Are You a Songwriter? Check Out This Fascinating Deconstruction of AC/DC’s “Back in Black”

Bobby Owsinki describes his blog as “an inside look at the art of music engineering and production.”  What does that mean?  Read his deconstruction of AC/DC’s “Back in Black” to find out. 

“Back In Black” is by many accounts one of the greatest hard rock songs of all time, and it’s the title track from AC/DC’s seminal Back In Black album, an album that’s one of the best sellers of all time. This was actually the 6th album by the band, but the first without singer Bon Scott, who had died suddenly, causing the band to briefly consider disbanding. With the newly hired Brian Johnson as their new lead singer and lyricist, and Mutt Lange (who had previously on their Highway to Hell album) set to produce, the band was soon to reach heights that no one could have anticipated. What most people don’t know is that Back In Black is the 2nd biggest selling album of all time, with 49 million copies sold world-wide (22 million in the US alone). 
“Back In Black” is a very typical rock song form-wise. It uses mostly arrangement techniques to develop the song rather than varying too much from the normal rock song form. It looks like this:
intro ➞ verse ➞ chorus ➞ verse ➞ chorus ➞ verse (solo) ➞ chorus ➞ bridge ➞ chorus ➞ verse (solo)
As you can see, there’s basically only two sections – a verse and chorus. The solo happens over a verse, and a different guitar line with a variation on the chord changes of a verse is used to change it into a bridge.
The lyrics never feel forced in the song and they feel good as their sung thanks to their natural rhythm. They’re in many ways a tribute to previous singer Bon Scott dying as not so much the tragedy of his death, but a celebration to carrying on while honoring him.
Read on.  It’s good.

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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