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AC/DC is an Australian rock band considered pioneers of hard rock and heavy metal music. The group was formed in Sydney, Australia in December, 1973. Their albums have sold in colossal numbers — the total is now estimated to be around 100 million copies worldwide.

AC/DC is generally divided into "Bon Scott era (1974-80)" and "Brian Johnson era (1980-present)". Some fans have a preference, others point to the merits of both singers and appreciate them equally.

Table of contents
1 History
2 Name
3 Discography
4 See also
5 External links


Born in Scotland, the brothers Angus and Malcolm Young moved with their family to Australia as children. Malcolm began playing guitar first, soon followed by Angus. Malcolm first played with a Newcastle, NSW band called "The Velvet Underground" (not the Lou Reed group).

Their older brother George had been a member of Australia's most successful Sixties band The Easybeats, who were the first local pop act to score an overseas hit ("Friday On My Mind") in 1967. After Young and his Easybeats partner Harry Vanda returned to Australia in late 1973, they became the house producers for the newly-formed Albert Productions record label, whose owner, Ted Albert (a scion of the venerable Albert & Sons music publishing family) had been the Easybeats' producer between 1965 and 1967.

Young asked the boys to do some session work for a project he was doing. Angus then formed a band called "Tantrum". After The Velvet Underground, Malcolm decided to form a more pure rock and roll band, and enlisted Angus and they were soon signed to the new Albert label, and Vanda & Young produced their first seven LPs.

The early lineups changed often, but the 1974 enlistment of charismatic singer Ronald "Bon" Scott as their driving frontman signified the beginning of real success. Another vital innovation was Angus Young's adoption of his now-famous school uniform as a regular stage outfit; the original was reputedly Angus' real uniform from his secondary school, Ashfield Boys' High, in Sydney.

Between 1974 and 1978, aided by regular appearances on the nationally-broadcast TV pop show Countdown, AC/DC became one of the most popular and successful acts in Australia, scoring a string of hits albums and singles including their perennial 1975 rock anthem 'It's A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock and Roll').

Relocating to London in the late 1970s, they worked all over the UK and Europe to establish themselves, touring almost constantly and gaining invaluable experience on the stadium circuit supporting the top hard-rock acts of the day including Alice Cooper, Rush, Aerosmith, Ted Nugent, Boston,Black Sabbath, Cheap Trick, Heart, Scorpions, Molly Hatchet, Ronnie Montrose, Nazareth, UFO, Journey, Foreigner, Van Halen, Styx, Blue Öyster Cult, Alvin Lee, Rainbow, Savoy Brown, REO Speedwagon, The Doobie Brothers, Thin Lizzy and The Who.

Rhtythm Guitarist Malcolm Young once recalled in AC/DC's VH1 Behind the Music Series an incident from an England tour with Black Sabbath. Geezer Butler (Black Sabbath's Bassist), in a drunken rage, pulled a knife on Malcolm. The incident was quickly resolved without conflict, and the conjoined tour promptly ended. Ozzy and Bon stayed in contact however.

They survived the punk rock upheavals of 1976-78, partly because they were (erroneously) tagged as a "punk" band by the British music press. They gained a solid cult following in the UK with their powerful performances and outrageous stage antics; Angus Young quickly became notorious for "mooning" (i.e. showing his buttocks) to the audience and the group was banned from several British venues because of this. Their meaty hard-rock sound and Bon Scott's provocative, leering stage persona are also reputed to have been significant influences on Johnny Rotten and The Sex Pistols.

In 1980, they were planning a new album called Back in Black when after a night of hard drinking, Bon Scott was found in the back seat of his friend's car. He died from both choking on his own vomit and hypothermia (Ozzy Osbourne would later write and record a song about Scott's death, the widely misinterpreted "Suicide Solution"). Shortly after, the band brought in a new lead singer, Brian Johnson, formerly of Scottish band Geordie, and they re-recorded "Back In Black" virtually from scratch. This became their biggest-selling album to date, a hard-rock landmark that would ultimately be named in tribute to Bon.

Over the next eight years, the Young brothers and Johnson wrote nearly all of their songs, but in 1990 Johnson was kicked out of the songwriting collaborations, leaving the Young brothers to carry on the creation of the group's music, with Angus Young as their leader and Johnson handling all lead and background vocals.

In 2003 the Recording Industry Association of America upgraded the group's U.S. sales figures, increasing their cumulative sales from 46.5 million to 63 million, making AC/DC the fifth-best-selling band in U.S. music history, behind The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and The Eagles.


The name "AC/DC" (alternating current/direct current) was suggested by their sister Margaret after she read it on a vacuum cleaner label (other accounts name the source as Margaret's sewing machine). The term has a bisexual connotation that they were supposedly unaware of at the time, and they often had to deny they were a gay band, a perception that was exacerbated by their "glam rock" image at the time.

Some have suggested that the name stood for "anti-Christ, devil child"; though this certainly not the case, the rumour has long persisted both among conservatives who, already disliking the band's image, use it to paint the band as satanists, and among some fans who, especially in the 1980s, enjoyed the counter-cultural offense such a meaning would cause.

One country music band has named themselves Hayseed Dixie, as a parody of the AC/DC name.


Video: 'Let There Be Rock' features the band racing a bi-plane in a 1980 Porsche 928.

See also

External links