Sunday, July 25, 2010

AC/DC's "Back In Black" is 30

AC/DC - Back in Black

AC/DC
Back In Black
1980
Rating: **** 1/2

It has been called many things but no matter what, Back in Black is one of the most amazing hard rock albums ever made by anybody. The album has sold over 49 million copies and is up there with Michael Jackson’s Thriller as one of the best selling albums of all time.

By the end the 1970’s, AC/DC were one of the most successful rock bands in the world. Formed in Australia, the band consisted of brothers Angus and Malcolm Young, Cliff Williams, Phil Rudd, and the charismatic Bon Scott. The band had released the big selling Highway to Hell in 1979 and was ready to write material for their next album. However, the band suffered a huge blow on February 19, 1980. That night, Bon Scott had passed away after a long night of drinking. He was only 33 years old. The band’s future was left in question for months. Could the band really go on without Bon? As advised by Bon’s family, the band was told to go on without their lead singer as Bon would’ve wanted them to go on. After a bunch of auditions, the band decided on Brian Johnson. Johnson was formerly of glam band, Geordie. While Scott’s vocals were high, Johnson’s went even higher. He was the perfect replacement…but would the fans like him? On July 25, Back in Black was released. The album received positive reviews and when the band toured, fans loved Johnson. It worked out perfectly. Aside from a few personnel changes in the band’s drummers, this line-up of AC/DC is still together as of today.

The bells you hear at the beginning “Hell’s Bells” is the band’s little tribute to Bon Scott. The song then gets rocking. Johnson’s gravely vocals are wonderful and the listener can now start breathing again: AC/DC will be okay! “Shoot to Thrill” is a fast paced rocker and just hearing Johnson scream “Shoot you!” at the end is great. “What Do You For Money, Honey” is a dirty little song, as is “Givin’ The Dog A Bone”. “Let Me Put My Love Into You” is another dirty song but this time, someone was listening: years later in 1985, the PMRC listed his song on their “Filthy 15”. Does this affect the song? Not at all! I mean, with a line like “Let me cut your cake with my knife”, you know that AC/DC is doing what they do best: pissing off parents. The self-titled track, like “Highway to Hell”, has one of the most iconic opening guitar riffs ever. The song itself could define hard-rock as a whole. “You Shook Me All Night Long” is all good fun along with “Have a Drink on Me”. Things get rough with “Shake a Leg”, as Angus plays furiously on the guitar. The album ends with “Rock N Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution” and I can’t think of a better closer for this album. Once this albums ends, you know for sure that rock n roll ain’t noise pollution. It’s just rock n roll. Yeah!

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