Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

For those about to rock - FIRE

AC/DC is an Australian rock band formed in 1973 by guitarist Angus Young and his brother Malcolm, made famous by their album Highway To Hell in 1979. In 1980 their lead singer Bon Scott died of "death by misadventure" (in reality it was from asphixiation from choking on his own vomit after a night of binge drinking). The band considered breaking up but got a new lead singer, Brian Johnson and made Back in Black and have been making records ever since. Drummer Phil Rudd was fired in 1983 and replaced by Simon Wright who, after that, was replaced by Chris Slade before being asked to leave so Phil Rudd could return as drummer in 1994.

As of 2008, AC/DC have sold more than 200 million albums worldwide, including 71 million albums in the United States. Back in Black has sold an estimated 45 million units worldwide, making it the highest-selling album by any band and the 2nd highest-selling album in history, second only to Michael Jackson's Thriller.

In 2010, their twenty-month Black Ice World Tour ended and officially became the third-highest grossing tour in music history.

The name AC/DC comes from alternating current/direct current. Specifically, a sewing machine was the inspiration of the name of the band.

Current Members:

  • Angus Young-Lead Guitar, occasional Backing Vocals(1973-)
  • Brian Johnson-Lead Vocals(1980- )
  • Cliff Williams-Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals(1978-)
  • Phil Rudd-Drums(1975-1983, 1994- )
  • Stevie Young (1988, 2014-present)

Former Members:

  • Bon Scott-Lead Vocals(1974-1980)
  • Mark Evans-Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals(1975-1977)
  • Simon Wright-Drums(1983-1989)
  • Chris Slade-Drums(1989-1994)
  • George Young (1974)
  • Malcolm Young-Rhythm Guitar, Backing Vocals(1973-2014)
  • High Voltage (1975) (Australia only)
  • T.N.T. (1975) (Australia only)
  • High Voltage (1976) (International version)
  • Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (1976)
  • Let There Be Rock (1977)
  • Powerage (1978)
  • If You Want Blood You've Got It (1978) Their first live album.
  • Highway to Hell (1979)
  • Back in Black (1980)
  • For Those About to Rock (1981)
  • Flick of the Switch (1983)
  • Fly on the Wall (1985)
  • Who Made Who (1986) Actually an OST for Stephen King's Maximum Overdrive film with couple new songs.
  • Blow Up Your Video (1988)
  • The Razors Edge (1990)
  • Live/Live: 2 CD Collector's Edition (1992)
  • Ballbreaker (1995)
  • Stiff Upper Lip (2000)
  • Black Ice (2008)
  • Backtracks (2009) A mutli-disc set featuring studio recordings previously unreleased in the US or anywhere, live rarities, and the third disc of an earlier released music video collection (Family Jewels).
  • Iron Man 2 (2010) A compilation album/soundtrack in the same vein of Who Made Who.
ACDC provides examples of the following tropes:

Musician tropes

  • Accidental Innuendo: The band's name. As sexual slang, AC/DC has a goes both ways connotation. Supposedly in the early days, a journalist asked singer Bon Scott if he was AC or DC only to be told “Neither – I'm the lightning bolt in between".
  • The Band Minus the Face: Well, one of them, at least.
  • Band of Relatives: Angus and Malcolm Young are brothers. Their brother George Young was bassist in 1974, and mutual nephew of all three Stevie Young filled in for Malcolm in 1988.
  • Garfunkel: Cliff and Phil just provide a really basic rhythm section (Cliff stated he's satisfied with it, while Phil doesn't talk very much).
  • Iconic Item: Angus' mock schoolboy outfit.
    • Also, Brian Johnson's cap.
  • Long Runner Lineup: Brian Johnson, Angus and Malcolm Young, Cilff Williams, and Phil Rudd from 1980-1983 and 1994 onwards.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Most of them are under 5'6".
  • Revolving Door Band: The band formed in 1973. By 1978, they were on their 8th drummer, 7th bassist, and 2nd vocalist. The second vocalist (Bon Scott) was one of the previous seven drummers, as well as the band's driver before that (the Young brothers thought having him play music instead increased their chances of getting home from a show alive).
  • Ridiculously-Fast Construction: Bon Scott died in February 1980. Back In Black, their Magnum Opus, was released in July 1980. That means Brian Johnson had only been the new singer for less than six months after the previous singer's death. This is a pace of lineup change that is still unmatched today. Many bands break up after a singer dies, some take years to replace the deceased.
    • This article shows how fast - and somewhat troubled - things went.
    • What the article doesn't mention is that the album was almost entirely written (the sole exception being lyrics, which Bon had worked on but were ultimately rewritten by Brian Johnson) while Scott was still alive. Or that this was the second time they had replaced a lead singer. Or that they had contemplated replacing Bon even before his death (not that they'll say it now).
  • School Uniforms Are the New Black: Angus's costume.
  • Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll: Bon Scott's life in a nutshell. (the others - specially Angus, who only smokes - less so, even if Malcolm and Phil had to take temporary leaves for substance abuse)
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Brian Johnson replacing Bon Scott. Even said something like "The casual listener could easily have thought that Johnson was Scott." Johnson himself has said that his normal singing voice was nothing like that before AC/DC; he deliberately emulated Scott's style. And while he was still part of the band, Bon Scott said if anyone could ever replace him, it would have to be Johnson.
  • The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter: While Cliff allegedly joined the band because of his good looks (which the Youngs thought would bring more women), take a look at his daughter, model Erin Lucas [dead link].
  • You Can Leave Your Hat On: Angus like to strip down to his underwear in concerts.

Music tropes

  • Album Title Drop:
    • "TNT" and "High Voltage" weren't on their respective albums.
    • "If You Want Blood (You've Got It)" wasn't even a song until the Highway to Hell album.
  • Ancient Rome: Angus didn't like school, but is a history buff, Rome in particular. Three songs are based on it, "For Those About To Rock" (the title comes from the famous gladiator phrase), "Hail Caesar", and "War Machine" (inspired by a documentary on Hannibal Barca).
  • Anti-Christmas Song: As the liner notes for The Razors Edge read:

“Mistress For Christmas” ain’t exactly “Frosty The Snowman.” Nor is it likely to turn up on too many compilations of family Christmas favorites.

  • Audience Participation Song: Several. "High Voltage" and "The Jack" are usually these.
    • To a lesser extent the intro to "Whole Lotta Rosie" and the Oi's in "T.N.T."
    • THUNDER!aaaaaaaaaaaa...THUNDER!aaaaaaaaaa......THUNDER!
  • Big Beautiful Woman: "Whole Lotta Rosie", with emphasis on "big":

"She ain't exactly pretty
Ain't exactly small
You can say she's got it aaaaaaaaaall!!!"

  • Blatant Lies: Bon Scott singing 'I never smoked me no cigarettes, I never drank much booze' on "Overdose".
  • Blood Lust: "If You Want Blood (You've Got It)"
  • Darker and Edgier: 1990's The Razor's Edge is the closest the band ever came to straight heavy metal. The song is in a minor key, features an Angus solo that briefly meanders into "noise rock" territory, and is propelled by a almost militaristic drumbeat.
  • Double Entendre: Bon Scott in particular was something of a genius at them, but let the record show that this (from "Let Me Put My Love Into You") just might be the greatest double entendre ever:

Let me cut your cake with my knife

    • This line from "Beating Around the Bush" is an honorable mention, and so is the song's title itself:

Sticks and stones won't break my bone

    • "Big Balls". This one is chock full of DE goodness.
    • There's also this preciosity from "You Shook Me All Night Long":

She told me to come, but I was already there

    • "The Jack" uses cards as a metaphor for venereal diseases.
  • Epic Rocking: "Let There Be Rock". In every sense of "epic".
  • Everything's Louder with Bagpipes: "It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock n' Roll)".
  • Everything Is an Instrument: While only four songs have instruments other than guitars, bass and drums, three are "regular" ones ("It's a Long Way to the Top"'s bagpipes, bells in both "Hells Bells" and "Mistress for Christmas")... and "For Those About To Rock" features cannons.
    • Inverted in "Jailbreak", where Angus makes sounds in his guitar for Spotlights! Sirens! Rifles, firing!
  • For Doom the Bell Tolls: "Hells Bells".
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: "Big Balls" is about large-scale upper-class social events.
    • The line "She's got big balls!" makes this fairly obvious. The alternative is far deeper than most AC/DC songs typically go.
  • Gold Digger: "What Do You Do for Money Honey"
  • Great Escape: "Jailbreak"
  • Greatest Hits Album: Angus Young refuses to do one. Yet two soundtracks, Who Made Who (Maximum Overdrive) and Iron Man 2 serve as good compilations.
    • The 1 CD version of AC/DC Live could count as well.
  • Grief Song: Back In Black has both "Hells Bells" and "Have a Drink on Me" as an homage to Bon Scott, who had died a year before.
  • Heavy Meta: A third, or half the songs, include Rock or Rock N Roll in the title or lyrics.
  • Intercourse with You: "Let Me Put My Love into You", "You Shook Me All Night Long", and in fact about half of AC/DC's songs.
  • Instrument of Murder: Angus appears impaled by his own guitar on the cover of If You Want Blood...
  • Instrumentals:
    • "D.T." from Who Made Who.
    • "Chase the Ace" from the same album. Though lyrics can supposedly be found online, the song itself features none.
  • Minimalistic Cover Art: Back in Black
  • Money Song: "Money Made", "Moneytalks".
  • Rated "M" for Manly
  • Professional Killer: "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap"
  • Rockstar Song: "It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock n' Roll)". "Let There Be Rock" too. "Highway to Hell" may also count.
  • Shout-Out: The title "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" is a reference to the old kids' cartoon Beany and Cecil, where it was a phrase used by the show's villain, Dishonest John.
  • Signature Song: "It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock n' Roll)" was this for Bon Scott. For that reason, since Brian Johnson took over (over 30 years ago, keep in mind), AC/DC never played the song live again, out of respect for Scott.
    • Johnson's is usually "Back in Black" or "You Shook Me All Night Long."
  • Something Blues: "Down Payment Blues" and "Satellite Blues".
  • Something Completely Different: "Love Song" is an actual love song, with jangly guitars and all, and "Ride On" is the closest thing to a ballad AC/DC has.
    • Many albums have one or two songs that are far slower and more bluesy then the rest of the album, such as "Stormy May Day" and "Rock N' Roll Dream" on Black Ice.
  • Song Parody: An occasional target. Commercial radio is prone to play a few bars of "Highway to Hell" as a clichéd prelude to local traffic reports. Bob Rivers parodied "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" as "Dirty Deeds Done With Sheep".
  • Stealth Pun: The chord sequence for "Long Way To The Top" is A, C, D, C.
  • Strictly Formula: This quote by Brian sums it up:

"Someone said to Angus the other day, ‘Hey, you’ve made the same album 15 times.’ Angus said, ‘No, man, we’ve made the same album 16 times!’"

Misc tropes

  • Continuity Nod: "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" alludes to "T.N.T." and "High Voltage."
  • Great Balls of Fire: Their live shows are huge. Just for starters, life sized cannons who fire during "For Those About To Rock", and a bell in which Brian hangs during "Hells Bells".
  • Iconic Logo
  • Line-of-Sight Name
  • Lucky Charms Title: When spelling it, don't forget the lightning bolt. A slash is acceptable for partial credit. Unicode represents an approximate form this way: ACϟDC?
  • You Keep Using That Word: When they started out, the term "AC/DC" had, in addition to electrical notation, been a somewhat common term for bisexuality. When you add in Angus stripping down to his skivvies, and the band opening for Lou Reed...