AC/DC, The Australian rock band, was formed in November 1973 by Malcolm Young. Before it was christened with the name AC/DC, its lineup comprised of:

  • Dave Evans - Vocals
  • Malcolm Young - Rhythm Guitar
  • Larry Van Kriedt - Bass
  • Angus Young - Lead Guitar
  • Colin Burgess - Drums
Contrary to popular belief, the band adopted the name "AC/DC" in December 1973, after Margaret Young (the sister), saw the name on a sewing machine. Their first gig was at the Chequers New Year’s Eve party in Sydney. Angus did not wear his trademark school uniform, adopting the more typical jeans and T-shirt approach. The school uniform won't appear until April '74.

Only a short while later, in February 1974, they record their first single at EMI studios - "Can I Sit Next To You Girl / Rockin’ In The Parlour", George Young is the producer. Shortly afterwards Colin Burgess and Larry Van Kriedt are fired. Neil Smith(bass) and Noel Taylor(drums) then join AC/DC for a mere 6 weeks. Neil and Noel were then replaced with Rob Bailey on bass and Peter Clack on drums. And AC/DC get their first major gig - a 2500 strong croud at the Sydney Opera House on 26 May, 1974. This paves the way for their signing onto Albert Productions, and the release of their previously recorded single. It isn't until September that AC/DC finally get Bon Scott aboard. By November, they have an album - "High Voltage", produced by George Young and Harry Vanda. The drums are mostly played by Tony Currenti, a session musician.

In 1975 another familiar face joins with 'DC - Phil Rudd on the drums. The bass is mostly being played by George Young or Malcolm Young until Mark Evans arrives on the scene in March, in time for their first TV appearance, which went better than their second TV appearance, which starred Bon Scott dressed as a schoolgirl.

Soon enough, AC/DC are stars in Australia, concerts began to pile up, and "High Voltage" went gold in June (it made triple gold by the end of the year). Their second album is made shortly afterwards, "T.N.T". This makes triple gold in weeks.

1976 is a busy year for the DC crew - it starts with "It’s A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll)" getting to number 5 in the single charts. To celebrate the album "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" begins to be recorded.

The band decide to leave Australia, and go to Europe for a tour, starting out in London at the Red Cow in April '76. They are very well recieved, and a European version of "High Voltage" is released. This is a "best of" from their 2 albums.

They take Europe by storm, and even play at The Reading Festival, for a croud of 50,000. Things just can't seem to be any better, TV appearances, European tours and new albums ("Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" gets released in Australia in September). Another big step was made in September, "High Voltage" is released in the USA. Angus almost gets arrested by the Vice Squad for dropping his trousers. This kind of behaviour even gets them a mention in Australian Parliament, where it is debated they are a corrupting influence on the youth.

"Let There Be Rock" is produced right at the start of '77, and is released shortly afterwards, and in May, the first Band change for a long time occurs. Mark Evans is replaced with Cliff Williams, due to Mark and Angus, not playing nicely. The band finish the year off touring with Kiss, Aerosmith, Styx, Blue Oyster Cult and Cheap Trick.

1978 starts in a way that's becoming familiar to the boys - with a new album - "Powerage". April 30, 1978 - a now legendary Glasgow concert takes place(at the Apollo). Recordings from this concert are used in their first live Album -"If You Want Blood". Much of the rest of the year is spent touring.

1979 - AC/DCs peak. The recording of the immortal "Highway to Hell" begins (as usual at the start of the year). It is released in the summer - with massive response.


27 January. Bon Scott plays what will be his last ever concert at the Southampton Gaumont.
7 February. Appearance on Top of the Pops playing "Touch too much".
13 February. Bon Scott records a version "Ride On", with French act Trust. This isn't released until 1998, on a promo only CD.
19 February. Bon Scott goes out drinking at the Music Machine, he falls asleep in a car, and chokes on his own vomit.
20 February. Bon Scott is pronounced dead on arrival at Kings Hospital, London

1 March. Bon Scott is buried in Fremantle, Australia.
Geordie Bryan Johnson is officially announced as the replacement singer in April, and work on "Back in Black" begins right away, it is released in July, and it sells like mad. In November, 'DC have sold 10,000,000 albums. "Let There Be Rock- the movie" is released in France. All AC/DC albums go gold, Back in Black goes platinum.

The until now ignorant Japanese (not ignorant in a derogatory sense), are finally exposed to AC/DC when "High Voltage" is released in 1981. They are recieved as well as anywhere else, and they begin to tour Japan, and then return home for the first time in 4 years. By summer they are working on "For Those About To Rock We Salute You" (which goes platinum) and they headline "Monsters of Rock"

AC/DC finally get a complaint about the telephone number in "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap". A company in Illinois attempt to sue AC/DC for $250,000 because they begin to receive obscene phone calls on their "36-24-36" phone line.

Phil Rudd gets fired(!) for his drug problems, he is replaced with Simon Wright in July, and "Flick of the Switch" is released in August '83.

They tally up 30,000,000 album sales in June 1985, and find themselves in hot water in September of the same year. Richard Ramirez claims that AC/DCs "Night Prowler" incited hime to commit 16 murders. AC/DC are accused of devil worship, just like Ozzy Osbourne, Alice Cooper, and Marilyn Manson. How very Rock 'n' Roll.

"Blow up your video" was released in 1988. I wonder if anybody sued them for inciting mass destruction of one's property? Malcolm Young leaves the band temporarily, due to an alcohol problem, he is replaced with Stevie Young, his nephew.

"The Razor's Edge" is produced in 1990 with Chris Slade on drums. The band headlines "Rock around the Bloc" festival in Moscow in 1991 which is attended by up to 1,000,000 people.

Phil Rudd rejoins the band in 1994, at last. They get a life-time acheivement award from kerrang! magazine, in 1998. AC/DC goes on a European Tour with Backyard Babies (aka Huge Baby at the end of 2000. Having been a fan for 8 years, I finally get to see them live. Hurrah!

The AC/DC live show is an event. Its not just a band playing on a stage. Its a stage show, and a band. This is a band that has been going for nigh on 30 years now. There have developed traditions, that must be adhered to:

The 10 commandments

  1. Angus Young shall wear a school uniform. This is the prime law.
  2. Angus Young will interupt a guitar solo to do a striptease.
  3. Bryan Johnson will wear a flat cap.
  4. There will be a giant bell lowered for the start of Hell's Bells. Bryan Johnson will go nuts with it.
  5. There will be a giant inflatable woman called Rosie.
  6. There will be a large effigy of Angus Young
  7. Looong guitar solo at least once, possibly with Angus spinning around on the floor, possibly on a raising platform.
  8. During the opening chords of Whole Lotta Rosie, the crowd will interject a chant of "Angus!"
  9. The last song will be For Those about To Rock (We Salute You), and there will be very loud cannons giving us the 21-gun salute.
  10. There will always be a fan in a school uniform who is both admired by the other fans, and thought of as a bit of a nutter. (That'll be me then).



AC/DC stands for Alternating Current/Direct Current. This label was found, long ago, on machines that could run on either sort of power. These days you only get DC from batteries and the like; all wall sockets use AC. Nowadays all AC/DC appliances actually run on battery power, but have an AC/DC converter included so that they can also be plugged into wall sockets. The band AC/DC took their name from the AC/DC label on the back of a sewing machine. They thought that it represented the band's energy and exciting performances, and they have done quite well with that name.

What about those who swing both ways? AC-DC's?
-- Beck, Where It's At

Unbeknownst to the band members, AC/DC has long been a slang term for a bisexual person -- reported to be in use as far back as the 1940s. No one seems to know where the slang usage started, but it no doubt comes from the same electronic origins as does the band's name. An AC/DC is a person that can 'run' on either male or female 'energy'. The metaphor is weak, but the term has survived for 60 years, so apparently it has something going for it.

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