Album of The Week: Back in Black by AC/DC
Every week the URY Music team votes on an album of the week, considering the latest releases across the world and finalising one single album to promote to our listeners. Last Saturday we woke up to the sombre news of Malcolm Young, former guitarist and founder of famous rock band AC/DC, passing away with dementia. Therefore, our album of the week is AC/DC’s Back in Black, in honour of the incredibly talented Rock ’n’ Roll legend, Malcolm Young.
AC/DC was initially formed in November 1973. When they were first emerging as a band in Australia, the simplicity of their songs landed them in the initial category of a punk band, a contrast to the category fans may place them within today.
The first four albums were produced by Harry Vanda and George Young, Malcolm and Angus’ older brother. At this stage they had gained a solid reputation among small raucous groups, but with the release of platinum ‘Highway to Hell’ they become a strong presence worldwide, particularly on the American charts.
In February 1980, band member Bon Scott died of alcohol poisoning, and in the following June, AC/DC’s seventh studio album, Back in Black, was released. The album title and the black cover symbolised the AC/DC’s mourning of their band mate, and there are few Rock and Roll fans who would not recognise the sombre funeral bells at the beginning of the first track as in memory of Bon Scott. Thus this album is a particularly fitting album of the week, as once again the band mourns the loss of a key member.
It should come as no surprise that Back in Black is the second biggest-selling album of all time and was appropriately labelled by contemporaries as “the apex of heavy metal art” — and this is what the album is, a piece of art. The content is built on typical rock and roll values, consisting of giant and impressive guitar riffs, macho lyrics about sex, drinking and living in the moment.
There is no question that our rating of the album comes in at 5/5, being one of the most popular albums of all time. The songs take hold of the listener and orders them to live in the moment, informing us that death is a very real present, and inevitable thing.
Article: Ella Sutton
URY Music Editor: Alex West