In 1955, the greatest guitarist in the world would be born. But Angus Young wouldn't automatically reach superstardom, it would take a little help from his brothers. Angus and Malcolm were first introduced to the rock 'n' roll scene by their older brother George. He became a big Australian star in the mid-1960's with a group called the Easybeats. This left quite an impression on the two youngest brothers, for they too were learning to play guitars, getting pointers from George whenever he would come back home from a tour. They then went on to start their own bands.
Malcolm started a couple garage bands, but none of them went anywhere. In 1971 he joined a band
called Velvet Underground. Angus on the other
hand, started a band of his own, which he called
Tantrum. The only gigs he played were school
dances, though. Mostly Angus would just jam with
his friends. It wasn't until 1973 when Angus and
Malcolm would come together to form their own
AC/DC's debut came on New Year's Eve 1973 at a
party in Sydney's Chequers nightclub. The bands
first lineup was the following: Angus on lead guitar,
Malcolm on rhythym guitar, Colin Burgess on
drums, Larry Van Knedt on bass, and Dave Evans
being the singer. This lineup was subject to many
changes over the next year, however. First Colin
Burgess was out, being replaced by Ron Carpenter. Then Larry Van Knedt was gone, and replaced by Rob Bailey. Carpenter didn't last long at all; he was replaced by Russell Coleman who was soon being replaced by Peter Clark.
The Young-Young-Evans-Bailey-Clark was the
lineup that gave AC/DC their first single, "Can I Sit
Next to You Girl"/"Rockin' In the Parlour". The
next changes in the lineup proved to be the biggest
though. The bands bus driver at the time, Bon
Scott, informed the band that he could play drums
and soon took over Peter Clarks's position. He also recommended Bruce Houwe, who used to play with Bon in Fraternity, as the new bass player
replacing Bailey. It wasn't long before Angus and
Malcolm grew tired of Dave Evans, because he was turning into a glittery glam rock type of person. So Evans was out, and Bon got the job as frontman for AC/DC. Before long Houwe was asked to leave and George Young would take over as bassist. AC/DC would soon record their debut album "High Voltage".
AC/DC's debut album "High Voltage" was recorded
in just 10 days. The lineup for the album was the
normal Young-Young-Scott with George Young on
bass and Tony Kerrante filling in on drums. The
album was released in Australia in February of
1975. Soon after that the band got a settled in with
a lineup when they hired Phil Rudd on drums and
Mark Evans as bass to fill in the vacancies. The
Young-Young-Scott-Evans-Rudd lineup went on to
record three more albums in the next couple of
years. "T.N.T." was recorded in 1975. "Dirty
Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" in 1976, and finally "Let
There be Rock" in 1977. A personality clash arose
in 1977 between Angus and Mark, and Mark finally
decided to leave the band before they had a chance to fire him.
The band had little trouble finding a new bass
player. They quickly hired Cliff Williams, who has
been in the band ever since. This lineup,
Young-Young-Scott-Williams-Rudd went on to
record some of the best AC/DC albums ever. They
included "Powerage" in 1978. Then came the live
album "If You Want Blood You've Got It" which
was recorded from tapes collected during different
AC/DC concerts in 1978. Finally, this lineup
recorded what is regarded as the best Bon Scott
album, "Highway to Hell" in 1979. This brings us to
the new decade.
AC/DC was just getting worldwide popularity when
tragedy struck on February 19, 1980. AC/DC's
frontman, Bon Scott, was found dead in the
backseat of a friends car. In official AC/DC press
releases it said that he died from natural causes, but he had been drinking quite heavily the night before and it is common knowledge now that Bon had died by passing out and choking on his own vomit. There is also some speculation that heroin might have been involved, but the true facts will never be known.
The next task for the band was to decide if they
wanted to go on. Malcolm and Angus quickly
decided that they did, and were looking for a new
singer by mid-March. Their were many applicants
for the job, but none of them seemed right for one
reason or another. Finally, a 14 year old fan from
Chicago sent a letter to AC/DC telling them about
this singer Brian Johnson from the band Geordie
and how great he would fit in with AC/DC. After
reading that, Malcolm then recalled seeing Geordie
play and how Bon had remarked that Brian
Johnson was one of the best singers he had ever
seen, so the band got a hold of Johnson, auditioned him, and hired him on the spot.
The bands next album, "Back in Black", was a
work of art. Bon already had 15 songs written for
the album before his death, but these were
abandoned, because the band felt that it wouldn't
be right for Brian to be singing Bon's songs. So
work got underway on new songs. Most of the
songs ended up being written by Angus and
Malcolm, but the rest of the band threw in some
ideas. The album itself was finally released in July
of 1980, with an all black cover as a tribute to Bon
Scott. As it turned out that album has become the
highest selling heavy metal album ever, with over
10 million sales.
AC/DC was definately at its peak around 1981.
"Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" was finally released
in the U.S. in May of that year, and quickly
became a success, even outselling "Back in Black" for a long stretch of time. They had finally hit superstardom.
The lineup that recorded "Back in Black",
Young-Young-Johnson-Williams-Rudd, went on to
record two more albums. In late '81 they finished
"For Those About to Rock We Salute You" , which
by the way, is the only AC/DC album to hit number
one on the Billboard charts. Then after a very
lengthy world tour they recorded "Flick of the
Switch" in 1983. This album was not done
completely with Phil Rudd as drummer. From what
I understand, Phil was heavily involved in drugs. It
got to the point where he was hallucinating so badly that he was admitted to the hospital on more than one occasion. The straw that broke the camels back, however, was a fist fight between him and another band member that has never been revealed to the public, though it was probably Malcolm, since it was known that Phil had been involded with a female relation of Malcolm's. "Flick of the Switch" was finished with a studio drummer.
For the next drummer, AC/DC put out an
advertisement in a heavy metal magazine, but they
did not disclose the name of the band. So when
Simon Wright, who was 20 years old at the time,
showed up for the audition he was very suprised to
find out he was auditioning for AC/DC.
Nevertheless, they liked what they saw and hired
him for their upcoming tour. After that, they
recorded "Fly on the Wall" in 1985.
In 1986 they released "Who Made Who", which is
regarded by many as a kind of greatest hits album.
In all actuality it is just a soundtrack for the
Stephen King movie "Maximum Overdrive". Even
the songs were picked out by Stephen King, who is a big AC/DC fan as it turns out. Then in 1988, the Young-Young-Johnson-Williams-Wright lineup
released "Blow Up Your Video", which led to
another drummer change.
This time the drummer left voluntarily. Simon
Wright had always been huge fan of Dio, and when
they found themselves without a drummer, Ronnie
Dio asked Simon Wright if he wanted to join them.
It didn't take him long to make his decision. The
replacement this time was the veteran drummer
Chris Slade who had previously played for Tom
Jones, and more recently The Firm. Now the next
album was "The Razor's Edge" which was recordedin 1990, which was more of a success than the disappointing "Blow Up Your Video".
Up to this point the group had only released one
live album, which was "If You Want Blood You've
Got It". So they decided it was time for another.
So, in 1992 "Live" was released in both a single
disc or double disc format, with the double disc
version being aimed at more of the AC/DC
collector than just the average listener.