AC/DC – Back in Black

Released July 25, 1980 this is the band’s seventh studio album but the first with their new lead singer, Brian Johnson. It sold 50 million copies making it the third highest selling album ever.

Jason: Hi there. We are back into heavy metal again this week. What did you think of it? Does it remind you of your head-banging days in 1st grade?

Brad: I have to admit. I like AC/DC. Not exactly sure why but I do. It makes me think of growing up in Michigan. I’m pretty sure it is a legal requirement for “You Shook Me All Night Long” to be played at every school dance and wedding in Michigan.

Jason: I like both that song and “Back in Black”. Is “You Shook Me All Night Long” the wedding song where the bride rolls around on the ground?

Brad: No. That’s “Taking Care of Business” by BTO.

Jason: Oh that’s right. I am going to request that at every wedding reception from now on so we can identify the Michiganders. I had no idea AC/DC are Australian, by the way.

Brad: You didn’t?!

Jason: No. I guess I never really thought about it. If they had a song called “Vegemite Death” or “The Dingo Ate My Baby” then I would have put it together.

Brad: True. I guess it is not like you could discern an accent in Brian Johnson’s vocals.

Jason: He’s not exactly singing so much as damaging his vocal chords. I do like the musicality of their songs. Great guitar and drums. If they had an instrumental album I might like it better. 

Brad: I don’t know how he’s been able to tour for the last 4 decades.

Jason: Lots of chamomile tea with honey. I didn’t mind this album even though this isn’t my type of music but I wouldn’t sit down and listen to it. I bet live they are fun (for some people).

Brad: I stood outside Wrigley Field to listen to their concert the last time they came to town a couple years ago. I kinda loved it. Do you know why this album is called Back in Black and is just a black album cover?

Jason: No, why?

Brad: In February 1980, their previous lead singer, Bon Scott, died of alcohol poisoning. They almost broke up but then named Brian Johnson as the new lead singer. In April of that year, they recorded this album. Then in July it was released and was a huge success. The album cover is black to symbolize mourning for their previous lead singer.

Jason: I didn’t realize that the cover was to honor him and their comeback. That makes sense. 

Brad: But you wouldn’t know they were mourning by the sound of the music.

Jason: Because of the loud. Are you a fan of them in general?

Brad: I’m not a huge fan but my favorite AC/DC song, “Thunderstruck”, is not on this album. I love that song so much.

Jason: Interesting. I’ll remember that. Does the opening riff make you want to play guitar like the Fleetwood Mac’s “Never Going Back Again” did?

Brad: It doesn’t make me want to learn any instrument.

Jason: Does it make you want to scream?

Brad: No but in the frigid temps of Chicago this week. I’ve been listening to this on my way to and from work while freezing. There is something about their sound and Brian’s vocals that is strangely warming and motivational.

Jason: So what grade would you give this warm and cozy AC/DC album?

Brad: A solid B. You?

Jason: Um…hmmmmm. B for the music but a ding for the screeching so I’ll settle for a B-.

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2 thoughts on “AC/DC – Back in Black

  1. Pingback: 100 Albums Bucket List | Jason S Steele

  2. Pingback: Top 100 Album Review: #73 – Back in Black, AC/DC (1980) – The Top 100 Reviews

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