Back In Black by AC/DC
Year of Release - 1980
Back in Black is the second best-selling album worldwide, behind only Michael Jackson's Thriller. It was very successful around the world, and despite never reaching #1 on the US Billboard 200, it received the 22x multi-platinum distinction, denoting 22 million albums sold, an especially unique distinction. This currently places it sixth in the list of best-selling albums in the US (behind Thriller, Eagles' Their Greatest Hits (1971–1975), Led Zeppelin's Led Zeppelin IV, Pink Floyd's The Wall, and Billy Joel'sGreatest Hits Volume I & Volume II)
Released on 21 July 1980, Back in Black was the first AC/DC album recorded without former lead singer Bon Scott, who died on 19 February at the age of 33, and was dedicated to him. The band considered disbanding following his death, but they ultimately decided to continue, with encouragement from Scott's parents, and shortly thereafter hired Brian Johnsonas their new lead singer and lyricist. Producer Robert John "Mutt" Lange, who had previously worked with AC/DC onHighway to Hell, was again brought in to produce. The album was recorded at Compass Point Studios in Nassau, Bahamas, and Electric Lady Studios in New York, where the album was also mixed.
Back in Black was originally mastered by Bob Ludwig at Masterdisk, New York. It was remastered and re-released in 1994, then again as part of the Bonfire box set in 1997, and as part of the AC/DC Remasters series in 2003 by George Marino. In addition, a Dualdisc version was released in 2004, featuring the album in enhanced LPCM Stereo format and the video documentary The Story of Back in Black.
As of June 2011, the album has sold an estimated 50 million copies worldwide, making it tied for second highest-selling album of all time, the highest-selling album by a band (together with Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon), the best-selling hard rock album of all-time, and the best-selling album ever released by an Australian musical act. On 13 December 2007, the RIAA certified it 22x multi-platinum, recognizing sales of 22 million in the US, making it the sixth-highest-selling album in the US (fourth-highest at the time).
After the success of their previous album, Highway to Hell, Bon Scott and company began developing a new album. Some of the songwriting had been completed when he died unexpectedly from alcohol poisoning. When Brian Johnson became lead singer, AC/DC decided to finish the songwriting they had started under Scott, with the Young brothers composing the music and Johnson writing the lyrics.
Back in Black was recorded at Compass Point Studios in the Bahamas. It was not easy for AC/DC, as their equipment was initially held up by customs, and the island was overcome with tropical storms that wreaked havoc on the studio's electricity. Johnson reported having trouble adjusting to the environment, and even referenced the bad weather on the opening lines of "Hells Bells" ("I'm rolling thunder, pourin' rain. I'm comin' on like a hurricane. My lightning's flashing across the sky. You're only young but you're gonna die.")
According to Angus Young, the album's all-black cover was a "sign of mourning" for Scott. Atlantic Records disagreed with the cover, but accepted if the band put a grey outline around the AC/DC logo.
Despite its massive commercial success, Back in Black did not reach the top of the US charts, peaking at #4; their next album, For Those About to Rock We Salute You, hit #1 in 1981, their first to do so. Back in Black, however, hit #1 on the UK charts.
"Let Me Put My Love Into You" was placed at #6 on the Parents Music Resource Center Filthy Fifteen list in 1985.
Back in Black was released on 25 July 1980, less than half a year after Scott's death. AC/DC were nervous about the future, with Angus saying they were a "bit jittery" during recording. However, the album proved to ease the band's worries, as it became an instant success, and is their best-selling album. Not only did it go to #1 on the UK Albums Chart, its success meant AC/DC were the first band since The Beatles to have four albums in the British Top 100 simultaneously, as Highway to Hell, If You Want Blood You've Got It, and Let There Be Rock all re-entered the charts right after Back in Black was released. In the US the single "You Shook Me All Night Long"/"Have a Drink on Me" became AC/DC's first Top 40 hit in the country, peaking at #35. Back in Black was also well received by critics, with Rolling Stone saying in its 1980 review of the album, "...the first LP since Led Zeppelin II that captures all the blood, sweat and arrogance of the [heavy metal] genre."
The album is featured on many "best of" lists. In 1989, it was ranked #26 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 100 Best Albums of the Eighties. The title track was ranked #190 on the same magazine's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. In 2001, VH1 ranked Back in Black #82 on its list of the Top 100 Albums.VH1 also placed the title track at #2 on its list of the 100 Greatest Hard Rock Songs. In 2003, the album was ranked #77 on Rolling Stone's list of "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time". In 2006, Q magazine placed the album at #9 in its list of the 40 Best Albums of the '80s. It was listed at #2 in the book, 100 Best Australian Albums, in October 2010, and included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die in 2005.
Back in Black is also praised for its sound quality. In the years after its release, studios in Nashville, Tennessee (nicknamed "Music City") would use it to check the acoustics of a room, while Motörhead would use it to tune their sound system.
American death metal group Six Feet Under recorded a cover of the entire album under the title Graveyard Classics 2.
Shoot To Thrill
What Do You Do For Money
Given the Dog a Bone
Let Me Put My Love into You
Back in Black
You Shook Me All Night Long
Have a Drink On Me
Shake A Leg
Rock and Roll Aint Noise Pollution
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