The 70s filled the radio airwaves with a tide of mellow rock and disco, but if you prefered your music with a harder edge, you couldn’t go wrong with just about any album from AC/DC. Overflowing with grinding guitars, catchy riffs, blood-curdling vocals and plenty of attitude, AC/DC was rock and roll in its purest form and their songs catapulted this Aussie band to the top of the charts on numerous occasions.

Australian brothers Angus and Malcolm Young formed the band in 1973 playing lead and rhythm guitar, respectively, and recruited Larry Van Kriedt (bass), Dave Evans (vocals) and Colin Burgess (drums). After a few gigs, the band signed a record deal with an EMI subsidiary that only distributed their albums in Australia and New Zealand.

Soon thereafter, Bon Scott replaced Dave Evans; van Kriedt and Burgess also gave way to Mark Evans and Phil Rudd. Their first two albums, High Voltage and T.N.T. became huge successes in those two countries and in 1976 the boys from Down Under set out to conquer the rest of the world. Their arsenal included hard guitar sounds and raunchy lyrics, and by this time Angus had perfected his on-stage persona – the raucous exuberant man-child clad in a schoolboy uniform, complete with cap and short pants.

The band’s line-up underwent a few more changes but continued to tour widely and amass a huge fan base in the U.S. and Europe. In 1978, they released Powerage, closely followed by the live album If You Want Blood, You’ve Got It. The following year, AC/DC hit the jackpot with Highway to Hell, an album that had more mainstream appeal while still providing head banging aplenty.

Unfortunately, Bon Scott died in 1980 in true, alcohol-fueled, rock star fashion leaving the band to complete their next release, Back in Black, without his edgy, raw vocals. Brian Johnson joined the group as the new front man and Back in Black became a huge best seller, going platinum a year after its release. The album includes such classics as “You Shook Me All Night Long,” “Hell’s Bells” and the title track, “Back in Black,” all of which served as the soundtrack for an emerging new generation of hard rock fans.

The next album was For Those About To Rock We Salute You which reached #1 and launched two more favorite songs, “Let’s Get It Up” and the title track. The album was a commercial and critical success but also ushered in a less than stellar period in AC/DC’s history.

The next few albums disappointed fans and it wasn’t until the quasi-compilation Who Made Who, featuring older AC/DC classic along with new tracks written for Stephen King’s directorial debut, Maximum Overdrive, hit the airwaves that light was glimpsed at the end of the tunnel. The Razor’s Edge followed in 1990 giving us hits like “Thunderstruck” and “Moneytalks” and signaling a comeback. The international tour in 1992 formed the basis for the excellent Live album, one of the best of that decade.

AC/DC released Bonfire in 1997, a box set tribute to the late Bon Scott, which included remastered songs, live cuts, alternate takes and two live albums. The next album, Stiff Upper Lip was released in 2000, and the title track stayed in the #1 spot for a few weeks, though all but the most loyal fans agreed that the album was nothing to screech about.

In 2008, AC/DC released the ambitious Black Ice, which debuted at #1 in 29 countries, proving that the band still had an enormous fan base of loyal listeners. How loyal? Well, let’s just say that the band earned over $100 million in touring and album sales for the following year alone.

Of course, rock and roll can be quite the roller coaster ride, and 2014 threw a number of curveballs. Malcolm Young announced that he was departing the band (and being replaced by his nephew, Stevie), and the upcoming and highly anticipated release of Rock or Bust marks the first AC/DC album without him. Complicating matters, longtime drummer Phil Rudd is facing serious legal charges and likely won’t be a part of the upcoming tour.

Meanwhile, the most loyal fans will simply remind us that AC/DC were inducted into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame and that the band’s name has graced the covers of millions of school notebooks around the world, which is perhaps the true hallmark of rock immortality.

If you grew up listening to the hard rocking sound of AC/DC in your youth, we hope you’ll take a moment to share your memories of this iconic band in our comments section below.

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