Editors' Notes Read exclusive quotes about this classic album from Jimmy Barnes, Darren Middleton, Peking Duk and others by clicking “More”. Released a mere five months after the untimely passing of vocalist Bon Scott, Back in Black marked a watershed moment for AC/DC. Having finally broken through in the US with 1979 predecessor Highway to Hell, Back in Black instantly made them one of the biggest bands in the world–no mean feat for a group breaking in a new singer, Brian Johnson. Four decades on, Back in Black sits comfortably on the list of all-time highest-selling albums—not to mention its immense influence on countless artists that came after. Led by the guitar work of brothers Angus and Malcolm Young, the impact of AC/DC’s seventh and biggest album can be felt across generation and genre—as proven by these tributes from a range of Australian artists speaking to Apple Music.

Oscar Dawson (Holy Holy)
“When many people hear the letters AC/DC, they immediately think pub rock or stadium rock. They think of heavy hitters, amps on 11, drummer pounding the tubs, singer screaming, headbanging. That’s not AC/DC though. When I revisit Back in Black I’m blown away by how soft they are playing. The drummer isn’t hitting hard. He’s sitting in the pocket. Malcolm isn’t just riffing away, he’s grooving. Angus plays melodically, he isn’t just wailing away. That’s hard to do. They are a rock band, but they actually swing. This is why the record resonates. It sounds pleasing. It hides its sophistication. It is heavy but not painful on the ear. It hits you in the pocket and makes you dance, not just bang your head. Rock bands of the world...take heed.”

Chris Cheney (The Living End)
“Setting aside for a moment the Young brothers’ incredible catalogue of guitar riffs, I reckon the sound of the bell as this album begins is one of the most identifiable sounds connected with AC/DC. With the first strike, you know exactly what album it is. What a way to return after the untimely death of Bon: the solid black cover, the ringing bell. It just sets the tone perfectly.”

Jimmy Barnes
“After losing a singer like Bon Scott, I didn’t think any band could continue. But this was the Young brothers. Two of the most determined, driven and talented people I had ever met. You can drop the needle down anywhere on that record and it will do the same thing. It rocks. That record is perfect driving music. ‘You Shook Me All Night Long’ still gets me moving as much as it did the first day I heard it. I can listen to Malcolm and Angus all day long. There have never been better rock guitarists, and probably never will be again.”

Lisa Origliasso (The Veronicas)
“‘You Shook Me All Night Long’ and ‘Back in Black’ were our favourites from the album. You can't get greater riffs, songwriting and spirit than those two songs right there.”

Brett Jansch (Dune Rats)
Back in Black made me a better guitar player, noodling around on all the lead guitar trickery and rhythm chops. That’s a wicked way to practise without feeling like homework. It’s the bible of Aussie pub rock.”

Darren Middleton (Powderfinger)
Back in Black hit me like a tidal wave in the early ’80s. Previously, as a young pre-teen, my record collection had consisted of compilation albums and my eyes were constantly goggling at the interesting characters and colours of the ’80s music movement. But this…this was something very ‘non-’80s’ and it spoke to me. The moment I put the album onto the turntable and ‘Hells Bells’ started, my mind was blown. It had a particularly huge impact on me when I first picked up a guitar. I was at high school myself when I discovered it, and Angus Young was my headmaster. The way he played, his maniacal roaming of the stage, the gritty, raw sound he pushed out was impossible for me to ignore. His playing and the band’s energy on this record was sublime. I learnt how to play every song on the guitar...and I don’t think it ever left me.”

Dec Martens (Amyl and the Sniffers)
“That album has been the soundtrack to a lot of my life. One strong memory is when I needed to finish a drink really fast once, I put Back in Black on so I could finish it.”

Reuben Styles (Peking Duk)
“When I was roughly 10 years old, AC/DC played at Exhibition Park in Canberra. It was so insanely loud that eight of the neighbouring suburbs were able to listen from their backyard. My mum and I didn’t have tickets so we sat out in the backyard and sang along to their whole set. But for some reason we really screamed ‘Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution’, and mum couldn’t stop laughing afterwards. She explained the irony to me and it then became my favourite song at the time. Since then and forever I will think of that night when I hear it. By the time of this album they really were the greatest rock band in the world. This album solidifies their story. To come from nothing and to grind and grind and simply not stop—dare I say it, it’s a fucking long way to the top and they knew it better than anyone. This album shows the same ‘we don’t give a fuck' freedom they always had, but now at the top. The guitars are more ruthless than ever. The spectrum of the sound is giant, and still to this day un-replicable (bless your long AF cotton socks, Angus).”

Adam Hyde (Peking Duk)
“I used to listen to this album every day when I was 14 to 16, pretty much. I would put it on my MP3 player first thing in the morning as I skateboarded out the door and had it on repeat all day and night while skating with my friends. It made me want to be on a stage performing rock ’n’ roll. It changed the way I looked at music. It changed music from a faraway, unattainable fantasy into this real, visceral dog bite of rock ’n’ roll. I fell in love.”

Nic Cester (Jet)
Back in Black is one of those rare albums that has become so much part of the tapestry of culture it feels like it’s just always been there. Obviously this album had enormous impact on me personally, but more significantly, the impact that it had for music in general is staggering. It’s a genre-defining album.”

Brad Cox
“My first experience playing live to an audience was playing AC/DC songs. So living with Back in Black to learn the songs was a huge part of my early teen life.”

Sam Teskey (The Teskey Brothers)
“Heavier rock music wasn't usually my go-to, but AC/DC showed me that there's a big place in my heart for this type of music. It was really the use of space and tightness of this album that brought me in. I love to be able to hear every instrument and texture, and the precision of the guitar work, everything is very intentional. This is what it showed me for my own music: Although the genre is quite different, the principles of the use of space and intention are very similar. I love the guitar work in ‘Rock and Roll Ain't Noise Pollution’. It starts so stripped back and just builds up beautifully. And what a perfect line for a chorus!”*
*
Pete Murray
“This album made me get into rock music. When I was about 13 I heard Back in Black from a friend’s older brother. He was playing it in his car and I was thinking, ‘what is this song and who is this band?’ The quality of the recording is incredible and the two opening tracks are a killer start to the record. How many people around the world have played and still play air guitar to ‘Back in Black’ or ‘You Shook Me All Night Long’?”

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5:12
 
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3:35
 
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3:32
 
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4:16
 
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4:16
 
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3:30
 
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3:59
 
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4:06
 
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4:15
 

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