On the cusp on celebrating 40 years in the music business with a new album and new world tour, AC/DC may have to call it quits. On the roller-coaster of the trending news over the last 24 hours, it was revealed founding member, and one of the most influential rhythm guitar players of all time, Malcolm Young had a stroke and has not been able to play to the quality and continuity he did before. At this point the guitar slinger has stated he will be taking a leave of absence from the band to work on his recovery. Brian Johnson has stated at this point the rest of the band will forge on with recording set to begin in May. Malcolm, along with his brother Angus, are the only constant members through the band’s history.
In celebration, sadness or nostalgia, we look at the Top 10 AC/DC songs. Now, this is quite a task, and will have several debates and moments of but-what-about-such-and-such, and Brian vs Scott, etc., etc. The 1980 debut of singer Brian Johnson Back In Black could honestly fill up the Top 10 with ease, as could many of their other 16 studio recordings. Horns up, let’s jump on the Top 10 “Highway to Hell”!
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10. “Rock N Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution” – Back In Black
The slow, bluesier side of AC/DC opens this up, with Back In Black’s closing track “Rock N’ Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution”. With Malcolm’s slow churning riff against Angus’ squealing solos speaks volumes of how different their styles are but still manage to blend perfectly together.
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9. “Thunderstruck” – The Razor’s Edge
Having every guitar player trying to mimic the fret board workout, “Thunderstruck” catapulted AC/DC back into the forefront of popular music and commercial success. The Razor’s Edge also gave us hits “Are You Ready” and “Moneytalks” but “Thunderstruck” charted highest on the Billboard charts at Number 5. The Razor’s Edge also went on to sell over five-times platinum.
8. “The Jack” – High Voltage
Called by many fans as AC/DC’s one and only “ballad”, “The Jack”, off of their debut album High Voltage, is one of the defining songs of the Bon Scott era with its tongue-in-cheek lyrics. “The Jack” is actually an Australian reference to the STD Gonorrhea, or as American’s call it, “The Clap”.
7. “Big Balls” Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
Another lyrically funny song during the Bon Scott era, which will always get a crowd singing the chorus “We’ve got big balls”. The obvious sexual innuendos fly out at a constant pace, making for a fun, good time party song with a lot of weight.
6. “Shoot to Thrill” Back In Black
Even Iron Man knows it. If you want to have a song that will amp you up to the Nth degree, “Shoot To Thrill” will do the trick every time. The fast paced rocker had every tween, teen, and 20-something running around their room playing air guitar in the 1980’s, and when re-released on the Iron Man 2 soundtrack, had a generation later doing the exact same thing.
5. “T.N.T” High Voltage
Although sometimes misheard as “fight”, we learned the slang “oi” from the song “T.N.T.” off of the Aussie’s debut album. A bone-crunching anthem will get you in the mood to take on anything, or anyone that gets in your way. At 40 years old, “T.N.T.” is still one of the band’s most beloved songs, and still a staple in their live sets.
4. “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
The party starter “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap”, off the album of the same name, was inspired from an Australian cartoon called Beany and Cecil which Angus Young watched growing up. A character named Dishonest John carried a business card that read “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap. Holidays. Sundays and Special Rates.”
3. “For Those About to Rock, We Salute You” – For Those About to Rock, We Salute You
A staple encore and closing number in their live shows, “For Those About To Rock, We Salute You” has one of the greatest build-ups and climaxes to any song in rock history. The fist-pumping song comes off of the album of the same name, which gave AC/DC their first Number 1 album in the US. Their only other Number 1 was 27 years later with Black Ice.
2. “Highway To Hell” – Highway To Hell
The album “Highway To Hell” would ironically be the last album with Bon Scott, who died almost a year after its release. Too drunk to drive home, a friend put him in his car to sober up. The following day the friend found him and rushed him to the hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival. Officially reported on the death certificate as “acute alcohol poisoning” and classified “death by misadventure”, Scott ultimately died of vomit inhalation. “Highway To Hell” indeed.
1. “Back In Black” – Back In Black
In honor of Bon Scott’s death, AC/DC almost called it quits. Inspired by the Scott family to move on, the band hired Brian Johnson and really, the rest is history. The song “Back In Black”, with its brilliant opening riff, has inspired thousands of bands and musicians with its rawness and attitude. The album has sold over 50 million copies worldwide and was certified 22-times platinum in 2007. Back In Black still inspires artists today.