Friday, April 18, 2014

AC/DC - Back In Black - 1980

AC/DC is not retiring. Thank god for that.

If you haven't heard, founding member Malcolm Young is having severe health problems, and there were rumors circulating the Internet that the band was going to hang it up for good. Instead, the band announced they were still going to go back into the studio and record another album, but that Malcolm was on hiatus from the band. (It's unclear whether or not he'll return, but at this point, he needs to focus on getting better.)

This isn't the first time AC/DC have had a huge mountain to climb. Back in early 1980, Malcolm and his brother Angus (the guitarist from the band who's known for his schoolboy outfit and his shredding solos) were starting to figure out songs for their next album, when tragedy struck. Lead singer Bon Scott had gone out for a night of drinking and partying. At the end of the night, one of his friends left Scott to sleep it off in the back of a car. The next afternoon, the friend came by to check on Scott and found him dead. While he had choked to death on his own vomit due to acute alcohol poisoning, the cause of death, in classic rock and roll style, was listed as "death by misadventure."

Hell of a cause of death, right?

Rather than pack it in, Scott's family convinced the band that they needed to keep on going, so the Young brothers enlisted a new vocalist, Brian Johnson, whom Bon Scott had spoken highly of before his passing. "Back In Black" was the first album with Johnson, and it was released just five months after the death of Scott. It was almost a memorial to their late singer, but it's also one of the best-selling albums in history, having sold over fifty million copies. (The fourth best-selling album ever, as of this writing.)

So why am I telling you about it? Because a lot of people still don't know about AC/DC, and that's a damn, damn shame. "Back In Black" is the album of a party. It's got everything you need - sleaze, swagger, bravado, a good time and rockin' tunes. Everyone knows the title track, but the whole album is full of great tracks, including the magnificent "You Shook Me All Night Long."

Sooner or later, we'll see the end of AC/DC as a band. I think if the band had their way, they would all be on fire on a tour bus that was hurtling into the Grand Canyon while they were blasting "Givin' The Dog A Bone" from speakers loud enough to blow women's clothes off.

They'd probably qualify it as "death by misadventure."

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