Today is a great day for rock ‘n roll fans everywhere, as AC/DC is releasing their first album in six years, Rock Or Bust. To celebrate this fine occasion, let’s look at some fascinating facts about the immortal hard rock band.
1. “Emission Control” is the latest in a long series of double entendre-laden songs.
If you’re a fan of AC/DC — or if you even have a passing familiarity with their music, you know that ribald songs are a specialty of theirs. There’s “Big Balls” (which is about a party, we swear), “Sink The Pink” (which is about shooting pool, seriously!), and “Caught With Your Pants Down,” which is really more of a single entendre. Oh, and let’s not forget “Crabsody In Blue.” The newest entry is “Emission Control,” which….well, you can probably figure that out for yourself.
2. Their earliest albums weren’t released in America until after they hit it big.
While the band was popular in their native Australia right away, it took some time for them to find an international audience. That’s why the bands first two albums, High Voltage and T.N.T., were initially released exclusively in Australia. An international release of High Voltage — which included tracks from both albums — would come out the following year. Additionally, 1976’s Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap would not be released until 1981, after the band had become superstars with Back In Black.
3. Before joining AC/DC, Brian Johnson sang in a band called Geordie.
Brian Johnson replaced Bon Scott as the frontman of AC/DC after Scott’s tragic death in 1980. After 34 years with the band, he’s been their lead singer for the vast majority of his career as well as theirs. But before joining AC/DC, the vocalist sang in the hard rock band Geordie, and would release four albums with the band before leaving to join AC/DC. If you listen to some of Geordie’s tracks, you may notice that Johnson’s vocals sound higher than they did on later recordings. More on that in just a bit.
4. The band did the soundtracks to Maximum Overdrive and Iron Man 2.
Despite tons of memorable hits, AC/DC has yet to release a Greatest Hits-type album. But if you’re looking for an officially released compilation of their hits throughout the years, you could do worse than to pick Who Made Who, effectively the band’s soundtrack to Maximum Overdrive, or their Iron Man 2 soundtrack, which compiled tracks from all eras of the band’s existence.
5. This year, Phil Rudd was charged with conspiracy to commit murder, but the charges were eventually dropped.
One can only assume that every AC/DC fan was a little nervous when this story came out. Last month, drummer Phil Rudd was charged with attempting to procure the murder of two men. These charges would be dropped, but Rudd is not off the hook yet, as he still faces charges of possession of methamphetamine, possession of cannabis and threatening to kill. Additionally, Angus Young commented on Rudd’s recent behavior by saying “he’s not the Phil we’ve known in the past.” Even if Rudd never attempted to hire a hitman, his erratic conduct is still worrisome.
6. They have an unlikely fan in Celine Dion, who covered “You Shook Me All Night Long”
Let’s acknowledge from the beginning that Celine Dion and AC/DC really don’t mix. At the same time, I sort of admire the French Canadian singer for even trying a song like this. Still, you can understand why it came in at No. 3, on VH1’s “40 Least Metal Moments” countdown.
7. Malcolm Young was forced to retire from the band this year after suffering from dementia.
Between this, and the ongoing problems with Rudd, this has been a trying year for AC/DC, and it’s a bit of a miracle that they actually managed to release an album. Guitarist Malcolm Young — who has been with the band since its inception — was forced to retire this year due to dementia, and is currently living in a nursing home, receiving full-time care. He has been replaced by his nephew, Stevie Young, who previously performed in the band Starfighters.
8. Brian Johnson’s vocal chords have been shredded over the years.
Brian Johnson has been singing/screaming for over 40 years now, and when you strain your vocal chords so much, it’s only natural that you would lose some of your ability to hit those super high notes. The above clip demonstrates the decline in his vocal abilities over the years. It starts with a performance of “House Of The Rising Sun” that he performed with Geordie, in which his voice gets higher than it ever did with AC/DC, and ends with a recent clip from 2008’s Black Ice, in which his vocals are more, shall we say, subdued.
9. They have yet to put any of their albums on Spotify.
For all the talk about Taylor Swift’s decision to boycott the streaming service, you’d think it would warrant some discussion that AC/DC has yet to put any of their albums on Spotify. If you want to listen to AC/DC, but don’t want to spend any money, your best bet would be to check Youtube, or perhaps see what Grooveshark has to offer.
10. …And finally, a complete list of AC/DC songs with the word “rock” in the title.
“Rock ‘N Roll Singer”
“It’s A Long Way To The Top If (You Wanna Rock ‘N Roll)”
“There’s Gonna Be Some Rockin'”
“Let There Be Rock”
“Rock ‘N Roll Damnation”
“Rock ‘N Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution”
“For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)”
“That’s The Way I Wanna Rock ‘N Roll”
“Rock Your Heart Out”
“Hard As A Rock”
“Whiskey On The Rocks”
“Can’t Stop Rock ‘N Roll”
“Rock ‘N Roll Train”
“She Likes Rock ‘N Roll”
“Rock ‘N Roll Dream”
“Rocking All The Way”
“Rock Or Bust
“Rock The Blues Away”
“Got Some Rock ‘N Roll Thunder”
“Rock The House”
I think there might be some kind of theme here…..