Glasgow, Scotland, in the early 1960s was a rough, crowded industrial
town whose depressed economy offered few options for working-class
families. At the same time that much of Britain was experiencing 
economic hard times, a postwar boom was still in force in Australia. 
That under populated continent, bursting with natural resources but 
lacking sufficient population to fully exploit them, was particularly 
eager to encourage struggling Brits to emigrate to its shores. In
addition, the Australian government had instituted a massive immigration 
program, which allowed immigrants to sail southward for a mere ten pounds 
a head. So, in 1963, William and Margaret Young immigrated to Australia 
with eight of their nine children. They settled in Sydney, New South Wales.

When the Young family moved to Sydney, George formed The Easybeats with 
Johannes Jacob Hendrickus Vandenberg, better known as Harry Vanda. The 
quintet quickly made their mark on the Sydney scene and were to become
Australia's biggest pop act during the mid '60s. In 1966, the band headed 
to the UK and quickly established themselves in Britain. However, in 1970, 
The Easybeats disbanded; Vanda and Young returned to Sydney to work for 
Ted Albert in his newly formed Albert Productions organisation. But the 
success of The Easybeats was to have an enormous impact on George Young's 
brothers Malcolm and Angus.

Malcolm picked up the guitar first, graduating quickly from acoustic to 
electric. With adhoc advice along the way from George he made rapid
progress. Angus messed around with his older brother's guitars before 
his mother finally bought him his own.Malcolm left school at 15 and found
gainful employment as a machine maintenance engineer for a bra company 
(Berlei Bras). In 1971, he joined up with a band called Velvet Underground 
(no relation to the Lou Reed band). Ironically, the original singer in the 
band was called Brian Johnson. In 1972, George invited Malcolm and Angus 
to join with his new band, the Marcus Hook Roll Band, for the recording
sessions of his album 'Tales Of Old Granddaddy'. In fact, George and Harry 
didn't take the project very seriously so they thought it would be a good
idea to include George's brothers to give them an idea of what recording 
was all about. That was the first thing Malcolm and Angus did before AC/DC. 
At fourteen and nine months (the legal age you could leave school), Angus 
left and went to work for a soft porn magazine called Ribald as a printer. 
Meanwhile, Angus had already formed his own band , Tantrum, and had become
proficient as a musician through playing along to any records he could find.

When the Velvet Underground fell apart in 1973, Malcolm was determinded to 
put together a new one-guitar band with a keyboard player. But Malcolm 
changed his mind and decided he needed a second guitar player to fill out 
the sound and turned to Angus for help. Malcolm's vision for his new band 
was a hard-edged boogie sound married to the in-vogue image of long hair 
and stack-heeled boots. For experience, Malcolm called on the services of 
drummer Colin Burgess, who had experience in several bands, bassist Larry 
Van Knedt and singer Dave Evans. Their name, AC/DC, came from the back of 
a vacuum cleaner. "AC/DC", it has something to do with electricity", 
Malcolm's sister Margaret said. The abbreviation stands for Alternating
Current/Direct Current in electrical parlance. However, in their naiveity 
the Young brothers were ignorant of the term's bisexual connotations, and 
the band were to spend the next few years vehemently insisting on their
heterosexuality. Their first performance was on New Year's Eve, 1973, in a 
small Sydney club called Chequers. They played a covers set of the Rolling 
Stones, Chuck Berry and the Beatles. AC/DC was born!

In the next six months following their first concert, the AC/DC lineup 
changed a lot. Drummer Colin Burgess was successively replaced by Ron 
Carpenter, Russell Coleman and Peter Clack whilst Rob Bailey replaced 
Larry Van Knedt on bass. In June 1974, AC/DC recorded their first 
single in Albert Studios, Sydney. The current lineup was then Malcolm
Young, Angus Young, Dave Evans, Rob Bailey and Peter Clack. Two songs 
were recorded, 'Can I Sit Next To you Girl' and Rockin' In The Parlour'
produced by Harry Vanda and George Young. The single was released in 
Australia during July on Albert Records and in New Zealand on Polydor. 
It became a minor regional hit in Perth and Adelaide. Then began a heavy 
club tour across Australia. In Melbourne, they played at the Hard Rock Cafe 
which was owned by Michael Browning who became AC/DC's manager. 

Browning proved to be a shrewd choice as manager and was to make so me 
vital decisions for the band during the next few years. His first and 
most important decision was the hiring of a driver to ferry the band 
around, a guy called Ronald Belford Scott, known to all as 'Bon'. 
Bon Scott persuaded the Young brothers to give him a chance as drummer 
and then as singer. After they tried him out, Bon took Dave Evans' place
as AC/DC's frontman. In January 1975, AC/DC recorded their debut album 
called 'High Voltage' with the lineup Malcolm Young, Angus Young, Bon 
Scott, George Young (on bass) and Tony Kerrante (on drums). The record 
was cut in 10 days and came out in February 1975. 'High Voltage' was an 
immediate success in Australia. The album and its first single, 'Baby 
Please Don't Go', entered the Australian charts in March. In June 1975, 
the band released a non-LP single, 'High Voltage' (originally written for 
the 'High Voltage' album but not completed in time). The single coincided 
with a show at Melbourne's Festival Hall. AC/DC's set was shot by a
four-camera film crew, for the purpose of producing a promotional video 
clip to be used by management in its attempts to raise overseas record 
company interest in the band. Finally, AC/DC found a stable lineup when 
Phil Rudd and Mark Evans came in on drums and bass. Their second album 
called 'T.N.T.' was released at the end on 1975. It was a huge success, 
selling more than 100,000 copies and AC/DC became by the way the biggest 
rock'n'roll band in Australia. But what does it mean on a worldwide level.

While their popularity in Australia was growing at a faster rate than the 
band could have anticipated, AC/DC's attempts to achieve international 
recognition had thus far failed to bear fruit. But if the band was to make 
a significant long-term impression on overseas markets, it would need the 
support of a powerful record company with the experience and marketing 
clout to match the band's ambition. Michael Browning found that support in 
the London office of the US-based Atlantic Records. So, in the Spring of 
1976, AC/DC signed a worldwide deal with Atlantic Records. They decided to 
relocate to the UK to further their career. They landed in Britain on 
April 1, 1976.

Meanwhile, AC/DC had recorded their third album in January 1976 in 
Australia. The first single taken from the album was 'Jailbreak' on the
A-side and 'Fling Thing', a traditional Scottish folk song arranged by the 
Young brothers, on the B-side. The album itself came out in Australia in 
September and was titled 'Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap'. 

When they arrived in the UK, the Punk was sweeping the nation. AC/DC made 
their first live performances in the UK during April 1976 at the Red Cow 
pub in Hammersmith, West London, followed by other dates at small clubs 
across Britain. Before touring on a large scale, AC/DC made other debut 
appearances, opening for the Back Street Crawlers. The tour was a great
success for AC/DC. At the end of the tour, on May 14, Atlantic's British 
division issued 'High Voltage' in the UK. The British 'High Voltage' is a
compilation of tracks from their first two Australian albums. All of Side 
One is taken from the 'T.N.T.' album, Side Two takes 'T.N.T.', 'Can I Sit 
Next To You Girl' and 'High Voltage' from 'T.N.T.', plus 'Little Lover' 
and 'She's Got Balls' from the Australian 'High Voltage' album. 

With this first album now officially on the British market, a tour of 
twenty venues around Britain was set up, dubbed 'Lock Up Your Daughters'.
AC/DC's fifty-minute live set was part of a program featuring a live DJ 
and film clips of other bands. The tour was a success even if some venues 
ran into low-attendance problems. In July 1976, AC/DC got a weekly Monday
residency at the Marquee Club in London. The gigs eventually attracted more 
than 1,000 people at a time while the official capacity of the club was not 
more than 700. The Marquee gigs firmly established AC/DC as virtually the 
only non-Punk band doing anything exciting in London in 1976. 

This Marquee residency led to an offer to support Ritchie Blackmore's 
Rainbow in Europe during August for a nineteen-date tour. It was preceded
by three headlining gigs in Germany, where 'High Voltage' had sold 16,000 
copies in its first week of release. On August 29, AC/DC played their
biggest show at England's Reading Rock Festival, in front of a crowd 
numbering fifty thousand. Unfortunately, AC/DC's set was something of a
misfire, apparently due more to an unenthusiastic crowd than a substandard
performance. In December 1976, 'Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap' was released 
in Britain. The British version of the album did not contain 'Jailbreak' 
and 'R.I.P. (Rock in Peace)'. They were replaced by 'Rocker' (from the 
'T.N.T.' album) and the previously unreleased 'Love At First Feel' that 
the band would release as a single in Australia in January 1977. 

In December, the band flew back to Australia. The Australian tour, which 
marked AC/DC's return home after an eight-month absence, saw the group 
welcomed as conquering heroes. After the tour, the band took a short break 
around Christmas. They remained in Australia during the first two months 
of 1977 to record their fourth album 'Let There Be Rock' at Albert Studios 
in Sydney. After a few more gigs in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, AC/DC 
returned to the UK in February 1977 to begin a 26-date tour around the 
country from February 18 to March 1. The tour was immediately followed by 
a second European tour supporting Black Sabbath. AC/DC was widely reported 
to be blowing the headliners off the stage every night. Unfortunately, an
altercation occurred between bassist Geezer Butler and Malcolm Young. 
AC/DC were kicked off the tour and returned to London. 

At the end of June 1977, AC/DC and Mark Evans parted company. Within 24 
hours of Evans telling the band that he was off, the name of Cliff Williams 
came to the fore. Michael Browning had heard about him from a mutual 
acquaintance, and immediately made contact. Cliff Williams walked into his 
audition and got the job.

The next step in AC/DC's conquest of the world was the conquest of the 
United States. Meanwhile, the British version of 'High Voltage' had been 
released in America during October 1976. 'Let There Be Rock' was to be 
released in the US in June, four months before Europe and three months 
after Australia. AC/DC's first US tour started in the Southern part of the 
country during the Summer and ended in the Winter, taking them from Texas 
to Florida. In Florida, they played their first major US gig in front of
13,000 people at the outdoor Hollywood Spartatorium. AC/DC's first trek 
across the States was a case of small clubs at one end and huge arenas,
opening for REO Speedwagon, in the other. The US tour reached a peak at 
the Palladium and the CBGB's club in New York. At New York's Palladium,
Angus used a cordless guitar for the first time.

On October 14, 'Let There Be Rock', recorded in January/February 1977, 
finally saw the light in Britain after lengthy delays. In November, the
album reached No. 17 in the British charts. The US tour was broken in the 
Fall by a third tour of Europe and Britain in order to promote their new
album. As expected, this time they toured Europe as headliners. 
In November/December 1977, back in the States, AC/DC opened for Rush and 
Kiss. In New York, the band performed a show for radio broadcast at
Atlantic's own recording studios on Broadway, on December 7. The set was 
sent out to radio DJ's as a 'For Promotional Use Only' LP titled 'Live
From The Atlantic Studios'. These days very few copies of that limited 
edition record exist, but it has been released as different bootleg albums
since then.

After the traditional New Year break in Sydney, AC/DC returned to Albert 
Studios with Harry Vanda and George Young to record their next album between 
February and March 1978. The album called 'Powerage' was released in the UK 
on April 28. A month later it reached No. 26 in the British charts. The 
Powerage World Tour began on April 26 with 28 major venues in Britain. The 
UK tour finished on May 29 and AC/DC took flight for the United States once
more for support slots with Rainbow, Savoy Brown, Alice Cooper, Journey, 
Aerosmith, Scorpions and UFO.

The band played nearly 100 shows during this period in the States, ranging 
from small clubs to an appearance at the prestigious Day On The Green 
outdoor festival in San Francisco during August. AC/DC's reputation was 
growing considerably in the States. By the end of the US tour, 'Powerage' 
had sold a quarter of a million copies in America. The design of the 
Powerage tour brochure prefigured the cover for the band's long awaited
live album. 'If You Want Blood You've Got It' was recorded during the 
earlier months of 1978 and released at the end of the US tour in October, 
a mere six months after the release of 'Powerage'. The album reached No. 13 
in the UK charts and breached the US Top 50 for the first time. 
A maxi-single, available on both seven-inch and 12-inch format, was issued 
by Atlantic shortly after the album. It combined live rendition's of
'Whole Lotta Rosie' and 'Hell Ain't A Bad Place To Be'.

AC/DC promoted the live album by heading straight out on tour in the UK 
during early November for a series of 16 dates in just 18 days. Extra 
nights were slotted in everywhere along the way, as the band literally 
exploded in popularity.

'If You Want Blood You've Got It' closed the first stage of AC/DC's career. 
Atlantic suggested a change of producer. Eddie Kramer, who in the past had 
been associated with Jimi Hendrix, Kiss and Led Zeppelin, was the first 
choice to produce AC/DC's next album. But things just didn't work out. 
Eventually, Robert John 'Mutt' Lange was chosen to produce the album. As 
well as changing producer, AC/DC also changed studios, moving into the 
Roundhouse Studios in Chalk Farm, London. Those changes were followed by a 
change in management, from Michael Browning to Peter Mensch of the powerful
New York-based Leber and Krebs organization.

AC/DC had not previously recorded outside Australia and had never spent 
more than three weeks working on an album, spent six months in the 
Roundhouse Studios with 'Mutt' Lange working on the new record. Lange did 
an admirable job of refining and sharpening AC/DC's sound without losing 
the raw edge that was the source of the band's original appeal. Released on 
July 27, 'Highway To Hell' quickly became the band's first UK Top Ten hit, 
peaking at No. 8, and their first US Top Twenty, reaching No. 17. It was 
even a hit in Australia, where it made it to No. 24, making it the first 
AC/DC album to chart there in nearly three years. 'Highway To Hell' 
received the most positive press of the band's career. 

The band spent the remainder of 1979 touring in the United States and 
Britain, though still not in Australia, where the album was not released 
until November. In the States, AC/DC played a handful of headlining shows 
while opening other concerts for the likes of Cheap Trick, UFO and Ted 
Nugent. But not all headliners regarded the idea of sharing the stage with 
AC/DC with enthusiasm. In attempting to book the US Highway To Hell Tour, 
AC/DC was turned down by Foreigner, Van Halen and Sammy Hagar. The British 
leg of the Highway To Hell tour took in dates in Newcastle, Glasgow, 
Liverpool, Stafford and London's Hammersmith Odeon, with Def Leppard as 
support act. It began on October 26 at the Mayfair in Newcastle and ended 
on November 9 at Leicester's De Monfort Hall.

On August 18, AC/DC played the biggest show of their career thus far in 
the UK. It was at Wembley Stadium in London, opening for The Who. Despite 
sound problems, AC/DC's set won excellent notice and was undoubtedly 
helpful in expanding the group's audience. The Wembley gig did a lot for 
AC/DC's credibility and confidence, and led to more outdoor dates with
The Who in Europe.

Before the by-now-traditional Christmas break in Australia, the band made 
an extensive tour of Europe. AC/DC ended the year by playing a date in 
Paris which was filmed for a long-form video issued in 1980 and titled 
'Let There Be Rock'. In January 1980, the band flew to France for the
annual Midem music-industry convention, at which they were presented with 
an armload of gold and silver discs for sales in France and Canada. They 
also played some dates in Newcastle and Southampton for shows cancelled
on the last British tour and taped an appearance on British TV's 'Top of 
the Pops' to promote the current UK single 'Touch Too Much'. 

On January 27, 1980, Bon Scott appeared for the last time onstage with the 
band...

On Tuesday, February 19, Bon Scott went to tour manager Ian Jeffrey's house 
for dinner, leaving at about 6.30 pm to go to the Music Machine in London. 
When the club closed up its bar at 3 am, Bon left with an old friend, 
Alisdair Kinnear. Kinnear drove Bon back to his flat at Ashley Court but 
upon arrival, he couldn't move Bon. He was then left with the one 
alternative of driving Bon back to his own pad in Dulwich. On arriving home, 
however, he still couldn't wake Bon. He tried to lift him out of the car, 
but was unable to. He eventually decided to leave him in the car for the 
night and went to bed.

Kinnear awoke early in the evening on the 20th, checked on Bon, and found 
him unconscious in the car. He rushed him to King's College Hospital, but 
by then it was too late to save Bon's life. Bon was pronounced dead on 
arrival at the hospital. The autopsy was held on Friday, February 22. The 
verdict was 'Death by Misadventure - Acute Alcoholic Poisoning'. The coroner 
reported that Bon's stomach had been found to contain the equivalent of half
a bottle of whiskey at the moment of death. Sometime during the night Bon, 
who had been lying in an awkward position with his neck twisted, had vomited
and choked to death. 

After the autopsy, Bon's body was flown out to Australia to be cremated by 
his family. Bon was cremated in Fremantle, on Friday, February 29, his ashes
buried the following day in the Fremantle Cemetery's Memorial Garden.

During the first weeks after Bon's death, the members of AC/DC didn't know 
what to do: whether to continue without Bon or split up. Of course, AC/DC 
could never be the same without Bon; when he died, something of AC/DC died
with him. But Malcolm and Angus decided Bon would have wanted AC/DC to 
continue. So they pulled themselves together, and got down to the task of 
finding a new singer. 

By the beginning of March, the media had lined up a number of likely 
candidates: former Easybeats vocalist Stevie Wright, an Australian called 
Alan Fryer (who was found too similar to Bon), and Londoner Gary Holton. 
Eventually a shortlist of two was drawn up: Terry Schlesher and Brian 
Johnson. 

At the time, Brian Johnson was busy trying to get Geordie back together. 
But he took time out to audition, running through just two numbers with
the band, namely 'Whole Lotta Rosie' and the Ike and Tina Turner 'Nutbush 
City Limits'. The following Saturday night, Malcolm called him and told him 
he had the job. 

The recording sessions of AC/DC's eighth album took place at Compass Point 
Studios in the Bahamas, under the production guidance of Robert John 'Mutt' 
Lange. It was recorded during April and throughout May, over a period of 
six weeks. The album was completed by the end of May. On July 1, Brian 
Johnson made his debut appearance onstage with AC/DC at Namur in Belgium. 

'Back In Black' was released on July 31. Within a couple of weeks, it was 
top of the UK charts and it stayed No. 1 for two weeks. In November, it
reached No. 4 in the US charts and lingered in the top ten for over five 
months. In Australia, it went to No. 2. By now, Back In Black has sold over 
ten million copies worldwide, making it the biggest selling 'Heavy Metal' 
album of all times. 

AC/DC hit the road for the first time with Brian Johnson in August. They 
toured in America for two months, then Britain through into November, and 
then in December finally returned to Australia. They toured in their home 
country for the first time since 'Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap'. The year 
1981 began with some more dates in Japan and Australia. Demand for AC/DC 
grew to such a point in America that Atlantic finally released the initially
rejected 'Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap' album in May 1981. It went No. 3 in 
the US charts where it sat for four weeks (from May 23 to June 20) and even 
topped 'Back In Black'. 

In June 1981, in the very first issue of Kerrang!, AC/DC were officially 
credited as having recorded the greatest Metal song of all times, when
'Whole Lotta Rosie' was voted top Heavy Metal song. 

On August 22, 1981, AC/DC received the final confirmation that they were 
now one of the very biggest rock bands in the world. They were offered the 
chance to headline the second annual Castle Donington Monsters Of Rock
festival.

The recording of AC/DC's next album took place in Paris with 'Mutt' Lange. 
The task wasn't proving easy. The main cause of concern was the fact that 
Lange was apparently finding it very difficult to get the right kind of 
sound for the record. Lange solved the sound problems by hiring a mobile 
recording unit from England. 

The album, titled 'For Those About To Rock We Salute You' was released in 
November 1981 and was immediately a worldwide commercial success. It 
climbed to No. 3 in the UK charts. Just prior to the release of their new 
album, no less than seven AC/DC albums appeared in Kerrang!'s All-Time Top 
100 Heavy Metal Albums chart. In February 1982, 'Let's Get It Up' became
the band's biggest hit single to date, making No. 13. Later in July, the 
title track itself made No. 15 in the UK charts.

In America, AC/DC were still increasing in fame. 'For Those About To Rock' 
became their first chart-topping album in the US. A huge tour of the States 
proved that they were attracting bigger audiences than ever. 

The 'Cannon and Bell' tour reached the UK during late September. This time 
the band moved out of the halls and into the arenas, playing the likes of 
the Birmingham NEC and Wembley Arena in London. 

By the end of 1982, AC/DC's position as the top rock band around was 
cemented when Kerrang! published the results of its readers' poll. AC/DC
were voted 'Top Band', Angus was 'Top Guitarist', Cliff was 'Top Bassist', 
the band were voted as having produced the 'Best Live Gig' and 'For Those 
About To Rock' was the 'Best Single'. Brian was third top male vocalist, 
Phil was second best drummer, 'Let's Get It Up' finished sixth best single 
and Angus was amazingly second as 'Male Pin-Up'.

NEXT

That's alot o Rosie