Back In Black

Coming into 1980, AC/DC were on a roll. Buoyed by the success of Highway To Hell, it looked like they were going to finally achieve their plan of world domination. However in February tragedy struck and Bon Scott died after a night of carousing. Determined to keep going (with the blessings of Bon’s parents), AC/DC wasted no time in recruiting Geordie vocalist Brian Johnson into the fold. They then went to the famed Compass Point Studios in the Bahamas with producer John “Mutt” Lange and went to work.

Twenty-eight years later the result of those sessions, Back In Black, is now the second best selling album of all time (and soon to surpass Michael Jackson’s Thriller if current sales continue). It has stood the test of time and deserves to be considered one of the greatest ever rock ‘n’ roll albums. The culmination of 6 years’ slogging it out on the road, crystallised by grief, turned into some lean, mean and hard rock ‘n’ roll.

And to think that the record company was worried about the all black cover.

The success of Back In Black wasn’t simply based on an outpouring of grief for Bon. There was something more at work. AC/DC, as often in the career, rode the odd zeitgeist though through chance and not design. Back in Black coincided with the upswing in the fortunes of hard rock and metal in the 80s. And while the lads will claim they are just a rock ‘n’ roll band, they suited the times.

The songs themselves almost all follow the same pattern. Angus Young starts with a riff, Malcolm Young answers and then the whole band kicks in. Phil Rudd with that basic but insistent four on the floor beat with a bit of swing. Cliff Williams’ rumbling bass lines that provide the irresistible heart of the song. And Brian Johnson shrieks over the top. It is formulaic but effective — you know what you are going to get but it can be exhilarating. To enjoy, turn off the mind, engage the loins and enjoy the visceral thump of the band.

Critics have ignored AC/DC just as much as AC/DC have ignored their critics. The not-so-secret to their success is that single minded devotion to rock ‘n’ roll and ensuring that their fans have a good time. And that is what Back in Black delivers. A stunning selection of songs that are a force of nature.

Due to its familiarity Back in Black is not an AC/DC album I listen to on a regular basis. But when I do revisit the album, I can’t help marvel as this modern miracle of musical muscle. It is timeless and a fitting tribute to Bon and also a declaration that true rock ‘n’ roll will never die.

Back In Black by AC/DC

“Hells Bells”

“Shoot To Thrill”

“What Do You Do For Money Honey”

“Given The Dog A Bone”

“Let Me Put My Love Into You”

“Back In Black”

“You Shook Me All Night Long”

“Have A Drink On Me”

“Shake A Leg”

“Rock And Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution”

Highway To Hell

AC/DC was a band that was consistently great. Most of the time an entire album was good and you could listen from beginning to end and have a good feeling about it.

Highway To Hell was the album that was going to make the band famous, and with that in mind, AC/DC took a step away from its usual consistent format and toward recording this career-making album.

The album features many brilliant songs, which are still often heard nearly twenty years after they were recorded. These songs are fantastic, and burn so brightly they outshine some of the lackluster songs or downright failures.

Highway To Hell is a dark album. And the great songs of the album are the ones that are lighter, like AC/DC’s regular stuff.

While I am a huge fan of AC/DC, and do love most of the album, I do believe that Highway To Hell wouldn’t have been received as well if Bon Scott hadn’t died soon after.

Anyway, while Highway To Hell is one of those outlying albums which doesn’t fit with a band’s catalogue, it is a worthwhile album. Thank God though that we live in a time of single track purchasing.

To sum up the album, Highway To Hell has a handful of extraordinary songs, scattered throughout forgettable tracks and some plain bad ones. Whether or not it’s a complete masterpiece is irrelevant; from an artist’s point of view, every track helps paint the picture that was intended. Make up your own mind about it though.

Highway To Hell by AC/DC

“Highway To Hell”

“Girls Got Rhythm”

“Walk All Over You”

“Touch Too Much”

“Beating Around The Bush”

“Shot Down In Flames”

“Get It Hot”

“If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It)”

“Love Hungry Man”

“Night Prowler”

Powerage

NOTE: We’re looking for a knowledgeable AC/DC nerd! A review for Powerage hasn’t been published — yet. We need someone who can write a full track-by-track review of this album (at least a couple paragraphs per song); if you know the music, you can submit a review. You’ll be compensated when visitors make purchases through vendor links on their pages — for as long as your review remains on the site. Get more details in the FAQ

Powerage by AC/DC

“Rock ‘N’ Roll Damnation”

“Down Payment Blues”

“Gimme A Bullet”

“Riff Raff”

“Sin City”

“What’s Next To The Moon”

“Gone Shootin'”

“Up To My Neck In You”

“Kicked In The Teeth”

If You Want Blood You’ve Got It

NOTE: We’re looking for a knowledgeable AC/DC nerd! A review for If You Want Blood You’ve Got It hasn’t been published — yet. We need someone who can write a full track-by-track review of this album (at least a couple paragraphs per song); if you know the music, you can submit a review. You’ll be compensated when visitors make purchases through vendor links on their pages — for as long as your review remains on the site. Get more details in the FAQ.

If You Want Blood You’ve Got It by AC/DC

“Riff Raff”

“Hell Ain’t A Bad Place To Be”

“Bad Boy Boogie”

“The Jack”

“Problem Child”

“Whole Lotta Rosie”

“Rock ‘N’ Roll Damnation”

“High Voltage”

“Let There Be Rock”

“Rocker”

Let There Be Rock

When AC/DC launched their assault overseas, their first port of call was merry old England. Once there, their attitude and relatively short, furious songs had them riding the punk zeitgeist. But AC/DC were never a punk band. If you place yourself in those times, yeah, you can understand how they were (mainly by lazy journalists) considered as part of the movement, but AC/DC had their own different ideals. And there was one big difference between AC/DC and punk bands: AC/DC would spit back.

Which they metaphorically did with Let There Be Rock. It spat both in the face of the punk movement with its prophetic title (and started the band’s move away from shorter songs to longer pieces) and current so-called rock bands. The title of the album wasn’t just boasting. It was a succinct statement of fact. Their first classic album is a collection of 8 ferocious tracks of rock ‘n’ roll that no band at that time (punk or rock) could deliver; it was the start of AC/DC’s run of legendary albums. And as that era started, it marked the end of bassist Mark Evans’ tenure with the band. Differences with Angus soon lead to him to make a choice and leave the band.

After tinkering for the first three albums, AC/DC had settled on a formula that was going to take over the world. The golden age of AC/DC had started.

Let There Be Rock by AC/DC

“Go Down”

“Dog Eat Dog”

“Let There Be Rock”

“Bad Boy Boogie”

“Problem Child”

“Overdose”

“Hell Ain’t A Bad Place To Be”

“Whole Lotta Rosie”

High Voltage

NOTE: We’re looking for a knowledgeable AC/DC nerd! A review for High Voltage hasn’t been published — yet. We need someone who can write a full track-by-track review of this album (at least a couple paragraphs per song); if you know the music, you can submit a review. You’ll be compensated when visitors make purchases through vendor links on their pages — for as long as your review remains on the site. Get more details in the FAQ.

High Voltage by AC/DC

“It’s A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock’n’Roll)”

“Rock’n’Roll Singer”

“The Jack”

“Live Wire”

“T.N.T.”

“Can I Sit Next To You Girl”

“Little Lover”

“She’s Got Balls”

“High Voltage”

Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

NOTE: We’re looking for a knowledgeable AC/DC nerd! A review for Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap hasn’t been published — yet. We need someone who can write a full track-by-track review of this album (at least a couple paragraphs per song); if you know the music, you can submit a review. You’ll be compensated when visitors make purchases through vendor links on their pages — for as long as your review remains on the site. Get more details in the FAQ.

Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap by AC/DC

“Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap”

“Love At First Feel”

“Big Balls”

“Rocker”

“Problem Child”

“There’s Gonna Be Some Rockin'”

“Ain’t No Fun (Waiting Round To Be A Millionaire)”

“Ride On”

“Squealer”

TNT

NOTE: We’re looking for a knowledgeable AC/DC nerd! A review for TNT hasn’t been published — yet. We need someone who can write a full track-by-track review of this album (at least a couple paragraphs per song); if you know the music, you can submit a review. You’ll be compensated when visitors make purchases through vendor links on their pages — for as long as your review remains on the site. Get more details in the FAQ.

TNT by AC/DC

“It’s A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘N’ Roll)”

“Rock ‘N’ Roll Singer”

“Jack”

“Live Wire”

“T.N.T.”

“Rocker”

“Can I Sit Next To You Girl”

“High Voltage”

“School Days”