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AC/DC: Celebrating 50 Years of Thunder

AC/DC: Celebrating 50 Years of Thunder

Posted by Rockaway Records on 14th May 2024

AC/DC, the legendary rock band hailing from Australia, marks their 50th anniversary this year. Since their formation in 1973, AC/DC has become a global icon of rock music, known for their electrifying performances, hard-hitting riffs, and timeless anthems. As we celebrate this milestone, let’s take a journey through the band's history, uncover some fun facts, highlight their top albums, and reflect on their indelible impact on the Australian music scene.

A Brief History of AC/DC

AC/DC was founded in Sydney by Scottish-born brothers Malcolm and Angus Young. Inspired by the raw energy of rock 'n' roll, the Young brothers aimed to create music that was loud, powerful, and uncompromising. The band's name, AC/DC, was suggested by their sister Margaret and refers to the electrical term for alternating current and direct current, symbolising the band’s electrifying energy.

The original lineup included vocalist Dave Evans, bassist Larry Van Kriedt, and drummer Colin Burgess. However, it wasn't until Bon Scott joined as the lead vocalist in 1974 that AC/DC began to find their distinctive sound. Scott's wild, raspy voice and charismatic stage presence were a perfect match for the Young brothers' high-voltage rock.

AC/DC's debut album, "High Voltage," was released in Australia in 1975. The band's relentless touring and explosive live shows quickly built a loyal fanbase. By the time they released their international debut, also titled "High Voltage," in 1976, AC/DC had already established themselves as a force to be reckoned with.

Tragedy struck in 1980 when Bon Scott passed away at the age of 33. Despite the devastating loss, the band decided to continue, recruiting Brian Johnson as their new lead vocalist. Their first album with Johnson, "Back in Black," was a monumental success, cementing AC/DC's status as rock legends.

A Few Fun Facts About AC/DC

The School Uniform:
Angus Young's iconic schoolboy uniform became a signature look for the band. The idea came from his sister Margaret, who suggested he wear his school uniform on stage for a unique and memorable image. The outfit, complete with a cap and short pants, became synonymous with Angus's energetic stage antics and remains a staple of their live performances.

The Bell in "Hells Bells": The ominous bell tolling at the beginning of "Hells Bells," a track from the "Back in Black" album, is an actual cast bronze bell. The band originally wanted to record the bell at the Loughborough Bell Foundry, but due to practical difficulties, they had a replica made. The recording of the bell ringing is now one of the most iconic sounds in rock history.

Guinness World Records: AC/DC's concert at River Plate Stadium in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in December 2009 was attended by over 200,000 fans across three sold-out nights. This concert series earned them a Guinness World Record for the largest crowd at a live concert by a band, demonstrating their massive global appeal and enduring popularity.

Top 3 AC/DC Albums of All Time

Back in Black (1980): "Back in Black" is not only AC/DC's best-selling album but also one of the best-selling albums of all time, with over 50 million copies sold worldwide. The album was a tribute to Bon Scott and introduced Brian Johnson as the new lead vocalist. Featuring hits like "Hells Bells," "Shoot to Thrill," and the title track "Back in Black," the album is a rock masterpiece that solidified AC/DC's place in music history.

Highway to Hell (1979): The last album to feature Bon Scott as the lead vocalist, "Highway to Hell," is a seminal work in the band's discography. The title track, with its infectious riff and rebellious lyrics, became an anthem for rock fans everywhere. Other standout tracks include "Girls Got Rhythm" and "Touch Too Much." "Highway to Hell" showcased AC/DC at the height of their powers and remains a fan favourite.


Let There Be Rock (1977): "Let There Be Rock" is often cited as one of AC/DC's most influential albums. It captures the raw energy and spirit of the band, with Angus Young's blistering guitar solos and Bon Scott's electrifying vocals. The title track, "Whole Lotta Rosie," and "Dog Eat Dog" are standout songs that exemplify the band's hard-hitting style and musical prowess.

The Impact On The Aussie Music Scene

AC/DC's influence on the Australian music scene cannot be overstated. They paved the way for countless rock bands from Down Under, proving that Australian musicians could achieve global success without compromising their unique sound and identity. The band's success inspired a new generation of Australian rock bands, including Midnight Oil, INXS, and Cold Chisel, who followed in their footsteps to achieve international acclaim.

Beyond their musical influence, AC/DC's work ethic and commitment to live performance set a standard for Australian artists. The band's relentless touring schedule and high-energy shows demonstrated the importance of connecting with audiences through live music. Their legendary performances have become a benchmark for rock concerts, influencing the live music scene in Australia and beyond.

AC/DC also contributed to the growth of the Australian music industry. Their global success brought attention to Australia's vibrant music scene and helped establish the country as a significant player in the international music market. The band's achievements have opened doors for Australian artists in the global music industry, fostering a sense of pride and ambition within the local music community.

As AC/DC celebrates 50 years of rock 'n' roll, their legacy continues to resonate with fans old and new.

From their humble beginnings in Sydney to becoming global rock icons, AC/DC's journey is a testament to the power of hard work, perseverance, and a relentless passion for music. Their impact on the Australian music scene and the global rock landscape is immeasurable, and their music will undoubtedly continue to inspire and energise generations to come.

Here's to AC/DC—fifty years of thunder!