AC/DC: Look at me!


2018-02-26 13:01 GMT+8

AC/DC is one of Australia’s most famous rock bands. Known for hits like Thunderstruck, TNT, Back in Black, Highway to Hell and You Shook Me All Night Long, just to name a few, AC/DC came to fame in Sydney in the mid-1970s.

The band’s name originated from the AC/DC initials on a sewing machine, meaning alternating current/direct current.

Following in the footsteps of their older brother Alex Young, a member of another of well-known Australian band The Easybeats, Malcolm and Angus Young formed AC/DC in 1973, but the formation of the band was a surprise even to one of its founding members.

In 1992, Angus Young told Guitar magazine that he was “amazed” when Malcolm asked him to come to a rehearsal, considering that “in the beginning, we never used to play together, even at home.”

“Malcolm would be in one room with his tape recorder putting tunes together, and I would be in the other room pretending I was Jimi Hendrix. When I’d walk in to see what he was up to he’d go, “get out!

It might be hard to imagine now, but in the beginning, the band’s image leaned towards glam rock, a popular look during the 1970s, but the Young brothers decided to ditch this image and focus on a hard blues-rock approach. Early on, Angus Young adopted his signature school uniform stage outfit, consisting of shorts, shirt, blazer, tie and a flat cap.

During live performances, Angus would often do his own variation of the “duckwalk” while playing his guitar, a move made famous by Chuck Berry. He can still be seen wearing his school boy uniform and performing the move at live shows today.

ACDC perform Thunderstruck at River Plate: 

The band went through a number of lineup changes with frontman Dave Evans being replaced by Bon Scott in October 1974. In 1975, AC/DC released their debut Australia-only album High Voltage, including a cover of Delta blues musician Big Joe Williams’ Baby, Please Don’t Go which reached number 10 on the Australian charts. In the music video, Angus Young can be seen wearing his school uniform while Bon Scott dons a Pippi Longstocking-style wig of blonde braids and a dress.

AC/DC video of baby, Please Don’t Go: 

AC/DC’s music took a strong rock and roll approach with many songs featuring power chords and screeching guitar riffs from Angus Young accompanied by lyrics referencing women, sex, money, drinking and the rock and roll lifestyle. The unapologetic lyrics from Highway to Hell, written about the band’s gruelling life on the road, read:

Hey, Satan

Payin' my dues

Playin' in a rockin' band

Hey, mamma

Look at me

I'm on the way to the promised land

I'm on the highway to hell

Bonn Scott performs Highway to Hell with AC/DC: 

Shortly after the release of High Voltage, bassist Mark Evans and drummer Phil Rudd permanently joined the band and AC/DC started working on their second album TNT. The strong rock song was a clear crowd pleaser with audiences screaming along to the “Oi! Oi! Oi!” chanting sections of the song at live shows.

Women to the left of me

And women to the right

Ain't got no gun

Ain't got no knife

Don't you start no fight

'Cause I'm T.N.T., I'm dynamite

(T.N.T.) and I'll win the fight

(T.N.T.) I'm a power load

(T.N.T.) watch me explode

AC/DC perform TNT: 

Sadly, Scott died in February 1980 from alcohol poisoning following a big night of drinking. It is widely contested that he choked on his own vomit. After Scott’s death, the band questioned whether they should continue but with encouragement from Scott’s family ultimately decided to keep making music, with ex-Georgie singer Brian Johnson taking over. Scott had mentioned to Malcolm and Angus that he admired the singing of Johnson, which made him one of their first choices.

AC/DC went on to achieve international fame and have released 17 albums in total so far. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on 10 March 2003.

In April 2014, it was an announced that Malcolm Young would be retiring from the band. Subsequent news stories reported that Malcolm was suffering from dementia. In March 2016, frontman Brian Johnson announced he would not be able to play the last 10 shows of the Rock or Bust World Tour due to issues with hearing loss.

Guns N’ Roses’ frontman Axl Rose stepped in to complete the tour on Johnson’s behalf. The current AC/DC lineup includes Angus Young, Stevie Young (the Young brothers’ nephew), Axl Rose and Chris Slade.

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