As much as I’m a proper original vinyl collector and preach my love of this media with anyone who will listen, I believe that streaming music services like Spotify have been the most important thing to happen to music, since the first CD albums were released back in 1982 (Billy Joel’s 52nd Street was the first CD released, for fact fans)
I now have, through a little device in my pocket, access to instant high quality audio of pretty much every released song and album in history. When you step back for a few minutes and think about that, compared to how many warehouses it would take to hold such a record or CD collection, it is absolutely mind blowing. You can go down a two week long rabbit hole of music and not even begin to scratch the surface of what’s available. It would be physically impossible in a lifetime to listen to everything that there is out there. The fact that Spotify are currently adding 60,000+ new songs EVERY day also cements that fact further.
Although I have access to millions of new songs, I still however find myself coming back to the classics on a regular basis. Big powerhouse albums that have never failed to motivate me, inspire me or take me to a different place for an hour when I needed to escape.
This is one of those albums for me.
AC/DCs ‘Back In Black’ which has now sold over 50 million copies, is the ultimate lesson in how to make what sound like very simple rock music chords and song arrangements into the biggest, most powerful songs you have ever heard. Add huge lyrics and memorable choruses into the pot and you have every ingredient required.
Like I spoke of in a previous review, I have lifelong love of this band, during the eras of both its brilliant frontmen, Scott and Johnson. This album was the first from Scott’s untimely death but he had already began to work on the songs when he died. The decision to keep going was taken after Scott’s dad made a plea to the other band members at his funeral. Johnson was quickly drafted in and the album was finished and released as a very fitting tribute. Would the album have went on to sell 50 Million with Scott on vocals? Who knows, they were certainly heading that way with ‘Highway To Hell’ being their first million plus seller.
On ‘Back In Black’ from the moment you hear the massive church bells chime to announce that the opening track ‘Hells Bells’ is arriving you get a feeling instantly that something special is in the pipeline, you couldn’t follow up a grand opening like this with just any old crap. From then on in the whole album just powers along with a force of nothing else of its kind ever.
The songs aren’t deep by any standards, the song’s are written in the language of cryptic innuendo, many about encounters with the opposite sex, but like I mentioned in a previous review, these guys just knew how to deliver this message in a non-misogynistic, inoffensive fashion.
The legendary Mutt Lange, who produced Back In Black provided one of his most famous works of genius here, making this record sound so big, subsequently he went on to work on massive albums for the likes of Def Leppard, Foreigner, Bryan Adams, The Cars, Muse, Maroon 5 etc.
41 years from its release, ‘Back In Black’ is still top of the mountain for hard rock fans all over the world and for musicians alike. Rage Against The Machine’s guitarist Tom Morello was quoted as saying “no matter how good the newest rock album is, “Back In Black will kick its ass.” I think he made a good point.
This album catapulted these guys to the ultimate in rock superstardom and has been on top of my own pile since I got down on my knees on a makeshift dance-floor and head-banged at a primary 7 school trip to London, after pestering the owner of a restaurant we attended to play it. Every time I hassle one of my DJ friends to “play something that I know” or “play something i can dance to” I remember that evening fondly.
This is a bloody big album on every possible level, even people who don’t like AC/DC like a lot of these songs.
Total 100% winner on every possible level.