Back in Black by AC/DC

9 September 2019

If you are a fan of rock music, the chances are that you have heard of an Australian band by the name of AC/DC. The album Back in Black, released in July of 1980, is the definition of pure hard rock to this day. Fans recognize AC/DC today from songs like, “Shoot to Thrill,” the title track (“Back in Black”), which is arguably their signature song, and “You Shook Me All Night Long,” which all appear on this album. When the song, “Back in Black,” comes on, it makes the listener want to bang his or her head hard to the first chord and play air guitar like Angus Young.
To listen to the album, you have to know the back story of it. The black cover of the album is a sign of mourning for the previous lead singer, Bon Scott, who died in the same year at the age of 33. While the band considered disbanding, they finally came to the epiphany that Scott would have wanted them to continue. As a result, they swiftly found a new (and current) lead singer, Brian Johnson. Johnson, guitarists Angus and Malcolm Young, bassist Cliff Williams, drummer Phil Rudd, and second-time producer Robert John (“Mutt”) Lange went to the Bahamas to record the second highest overall selling album of all time at 50 million copies. It only trails Michael Jackson’s Thriller, which sold 65 million copies as of February of 2013.

Scott’s death did not affect the punishing chords of both Malcolm and Angus Young’s guitars and the unifying rhythm of Phil Rudd’s drums and Cliff Williams’ bass. The sound is mixed in the album to where neither the instruments nor vocals are too loud or inaudible to listeners. The new screaming voice of Brian Johnson adds to the magic throughout the album, especially in “Shoot to Thrill.” The listener will notice that the face-melting solos of Angus Young are different and unique as the album progresses, and it makes the listener want to bang his head with the rhythm guitar of his brother Malcolm. Without Lange’s production, the sound would have not been crisp to the listener in each of the songs. When you find yourself wanting more of this album each time you listen to it, you know that you have made the right choice to purchase this landmark album.

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