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ID: 13ACDC Australie

AC/DC are a hard rock band formed in Sydney, Australia in 1973 by brothers Angus and Malcolm Young. The band are considered pioneers of heavy metal, alongside bands such as Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath.

AC/DC underwent several line-up changes before releasing their first album, High Voltage, in 1975. Membership remained stable until bassist Cliff Williams replaced Mark Evans in 1977. In 1979, the band recorded their highly successful album, Highway to Hell. Lead singer and co-songwriter Bon Scott died on February 19, 1980, after a night of heavy alcohol consumption. The group briefly considered disbanding, but soon ex-Geordie singer Brian Johnson was selected as Scott's replacement. Later that year, the band released their biggest-selling album, Back in Black.

The band's next album, For Those About to Rock We Salute You, was also highly successful and was the first hard rock album to reach #1 in the United States. AC/DC declined in popularity soon after the departure of drummer Phil Rudd in 1983. Poor record sales continued until the release of The Razors Edge in 1990. Phil Rudd returned in 1994 and contributed to the band's 1995 album Ballbreaker. Stiff Upper Lip was released in 2000 and was well-received by critics. A new album is expected sometime in 2008.

AC/DC have sold an estimated 150 million albums worldwide,

Name

Angus and Malcolm Young developed the idea for the band's name after seeing the acronym "AC/DC" on the back of a sewing machine owned by their sister, Margaret. "AC/DC" is an abbreviation for "alternating current/direct current", which indicates that an electrical device can use either type of power. The brothers felt that this name symbolized the band's raw energy and power-driven performances, and the name stuck.

In some cultures, "AC/DC" is a slang term for bisexuality; the band have said that they were not aware of this usage until it was brought to their attention by a taxi driver one night after a concert early in their career. Some religious figures have suggested that the name stands for "Anti-Christ/Devil's Child(ren)", "Anti-Christ/Devil Christ", and "After Christ/Devil Comes". Although rumours have persisted among critics attempting to paint the band as Satanists, the band have denied these interpretations of their name, and have mocked them as being opportunistically-constructed backronyms.

"AC/DC" is pronounced one letter at a time, though the band are popularly known as "Acca Dacca" in Australia. The name has inspired tribute bands, including BC/DC Canadian province of British Columbia; and Hayseed Dixie, an Appalachian band specialising in bluegrass covers.

 

History

Brothers Angus, Malcolm, and George Young were born in Glasgow, Scotland, and moved to Sydney, Australia with most of their family in 1963. George was the first to learn to play the guitar. He became a member of The Easybeats, Australia's most successful band of the 1960s. In 1966, they became the first local rock act to have an international hit, with the song "Friday On My Mind".

 

Early years

In November 1973, Malcolm and Angus Young formed AC/DC and recruited bassist Larry Van Kriedt, vocalist Dave Evans, and Colin Burgess, ex-Master's Apprentices drummer. They were later signed to the EMI-distributed Albert Productions label for Australia and New Zealand. The early line-up of the band changed often; Colin Burgess was the first member fired, and several bassists and drummers passed through the band during the next year (see List of AC/DC members).

By this time, Angus Young had adopted his characteristic school uniform stage outfit. The original uniform was reputedly from his secondary school, Ashfield Boys High School in Sydney; the idea was his sister Margaret's. Angus had tried other costumes, such as Spider-Man, Zorro, a gorilla, and a parody of Superman, named Super-Ang. In fact in its early days, most members of the band dressed in some form of glam or satin outfit but this approach was abandoned when it was discovered Melbourne band Skyhooks had already adopted this approach to their stage presentation.

The Young brothers decided that Evans was not a suitable frontman for the group, because they felt he was more of a glam rocker like Gary Glitter. On stage, Evans was occasionally replaced by the band's first manager, Dennis Laughlin, who was the original lead singer with Sherbet prior to Daryl Braithwaite joining the band. Evans had interpersonal problems with Laughlin, which also contributed to the band's ill feeling towards Evans. Meanwhile Ronald Belford "Bon" Scott, an experienced vocalist and friend of George Young's, was interested in becoming their vocalist.

 

Bon Scott era (1974–1980)

In September 1974, Bon Scott replaced Dave Evans. Scott was a former lead vocalist with The Spektors (1964–66), The Valentines (1966–70), and Fraternity (1970–73). The band had recorded only one single with Evans, "Can I Sit Next to You" / "Rockin' in the Parlour", and "Can I Sit Next to You" was eventually re-recorded with Bon Scott under the title "Can I Sit Next to You Girl".

By January 1975, the Australia-only album High Voltage had been recorded. It took only ten days, and was based on instrumental songs written by the Young brothers with lyrics added by Scott. Within a few months, the band's line-up had stabilized, featuring Scott, the Young brothers, bassist Mark Evans and drummer Phil Rudd. Later that year they released the single "It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)", which became their perennial rock anthem. It was included on their second album, T.N.T., which was also released only in Australia and New Zealand. The album featured another classic song, "High Voltage".

Between 1974 and 1977, aided by regular appearances on Molly Meldrum's Countdown, a nationally broadcast pop music television show, AC/DC became one of the most popular and successful acts in Australia. Their performance on 3 April 1977 was their last live TV appearance for over twenty years.

 

International success (1976–1978)

In 1976, the band signed an international deal with Atlantic Records, and toured extensively throughout the United Kingdom and Europe. They gained invaluable experience of the stadium circuit, supporting leading hard rock acts such as Kiss, Aerosmith, Styx and Blue Öyster Cult, and they co-headlined with Cheap Trick.

The first AC/DC album to gain worldwide distribution was a 1976 compilation of tracks taken from the High Voltage and T.N.T. LPs. Also titled High Voltage, and released on the Atlantic Records label, the album sold three million copies worldwide, The track selection was heavily weighted towards the more recent T.N.T., and included only two songs from their first LP. The band's next album, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, was released in the same year in both Australian-only and international versions, like its predecessor. Track listings varied worldwide, and the international version of the album also featured "Rocker" from T.N.T. The original Australian version included their popular song "Jailbreak" (now more readily available on the 1984 compilation EP '74 Jailbreak or as a live version on the 1992 Live album). Dirty Deeds was not released in the U.S. until 1981, by which time the band were at the peak of their popularity.

Following the 1977 recording Let There Be Rock, bassist Mark Evans was sacked due to personal differences with Angus Young. He was replaced by Cliff Williams, who also provided backing vocals alongside Malcolm Young. Neither of the Young brothers has elaborated on the departure of Evans, though Richard Griffiths, the CEO of Epic Records and a booking agent for AC/DC in the mid-1970s, later commented, "You knew Mark wasn't going to last, he was just too much of a nice guy."

AC/DC were a formative influence on New Wave of British Heavy Metal bands such as Saxon and Iron Maiden who emerged in the late 1970s, in part as a reaction to the decline of traditional early 1970s heavy metal bands. In 2007, critics noted that AC/DC, along with Thin Lizzy, UFO, Scorpions and Judas Priest, were among "the second generation of rising stars ready to step into the breach as the old guard waned."

 

U.S. success (1977–1979)

AC/DC's first American exposure was through the Michigan radio station AM 600 WTAC in 1977. The station's manager, Peter C. Cavanaugh, booked the band to play at Flint's Capitol Theater. The supporting act was MC5, who had briefly reunited and agreed to play at the event. The band opened with their popular song "Live Wire" and closed with "It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)".

AC/DC came to be identified with the punk rock movement by the British press. Their reputation, however, managed to survive the punk upheavals of the late 1970s, and they maintained a cult following in the UK throughout this time. Angus Young gained notoriety for mooning the audience during live performances.

The 1978 release of Powerage marked the debut of bassist Cliff Williams, and with its harder riffs, followed the blueprint set by Let There Be Rock.

The band's sixth album, Highway to Hell, was produced by Mutt Lange and released in 1979. It became the first AC/DC LP to break into the U.S. top 100, eventually reaching #17, Highway to Hell put increased emphasis on backing vocals but still featured AC/DC's signature sound: loud, simple, pounding riffs and grooving backbeats.

 

Bon Scott's death (1980)

On February 19, 1980, Bon Scott passed out after a night of heavy drinking in London, and was left in a car owned by an acquaintance of his named Alistair Kinnear. The following morning, Kinnear rushed him to King's College Hospital in Camberwell, where Scott was pronounced dead on arrival. Although common folklore claims that pulmonary aspiration of vomit was the cause of Scott's death, the official cause was listed as "acute alcohol poisoning" and "death by misadventure".

Inconsistencies in the official accounts of Scott's death have been cited in conspiracy theories, which suggest that Scott died of a heroin overdose, or was killed by exhaust fumes redirected into the car, or that Kinnear did not exist. and the temperature was below freezing on the morning of his death.

 

Finding a new voice

Following Scott's death, the band briefly considered quitting; they eventually concluded, however, that Scott would have wanted AC/DC to continue, and various candidates were considered for his replacement. Ex-Back Street Crawler vocalist Terry Slesser was approached, but he decided not to join an established band; instead, he assembled a successful solo career, which included co-writing the song "Rainbow's Gold". Buzz Shearman, ex-Moxy member, was not able to join due to vocal problems. The remaining AC/DC members finally decided on ex-Geordie singer Brian Johnson.

Angus Young later recalled, "I remember Bon playing me Little Richard, and then telling me the story of when he saw Brian singing." He says about that night, "There's this guy up there screaming at the top of his lungs and then the next thing you know he hits the deck. He's on the floor, rolling around and screaming. I thought it was great, and then to top it off—you couldn't get a better encore—they came in and wheeled the guy off!'"

For the audition, Johnson sang "Whole Lotta Rosie" from Let There Be Rock, and Ike & Tina Turner's "Nutbush City Limits". He was hired a few days after the audition.

 

Brian Johnson era (1980–present)

With Johnson, the band completed the songwriting that they had begun with Bon Scott for the album Back in Black. Recording took place at Compass Point Studios in the Bahamas a few months after Scott's death. Back in Black, produced by Mutt Lange and recorded by Tony Platt, became their biggest-selling album and a hard-rock landmark; hits include "Hells Bells", "You Shook Me All Night Long", and the title track "Back in Black". The album was certified platinum a year after its release,

The follow-up album, 1981's For Those About to Rock We Salute You, also sold well and was positively received by critics. The album featured two of the band's most popular singles: "Let's Get It Up"

 

Departure of Rudd and commercial decline (1983-1987)

Amid rumours of alcoholism and drug-induced paranoia, drummer Phil Rudd's friendship with Malcolm Young deteriorated and, after a long period of unfriendliness, the men's dislike for each other grew so strong that they fought. Rudd was fired two hours after the fight. Although Rudd had finished most of the drum tracks for their next album, he was replaced by Simon Wright after the band held an anonymous audition.

With the new line-up, the band released a less successful album, the self-produced Flick of the Switch, which was considered underdeveloped and unmemorable. A music concept video of the same name featured the band at a bar, playing five of the album's ten songs.

In 1986, the group returned to the charts with the made-for-radio "Who Made Who". The album, Who Made Who, was the soundtrack to Stephen King's film Maximum Overdrive, and is the closest the band has come to releasing a "greatest hits" collection. It brought together older hits, such as "You Shook Me All Night Long" and "Ride On", with newer songs like title track "Who Made Who", and two new instrumentals, "D.T." and "Chase the Ace"

In February 1988, AC/DC were inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association's Hall of Fame.

 

Renewed popularity (1988–present)

AC/DC's 1988 album, Blow up Your Video, was recorded at Miraval Studio in Le Val, France, and reunited the band with their original producers, Harry Vanda and George Young. The group recorded nineteen songs, choosing ten for the final release; though the album was later criticized for containing excessive "filler", it was a commercial success. Blow up Your Video sold more copies than the previous two studio releases combined, and reached #2 on the UK charts—AC/DC's highest position since Back In Black in 1980. The album featured the UK top-twenty single "Heatseeker", and popular songs such as "That's the Way I Wanna Rock and Roll". The Blow Up Your Video World Tour began in February 1988, in Perth, Australia. That April, following live appearances across Europe, Malcolm Young announced that he was taking time off from touring, principally to begin recovery from his alcoholism. Another member of the Young family, Stevie Young, temporarily took Malcolm's place.

Following the tour, Wright left the group to work on the upcoming Dio album, Lock up the Wolves, and was replaced by session veteran Chris Slade. Johnson was unavailable for several months while finalising his divorce, so the Young brothers wrote all the songs for the next album, a practice they have continued for all subsequent releases. The new album, The Razors Edge, was produced by Bruce Fairbairn, who had previously worked with Aerosmith and Bon Jovi. Released in 1990, it was a major comeback for the band, and included the hits "Thunderstruck" and "Are You Ready", which reached #5 and #16 respectively on Billboard's Mainstream Rock Tracks Chart, and "Moneytalks", which peaked at #23 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album went multi-platinum and reached the U.S. top ten. Several shows on the Razors Edge tour were recorded as footage for the 1992 live album, entitled simply Live. Live was produced by Fairbairn, and is considered one of the best live albums of the 1990s.

In 1994, Angus and Malcolm invited Rudd to several jam sessions. He was eventually rehired to replace Slade, whose amicable departure arose in part due to the band's strong desire to work again with Rudd. In 1995, with the 1980—83 line-up back together, the group released Ballbreaker, recorded at the Ocean Way Studios in Los Angeles, California, and produced by Rick Rubin. The first single from the album was "Hard as a Rock", which reached #1 on the U.S. charts. Two more singles were released from the album: "Hail Caesar" and "Cover You in Oil".

In 1997, a box set named Bonfire was released. It contained four albums; a remastered version of Back in Black; Volts (a disc with alternate takes, outtakes, and stray live cuts) and two live albums, Live from the Atlantic Studios and Let There Be Rock: The Movie. Live from the Atlantic Studios was recorded in 1978 at the Atlantic Studios in New York. Let There Be Rock: The Movie was a double album recorded in 1979 at The Pavillon in Paris, and was the soundtrack of a motion picture, AC/DC: Let There Be Rock. The US version of the box set included a colour booklet, a two-sided poster, a sticker, a temporary tattoo, a keychain bottle opener, and a guitar pick.

In 2000, the band released their sixteenth studio album, Stiff Upper Lip, produced by George Young. The album was better received by critics than Ballbreaker, but was considered lacking in new ideas. The other singles released also did very well, "Safe in New York City" and "Satellite Blues" reached #31 and #7 in the U.S. respectively.

 

Recent events (2000–present)

In 2002, AC/DC signed a long-term, multi-album deal with Sony Music, In 2003, the entire back-catalogue (except Ballbreaker and Stiff Upper Lip) was remastered and re-released. Ballbreaker was eventually re-released in October 2005; Stiff Upper Lip was later rereleased in April 2007.

The street sign for ACDC Lane, Melbourne.

In May 2003, Malcolm Young accepted a Ted Albert Award for Outstanding Service to Australian Music at the 2003 Music Winners Awards, during which he paid special tribute to Bon Scott. In the same year, the Recording Industry Association of America upgraded the group's U.S. sales figures from 46.5 million to 63 million, making AC/DC the fifth-best-selling band in U.S. music history, behind only The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and the Eagles, although recently AC/DC was lowered to the tenth best selling artist. The RIAA also certified the Back in Black album as double diamond (twenty million) in U.S. sales, making it the sixth-best-selling U.S. album of all time; by 2005 the album had sold 21 million copies, which moved it into fifth place.

On October 1, 2004, a central Melbourne thoroughfare, Corporation Lane, was renamed in honour of the band. However, the City of Melbourne forbade the use of the slash character in street names, so the four letters were combined.

 

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

AC/DC were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March 2003. During the ceremony the band performed "Highway to Hell" and "You Shook Me All Night Long", with guest vocals provided by host Steven Tyler of Aerosmith. He described the band's power chords as "the thunder from down under that gives you the second-most-powerful surge that can flow through your body."

During the acceptance speech, Brian Johnson quoted their 1977 song "Let There Be Rock":

"In the beginning, back in 1955, man didn't know about the rock 'n roll show and all that jive.
The white man had the schmaltz, the black man had the blues, but no one knew what they was gonna do but Tchaikovsky had the news, he said: 'let there be rock'".

Bon Scott wrote that. And it's a real privilege to accept these awards tonight.

 

New album

As of January 2006, AC/DC are working on a new studio album. According to Malcolm Young, "The band are currently writing and recording material for the eagerly anticipated next album, but no release date has been set." In a 2005 interview, Johnson confirmed that the band does not know when the album will be recorded, or who will produce it. Malcolm Young has said that the new album has "gotta be perfect".

Johnson and Williams along with Steve Luongo and Mark Hitt recorded new songs for a fund raising tour named "Classic Rock Cares", and the new songs will be presented during concerts. So far, their recording "Chain Gang on the Road" has been presented. Williams stated that "the Young brothers have been writing new material, but there’s no telling when that will crystallize into an album."

On October 16, 2007, Columbia Records will release a double DVD titled Plug Me In. The set will consist of 5 hours of rare footage and even a recording of AC/DC at a high school performing "School Days", "T.N.T.", "She's Got Balls", and "It's a Long Way to The Top". As with Family Jewels, disc one will contain rare shows of the band with Bon Scott, and disc two is about the Brian Johnson era. The collector's edition will contain an extra DVD with 21 more rare performances of both Scott and Johnson and more interviews.

 

Band members

Main article: List of AC/DC members

 

Current members

  • Brian Johnson – lead vocals (1980–present)
  • Angus Young – lead & rhythm guitars (1973–present)
  • Malcolm Young – rhythm guitar, backing vocals (1973-present)
  • Cliff Williams – bass, backing vocals (1977-present)
  • Phil Rudd – drums (1975–1983, 1994–present)

 

Former members

  • Bon Scott - lead vocals (1974–1980)
  • Simon Wright - drums (1983–1989)
  • Chris Slade - drums (1989–1994)
  • Mark Evans - bass (1975–1977)
  • Dave Evans - lead vocals (1973–1974)

 

Discography

Main article: AC/DC discography

Studio albums

Title Release date Label U.S. sales (albums sold) Chart Position
High Voltage (Aus.) February 1975 Albert    
T.N.T. (Aus.) December 1975 Albert    
High Voltage September 1976 Atlantic 3 million #146 US
Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (Aus.) September 1976 Albert    
Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap November 1976 Europe/1981 US Atlantic 6 million #3 US
Let There Be Rock (Aus.) March 1977 Albert    
Let There Be Rock June 1977 Atlantic 2 million #155 US
Powerage May 1978 Atlantic 1 million #133 US
Highway to Hell July 1979 Atlantic 7 million #17 US
Back in Black July 1980 Atlantic 21 million #4 US
For Those About to Rock November 1981 Atlantic 4 million #1 US
Flick of the Switch August 1983 Atlantic 1 million #15 US
'74 Jailbreak October 1984 ATCO 1 million #76 US
Fly on the Wall June 1985 Atlantic 1 million #32 US
Who Made Who May 1986 Atlantic 5 million #33 US
Blow Up Your Video January 1988 Epic 1 million #12 US
The Razors Edge September 1990 Atlantic 5 million #2 US
Ballbreaker September 1995 Elektra 2 million #4 US
Volts November 1997 East West    
Stiff Upper Lip February 2000 EMI 1 million #7 US
TBA January 2008 Sony    

Live albums

Title Release date Label Producer
If You Want Blood You've Got It October 1978 Atlantic Vanda / Young
Live October 1992 Atlantic Bruce Fairbairn
Live: 2 CD Collector's Edition October 1992 Atlantic Bruce Fairbairn
Live from the Atlantic Studios November 1997 East West George Young
Let There Be Rock: The Movie November 1997 East West Tony Platt

Videography

Title Release year Label
AC/DC: Let There Be Rock 1980 Warner Home Video
Fly on the Wall 1985 Atlantic Video
Who Made Who 1986 Warner Music Vision
AC/DC (Aus.) 1989 Albert Productions
Clipped 1991 ATCO Video / Atlantic Video
Live at Donington 1991 Atlantic Video
For Those About to Rock 1993 Warner Home Video
No Bull 1996 East West
Stiff Upper Lip Live 2001 Elektra Entertainment Group
Live '77 (Japan) 2003 VAP
Toronto Rocks 2004 Rhino Entertainment
Family Jewels 2005 Sony BMG
Plug Me In 2007 Columbia Records

 

 

 

 




Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ACDC
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