AC/DC‘s “Back In Black” has topped Rolling Stone Australia‘s list of the “200 Greatest Australian Albums Of All Time”. The legendary rockers also appear on the list three more times, with “Highway To Hell” (No. 29), “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” (No. 60) and “Powerage” (No. 136).
As the full list is counted down, each entry comes accompanied by an in-depth discussion of the record by some of Australia’s finest musical journalists, focusing on the legacy, impact, and resonant nature of the albums that made the full list.
In December 2019, “Back in Black” was certified by the Recording Industry Association Of America for U.S. shipments of 25 million copies.
“Back in Black” first went platinum in October 1980 and had previously been certified 22 times platinum in December 2007. The RIAA lists “Back In Black” as the fourth biggest-selling album of all time.
On July 25, 1980, AC/DC released “Back In Black” in the U.S., followed by the album’s U.K. release on July 31. It was the band’s first album without lead singer Bon Scott, who had died a few months earlier after passing out and choking on his own vomit following a long night of drinking.
The group quickly decided to press on and hired Brian Johnson from the band GEORDIE to take over on vocals, and they headed to the Bahamas for about six weeks to do the album. AC/DC had made some serious headway in America before Scott‘s death, but no one knew how “Back In Black” would be received.
Johnson told The Pulse of Radio that he didn’t have a clue how successful “Back In Black” would turn out to be. “I’d just melted me brain in there, and I didn’t know if it was good or bad,” he said. “That was the first time I’d been in the Bahamas, anyway, or near America, you know, and you (have to) remember, I was just fascinated by the whole culture and all, and I had no idea what the hell I was doing! And (laughs) lucky, really — I was a bit lucky, I think.”
“Back In Black” included the singles “You Shook Me All Night Long”, which peaked at No. 35 on the Billboard Hot 100, and “Back In Black”, which peaked at No. 37.
Despite its massive success, it never got higher than No. 4 on the album charts. The band’s next album, “For Those About To Rock”, reached No. 1.
“Back In Black” was produced by Robert “Mutt” Lange, who went on to produce DEF LEPPARD, FOREIGNER, THE CARS, and BRYAN ADAMS.
In 2012, “Back In Black” was added to The Recording Academy‘s legendary Grammy Hall Of Fame collection.