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AC/DC are an Australian rock band formed in Sydney in 1973 by brothers Malcolm and Angus Young. Although the band are commonly classified as hard rock, and considered pioneers of heavy metal,they have always classified their music as "rock and roll".
AC/DC underwent several line-up changes before releasing their first album, High Voltage, in 1975. Membership remained stable until bassist Mark Evans was replaced by Cliff Williams in 1977. In 1979, the band recorded their highly successful album Highway to Hell. Lead singer and co-songwriter Bon Scott died on 19 February 1980, after a night of heavy alcohol consumption. The group briefly considered disbanding, but soon ex-Geordie singer Brian Johnson was selected as Scott's replacement. Later that year, the band released their best-selling album, Back in Black.
The band's next album, For Those About to Rock We Salute You, was also highly successful and was their first album to reach number one in the United States. AC/DC declined in popularity soon after drummer Phil Rudd was fired in 1983 and replaced by future Dio drummer Simon Wright. Poor record sales continued until the release of The Razors Edge in 1990, the only studio album to feature Wright's replacement Chris Slade. Phil Rudd returned in 1994 (after Slade was asked to leave in favour of him) and contributed to the band's 1995 album Ballbreaker. Stiff Upper Lip was released in 2000 and was well-received by critics. The band's most recent album Black Ice was released on 20 October 2008.
AC/DC has sold more than 200 million albums worldwide, including 71 million albums in the United States. Back in Black has sold an estimated 45 million units worldwideand 22 million in the United States alone, where it is the fifth highest-selling album. AC/DC ranked fourth on VH1's list of the "100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock"and the seventh "Greatest Heavy Metal Band Of All Time" by MTV. In 2004, the band was ranked number 72 in the Rolling Stone list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.
Name and background
Malcolm and Angus Young developed the idea for the band's name after seeing the initialism "AC/DC" on the back of a sewing machine owned by their older sister, Margaret Young. "AC/DC" is an abbreviation for "alternating current/direct current". The brothers felt that this name symbolised the band's raw energy, power-driven performances, and a love for their music."AC/DC" is pronounced one letter at a time, though the band is popularly known as "Acca Dacca" in Australia
Brothers Malcolm, Angus and George Young were born in Glasgow, Scotland, and moved to Sydney, Australia with most of their family in 1963. George was the first to learn to play the guitar. He became a member of The Easybeats, Australia's most successful band of the 1960s. In 1966, they became the first local rock act to have an international hit, with the song "Friday on My Mind". Malcolm followed in George's footsteps by playing with a Newcastle, New South Wales band called The Velvet Underground (not to be confused with the New York-based The Velvet Underground).
Early years: 1973–1974 (the Dave Evans era)
In November 1973, Malcolm and Angus Young formed AC/DC and recruited bassist Larry Van Kriedt, vocalist Dave Evans, and Colin Burgess, ex-The Masters Apprentices drummer. The band played their first gig at a club named Chequers in Sydney on New Year's Eve, 1973. They were later signed to the EMI-distributed Albert Productions label for Australia and New Zealand. The early line-up of the band changed often; Colin Burgess was the first member fired, and several bassists and drummers passed through the band during the next year.
By this time, Angus Young had adopted his characteristic school uniform stage outfit. The original uniform was reputedly from his secondary school, Ashfield Boys High School in Sydney; the idea was his sister Margaret's. Angus had tried other costumes, such as Spider-Man, Zorro, a gorilla, and a parody of Superman, named Super-Ang. In fact in its early days, most members of the band dressed in some form of glam or satin outfit but this approach was abandoned when it was discovered Melbourne band Skyhooks had already adopted this approach to their stage presentation.
The Young brothers decided that Evans was not a suitable frontman for the group, because they felt he was more of a glam rocker like Gary Glitter. On stage, Evans was occasionally replaced by the band's first manager, Dennis Laughlin, who was the original lead singer with Sherbet prior to Daryl Braithwaite joining the band. Evans did not get along with Laughlin, which also contributed to the band's ill feeling toward Evans. Meanwhile Ronald Belford "Bon" Scott, an experienced vocalist and friend of George Young, was interested in becoming their vocalist.