‘Back in Black’ by AC/DC at 40: Put it On, Turn it Up and Celebrate One of the Loudest, Most Important Rock Albums of All-Time


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Rock Cellar Magazine
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The death of Bon Scott in February 1980 left AC/DC in an impossible situation.

The Australian rock band was coming off the monumental success of 1979’s Highway to Hell, and expectations were high. Scott’s passing (caused by alcohol poisoning) presented the unenviable situation: Continue on with a new singer or disband?

AC/DC chose to continue, recruiting Brian Johnson of Geordie to take over for Scott. Recording began in April 1980 with producer Robert John “Mutt” Lange, and Back in Black was born.

(Click here to purchase Back in Black from our Rock Cellar Store).

An estimated 50 million copies later, Back in Black is a behemoth of a record, a blast of quintessential “rock and roll” that moved mountains at the time and has only increased in importance and influence decades later.

The album celebrates its 40th anniversary on Saturday, July 24 — this weekend — so if you needed an excuse to fire it up on your record player (or streaming platform of choice), let this be your reason.

Here’s an entertaining look back at how Back in Black came about, put together by Classic Rock Magazine:

Here’s Def Leppard‘s Phil Collen reflecting on Back in Black, via our 2018 piece reflecting on AC/DC’s legacy after the passing of founding member and rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young:

“I first got hooked on AC/DC when I heard ‘Highway to Hell’ But I think they perfected their game when they recorded ‘Back in Black,’ which I think is the ultimate rock song. It has a sexy groove that hardly any rock band could get close to, amazingly restrained, confident guitars that are pure rock, outrageous drums and a vocal meter that is almost a rap but very rock and roll. And considering the song is based on a blues format it’s extremely original.”

That sort of sentiment is common around rock and roll circles regarding the album — truly one of the most important albums ever laid to tape.

So put it on, crank it up and rock out. That seems the perfect way to celebrate its 40th anniversary.

 


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