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A Buyer’s Guide to AC/DC

Vist Jason Noble's Profile

A Buyer’s Guide to AC/DC

With a career as extensive as that of AC/DC, which back in the ‘70s no one could have seen coming, one can easily be caught up in a matrix of ‘DC albums. Most existing fans recognise the eras of the Aussie boys’ exploits from their bluesy roots in the 1970s, to the early ‘80s rebirth with new singer Brian Johnson, and through the nineties to the hard rock legends which they are today.

The diminutive sibling axe men Angus Young (lead) and Malcolm Young (rhythm), have been the songwriting core and stalwarts of the band since the beginning joined by long running bassist Cliff Williams. Original sleaze-stirring singer Bon Scott met his untimely end on the turn of the 1980s to be replaced by screeching Geordie frontman Brian Johnson. Current drummer Phil Rudd has been the powerhouse behind all their classic albums in the late 70s/early ‘80s who, having been ousted in 1983 has been back where he belongs since the mid ‘90s; behind the kit for AC/DC.

With the sheer number of albums available, a first time buyer of these veteran rockers may well find they go for the one with the most modern album sleeve. Whilst this is no bad thing, the more simplistic designs of Powerage and High Voltage will be ignored and some of the biggest hits will inevitably missed (The Jack, Riff Raff and Highway To Hell to name a few).

Fortunately AC/DC have never made a bad album, but here is a guide to get the most out of your first experience of the hard rock behemoths:

Where to start:

Back In Black: This 1980 release was the debut of Brian Johnson on vocals following the tragic death of original singer Bon Scott. With everything to prove, this album delivered and shot AC/DC to the big time with hits such as Hells Bells, Back In Black and their biggest hit to date; You Shook Me All Night Long. A tribute to their departed frontman, a new lease of life to everyone who thought they were over and an enduring classic, this is the ideal place to start for the beginner.

Follow up purchase:

Highway To Hell: This album was the Aussie boys’ American breakthrough. Sporting the beginning of a three album production run with the now legendary Robert John “Mutt” Lange (Def Leppard, Foreigner and Bryan Adams). Sadly, Highway To Hell also marked the end of vocalist Bon Scott’s career with his untimely death. Beginnings and ends aside, this release includes the title track live anthem and Touch Too Much which shot them to the big time.

Worth exploring:

Let There Be Rock: Considered to be their first truly consistent album, Let There Be Rock contains a number of songs that often make up the live set including Let There Be Rock, Bad Boy Boogie and the classic Whole Lotta Rosie. Featuring long time producers Harry Vanda and George Young (brother to guitarists Angus and Malcolm), this album is a simple slab of classic rockers built for the live arena. The album title says it all.


Flick Of The Switch: This 1983 release marked the departure of drummer Phil Rudd and featured a band who couldn’t meet the high expectations following the hit albums Highway To Hell, Back In Black and For Those About To Rock (We Salute You). Whilst by no means a bad album, this release has little sense of impact that other AC/DC albums seem to hold and the stripped back approach didn’t suit the band destined for world fame.


1 Trevormcdevor | on 11 June 2010

Its JAY! Hows it going man, didnt know you were on here. Liking the album reviews and stuff, bit of rock history always nice to refresh. See you at some point for 24 and Pacific no doubt

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