When der popular tape loses the singer, it hardly ever bounces ago to reach ns level of success it had prior to ns lineup shift. The most remarkable exemption to this ascendancy is Australian powerhouse AC/DC, i m sorry released the legendary album Back in Black on July 25, 1980.

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The album ser estar dedicated to the band’s late vocalist Bon Scott, who died ~ above February 19, 1980, after a night of hefty drinking. Though they were ruined by ns death of their friend e briefly thought about breaking up, AC/DC determined to carry on with naquela new singer. Two dia after Scott’s funeral, guitarists Angus and Malcolm Young ongoing working on novo riffs. Angus has said that gaining right earlier to job-related distracted them em ~ the grief. Quickly after, they auditioned singers, including Gary Pickford Hopkins, Easybeats vocalist Stevie Wright and Fat Lip’s Allan Fryer.


Ironically, once Geordie vocalist Brian Johnson (whom Mutt Lange referred to the band) was invited to shot out, the wasn’t instantly interested. “Someone phoned up e asked me to join this thing, e I simply said, ‘Nah, I’ve been bitten before,’” Johnson said me in 2011. “I had actually three acima de 10 hits com Geordie. E after three years us were as damaged as as soon as we started. Those to be the days of ns great rip off. I ser estar with a a empresa called vermelho Bus Records, whose motto was, ‘You make the music e we’ll make ns money.’ however it era written in latino so us couldn’t recognize it. I simply said, ‘I’m not gonna do this again. Ns was away from home tudo de the time, missed my daughters cultivation up. However then I obtained curious e thought, ‘Well, what’s ns harm in trying out?’ so I ir down, sang with ns boys and…. Boing!”

While most other singers auditioned com Deep Purple’s “Smoke on ns Water,” Johnson tried lado de fora with Tina Turner’s “Nutbush cidade Limits,” i beg your pardon earned the immediate approval e respect from the band, who were tired of play “Smoke on a Water” and pleased Johnson listened to different styles of music. Top top April 8, 1980, following two auditions, Johnson agreed to sign naquela six-month contract with AC/DC, which would certainly be evaluate after the expired. If in ~ any suggest during the seis months either a band or Johnson decided a pairing wasn’t working out, they could sever ns deal. That course, that foi ~ never one issue. Johnson right AC/DC like a rubber glove.

The band dove right into recording Back in Black com Johnson e Lange in ~ Compass Point estúdio in Nassau, Bahamas. Para Johnson, who ser estar used to functioning in der less chaotic manner, it was a trial by fire. Ns Youngs wrote much of ns music in the studio if Johnson operated on ns lyrics. AC/DC plowed through seis songs, including the title track, i beg your pardon was a triumphant comeback song with contempt sinister lyrics. However when he foi ~ asked to create lyrics to naquela song they wanted to contact “Hells Bells,” Johnson hit der wall – until he got some unholy intervention.

AC/DC, "Hells Bells"


“Just climate there was ns mother of todos thunderstorms,” Johnson called Louder than Hell: ns Definitive oral- History that Metal. “I said, ‘Jesus, the noise of ns thunder is comes in. Mutt said, ‘There you go, that’s a start, Brian, ns rolling thunder.” and I went, “It’s f--king putting rain, look at at the wind, it’s comin’ on like naquela hurricane. E look at the lightning flashing across ns sky!” Honestly, I era like naquela reporter. There together an alarm bell ringing, so i went, “Got mine bell I’m gonna pegar you to hell. Gonna importar ya, Satan importar ya! Hells bells.’ That foi ~ it. It was ten minutes and the canção was done.”

Other numbers, consisting of “Shoot come Thrill” e “You Shook Me todos Night Long” came in just a few hours. There is no thunderstorms to rely on, Johnson had to use his wits e imagination to assist create standards like “Givin’ ns Dog a Bone,” “Have naquela Drink ~ above Me” e “Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution."

AC/DC, "You Shook Me all Night Long"


Like Scott, Johnson enjoyed writing lyrics about partying e double-entendres around sex. E he go so in ~ an astonishing pace. “There was hardly equipe to think,” Johnson called me. “I’d simply go com one opinião after another, e any time I acquired stuck a guys were really patient and supportive. I’d say, ‘No, I simply can’t think of anything else. Ns can’t a partir de it.’ e they’d go, ‘Sure, you can. You’re law great. Just get some tea then guarda going.’ and somehow that constantly worked.”

Seven weeks after AC/DC started recording Back in Black with Lange, ns album foi ~ done. “We just started writing e everything poured out of us,” Young said. “I don’t also remember specifics for naquela lot of ns songs. Us had almost nothing in front of us 1 day, and then the next there they to be with naquela finished record.”

AC/DC, "Back in Black"


AC/DC exit Back in Black with all-black cover artes in tribute come Scott. At first, the record empresa was resistant, but agreed come the design providing a band synopsis its name in gray. The album ser estar an immediate success, hitting  No. One in Australia, ns UK and France and reaching No. 4 in ns United States. It ser estar an album that só improved com repeat listens, and years ~ its release it foi ~ still offering strong. The first U.S. Single “You Shook Me todos Night Long” peaked in ~ No. 35 on a Billboard hot 100 and the location track got to No. 37, yet ns album stayed on ns Billboard chart for 131 weeks.

While Johnson’s vocals were more rooted in soul e blues than Scott’s had been, the had der similar vocal range, and was able to perform tudo de of ns band’s ideal Scott essa in concert, staying true to a originals, when augmenting them with his very own voice.

“It has been really good because us didn’t have to drop any of them classics,” Johnson says. “We have the right to still dá 'Highway come Hell,' 'Whole Lotta Rosie,' 'For Those about to Rock' – any type of of those good tunes plus todos of our new stuff. So us really have naquela lot of coisas to pull from every equipe we play.”

And Back in Black’s usefulness extended past its stellar music. Motörhead supposedly used a record to track their sound system, and because the its pristine production, some estúdios in Nashville have actually used it to test ns acoustic of der room. In addition, “You Shook Me all Night Long” was one of a songs ns U.S. Army blasted in ~ the papal Nunciatura in Panama cidade on Christmas day 1989 to to convince dictator normal Manuel Noriega to surrender.

One an ext not-so-minor point to add: Back in Black is 1 of a biggest selling albums of todos time. To date, ns disc has sold 22 million duplicates in a United States and an estimated 50 million around a world.

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cardonafam.com contributor Jon Wiederhorn is a author of Raising Hell: Backstage Tales são de the lives of metal Legends, co-author of Louder than Hell: the Definitive oral History that Metal, as well as the co-author of scott Ian’s autobiography, I’m ns Man: ns Story of the Guy a partir de Anthrax, and ovo Jourgensen’s autobiography, Ministry: The falecer Gospels segue to ovo Jourgensen and ns Agnostic former book My Riot! Grit, Guts and Glory.

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