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ROCK 'N ROLL BIOGRAPHY
Formed: 1973 in Australia
AC/DC was formed in December, 1973, in Australia, by guitarist Malcolm Young, whom had just left his last band, Velvet Underground. He saw first hand all the benefits that came with being a rock star, as his older brother, George Young, reach the big time as a member of the popular 1960s band, the Easybeats. He very much wanted to follow in George's footsteps. Malcolm also could see that his younger brother, Angus, was a very talented guitar player, even if he was only 15 years old, and picked him to be the new band's lead guitarist. Because Angus was still a school boy, his sister suggested that he should wear his school uniform on stage; so he did, and in time the look would become his trademark. AC/DC would go through many personnel changes that first year, but by the time they started to play steady gigs all around Australia, the main lineup consisted of lead singer Dave Evans, Rob Bailey on bass, Peter Clark on the drums, along with the two Young brothers. They recorded their first single in 1974 with "Can I Sit Next to You Girl"/"Rockin' In the Parlour". The song was produced by George, as he would also produce their future albums.
AC/DC would soon start recording their debut album, High Voltage, but before that, Clark and Bailey were let go. They hired their bus driver, Bon Scott, to replace Clark on the drums, but shortly after that, Dave Evans was kicked out of the band after he and the Young brothers got into a dispute one night before a show, which resulted in Evans refusing to take the stage. So Scott filled in for him and after that night, took over as the band's lead vocalist. They entered the studio shortly after that, and in just ten days recorded High Voltage. They still had no set drummer or bassist at the time, with Tony Kerrante filling in as the drummer, and George Young playing the bass parts for his brothers on the album. The album was released in Australia in February of 1975. At that time they added drummer Phil Rudd, and bassist Mark Evans. AC/DC was now becoming a bit famous in Australia, and this line-up would stay intact for the next three albums.
Scott's image would help shape the band as fun, wild, crazy and violent, plus he was publicly labeled "socially maladjusted" by the Australian government. All that did of course, was help make the band more popular. At this point in time, heavy metal music was at it's height of success and AC/DC fit in great with that vein of rock music - with their attitude in general, Scott's voice - which was perfect for metal, plus Angus' loud and wild guitar playing.
Their first two albums, High Voltage and TNT, would be combined into one for their first UK and America album, also titled High Voltage, in 1976. The group at this time would also tour both countries and a big following of fans outside of Australia, soon came with that.
Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap was their next album, released in late 1976. In early 1977, they recorded and released Let There Be Rock. At that point, Mark Evans left the band and was replaced by bassist Cliff Williams. Let There Be Rock would be their first album to actually chart in the US. As it was, Dirty Deeds wasn't released in the US till 1981, and would not become a hit album for them there till that time.
In 1978, the album Powerage was released and that along with their live album, If You Want Blood, You Got It, released the same year, would help their fan base to grow even more. Yet it wasn't till the following year's Highway To Hell, that they were true superstars, with the album charting big in both the US and UK. It was also their first album to sell over a million copies. The album's title song also solidified their image in the US as true bad boys, as the US audience up to this point still hadn't heard many of their other, earlier songs, like "Big Balls" and "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap"; not yet anyway.
On February 20, 1980, AC/DC hit what could have been a major road block. Tragedy struck when Bon Scott was found dead in the backseat of a friend's car. The coroner's report stated he had "drunk himself to death." The band had been getting ready to record their next album, so instead of just sitting around and worrying about their future, they hired singer Brian Johnson in March, and the very next month they went directly into the studio to work on their next album. Scott had already written 15 songs for the album before his death, but the band decided that they would start from scratch with Johnson. What they came up with in that short period of time was phenomenal, and when finished and released, Back in Black, titled to reflect Scott's loss, was a heavy metal masterpiece. Back in Black would prove to be their biggest album, selling over nineteen million copies in the U.S. alone, worldwide it has sold forty two million copies!
For Those About To Rock, We Salute You was their next album, released in 1981, and again, a huge hit, going all the way to number one on the charts. While recording the follow-up to it, Flick Of The Switch in 1982, Rudd left the band because of his problems with drugs. He was replaced the next year with a 20 year old drummer, Simon Wright, who stayed on for three studio albums (Fly On The Wall, Who Made Who & Blow Up Your Video) and then was replaced by Chris Slade, who in turn only recorded one studio album with the band, 1990's The Razor's Edge, and also appeared on AC/DC Live. After that time, Rudd returned to the fold and appeared on their next album, Ballbreaker, released in 1995.
As the new century dawned, AC/DC was still going strong. In 2000 they released their 15th studio album, Stiff Upper Lip. In July, 2003, along with the Rolling Stones, they headlined and played in front of 450,000 people in Toronto, Canada. It was Canada's largest-ever rock concert, all to help the city of Toronto shake off the effects of a SARS outbreak. After all of these years, the band is still one of rock's biggest acts, and their fans can now shout back to them, "We salute you!".
- Keno, 2003
Addendum - George Young died on October 22, 2017 (at age 70)
Addendum 2 - Malcolm Young passed away on November 18, 2017 (at age 64)
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