Follow TV Tropes


Music / Back in Black

Go To
Back in the back of a Cadillac
Number one with a bullet, I'm a power pack!
I'm a rolling thunder, pouring rain
I'm coming on like a hurricane
My lightning's flashing across the sky
You're only young, but you're gonna die
I won't take no prisoners, won't spare no lives
Nobody's putting up a fight
I got my bell, I'm gonna take you to hell
I'm gonna get ya, Satan, get ya
"Hells Bells"

Back in Black is the seventh studio album recorded by Australian heavy metal band AC/DC; their first album with lead singer Brian Johnson following the death of original lead Bon Scott. It was released in Australia through Albert Recordings, and globally through Atlantic Records, on 25 July 1980.

The band had been riding a wave of popularity after the success of their most recent 1979 album, Highway to Hell. Unfortunately, lead vocalist Bon Scott's life of excess caught up to him after a night of drinking in London, when he was found dead in the back seat of his friend's car. At first, the band was unable to keep going, but since they had some material they'd already written, they decided to find a new singer. He was Brian Johnson, a Geordie who Scott had seen before and been impressed by.

Long story short, calling Back in Black merely the band's best-selling album is a gross understatement. It has become the second-biggest selling album of all time, with only Thriller by Michael Jackson besting it. Currently, it is certified double-Diamond (25-times Platinum) by the RIAA. It also went 12-times Platinum in Australia, Diamond in Canada, and double-Platinum in the United Kingdom.

Four singles were released to support the album: "You Shook Me All Night Long", "Hells Bells", the Title Track, and "Rock and Roll Ain't Noise Pollution". Both "You Shook Me All Night Long" and "Back in Black" were hits in the United States on the Billboard Hot 100. "Hells Bells" would be the highest hit in their native Australia, reaching #7. Three of them also were hits on the UK Pop chart, with "Rock and Roll Ain't Noise Pollution" being the highest there at #15.

Music videos were produced for all four singles, as well as for "Let Me Put My Love into You" and "What Do You Do for Money Honey".

Not to be mistaken with Back to Black by Amy Winehouse.


Side One

  1. "Hells Bells" (5:10)
  2. "Shoot to Thrill" (5:37)
  3. "What Do You Do for Money Honey" (3:33)
  4. "Givin' the Dog a Bone" (3:30)
  5. "Let Me Put My Love into You" (4:16)

Side Two

  1. "Back in Black" (4:14)
  2. "You Shook Me All Night Long" (3:30)
  3. "Have a Drink on Me" (3:57)
  4. "Shake a Leg" (4:06)
  5. "Rock and Roll Ain't Noise Pollution" (4:15)

Principal Members:

  • Brian Johnson – lead vocals
  • Angus Young – lead guitar
  • Malcolm Young – rhythm guitar, backing vocals
  • Cliff Williams – bass guitar, backing vocals
  • Phil Rudd – drums

You troped me all night long:

  • Alliterative Title: "Back in Black".
  • Double Entendre: Its an AC/DC album. It should be expected. The most blatant example is "Givin' the Dog a Bone" ("She's using her head again!").
    Let me put my love into you, baby
    Let me cut your cake with my knife
  • Drunken Song: "Have A Drink On Me".
    I'm dizzy drunk and fightin'
  • Epic Instrumental Opener: "Hells Bells" doesn't have any vocals until the 1:25 mark. It's also a double example due to being the album's first song. It feels especially long because it's the first song to introduce new vocalist Brian Johnson after the tragically unexpected death of previous, much-beloved frontman and lyricist Bon Scott. First-time listeners in 1980 would've been agonizing with anticipation just waiting to hear what this much-publicized new guy would sound like.
  • For Doom the Bell Tolls: The first sound on the album and the subject of "Hells Bells".
  • Four Is Death: At the start of "Hells Bells", the band fittingly doesn't start playing until the bell has rung this many times.
  • Gold Digger: The subject of "What Do You Do for Money Honey".
    You're always grabbin', stabbin' trying get it back in
    But girl you must be gettin' slow
    So stop your life on the road
    All your diggin' for gold
    You make me wonder
    Yes I wonder
    Yes I wonder
    Honey, what do you do for money?
    Honey, what do you do for money?
  • Grief Song: Played with. The title track is more of a tribute, declaring that the band wasn't going anywhere, delivered in typical AC/DC style. "Hells Bells" is a straighter example, being set in a funeral and such.
  • Heavy Meta: "Rock n' Roll Ain't Noise Pollution", where the band defends their musical genre.
  • He's Back!: The definitive comeback album, and the entire point of the Title Track.
    Back in Black! I hit the sack!
    It's been too long, I'm glad to be back!
    Yes I am let loose from the noose
    That's kept me hanging about
  • Intercourse with You: "You Shook Me All Night Long" and "Let Me Put My Love into You". The last one got them on the PMRC's Filthy Fifteen list.
  • It Always Rains at Funerals: "Hells Bells" opens with the description of a funeral among a thunderstorm.
  • Minimalistic Cover Art: One of the best examples ever, and likely an inspiration behind Smell the Glove's cover. The band simply wanted a black cover, with their name and title embossed. They reached a compromise with their logo including a thin grey outline, to make it easier to read. Since most CD copies forewent embossing (due to impracticality), the outline served a later practical purpose.
  • Ode to Intoxication: "Have a Drink on Me".
    I'm dizzy drunk and fightin'
    On tequila white lightning
    My glass is getting shorter
    On whiskey ice and water
    So c'mon have a good time
    (...) Forget about the cheque, we'll get hell to pay
    Have a drink on me
    Yeah, have a drink on me
    Yeah, have a drink on me
    Have a drink on me, get stoned
  • Product Placement: "Back in Black":
    Back in the back of a Cadillac
  • Pun-Based Title: "Shoot to Thrill".
  • Rated M for Manly: Just the title song alone makes one wanna walk down the street going "Let's be badass."
  • Strictly Formula: Epic Riff after Epic Riff?invoked Check. Intercourse with You lyrics? Check. Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll? Check. Simplicity? Check. Heavy Meta lyrics? Check. Yep, it's an AC/DC album, alright.
  • Take That, Critics!: "Rock and Roll Ain't Noise Pollution" was aimed at people who look down upon rock 'n' roll. "Back in Black" was also an intentional Badass Boast to show the critics that the band was still going strong despite the recent tragic events. This got even better when the album became one of the best selling albums of all time!
  • Title Track: "Back in Black":
    Back in black, I hit the sack
    It's been too long, I'm glad to be back