Why AC/DC Rules the World

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For more than thirty-five years the Australian born rock band, AC/DC, has been exploding sound across the billboard charts and prompting spontaneous fist pumping across the globe. They are one of the most successful bands of all time and may arguably rule the world when it comes to rock and roll. VH1 ranked them 4th on their list of “100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock,” and MTV called them the 7th “Greatest Rock Band of All Time,” but why do these middle-aged rockers deserve such repute? In his book, Why AC/DC Matters, famed rock author Anthony Bozza writes several convincing reasons these boys should be remembered above the likes of the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, and the Beatles.  Bozza attests that not only is AC/DC’s sound more “primal and fundamental” than the rest, but the band has one of the most consistent musical careers in history. This consistency is even despite the various changes in their line-up since the group’s inception in 1973.  In fact, on the eve of recording their album Back in Black, their lead singer, Bon Scott, died from alcohol poisoning. The rest of the crew considered a break-up, but opted to hire singer Brian Johnson instead.  Johnson was able to keep the current flowing, and even with a new voice behind the lyrics, Back in Black became AC/DC’s best selling album of all time. Since 1991 AC/DC has outsold Michael Jackson, Madonna, and the Rolling Stones, and has placed second only to the Beatles. Back in Black is the 5th best selling album in US history, and while this may have a lot to do with what Bozza calls the “magnetism of the back beat,” I think the core of why AC/DC rules the world of rock is that their success was not a result of hyped media promotion, but the creation of a true fan base that these boys seduced all on their own. The music critics and media outlets have never truly given the band the acclaim they deserved, but our ears heard their music loud and clear.  The truth is, as evidenced by a career almost four decades long and history-making record sales, when it comes right down to it, almost every music lover on the planet wants to shout along and pump their fist to “You Shook me all Night Long,” simply because we like it, and not because Rolling Stone magazine told us to.


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