AC/DC is one of the most successful and influential rock bands of all time. The band has been around for over four decades and has sold over 200 million records worldwide. One of the reasons for their success is their iconic lineup, which has remained relatively consistent throughout their career. In this article, we will take a closer look at the members of AC/DC and their contributions to the band’s legacy.
The Early Years: The Young Brothers and Bon Scott
AC/DC was formed in Sydney, Australia in 1973 by brothers Malcolm and Angus Young. The band’s original lineup also included singer Dave Evans, bassist Larry Van Kriedt, and drummer Colin Burgess. However, this lineup did not last long, and by 1974, Bon Scott had replaced Evans as the band’s lead singer.
Scott’s arrival marked a turning point for AC/DC. His distinctive voice and charismatic stage presence helped to define the band’s sound and image. He also contributed to some of the band’s most iconic songs, including “Highway to Hell,” “T.N.T.,” and “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap.”
Unfortunately, Scott’s time with AC/DC was cut short when he died in 1980 at the age of 33. His death was a huge loss for the band and its fans, but his legacy lives on through his music.
The Brian Johnson Era
After Scott’s death, AC/DC faced a difficult decision. Should they continue as a band without their iconic frontman? Ultimately, they decided to carry on, and in 1980, they recruited Brian Johnson as their new lead singer.
Johnson had big shoes to fill, but he quickly proved himself to be a worthy successor to Scott. His powerful vocals and energetic stage presence helped to keep AC/DC’s momentum going, and he contributed to some of the band’s biggest hits, including “Back in Black,” “You Shook Me All Night Long,” and “Thunderstruck.”
Johnson remained with AC/DC for over three decades, but in 2016, he was forced to retire from touring due to hearing problems. He was replaced by Axl Rose of Guns N’ Roses for the remainder of the band’s tour, but it remains to be seen who will take over as the band’s permanent lead singer.
The Rhythm Section: Malcolm Young and Cliff Williams
While Scott and Johnson were the faces of AC/DC, the band’s rhythm section was just as important to their sound. Malcolm Young, in particular, was a key figure in the band’s success. As the band’s rhythm guitarist and primary songwriter, he helped to create some of their most memorable riffs and melodies.
Tragically, Young was forced to retire from the band in 2014 due to health issues, and he passed away in 2017 at the age of 64. His contributions to AC/DC cannot be overstated, and his legacy will live on through his music.
Bassist Cliff Williams was another important member of AC/DC’s rhythm section. He joined the band in 1977 and remained with them until their retirement from touring in 2016. While he was not as prominent as Young or Johnson, his steady bass lines helped to anchor the band’s sound and keep them grooving.
The Drummers: Phil Rudd and Chris Slade
AC/DC has had several drummers over the years, but two stand out as particularly noteworthy: Phil Rudd and Chris Slade.
Rudd was the band’s drummer during their most successful period in the 1970s and 1980s. He played on some of their biggest hits, including “Highway to Hell” and “Back in Black.” However, his time with the band was not without controversy. He was fired from the band in 2015 after being convicted of drug possession and threatening to kill a former employee.
Slade, on the other hand, joined AC/DC in 1989 and remained with them until 1994. He then rejoined the band in 2015 to replace Rudd for their Rock or Bust World Tour. Slade’s powerful drumming helped to give AC/DC’s music an extra kick, and he remains a fan favorite to this day.
AC/DC’s iconic lineup has remained relatively consistent throughout their career, with only a few changes along the way. Each member of the band has made important contributions to their sound and legacy, from Bon Scott’s charismatic vocals to Malcolm Young’s unforgettable riffs. While the band may never be the same without some of these key members, their music will continue to inspire and entertain fans for generations to come.