A Brief History of the Rock Band AC/DC
AC/DC was one of the first bands to be referred to as “hard rock” and “heavy metal” in the early 1980s. They are also known for being one of the most successful bands from Australia with more than 70 million record sales worldwide. Due to their shock value lyrics, consistent album releases, and relentless touring schedule, AC/DC became a household name and stayed there for many years.
The band has had its share of ups and downs throughout their career but continues to stand out from other bands. If you have ever seen them perform or listened to any of their songs, then you know that AC/DC stands for “alternative current/direct current”; however, this is a recent update on their original meaning. While these definitions may have been true in the past, the band has since come forward and explained that the name actually stands for “anti-Christ”.
This article will take you through all of the history behind one of rock’s best-known bands so that you can impress your friends at your next karaoke night!
Who is in AC/DC?
There have been several members of AC/DC over the years and we will examine them all here. Brian Johnson - Vocal - Johnson first joined the band in 1980 after the death of the original lead vocalist, Bon Scott. He helped the band reach new heights and remained vocalist until 2016 when he was forced to retire after receiving multiple warnings from doctors due to hearing loss. Angus Young - Guitar - Angus is the co-founder of AC/DC and the only member to appear on every album to date. He is one of the most recognizable guitarists in rock and roll. Malcolm Young - Guitar - Another co-founder of AC/DC, Malcolm died on November 18, 2017, following his battle with dementia. Cliff Williams - Bass - Williams has been a member of AC/DC since the beginning and is one of the more consistent members. Stevie Young - Bass - Stevie replaced Cliff Williams when he retired from the band in 2016 following Malcolm Young’s death. Phil Rudd was the drummer for the band until 2015 when he was arrested for trying to hire a hitman to kill two men. Rudd was charged with attempting to procure murder, possession of drugs, and possession of a firearm. He was replaced by Chris Slade until 2017, but he rejoined the band in 2018.
A brief history of the band
AC/DC was formed in Sydney, Australia in 1973. The original band members were Angus Young (rhythms guitar), his brother George Young (lead guitar), Bon Scott (lead vocals), and Phil Rudd (drums). They were made into a band by their manager after George had produced their first three albums. The band’s first two albums “High Voltage” and “T.N.T.” were released in Australia in 1975 and 1976 and both reached the top ten. “High Voltage” made the top five thanks to the single “It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock and Roll)”. This song would become one of their most popular songs and one of the most popular rock songs of all time. Their third album “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” was released in 1976 and was very successful in Australia and the UK. The album featured the song “Jailbreak”, which was their first top ten hit in the UK. The band’s fourth album “Let There Be Rock” was released in 1978 and was another success for the band. The album featured the hit “Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution”, which was their first top ten hit in the US. Their fifth album, “Powerage”, was released in 1978. The album featured the hit “What’s Next to the Moon”. Their sixth album “Highway to Hell” was released in 1979. The album reached number one in the US and the UK. It featured the hit “Highway to Hell” and “Girls Got Rhythm”. Their seventh album “Back in Black” was released in 1980. The album reached number one in the US and the UK and sold more than 22 million copies worldwide. It featured the hit “Hells Bells” and “You Shook Me All Night Long”.
1983 - 1991: The Rising of AC/DC
AC/DC’s next album, The Razors Edge, was released in 1990 and was a comeback for the band. It was successful around the world, becoming the band’s fifth number-one album in the US and selling more than 10 million copies. The following year, AC/DC released another album, The Razor’s Edge Live. This album was recorded during the 1990 tour and was a live version of The Razors Edge. In 1992, AC/DC released their first album with new lead singer Brian Johnson, The AC/DC Bag, which was a compilation of the band’s greatest hits. That same year, AC/DC released another album, a compilation album called, The AC/DC Encyclopedia. This album did not have new material but a collection of the band’s greatest hits from 1976 to 1990.
1996 - 2008: The End of the Road for Bon Scott
After the death of lead singer, Bon Scott, by alhohol poisoning, in 1980, the band was left with the decision of who would take his place. They decided to go with ex-Geordie vocalist, Brian Johnson, who had been touring with the band for a few years. This is the first time in 25 years that a lead singer has changed. In 1988, the band released their next studio album, Blow Up Your Video, which was not as successful as their previous albums. The band released another album in 1990, The Razors Edge, which was successful around the world, becoming the band’s fifth number-one album in the US and selling more than 10 million copies. The following year, AC/DC released another album, The Razor’s Edge Live. This album was recorded during the 1990 tour and was a live version of The Razors Edge.
2010 - Present: Rebuilding and Resurging After Loss
AC/DC’s next album, Stiff Upper Lip, was released in 2000 and, like most of their albums, was a huge success. The band continued to release albums including Black Ice in 2008, Iron Man 2 in 2010, and their latest, Rock or Bust, in 2014. In 2015, AC/DC announced that their tour would be their last due to the health issues of lead singer Brian Johnson. This led to the release of their last album, Rock or Bust, in 2016. On April 8, 2018, the band announced that they were retiring and that they would be going out with a final tour, which will run until 2020. On November 18, 2017, rhythm guitarist and co-founder of AC/DC, Malcolm Young, died after suffering from dementia. He was 56 years old. On April 10, 2018, it was announced that the entire tour had been canceled due to the “unavailability of Malcolm Young’s services.”
After the death of lead singer, Brian Johnson, the band decided to retire from touring and recording new music. Johnson was a part of the band for 30 years and had a huge impact on the group’s success. This left the rest of the band members with a tough decision. They had to decide whether they should end the band or find a new lead singer. They decided to bring in vocal coach, Bob Bradley, and see what he could do. Bradley found a new lead singer and continued to coach him to become an amazing performer. This singer was absolutelty amazing, and his name was Axl Rose.
Final Words: Why You Should Listen to AC/DC
AC/DC has been rocking the music world since 1973. Back in Black, was released in 1980 and became the second best-selling album in the world. AC/DC has sold more than 250 million records worldwide and are one of the best-selling bands of all time. They have 20 Top 40 singles and 12 number-one albums. Even though they are retiring in 2020, you can still enjoy their music while reminiscing over their long and successful career.