By ’79 AC/DC had produced three albums. The Rolling Stone Record Guide published that year, roundly dismissed AC/DC 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 alphabetically listed just above, got a two-star rating for most of their schlock. AC/DC got none. How anyone with ears could rate ABBA higher than AC/DC is unimaginable.
William and Margaret Young left Glasgow, Scotland in ’63 for Sydney, Australia. With a low population and abundant resources Australia promised a better life.
A decade later their sons Angus and Malcolm Young (lead and rhythm guitar, respectively) launched AC/DC playing their first performance New Year Eve ’73. Their set included covers of the Rolling Stones and Chuck Berry. And while they soon wrote their own material, the band never strayed from their roots.
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.
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. Margaret suggested he wear the uniform on stage. Angus thought it was a horrible idea until his older brother George said it would help people remember the band. No kidding.
In ’74 Bon Scott replaced Dave Evans as lead singer. Scott had first auditioned as a drummer. However, a second audition, this time as a singer turned the trick.
Scott was found dead in a parked car in London on 2/20/80. The official cause 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, AC/DC recorded “Back In Black,” their best album.
They followed that success with “For Those About To Rock (We Salute You).”
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:
The Best Album with Brian Johnson is:
“Back In Black” (’80)
Best AC/DC Song:
When AC/DC got inducted into the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame in ’03 Aerosmith’s 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.”