Great Metal Albums of 1980: AC/DC- Back In Black


Someone somewhere must have some sort of sixth sense because every time I come around to visiting an AC/DC album here, tribute band Hells Bells comes to town. Therefore, I think that it’s only fitting that before I talk about any AC/DC album, I should go and see Hells Bells first for inspiration. That’s what I did with my step son last night.



Unlike their last visit, this time Hells Bells brought a support band with them. We were a couple of minutes late and so going up the stairs to the show, I thought it was a bit strange that I was hearing the  Blondie classic “One Way or Another.” Once inside the function room, the Stroud audience was being treated to Bombshell. My first thought to this band was on account of their name and the fact they were fronted by a very attractive lead singer reminiscent of Debbie Harry, that they were a Blondie tribute band. The very next song killed that theory. Bombshell turned out to be a very capable cover band playing their own version of some great rock classics like “Black Velvet,” “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” and Kelly Clarkson’s “Since You Been Gone.” There was one trick up their sleeve. My first thought was “Why are they playing a Lady Ga Ga song when I recognised “Poker Face.” However, their hard rock version totally kicks the pants off the original version. Give me Bombshell’s anytime. So Bombshell provided a good opening to the evening’s festivities.

Hells Bells at their usual greatness

Hells Bells at their usual greatness

I would only be repeating myself from the last time I posted about this great tribute to AC/DC if I go into great details about the show. Of course, they played many of the great classics and as always, they were note perfect in regards to AC/DC. The only thing difference was that the entire band is growing moustaches this month for Movember in order to raise money for research for testicular cancer. This means there isn’t a whole lot to say about the night that I haven’t said before because as always, Hells Bells proved why AC/DC are one of the best loved bands in the world.

I thought I'd take this because I never seem to get the rhythm guitarist and bass in my photos

I thought I’d take this because I never seem to get the rhythm guitarist and bass in my photos

All of this brings me around to my all time favourite AC/DC album and that is my one tiny gripe about the show. Hells Bells only played three songs off “Back In Black.” “Shoot to Thrill,” “Back in Black” and “You Shook Me All Night Long” are all great songs, especially the last one, but any song from this album would have had me banging my head in vigorous exultation. Of course, I also would have been over the moon if they had played “Given the Dog a Bone.” I have always like that song even before I discovered what the song was actually about. Of course, there are several songs with innuendo on the album. “What Do You Do For Money” and “Let Me Put My Love Into You” are perfect examples, especially with the lyrics in the latter, “Let me cut your cake with my knife.”

Stating the obvious here but back in 1980, the big question asked when this album came out was if new lead singer Brian Johnson could fill the shoes vacated by the passing of Bon Scott. For me and many others, there was no question here, Brian proved he’s got the goods. Full credit to the band here, they didn’t try to go out and find a Bon Scott clone because no such person exists. Brian Johnson is his own vocalist and this album highlights the fact behind the usual great musicianship of Young, Young, Williams and Rudd. This album does have some of my favourite guitar solos from Angus.

Track Listing:

1. Hells Bells

2. Shoot to Thrill

3. What Do You Do For Money, Honey

4. Given the Dog a Bone

5. Let Me Put My Love Into You

6. Back in Black

7. You Shook Me All Night Long

8. Have a Drink On Me

9. Shake a Leg

10. Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution



Brian Johnson- lead vocals

Angus Young- lead guitar

Malcolm Young- rhythm guitar

Cliff Williams- bass

Phil Rudd- drums

Thirty million sales world wide can’t be wrong. Many, including me, will say that this is the best AC/DC album of all time. Listening to the songs in it, I can see why.

Next post: Triumph- Progression of Power

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4 Responses to “Great Metal Albums of 1980: AC/DC- Back In Black”

  1. Looking forward to your Triumph post!

    Funny, we were just talking about Back in Black last week. I’m just glad they carried on. To do so with such class and style is rare.


  2. This album was their high water mark as far as I am concerned. And you are right any song on this album is a classic


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