AC/DC in 1979, From left to right: Malcolm Young, Bon Scott, Cliff Williams, Angus Young and Phil Rudd.
is an Australian rock band formed in 1973 by guitarists and brothers Malcolm and Angus Young, and made their big break internationally with Highway To Hell
in 1979. In 1980, their lead singer Bon Scott died of "death by misadventure", though in reality it was from asphyxiation from choking on his own vomit after a night of binge drinking. The band considered breaking up but got a new lead singer, Brian Johnson and made Back In Black
and have been making records ever since. Drummer Phil Rudd was fired in 1983 and replaced by Simon Wright who, after that, was replaced by Chris Slade before being asked to leave so Phil Rudd could return as drummer in 1994. In 2014, Malcolm Young was forced to retire due to serious health issues, and he was replaced by his nephew Stevie Young, who previously temporarily filled in for Malcolm in 1988 when Malcolm was dealing with his alcoholism.
As of 2008, AC/DC have sold more than 200 million albums worldwide, including 71 million albums in the United States. Back in Black
has sold an estimated 45 million units worldwide, making it the highest-selling album by any band and the second highest-selling album in history, second only to Michael Jackson
In 2010, their twenty-month Black Ice World Tour ended and officially became the third-highest grossing tour in music history.
The name AC/DC comes from alternating current/direct current. Specifically, a sewing machine was the inspiration of the name of the band.
Principal Members (Founding members in bold, current members in italic):
- Rob Bailey - bass (1974-1975)
- Peter Clack - drums (1974-1975)
- Dave Evans - lead vocals (1973-1974)
- Mark Evans - bass, vocals (1975-1977)
- Brian Johnson - lead vocals (1980-Present)
- Phil Rudd - drums, percussion (1975-1983, 1994-Present)
- Bon Scott - lead vocals, bagpipes, drums (1974-1980, died 1980)
- Chris Slade - drums, percussion (1989-1994) note
- Cliff Williams - bass, vocals (1978-Present)
- Simon Wright - drums, percussion (1983-1989)
- Angus Young - guitar, vocals (1973-Present)
- Malcolm Young - guitar, vocals (1973-2014)
- Stevie Young - guitar, vocals (2014-Present) note
- Colin Burgess - drums (1973-1974, 1975)
- Ron Carpenter - drums (1974)
- Russell Coleman - drums (1974)
- Tony Currenti - drums (1974)
- Bruce Howe - bass (1975)
- Larry Van Kriedt - bass (1973-1974, 1975)
- Paul Matters - bass (1975)
- John Proud - drums (1974)
- Neil Smith - bass (1974)
- Noel Taylor - drums (1974)
- George Young - bass, guitar, drums, vocals (1974-1975)
- 1975 - High Voltage note
- 1975 - T.N.T.
- 1976 - High Voltage note
- 1976 - Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
- 1977 - Let There Be Rock
- 1978 - Powerage
- 1979 - Highway To Hell
- 1980 - Back In Black
- 1981 - For Those About To Rock We Salute You
- 1983 - Flick Of The Switch
- 1985 - Fly On The Wall
- 1988 - Blow Up Your Video
- 1990 - The Razors Edge
- 1995 - Ballbreaker
- 2000 - Stiff Upper Lip
- 2008 - Black Ice
- 2014 - Rock Or Bust
- 1978 - If You Want Blood You've Got It
- 1992 - Live
- 1997 - Live From The Atlantic Studios
- 1997 - Let There Be Rock: The Movie – Live In Paris
- 2012 - Live At River Plate
"Dirty deeds done dirt trope":
open/close all folders
- The Band Minus the Face: Well, one of them, at least. After Bon Scott died, Angus Young became the Face - he is far more flamboyant and iconic than the new singer Brian Johnson.
- Band of Relatives: Angus and Malcolm Young are brothers. Their brother George Young was bassist in 1974, and mutual nephew of all three Stevie Young filled in for Malcolm in 1988, and permanently replaced him as an official member in 2014.
- Carpet of Virility: Bon Scott. He wasn't afraid to show it off.
- Cool Old Guys: All of them!
- Crazy Awesome: Angus Young's amp caught fire while recording "Let There Be Rock". It didn't stop him from playing one of his most iconic solos.
- Garfunkel: Cliff and Phil just provide a really basic rhythm section (Cliff stated he's satisfied with it, while Phil doesn't talk very much).
- Iconic Item: Angus' mock schoolboy outfit.
- Angus also has his red Gibson SG.
- Also, Brian Johnson's cap.
- Long Runner Line Up: Brian Johnson, Angus and Malcolm Young, Cliff Williams, and Phil Rudd from 1980-1983 and 1994-2014.
- No Such Thing as Bad Publicity: At the 1974 Sunbury Music Festival, they got into a brawl with members of Deep Purple, and were happy for the publicity.
- Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Most of them are under 5'6".
- New rhythm guitarist Stevie Young dwarfs the rest of the band at a towering 5'7".
- Revolving Door Band: The band formed in 1973. By 1975 when they first hit the big time (in Australia at least), they were on their 8th drummer (Phil Rudd), 6th bassist (Mark Evans), and 2nd vocalist. The second vocalist (Bon Scott) was one of the previous seven drummers, as well as the band's driver before that (the Young brothers thought having him play music instead increased their chances of getting home from a show alive).
- School Uniforms Are the New Black: Angus's costume.
- Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll: Bon Scott's life in a nutshell(The others - specially Angus, who only smokes - less so, even if Malcolm and Phil had to take temporary leaves for substance abuse).
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Brian Johnson replacing Bon Scott. Even allmusic.com said something like "The casual listener could easily have thought that Johnson was Scott." Johnson himself has said that his normal singing voice was nothing like that before AC/DC; he deliberately emulated Scott's style. And while he was still part of the band, Bon Scott said if anyone could ever replace him, it would have to be Johnson.
- Also, Stevie Young replacing Malcolm Young in 2014.
- The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter: While Cliff allegedly joined the band because of his good looks (which the Youngs thought would bring more women), take a look at his daughter, model Erin Lucas◊.
- Unusual Euphemism: In an interview Angus described Bon Scott as a "crayfisherman" because he "caught crabs for a living."
- You Can Leave Your Hat On: Angus like to strip down to his underwear in concerts.
- Album Title Drop:
- "High Voltage" wasn't on the album with that name.
- "If You Want Blood (You've Got It)" wasn't even a song until Highway To Hell.
- Blow Up Your Video is named after a line from "That's the Way I Wanna Rock 'n' Roll".
- Ancient Rome: Angus didn't like school, but is a history buff, Rome in particular. Three songs are based on it, "For Those About To Rock" (the title comes from the famous gladiator phrase), "Hail Caesar", and "War Machine" (inspired by a documentary on Hannibal Barca).
- Anti-Christmas Song: As the liner notes for The Razors Edge read:
“Mistress For Christmas” ain’t exactly “Frosty The Snowman.” Nor is it likely to turn up on too many compilations of family Christmas favourites.
- Audience Participation Song: Several. "High Voltage" and "The Jack" are usually these.
- To a lesser extent the intro to "Whole Lotta Rosie" and the Oi's in "T.N.T."
- Big Rock Ending: Tons of their songs, especially when played live.
- Blatant Lies: Bon Scott singing 'I never smoked me no cigarettes, I never drank much booze' on "Overdose".
- Blood Lust: "If You Want Blood (You've Got It)"
- Darker and Edgier: 1990's The Razor's Edge is the closest the band ever came to straight heavy metal. The song is in a minor key, features an Angus solo that briefly meanders into "noise rock" territory, and is propelled by a almost militaristic drumbeat.
- Don't Explain the Joke: Brian Johnson's rendition of "The Jack" nearly spells out that the song is about STDs by eschewing pretty much every reference to cards (the only thing that stays from the original, really, is the "she's got the Jack" chorus). This pre-dates Johnson, with Scott's live performances using the same lyrics (presumably fans weren't getting it?).
- Allegedly the live version was how the song was originally written, but the band was forced to censor it when they recorded it for the album. The album version stands as one of their crowning achievements of Double Entendre, however.
- Double Entendre:
- Bon Scott in particular was something of a genius at them, but let the record show that this (from "Let Me Put My Love Into You") just might be the greatest double entendre ever:
Let me cut your cake with my knife
- This line from "Beating Around the Bush" is an honourable mention, and so is the song's title itself:
Sticks and stones won't break my bone
- "Big Balls". This one is chock full of DE goodness. If you can even call it "double".
- There's also this precocity from "You Shook Me All Night Long":
She told me to come, but I was already there
- "The Jack" uses cards as a metaphor for venereal diseases.
- Epic Rocking: "Let There Be Rock". In every sense of "epic".
- Everything's Louder With Bagpipes: "It's A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock 'N' Roll)".
- Everything Is an Instrument: While only four songs have instruments other than guitars, bass and drums, three are "regular" ones ("It's a Long Way To The Top"'s bagpipes, bells in both "Hells Bells" and "Mistress For Christmas")... and "For Those About To Rock" features cannons.
- Inverted in "Jailbreak", where Angus makes sounds in his guitar for Spotlights! Sirens! Rifles, firing!
- For Doom the Bell Tolls: "Hells Bells".
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: "Big Balls" is about large-scale upper-class social events.
- The line "She's got big balls!" makes this fairly obvious. The alternative is far deeper than most AC/DC songs typically go.
- "The Jack" refers to Gonorrhea.
- Gold Digger: "What Do You Do For Money Honey"
- Great Escape: "Jailbreak"
- Greatest Hits Album: Angus Young refuses to do one. Yet two soundtracks, Who Made Who (Maximum Overdrive) and Iron Man 2 serve as good compilations.
- The 1 CD version of AC/DC Live could count as well.
- Grief Song: Back In Black has both "Hells Bells" and "Have A Drink On Me" as an homage to Bon Scott, who had died that year.
- Heavy Meta: A third, or half the songs, include Rock or Rock 'N' Roll in the title or lyrics.
- The album Black Ice has no less than 5 songs that have the words "rock" or "rocking" in the title.
- A Hell of a Time: "Hell Ain't A Bad Place To Be" is a sexual take on this.
- Intercourse with You: "Let Me Put My Love Into You", "You Shook Me All Night Long", and in fact about half of AC/DC's songs.
- Instrument of Murder: Angus appears impaled by his own guitar on the cover of If You Want Blood...◊
- "D.T." from Who Made Who.
- "Chase The Ace" from the same album. Though lyrics can supposedly be found online, the song itself features none.
- Last Note Hilarity: "Night Prowler" ends with Bon Scott saying "Shazbot. Nanu nanu."
- "The Jack" ends with Bon Scott thanking an unappreciative audience.
- Lyrical Dissonance: "It's A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock 'N' Roll)" is probably the most rousing and upbeat rock song ever recorded about how much it sucks to be in a band.
- "Shot Down In Flames" is probably the most fun song ever recorded about being rejected by women.
- Minimalistic Cover Art: Back In Black
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Usually around 5 or 6. Some of their songs go down to 4, while a few other songs get as high as 7.
- Money Song: "Money Made", "Moneytalks".
- Non-Appearing Title: "Rock 'N' Roll Train".
- Other titles that appear in some form, but not exactly as the title suggests, include "Some Sin For Nuthin'", "Smash 'N' Grab", and "Anything Goes".
- Rated M for Manly
- Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Implied in "T.N.T."
- Professional Killer: "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap"
- Rock Star Song: "It's A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock 'N' Roll)". "Let There Be Rock" too. "Highway To Hell" may also count.
- Shout-Out: The title "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" is a reference to the old kids' cartoon Beany And Cecil, where it was a phrase used by the show's villain, Dishonest John.
- At the end of "Night Prowler", Bon can be heard saying "Shazbot, na-noo, na-noo."
- "T.N.T." features the line "I'm dirty, I'm mean, I'm mighty unclean", a reference to advertising icon Louie The Fly.
- Something Blues: "Down Payment Blues" and "Satellite Blues".
- Something Completely Different: "Love Song" is an actual love song, with jangly guitars and all, and "Ride On" is the closest thing to a ballad AC/DC has.
- Many albums have one or two songs that are far slower and more bluesy then the rest of the album, such as "Stormy May Day" and "Rock 'N' Roll Dream" on Black Ice.
- In the documentary Long Way to the Top: Stories of Australian Rock & Roll, Angus Young recalls that, for some reason, the band decided to play the theme from Zorba The Greek at one show.
- "Can I Sit Next To You Girl?" and "Rockin' In The Parlour" - the only songs they recorded with Dave Evans that was officially released, are straight up glam rock.
- Strictly Formula: This quote by Brian sums it up:
"Someone said to Angus the other day, ‘Hey, you’ve made the same album 15 times.’ Angus said, ‘No, man, we’ve made the same album 16 times!’"
- Subdued Section: "Let There Be Rock", "Shoot To Thrill", "Whole Lotta Rosie", "Jailbreak", "Thunderstruck"...
- Take That, Critics!: "Rock N' Roll Ain't Noise Pollution"
- Title Only Chorus: At least half of their songs. This is particularly prominent in recent albums, when Angus and Malcolm Young write all of the lyrics.
- Continuity Nod: "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" alludes to "T.N.T." and "High Voltage."
- Great Balls of Fire: Their live shows are huge. Just for starters, life sized cannons who fire during "For Those About To Rock", and a bell in which Brian hangs during "Hells Bells".
- The Ballbreaker tour featured Angus smashing through a (fake) brick wall on a life size wrecking ball.
- Iconic Logo
- Licensed Pinball Table: Released by Stern Pinball in 2012. It was so popular that it sparked a pinball renaissance in Australia. Click here for tropes.
- Line-of-Sight Name
- Lucky Charms Title: When spelling it, don't forget the lightning bolt. A slash is acceptable for partial credit. Unicode represents an approximate form this way: ACϟDC?
- You Keep Using That Word: When they started out, the term "AC/DC" had, in addition to electrical notation, been a somewhat common term for bisexuality. When you add in Angus stripping down to his skivvies, and the band opening for Lou Reed...