AC/DC’s Back in Black Turned 35 This Weekend

When Bon Scott died after a serious drinking binge on February 19, 1980, the smart money said that AC/DC was done. Yes, it was possible for a band to continue on with a new lead singer, but outside of Deep Purple, Genesis, Black Sabbath and a few others to that point, the failures outnumbered the successes.

AC/DC did consider packing it in, but then they met Brian Johnson. He took the new material that the band had already been working on and turned it into–well, the last time I looked, Back in Black, released on July 25, 1980, has sold somewhere in the neighbourhood of 45 million copies.

Loudwire takes a look at one of the greatest albums in rock.

When a popular band loses its singer, it rarely bounces back to reach the level of success it had prior to the lineup shift. The most remarkable exception to this rule is Australian powerhouse AC/DC, which released the legendary album Back in Black on July 25, 1980.

The album was dedicated to the band’s late vocalist Bon Scott, who died on February 19, 1980, after a night of heavy drinking. Though they were devastated by the death of their friend and briefly considered breaking up, AC/DC decided to carry on with a new singer. Two days after Scott’s funeral, guitarists Angus and Malcolm Young continued working on new riffs. Angus has said that getting right back to work distracted them from the grief. Soon after, they auditioned singers, including Gary Pickford Hopkins, Easybeats vocalist Stevie Wright and Fat Lip’s Allan Fryer.

Ironically, when Geordie vocalist Brian Johnson (whom Mutt Lange referred to the band) was invited to try out, he wasn’t immediately interested.

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Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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