AC/DC



AC/DC are a hard rock band formed in Sydney, Australia in 1973 by brothers Angus and Malcolm Young. The band are considered pioneers of hard rock, alongside bands such as Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Aerosmith, and Black Sabbath. Its members, however, have always classified their music as "rock 'n' roll".

AC/DC underwent several line-up changes before releasing their first album, High Voltage, in |1975. Membership remained stable until bassist Cliff Williams replaced Mark Evans in 1977. In 1979, the band recorded their highly successful album, Highway to Hell. Lead singer and co-songwriter Bon Scott died on February 19, 1980, after a night of heavy alcohol consumption. The group briefly considered disbanding, but soon ex-Geordie singer Brian Johnson was selected as Scott's replacement. Later that year, the band released their biggest-selling album, Back in Black.

The band's next album, For Those About to Rock We Salute You, was also highly successful and was the first hard rock album to reach #1 in the United States. AC/DC declined in popularity, however, soon after the departure of drummer Phil Rudd in 1983. Poor record sales continued until the release of The Razors Edge in 1990. Phil Rudd returned in 1994 and contributed to the band's 1995 album Ballbreaker. Stiff Upper Lip was released in 2000 and was well-received by critics. A new album is expected in 2007.

AC/DC have sold more than 150 million albums worldwide, including more than 68 million albums in the U.S. Back in Black has sold 42 million units worldwide, including 21 million in the U.S., making it the second-highest-selling album ever internationally, and the biggest-selling album by any band. The band are ranked fourth on VH1's 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock.

Angus and Malcolm Young claim they developed the idea for the band's name after seeing the acronym "AC/DC" on the back of a sewing machine owned by their sister, Margaret. "AC/DC" is an abbreviation for "alternating current/direct current", which indicates that an electrical device can use either type of power. The brothers felt that this name symbolized the band's raw energy and power-driven performances, and the name stuck.

In some cultures, "AC/DC" is a slang term for bisexuality; the band have said that they were not aware of this usage until it was brought to their attention by a taxi driver one night after a concert early in their career. Some religious figures have suggested that the name stands for "Anti-Christ/Devil's Child(ren)", "Anti-Christ/Devil Christ", and so on. Although rumours have persisted among critics attempting to paint the band as Satanists, the band have denied these interpretations of their name, and have mocked them as being opportunistically-constructed backronyms.

"AC/DC" is pronounced one letter at a time, though the band is popularly known as "Acca Dacca" in Australia. The name has inspired tribute bands, including BC/DC from the Canadian province of British Columbia; AC/DShe, an all-female group from San Francisco; and Hayseed Dixie, an Appalachian band specialising in bluegrass covers.

Brothers Angus, Malcolm, and George Young were born in Glasgow, Scotland, and moved to Sydney, Australia with most of their family in 1963. George was the first to learn to play the guitar. He became a member of The Easybeats, Australia's most successful band of the 1960s. In 1966, they became the first local rock act to have an international hit, with the song "Friday On My Mind". Malcolm followed in George's footsteps by playing with a Newcastle, New South Wales band called The Velvet Underground (not to be confused with the New York-based Velvet Underground).

In November 1973, Malcolm and Angus Young formed AC/DC and recruited bassist Larry Van Kriedt, vocalist Dave Evans, and Colin Burgess, ex-The Master's Apprentices drummer. The band played their first gig at a club named Chequers in Sydney on New Year's Eve, 1973. They were later signed to the EMI-distributed Albert Productions label for Australia and New Zealand. The early line-up of the band changed often; Colin Burgess was the first member fired, and several bassists and drummers passed through the band during the next year (see List of AC/DC members).

By this time, Angus Young had adopted his characteristic school uniform stage outfit. The original uniform was reputedly from his secondary school, Ashfield Boys High School in Sydney; the idea was his sister Margaret's. Angus had tried other costumes, such as Spiderman, Zorro, a gorilla, and a parody of Superman, named Super-Ang.

The Young brothers decided that Evans was not a suitable frontman for the group, because they felt he was more of a glam rocker like Gary Glitter. On stage, Evans was occasionally replaced by the band's first manager, Dennis Laughlin. Evans had interpersonal problems with Laughlin, which also contributed to the band's ill feeling towards Evans. Meanwhile Ronald Belford "Bon" Scott, an experienced vocalist and friend of George Young's, was interested in becoming their vocalist.

In September 1974, Bon Scott replaced Dave Evans. Scott was a former lead vocalist with The Spektors (1964–66), The Valentines (1966–70), and Fraternity (1970–73). The band had recorded only one single with Evans, "Can I Sit Next to You"/"Rockin' in the Parlour", and "Can I Sit Next to You" was eventually re-recorded with Bon Scott under the title "Can I Sit Next to You Girl".

By January 1975, the Australia-only album High Voltage had been recorded. It took only ten days, 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 stabilized, 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 (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)", which became their perennial rock anthem. It was included on their second album, T.N.T., which was also released only in Australia and New Zealand. The album featured another classic song, "High Voltage".

Between 1974 and 1977, aided by regular appearances on Molly Meldrum's Countdown, a 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 in over twenty years.

In 1976, the band signed an international deal with Atlantic Records, and toured extensively throughout the United Kingdom and Europe. They gained invaluable experience of the stadium circuit, supporting leading hard rock acts such as Kiss, Aerosmith, Styx and Blue Öyster Cult, and they co-headlined with Cheap Trick.

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 sold three million copies worldwide, partly due to its popularity with a British punk audience. The track selection was heavily weighted towards the more recent T.N.T., and included only two songs from their first LP. The band's next album, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, was released in the same year in both Australian-only and international versions, like its predecessor. Track listings varied worldwide, and the international version of the album also featured "Rocker" from T.N.T. The original Australian version included their popular song "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 U.S. until 1981, by which time the band were at the peak of their popularity.

Following the 1977 recording Let There Be Rock, bassist Mark Evans was sacked due to personal differences with Angus Young. He was replaced by Cliff Williams, who also provided backing vocals alongside Malcolm Young. 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."

AC/DC were a formative influence on New Wave of British Heavy Metal bands such as Saxon and Def Leppard who emerged in the late 1970s, in part as a reaction to the decline of traditional early 1970s heavy metal 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."

AC/DC's first American exposure was through the Michigan radio station AM 600 WTAC in 1977. The station's manager, Peter C. Cavanaugh, booked the band to play at Flint's Capitol Theater. The supporting act was MC5, who had briefly reunited and agreed to play at the event. The band opened with their popular song "Live Wire" and closed with "It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)".

AC/DC came to be identified with the punk rock movement by the British press. Their reputation, however, managed to survive the punk upheavals of the late 1970s, and they maintained a cult following in the UK throughout this time. Angus Young gained notoriety for mooning the audience during live performances.

The 1978 release of Powerage marked the debut of bassist Cliff Williams, and with its harder riffs, followed the blueprint set by Let There Be Rock. Only one single was released for Powerage, "Rock 'n' Roll Damnation" and gave AC/DC the highest mark at the time, reaching #24. An appearance at the Apollo Theatre in Glasgow during the Powerage tour was recorded and released as If You Want Blood, featuring classic songs such as "Whole Lotta Rosie", "Problem Child", and "Let There Be Rock", as well as lesser-known album tracks like "Riff Raff". The album was the last produced by Harry Vanda and George Young with Bon Scott on vocals (although Vanda and Young later produced Blow Up Your Video) and is claimed to be AC/DC's most underrated album.

The band's sixth album, Highway to Hell, was produced by Mutt Lange and released in 1979. It became the first AC/DC LP to break into the U.S. top 100, eventually reaching #17, and it propelled AC/DC into the top ranks of hard rock acts. Highway to Hell put increased emphasis on backing vocals but still featured AC/DC's signature sound: loud, simple, pounding riffs and grooving backbeats. The final track, "Night Prowler", has two breaths in quick succession at the start of the song, intended to create a tone of fear and loathing.

On February 19, 1980, Bon Scott passed out after a night of partying in London, and was left in a car owned by an acquaintance of his named Alistair Kinnear. The following morning, Kinnear rushed him to King's College Hospital in Camberwell, where Scott was pronounced dead on arrival. Although common folklore claims that pulmonary aspiration of vomit was the cause of Scott's death, the official cause was listed as "acute alcohol poisoning" and "death by misadventure". Scott's family buried him in Fremantle, Western Australia, the area to which they had emigrated when he was a child.

Inconsistencies in the official accounts of Scott's death have been cited in conspiracy theories, which suggest that Scott died of a heroin overdose, or was killed by exhaust fumes redirected into the car, or that Kinnear did not exist. Additionally, Scott was asthmatic, and the temperature was below freezing on the morning of his death.

Later in the band's career Malcolm Young and Phil Rudd both needed time to recover from their alcoholism. Angus Young, meanwhile, has always been a teetotaller.

Following Scott's death, the band briefly considered quitting; they eventually concluded, however, that Scott would have wanted AC/DC to continue, and various candidates were considered for his replacement. Ex-Back Street Crawler vocalist Terry Slesser was approached, but he decided not to join an established band; instead, he assembled a successful solo career, which included co-writing the song "Rainbow's Gold". Buzz Shearman, ex-Moxy member, was not able to join due to vocal problems. The remaining AC/DC members finally decided on ex-Geordie singer Brian Johnson.

Angus Young later recalled, "I remember Bon playing me Little Richard, and then telling me the story of when he saw Brian singing." He says about that night, "There's this guy up there screaming at the top of his lungs and then the next thing you know he hits the deck. He's on the floor, rolling around and screaming. I thought it was great, and then to top it off—you couldn't get a better encore—they came in and wheeled the guy off!'" Later that night, Johnson would be diagnosed with appendicitis, which was the cause of his writhing around on stage.

For the audition, Johnson sang "Whole Lotta Rosie" from Let There Be Rock, and Ike & Tina Turner's "Nutbush City Limits". He was hired a few days after the audition.

With Johnson, the band completed the songwriting that they had begun with Bon 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", and the title track "Back in Black". The album was certified platinum a year after its release, and by 2006 it had sold more than 21 million copies in the United States. The album reached #1 in the UK and #4 in the U.S., where it spent 131 weeks in the top ten.

The follow-up album, 1981's For Those About to Rock We Salute You, 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" and the title track, "For Those About to Rock", which reached #13 and #15, respectively, in the UK. The band split with Lange for their self-produced 1983 album, Flick of the Switch, in an effort to recover the rawness and simplicity of their early albums.

Amid rumours of alcoholism and drug-induced paranoia, drummer Phil Rudd's friendship with Malcolm Young deteriorated and, after a long period of unfriendliness, the men's dislike for each other grew so strong that they fought. Rudd was fired two hours after the fight. Although Rudd had finished most of the drum tracks for their next album, he was replaced by Simon Wright after the band held an anonymous audition. With the new line-up, the band released a less successful album, the self-produced Flick of the Switch, which was considered underdeveloped and unmemorable. One critic stated that the band "had made the same album nine times". AC/DC was voted the eighth-biggest disappointment of the year in the 1984 Kerrang! readers' poll. However, Flick of the Switch eventually reached #4 on the UK charts, and AC/DC had minor success with the singles "Nervous Shakedown" and "Flick of the Switch". Fly on the Wall, produced by the Young brothers in 1985, was also regarded as uninspired and directionless. 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, and is the closest the band has come to releasing a "greatest hits" collection. It brought together older hits, such as "Hells Bells" and "Ride On", with newer songs like "Sink the Pink", 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.

AC/DC's 1988 album, Blow up Your Video, was recorded at Miraval Studio 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 criticized for containing excessive "filler", it was a commercial success. Blow up Your Video sold more copies than the previous two studio releases combined, and reached #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", and popular songs such as "That's The Way I Wanna Rock And 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.

Following the tour, Wright left the group to work on the upcoming Ronnie James Dio album, Lock up the Wolves, and was replaced by session veteran Chris Slade. Johnson was unavailable for several months while finalising his divorce, so the Young brothers wrote all the songs for the next album, a practice they have continued for all subsequent releases. The new album, The Razors Edge, was produced by Bruce Fairbairn, who had previously worked with Aerosmith and Bon Jovi. Released in 1990, it was a major comeback for the band, and included the hits "Thunderstruck" and "Are You Ready", which reached #5 and #16 respectively on Billboard's Mainstream Rock Tracks Chart, and "Moneytalks", which peaked at #23 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album went multi-platinum and reached the U.S. top ten. Several shows on the Razors Edge tour were recorded as footage for the 1992 live album, entitled simply Live. Live was produced by Fairbairn, and is considered one of the best live albums of the 1990s. A year later, AC/DC recorded "Big Gun" for the soundtrack of the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie Last Action Hero, and was released as a single, reaching #1 on the U.S. Mainstream Rock chart, the band's first #1 single on that chart.

In 1994, Angus and Malcolm invited Rudd to several jam sessions. He was eventually rehired to replace Slade, whose amicable departure arose in part due to the band's strong desire to work again with Rudd. In 1995, with the 1980—83 line-up back together, the group released Ballbreaker, recorded at the Ocean Way Studios in Los Angeles, California, and produced by Rick Rubin. The first single from the album was "Hard as a Rock", which reached #1 on the U.S. charts. 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 alternate 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 in 1978 at the Atlantic Studios in New York. Let There Be Rock: The Movie was a double album recorded in 1979 at The Pavillon in 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.

In 2000, the band released their sixteenth studio album, Stiff Upper Lip, produced by George Young. The album was better received by critics than Ballbreaker, but was considered lacking in new ideas. The Australian release included a bonus disc with three promotional videos and several live performances recorded in Madrid in 1996. Stiff Upper Lip reached #1 in five countries, including Argentina and Germany; #2 in three countries, Spain, France and Switzerland; #3 in Australia; #5 in Canada and Portugal; and #7 in Norway, the U.S. and Hungary. The first single, "Stiff Upper Lip", remained at #1 on the U.S. charts for four weeks. The other singles released also did very well, "Safe in New York City" and "Satellite Blues" reached #31 and #7 in the U.S. respectably.

In 2002, AC/DC signed a long-term, multi-album deal with Sony Music, 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. In 2003, the entire back-catalogue (except Ballbreaker and Stiff Upper Lip) was remastered and re-released. Ballbreaker was eventually re-released in October 2005; Stiff Upper Lip was later rereleased in April 2007.

In May 2003, Malcolm Young accepted a Ted Albert Award for Outstanding Service to Australian Music at the 2003 Music Winners Awards, during which he paid special tribute to Bon Scott. In the same year, the Recording Industry Association of America upgraded the group's U.S. sales figures from 46.5 million to 63 million, making AC/DC the fifth-best-selling band in U.S. music history, behind only The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and the Eagles. The RIAA also certified the Back in Black album as double diamond (twenty million) in U.S. sales, making it the sixth-best-selling U.S. album of all time; by 2005 the album had sold 21 million copies, which moved it into fifth place. On July 30 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 effects of the 2003 SARS epidemic. The concert holds the record for the largest paid music event in North American history.

On October 1, 2004, a central Melbourne thoroughfare, Corporation Lane, was renamed in honour of the band. However, the City of Melbourne forbade the use of the slash character in street names, so the four letters were combined. 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 (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)". Additionally, a street in Leganés, Spain was named "Calle de AC/DC" on March 2, 2000.

The band came second in a list of Australia's highest-earning entertainers for 2005, after The Wiggles, despite having neither toured nor released an album that year.

AC/DC were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March 2003. During the ceremony the band performed "Highway to Hell" and "You Shook Me All Night Long", with guest vocals provided by host Steven Tyler. 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."

During the acceptance speech, Brian Johnson quoted their 1977 song "Let There Be Rock":
“"In the beginning, back in 1955, man didn't know about the rock 'n roll show and all that jive.
The white man had the schmaltz, the black man had the blues, but no one knew what they was gonna do but Tchaikovsky had the news, he said: 'let there be rock'".

Bon Scott wrote that. And it's a real privilege to accept these awards tonight.”

As of January 2006, AC/DC are working on a new studio album. According to Malcolm Young, "The band is currently recording and writing material for the eagerly anticipated next album, but no release date has been set." In a 2004 interview, Brian Johnson revealed that, for the first time since the 1988 album Blow Up Your Video, he will be handling lyrics. He also said that Angus Young has written harder riffs than those on Stiff Upper Lip. In a 2005 interview, Johnson confirmed that the band do not know when the album will be recorded, or who will produce it. Malcolm Young said the new album has "gotta be perfect", and Johnson also mentioned the possibility of the next release being a double album. In December 2006, The Daily Mirror revealed that AC/DC have been asked to headline the 2007 Slane Concert in Ireland.

* Angus Young – lead guitar (1973–present)
* Malcolm Young – rhythm guitar, backing vocals (1973–present)
* Brian Johnson – lead vocals (1980–present)
* Cliff Williams – bass, backing vocals (1977–present)
* Phil Rudd – drums (1975–1983, 1994–present)Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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