtrack. There were 15 tracks including "Shoot To Thrill" (the film's first promo video), "Highway To Hell," "The Razor's Edge" and "Let There Be Rock." The soundtrack debuted at #4 on the Billboard 200, moving 76,000 copies in its first week.

"{Director} Jon Favreau's vision and passion for AC/DC's music blend seamlessly into this incredible film," said Steve Barnett, co-chairman of Columbia Records, in a statement. "The music really underscores the high energy and excitement of the film."

A special soundtrack edition had a 50-minute DVD featuring band footage and movie clips.

IX: "AC/DC Live At River Plate" was recorded in Buenos Aires in '09. The three sold-out shows, the group's first Argentina concerts in 13 years, drew nearly 200,000 fans. A concert DVD came two years later and debuted at #1 in 17 countries. From the DVD, clips of "Thunderstruck" and "Shoot To Thrill" from the DVD garnered 36 million YouTube views or half the total online views of AC/DC videos. The album, "AC/DC Live At River Plate," the group's first live album in 20 years," dropped in '12.

X: Let There Be A Book. Former bassist Mark Evans published Dirty Deeds: My Life Inside/Outside AC/DC in '11 through Bazillion Points Books. It was the first memoir written by a band member about the group's early years. "The aggressive attitude that AC/DC had towards Australian bands continued when we shifted overseas," Evans wrote in the book. "The world's bigger bands became our new targets. We saw a few of the so-called headline acts and straight away knew that we had nothing to fear." While Evans was in AC/DC they released "High Voltage," "TNT," "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap," "Let There Be Rock" and the "Jailbreak" EP.

XI: Man Down. Just prior to Johnson receiving an honorary doctorate degree from University of Northumbria, located in Newcastle upon Tyne, U.K., he noted that the group had completed work on their next album ("Rock Or Bust") which he wanted to name "Man Down" in reference to Malcolm who had been forced to take a leave from the band due to health issues. "But it's a bit negative and it was probably just straight from the heart. I like that," explained Johnson.

XII: Man Down - For Real. Rudd released his first solo album, "Head Job," in September, '14. But the set was overshadowed by daunting news. Following months of rumors, Malcolm's family confirmed that the guitarist had been diagnosed with dementia.

News also surfaced that Malcolm had been moved into a nursing home facility in Sydney's eastern suburbs that specialized in dementia.
AC/DC Discography

Studio Albums:

1975 High Voltage (Australia only)
1975 T.N.T. (Australia only)
1976 High Voltage (International version)
1976 Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
1977 Let There Be Rock
1978 Powerage
1979 Highway To Hell
1980 Back In Black
1981 For Those About To Rock We Salute You
1983 Flick Of The Switch
1985 Fly On The Wall
1988 Blow Up Your Video
1990 The Razors Edge
1995 Ballbreaker
2000 Stiff Upper Lip
2008 Black Ice
2014 Rock Or Bust

By '79 AC/DC had produced three albums. The Rolling Stone Record Guide published the same year, roundly dismissed the group as both sonically and visually offensive. Their albums, one of which was "Powerage," got the lowest possible rating. A rating that questioned AC/DC's musical competency. Even Abba who was listed just above, got a two star rating for most of their schlock. AC/DC got none. How anyone with ears can rate Abba higher than AC/DC is unimaginable. Maybe those old hippies at RS were suffering from drug burnout.

There are those who argue AC/DC was at its peak with Scott while others prefer Johnson. Let's cut to the chase.

The Best AC/DC album with Bon Scott is:
Powerage ('78)

The Best album with Brian Johnson is:
Back In Black ('80)

The Best AC/DC albums (in order) are:
Back In Black
Powerage
Let There Be Rock ('77)
If You Want Blood… You've Got It (Live-'78)
For Those About To Rock, We Salute You ('81)
Highway To Hell ('79)
Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap ('76)

The "Bonfire" box set presents AC/DC's great moments. And there are a lot of them.

"Rock N' Roll Train," "She Likes Rock N' Roll" "Rock N' Roll Dream" and "Rocking All The Way." See a theme in "Black Ice" song titles?"

"All you need to know about AC/DC is this - we stopped growing musically when we were 17," said Angus in a "Black Ice" promotional interview. "When you're 17, you write songs that you hope will appeal to other 17-year-olds. And we still write songs for 17-year-olds."

Of course, there is more to life than Rock N' Roll. Like sex ("Anything Goes"), money ("Money Made"), swagger ("Big Jack" and "Spoilin' For A Fight") and impending doom (Skies On Fire" and the title track). That just about covers it. No 17 year-old (regardless of their age) can resist.


   Rockin'Town Forum - Latest Forum Posts
kenneth   It would be better still if more of 'the old guys voted', what's wrong with you people? you will never get a better place than Rockintown to support your hero's, get with it and get voting.  
Dangerous   Great to see the old guys still Rock!  
missmoneytalks   Glad to see other fans worship the Rock And Roll GODS too. I love to interview them. If you were to ask any question....what would it be? I think it would have to be "Angus...how the hell haven't you injured yourself  after all these years of Duck Strutting?" I wonder if he has a choreographer? Hehe...maybe Britney could learn a thing or too eh!
Love Missmoneytalks  



 

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