On This Day In 1980, AC/DC Uncorks 'Back In Black'!


Is it fucked up that I'm still conflicted about AC/DC's Back In Black?

After all, the album that came out 37 years ago today exists in its current form only because the inimitable Bon Scott perished unexpectedly before it could be finished.

If it hadn't been for the friend who made the judgment call to leave a passed out Bon Scott to sleep it off in a car in sub-freezing temps, we wouldn't be having this discussion, we'd be celebrating the 37th anniversary of some other AC/DC album right about now.

The death of a band member is devastating no matter who it is, but to lose the voice of your band in the process is the most devastating loss a band can suffer.

Where most other bands might have broken up, or at least taken some time off, the members of AC/DC soldiered on, taking the mantra "the show must go on" to almost Patton Oswalt level extremes by not only replacing Scott, but completing their new album within eight months of Scott's passing.



As great an album as Back In Black may be, this writer can't help think how much better an album it could have been had Scott not died by "misadventure" and how we the listeners always wind up getting shafted one way or another when shit like this goes down.

See, for as great an opening salvo as Back In Black may have been for the Brian Johnson era of AC/DC, that was as good as it was ever going to get because Johnson himself could only go down from there, whereas Bon Scott had still been growing by leaps and bounds as a singer and performer.



It is not unrealistic to suggest that Bon and the band would have continued raising their game and, with Mutt Lange adding to his bag of production tricks, we the listeners would have been the biggest winners, but, alas, fate had other plans.

Instead, by Flick of The Switch, Johnson's third album with the band, his voice was shot and could no longer do justice to the material, but still the band rolled on like a runaway Sherman Tank on a downhill slope, ultimately relinquishing their arena rock crown to the likes of Def Leppard.

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