AC/DC is an Australian rock band, formed in November, 1973 by brothers Malcolm and Angus Young, who continued as members until Malcolm's illness and departure in 2014. He died on November 18, 2017. Commonly referred to as a hard rock or blues rock band, they are also considered pioneers of heavy metal and are sometimes classified as such, though they have always dubbed their music as simply "rock and roll."
AC/DC underwent several line-up changes before releasing their first album, High Voltage, on February 17, 1995; Malcolm and Angus were the only original members left in the band. Membership subsequently stabilised until bassist Mark Evans was replaced by Cliff Williaims in 1977 for the album Powerage. Within months of recording the album Highway to Hell, lead singer Bon Scott died on February 19, 1980 after a night of heavy alcohol consumption. The group considered disbanding, but buoyed by support from Scott's parents, decided to continue and set about finding a new vocalist. Ex-Geordie singer Brian Johnson was audition and selected to replace scott. Later that year, the band released the new album, Back in Black, which was made as a tribute to Bon Scott. The album launched them to new heights of success and became their all-time best-seller.
The band's next album, For Those About to Rock We Salute You, 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 was replaced by ex-A II Z drummer Simon Wright, who left to join Dio in 1989. The band experienced a resurgence in the early 1990s with the release of The Razors Edge. Phil Rudd returned in 1994 after Chris Slade, who was with the band from 1989 to 1994, was asked to leave in favor 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 studio album, Black Ice, was released on October 20, 2008, and was the second-highest-selling album of that year. It was their biggest hit on the chart since For Those About To Rock We Salute You, eventually reaching No. 1 on all charts worldwide. The band's line-up remained the same—their longest unchanged line-up—until 2014 with Malcolm Young's retirement and Rudd's legal troubles.
AC/DC had sold more than 200 million records worldwide, including 71.5 million albums in the United States alone, making them the tenth-best-selling band in the United States and one of the world's best selling bands of all time. Back in Black has sold an estimated 50 million unites worldwide, making it the fifth-highest selling album by any artist—and the third highest selling album by any band. The album has sold 22 million unites in the US alone, where it is the sixth-highest-selling album of all time. AC/DC ranked fourth on the VH!'s list of the "100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock" and were named the seventh "Greatest Heavy Metal Bands of All Time" by MTV. In 2004, AC/DC ranked No. 72 on the Rolling Stones list of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time." Producer Rick Rubin, who wrote an essay on the band for the Rolling Stones list, referred to AC/DC as "the greatest rock and roll band of all time." In 2010, AC/DC were ranked number in the VH1 list of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time."
Background and Name
Brothers Malcolm Young, Angus Young, 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 bcame a member of the Easybeats, one of Australia's most successful bands of the 1960s. In 1966, they became the first local rock act to have an enternational 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 band Velvet Underground). Their oldest brother Alex Young chose to remain in Britain to pursue musical interests. In 1967, Alexander formed and played bass in the London-based band Grapefruit—initially called "The Grapefruit"—with three former members of Tony Rivers and the Castaways. John Perry, Geoff Swettenham, and Pete Swettenham.
Malcom and Angus Young developed the idea for the band's name after their sister Margaret saw the initials "AC/DC" on a sewing machine. "AC/DC” is an abbreviation meaning "alternating current/direct current" electricity. The brothers felt that this name symbolised the band's raw energy, power-driven performances of their music. "AC/DC" is pronounced one letter at a time, though the band are colloquially known as "Acca Dacca" in Australia. The AC/DC band name is stylised with a lighting bolt separating the "AC" and the "DC" and has been used on all studio albums, with the exception of the international version of Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap.
In November 1973, Malcolm Young and Angus Young formed AC/DC and recruited bassist Larry Van Kriedt, vocalist Dave Evans, and Colin Burgess, ex-Masters Apprentices drummer. Pushing hard for the band's success were Australia's legendary roadie Ray Arnold and h is partner Alan Kissack. Gene Person booked the band to play at Bondi Lifesaver on New Year's Eve, 1973.
By t his time, Angus Young had adopted his characteristic school-uniform stage outfit. The idea was his sister Margaret's. Angus had tried other costumes: Spider-Man, Zoro, a Gorilla, and a parody of Superman, named Super-Ang. In its early days, most members of the band dressed in some form of glam or satin outfit bu this approach was abandoned seeing as 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. Evans did not get along well with Laughlin, which also contributed to the band's ill feelings towards Evans.
The Bon Scott Era (1974-1980)
The Journey Begins (1974-1977)
In September 1974, Ronald Belford "Bon" Scott, an experienced vocalist and friend of George Young, replaced Dave Evans after friend Vince Lovegrove recommended him to George Young. Like the Young brothers, Scott had been born in Scotland before emigrating to Australia in his childhood. The band had recorded only one single with Evans, "Can I Sit Next To You, Girl"/"Rockin' in the Parkour"; eventually, the song was re-written and re-recorded with Bon Scott as "Can I Sit Next To You, Girl" [Track 7 on the Australian album TNT (1975), and Track 6 on the international release of High Voltage (1976)].
By October 1974, the Australia-only album High Voltage had been recorded. It took only ten days and was based on instrumental songs written by the Young Brothers, with lyrics added by Scott. Within a few months, the band's line-up had stabilised, featuring Scott, the Young Brothers, basist Mark Evans, and drummer Phil Rudd. Later that year they released the single "It's a Long Way to the Top", which became their perennial rock anthem. It was included on their second album, TNT (1975), which was also released only in Australia and New Zealand. T.N.T. featured the song "High Voltage," which was the first song written and recorded for the album. Because "High Voltage" was released as a single before T.N.T. was released, some people thought it was the title track on AC/DC/s debut album.
Been 1974 and 1977, aided by regular appearances of Molly Meldrum's Countdown, the ABC's nationally broadcast pop-music television show, AC/DC became one of the most popular and successful acts in Australia. Their performance on April 3, 1977, was their last live TV appearance for more than 20 years.
International Success (1976-1980)
In 1976, the band signed an international deal with Atlantic Records and toured extensively throughout Europe, including their first UK tour sponsored by Sounds magazine, called the "Lock Up Your Daughters Summer Tour." They gained invaluable experience of the stadium circuit, supporting leading rock acts such as Black Sabbath, Aerosmith, Kiss, Styx, UFO, and Blue Oyster Cult, and co-headlined iwth Cheap Trick.
The first AC/DC album to gain worldwide distribution was a 1976 compilation of tracks taken from the High Voltage and T.N.T. LPs. Also titled High Voltage, and released on the Atlantic Records label, the album, which has to date sold three million copies worldwide, gained the band of following among the then-substantial British punk audience. The track selection was heavily weighted toward the more recent T.N.T. and included only two songs from their first LP. The band's next album, Dirty Deeds Done Dirty Chap, was released in the same year in both Australian and international versions like its predecessor. Track listings varied worldwide, and the international version of the album also featured the T.N.T. track "Rocker," which had previously never been released internationally. The original Australian version included "Jailbreak" (now more readily available on the 1984 compilation EP '74 Jailbreak' or as a live version on the 1992 Live album). Dirty Deeds Done Dirty Cheap as not released in the US until 1981, by which time the band were at the peak of their popularity.
Following the 1977 recording Let There Be Rock, bassist Mark Evans was fired; purportedly to find someone who could sing backup vocals. Evans described disagreement with Angus and Malcolm as a contributing factor. He was replaced by Cliff Williams. Neither of the Young Brothers has elaborated on the departure of Evans, though Richard Griffiths, the CEO of Epic Records and a booking agent for AC/DC in the mid 1970s, later commented, "You knew Mark wasn't going to last, he was just to much of a nice guy." Mark Evans' autobiography, DIRTY DEEDS: My Life Inside/Outside of AC/DC, released in 2011, predominantly dealt with his time in AC/DC, including being fired.
AC/DC were a somewhat formative influenced on New Wave of B ritish Heavy Metal bands who emerged in the late 1970s, such as Saxon and Iron Maiden, in part as a reaction to the decline of traditional early 1970's hard rock bands. In 2007, criticsn oted that AC/DC, along with Thin Lizzy, UFO, Scorpions, and Judas Priest, were among "the second generation of rising stars ready to step into the breach as the old guard waned."
AC/DC's first American exposure was through the Michigan radio station AM 600 WTAC in 1977. The station's manager, Peter C. Cavanaugh, booked the band to play at Flint's Capitol Theater. The supporting act was MC5, who had just briefly reunited and agreed to play at the event. The band opened with their popular song "Live Wire" and closed with "Its a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)."
AC/DC came to be identified with the punk rock movement by the British press. Their reputation, however, managed to survive the punk upheavals of the late 1970s, and they maintained a cult following in the UK throughout this time. Angus Young gained notoriety for mooning the audience during live performances.
The 1978 release of Pwerage marked the debut of bassist Cliff Williams, and with its harder riffs, followed the blueprint set by Let There Be Rock. Only one single was released from Powerage, "Rock 'n' Roll Damnation/Sin City." An appearance at the Apollo Theatre, Glasgow during the Powerage tour was recorded and released as If You Want Blood You Got It, featuring such songs as "Whole Lotta Rosie," "Problem Child," and "Let There Be Rock," as well as a lesser-known album tracks like "Riff Raff." Powerage was the last album produced by Harry Vanada and George Young that had lead vocals Bon Scott, and is claimed to be AC/DC's most underrated album ever.
The major breakthrough in the band's career came int heir collaboration with producer "Mutt" Lange on the album Highway to Hell, release din 1979. Eddie Van Halen notes this to be his favorite AC/DC record, along with Powerage. It became the first AC/DC LP to break into the US top 100, eventually reaching No. 17, and it propelled AC/DC into the top ranks of hard rock acts. Highway to Hell had lyrics that shifted away from flippant and comical toward more central rock themes, putting increased emphasis on backing vocals but still featured AC/DC's signature sound: loud, simple, pounding riffs and grooving backbeats. The final track, "Night Prowler," has two breaths in quick succession at the start of the song, intended to create a tone of fear and loathing.
Bon Scott's Death (1980)
As 1980 began, the band began work on a new album that would eventually become Back in Black, but Bon Scott would not live to see it finished. On February 19, 1980, Scott passed out in the cdar on the way back to friend Alistair Kinnear's house after a night of heavy drinking at the Music Machine club in London, England. Upon arrival at his home, Kinnear was unable to move Scott from the car into his home for the night, so he left him in the car overnight to sleep off the effects of the alcohol. Unable to wake Scott late the next morning, Kinnear rushed him to King's College Hospital in Camberwell, where Scott was pronounced dead on arrival. Pulmonary aspiration of vomit was the cause of Scott's death, and the official cause was listed as "acute alcohol poisoning." Scott's family buried him in Fremantle, Western Australia, the area they emigrated to when he was a boy.
Inconsistencies in the official accounts of Scott's death have been cited in conspiracy theories, which suggest that Scott died of a heroine overdose, or was killed by exhaust fumes redirected into the car, or that Kinnear did not exist. Additionally, Scott was asthmatic, and the temperature was below freezing on the morning of his death.
The Brian Johnson Era (1980-Present)
The Rebirth (1980-1983)
Following Scott's death the band briefly considered quitting, but encouraged by the insistence from Scott's parents that he would have wanted them to gon, they eventually decided to continue and went about finding a new frontman.
Various candidates were considered for his replacement, including: Buzz Shearman (an ex-Moxy member, who was not able to join because of vocal issues), Terry Slessler (ex-Black Street Crawler vocalist), and then Noddy Holder (ex-Slade vocalist). The remaining AC/DC members decided on Brian Johnson, ex-Geordie vocalist).Angus Young later recalled, "I remember the first time I had ever heard Brian Johnson's name was from Bon. Bon had mentioned that he had been in England once touring with a band and he had mentioned that Brian had been in a band called Geordie and Bon had said "Brian Johnson, he was a great rock and roll singer int he style of Little Richard." And that was Bon's big idol, Little Richard. I think when he saw Brian at that time, to Bon it was "Well, he's a guy that knows what rock and roll is all about." He mentioned that to us in Australia. I suppose when we decided to continue, Brian was the frist name that Malcolm and myself came up with, so we said we should see if we can find him." For the audition, Johnson sang "Whole Lotta Rosie" from Let There Be Rock and Ike & Tina Turner's "Nutbush City Limits." He was hired a few days after the audition.
With Brian Johnson the band completed the songwriting that they had begun with Bon for the album Back in Black. Recording took place at Compass Point Studios in The Bahamas a few months after Scott's death. Back in Black, produced by Mutt Lange, and recorded by Tony Platt, became their biggest-selling albuom and a hard-rock landmark; the hits included are "Hells Bells," "you Shook Me All Night Long," "Rock and Roll Ain't Noise Pollution," as well as the title track, "Back in Black." The album reached No. 1 in the UK and No. 4 in the US, where it spent 131 weeks on the Billboard 200 album chart.
The follow-up album, 1981's For Those about to Rock we Salute You, also sold well asnd was positively received by critics. The album featured two of the band's most popular singles: Let's Get It Up" and the title track, "For Those About to Rock," which reached No. 13 and No. 15 in the UK, respectively. The band split with Lange for their self-produced 1983 album, Flick of the Switch, in an effort to recover the rawness and simplicity of their early album.
Departure of Phil Rudd and Commercial Decline (1983-1987)
After having problems with drugs and alcohol, drummer Phil Rudd's friendship with Malcolm Young deteriorated and eventually escalated to a physical confrontation after which Rudd was fired. Session drummer B.J. Wilson was drafted in to help complpete the recordings, but his drum parts were eventually not used, as Rudd had already completed his drum parts. Rudd was replaced by Simon Wright in the summer of 1983, after the band held over 700 auditions in the US and the UK combined. Simon Kirke of Free and Bad Company fame, and Paul Thompson of Roxy Music were two of the drummers auditioned.
Later in the year, AC/DC released the self-produced album Flick of the Switch, which was less successful than their previous albums, and was considered underdeveloped and unmemorable. One critic stated that the band "had made the same album nine tiomes." AC/DC were voted the eighth-biggest disappointment of the year in the 1984 Kerrang! readers' poll. However, Flick of the Switch, eventually reached No. 4 on the UK charts, and AC/DC had minor success with the singles "Nervous Shakedown" and "Flick of the Switch." Fly on the Wall, produced by the Young Brothers in 1985, was also regarded as uninspired and directionless. A music concept video of the same name featured the band at a bar, playing five of the album's ten songs. In 1986, the group returned to the charts with the made-for-radio "Who Made Who." The album Who Made Who was the soundtrack to Stephen King's film Maximum Overdrive. It brought together older hits, such as "You Shook Me All Night Long" and "Ride On" with newer songs such as the title track "Who Made Who" and two new instrumentals "D.T." and "Chase the Ace."
In February 1988, AC/DC were inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association's Hall of Fame.
Back to Commercial Success (1987-1990)
AC/DC's 1988 album, Blow Up Your Video, was recorded at Studio Miraval in Le Val(Occitania), France, and reunited the band with their original producers, Harry Vanada and George Young. The group recorded nineteen songs, choosing ten for the final release; though the album was later criticised for containing excessive "filler", it was a commercial success. Bow Up Your Video sold more copies than the previous two studio releases combined, reaching No. 2 on the UK charts—AC/DC's highest position since "Back in Black" in 1980. The album featured the UK top-twenty single "Heatseeker" and popular songs such as "That's the Way I Wanna Rock 'n' Roll." The Blow Up your video World Tour began in February 1988, in Perth, Australia. That April, following live appearances across Europe, Malcolm Young announced that he was taking some time off from touring, principally to begin recovery from his alcoholism. Another member of the Young family, Stevie Young, temporarily took Malcolm's place.
Following the tour, WRight left the group to work on the upcoming Dio album Lock Up the Wolves, and was replaced by session veteran Chris Slade. Johnson was unavailable for several months while finalising his divorce, so the Young Brothers wrote all the songs for the next album, a practice they continue dfor all subsequent releases through Black Ice in 2008.
Popularity Regained (1990-1994)
The next album, The Razors Edge, was recorded in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and was mixed and engineered my Mike Fraser and produced by Bruce Fairbairn, who had previously worked with Aerosmith and Bon Jovi. Released in 1990, it was a major comeback for the band, and included the hits "Thunderstruck" and "Are You Ready", which reached No. 5 and No. 6 respectively on Billboards Mainstream Rock Tracks Chart, and Moneytalks, which peaked at No. 23 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album went multi-platinum and reached the US top ten. Several sh ows on the Razors Edge tour were recorded for the 1992 live album, titled Live. Live was produced by Fairbairn, and is considered one of the best live albums of the 1990s. AC/DC headlined the Monsters of Rock show during this tour, which was released on DVD as Live at Donington. During The Razors Edge tour three fan were killed at a concert at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City, Utah in January 1991. When the concert began fans rushed the stage crushed the three and injuring others. It took 20 minutes before venue security and the group understood the severity of the situation and stopped concert. AC/DC settled with the victims' families out of court. As a result of this incident, the Salt Palace eliminated festival seating from future events. A year later, AC/DC recorded "Big Gun" for the soundtrack of the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie Last Action Hero, and was released as a single, reaching No. 1 on the US Mainstream Rock chart, the band's first No. 1 single on that chart.
Popularity Confirmed (1994-2008)
In 1994, Angus and Malcolm invited Rudd to several jam sessions. He was eventually rehired to replace Slade, whose amicable departure arose in part because of the band's strong desire to again work with Rudd. Recorded at the Ocean Way Studios in Los Angeles by the reunited 1980-1983 line-up and produced by Rick Rubin, Ballbreaker, was released in1995. The first single from the album was "Hard as a Rock." Two more singles were released from the album: "Hail Caesar" and "Cover You in Oil."
In 1997, a box set named Bonfire was released. It contained four albums; a remastered version of Back in Black; Volts (a disc with alternate takes, outtakes, and stray live cuts), and two live albums, Live from the Atlantic Studios and Let There Be Rock: The Movie. Live from the Atlantic Studios was recorded on December 7, 1977, at the Atlantic Studios in New York. Let There Be Rock: The Movie was a double album recorded in 1979 at the Pavillon de Paris and was the soundtrack of the motion picture, AC/DC: Let There Be Rock. The US version of the box set included a color booklet, a two-sided poster, a sticker, a temporary tattoo, a keychain bottle opener, and guitar pick.
In 2000, the band released Stiff Upper Lip, produced by brother George Young at the Warehouse Studio, again in Vancouver. The album was better received by critics than Ballbreaker but was considered lacking in new ideas. The Australian release included a bonus disc with three promotional videos and several live performances recorded in Madrid, Spain in 1996. Stiff Upper Lip reached No. 1 in five countries, including Argentina and Germany; No. 2 in three countries, Spain, France, and Switzerland; No. 3 in Australia; No. 5 in Canada and Portugal; and No. 7 in Norway, the US and Hungary. The first single, "Stiff Upper Lip," remained at No. 1 on the US Mainstream Rock charts for four weeks. The other singles released also did very well; "Satellite Blues" and "Safe in New York City" reached No. 7 and No. 31 on Billboard's mainstream rock tracks, respectively.
In 2002, AC/DC signed a long-term, multi-album deal with Sony Music, who went on to release a series of remastered albums as part of their AC/DC remasters series. Each release contained to expanded booklet featuring rare photographs, memorabilia, and notes. In 2003, the entire back-catalogue (except Ballbreaker and Stiff Upper Lip), was remastered and re-released. Ballbreaker was eventually re-released in October 2005; Stiff Upper Lip was later re-released in April 2007. Also in 2003, the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
On July 30, 2003, the band performed with the Rolling Stones and Rush at Molson Canadian Rocks for Toronto. The concert, held before an audience of half a million, was intended to help the city overcome the negative publicity stemming from the effects of a 2003 SARS epidemic. The concert holds a record for the largest paid music events in North American history. The band came second in a list of Australia's highest-earning entertainers for 2005, and sixth for 2006, despite having neither toured since 2003 nor released an album since 2000. Verizon Wireless has gained the rights to release AC/DC's full albums and the entire Live at Donington concert to download in 2008. On October 16, 2007, Columbia Records released a double and triple DVD titled Plug Me In. The set consists of five and seven hours of rare footage, and even a recording of AC/DC at the high school performing "School Days," "TNT," "She's Got Balls," and "It's a Long Way to the Top." As with Family Jewles, disc one contains rare shows of the band with Bon Scott, and disc two is about the Brian Johnson era. The collector's edition contains an extra DVD with 21 more rare performances of both Scott and Johnson and more interviews.
AC/DC made their video game debut on Rock Band 2, with "Let There Be Rock" included as a playable track. The setlist from their Lvie at Donington live album was released as playable songs for the Rock Band series by means of a WAl-mart exclusive retail disc titled AC/DC Live: Rock Band Track Pack.
No Bull: The Director's Cut, a newly edited, comprehensive Blu-ray and DVD of the band's July 1996 Plaza De Toros de las Ventas concert in Madrid, Spain, was released on September 9, 2008.
Black Ice (2008-2011)
On August 18, 2008, Columbia Records announced an October 18, 2008 Australian release, and October 20, 2008 worldwide release of the studio album Black Ice. The 15-track album was the band's first brand new studio release in eight years, and was produced by Brendan O'Brien, and was mixed and engineered by Mike Fraser. Like Stiff Upper Lip, it was recorded at The Warehouse Studio in Vancouver, British Columbia. Black Ice was sold in the US exclusively at Wal-Mart and Sam's Club and the band's official website.
"Rock 'n' Roll Train," the album's first single on the new album, was released to the radio on August 18, 2008. On August 15, 2008, AC/DC recorded a video for a song from the new album in London with a special selection of fans getting the chance to be in the video. Black Ice made history debuting at No. 1 on album charts in 29 countries and also has the distinction of being Columbia Records' biggest debut album (since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking sales data for Billboard in March 1991). Black Ice has been certified Multi-Platinum in eight countries, including the US, Australia, Canada, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Germany, and the Czech Republic. Additionally, Black Ice has achieved Platinum status in twelve countries (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, UK, Argentina, Singapore, and New Zealand), and Gold status in four countries (The Netherlands, Spain, Poland, and Brazil). With over 6.6 million copies of Black Ice shipped worldwide, combined with over 5.5 million in Catalogue sold, AC/DC have surpassed The Beatles as the No. 1 selling catalogue artist in the US for 2008. The 18-month Black Ice World Tour supporting the new album was announced on September 11, 2008, and began on October 28, 2008, in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.
On September 18, 2008, AC/DC Radio debuted in Sirius Channel 19 and XM channel 53. The channel plays AC/DC music along with interviews from the band members.
With the North American release of Black Ice on October 20, 2008, Columbia Records and Wal-Mart created "Rock Again AC/DC stores" to promote the album. In October 2008, MTV, Wal-Mart, and Columbia created "AC/DC Rock Band Stores in New York City, at Times Square, and in Los Angeles. "Black Ice' trucks were also dispatched on the streets of these two cities after the release, playing AC/DC music aloud and making various stops each day to sell merchandise.
In late September 2009, the band rescheduled six shows when Brian Johnson underwent an operation for ulcers. On September 29, 2009, the band announced a collection of studio and live rarities, Blacktracks, which was release on November 10, 2009, as a 3-CD/2-DVD/1-LP box-set.
On November 4, 2009, AC/DC were announced as the Business Review Weekly top Australian earner (entertainment), for 2009 with earnings for $105 million. This displaced The Wiggles from the number one spot for the first time in four years.
On April 19, 2010, AC/DC released Iron Man 2, the soundtrack for the eponymous film. One month later, the band headlined Download Festival at Donington Park, and closed the Black Ice World Tour in Bilbao, Spain on June 28, 2010, after 20 months in which AC/DC went to 108 cities in over 28 countries, with an estimated audience of over five million people. Three concerts in December 2009 at the River Plate Stadium in Argentina were released as the DVD Live at the river Plate on May 10, 2011. An exclusive single from the DVD, featuring the songs, "Shoot to Thrill" and "War Machine," was issue don the Record Store Day. In 2011, the band also issued no DVD and Blu-ray the concert movie AC/DC: Let There Be Rock, which had its theatrical release in 1980.
Rock or Bust, Departure of Malcolm Young, and Departure of Phil Rudd (2011-Present)
Angus Young stated in an interview in early May 2011 that the band was beginning to plan another world tour, saying, "Now we're thinking, 'How can we ever better the 'Black Ice' world tour?' But we will." At the band's Live at River Plate DVD premiere on May 6, 2011 at the Hammersmith Apollo in London, England, Angus Young said that there were plans for the group to release a new studio album "within the next couple of years," which the tour would support. Also, AC/DC's 40th anniversary will be marked for 2013. Most recently, Brian Johnson was a guest on VH1 Classic's "That Metal Show" saying the band would get back in the studio and release an album in early to mid-2013. Later, Johnson called in to "The Cowhead Show" and reported that the next album has been delayed due to a health issue with one of the band members. He stated that an illness suffered by one of his bandmates may have temporarily put plans for a new album on hold. He would not go into specifics about which member or what the illness was, but he did say it was not terminal and that the afflicted member was on the path recovery.
In May 2012, Malcolm Young confirmed that the band are working on a potential follow-up to 2008's Black Ice. But he warned that fans are in for a longer wait than expected, after lead singer Brian Johnson suggested there would be new material next year. Malcolm stated, "You know what Brian's like. He just says things and then walks away. It'll be a little while--a year or two, anyways. I've been doing smoe jamming on some song ideas but I do that all the time, as do the rest of the band. We are still working. But we had a long rest between Stiff Upper Lip and Black Ice, so I think we need a couple of years to recuperate and work it a bit more."
On November 19, 2012, AC/DC released Live at River Plate, their first live album in 20 years.
In April 2013, Aerosmith front man, Steven Tyler, stated he wants to tour with AC/DC and is willing to take a pay cut for this to happen.
On April 16, 2014, in response to earlier reports that the band may be retiring due to Malcolm Young being seriously ill and unable to perform. Brian Johnson commented that AC/DC are not retiring, stating "We are definitely getting together in May in Vancouver. We're going to pick up guitars, have a plonk, and see if anybody has got any tunes or ideas. If anything happens, we'll record it." AC/DC subsequently announced in an official statement on their Facebook page that Malcolm Young would be taking a break from the band due to his ill health. It ended: "The band will continue to make music." In June, Johnson announced that AC/DC are "very likely" to be on the road again before the end of 2014. In July 2014, AC/DC confirmed that they have finished recording their next album and that Malcolm's nephew, Stevie Young, replaced Malcolm in the studio.
Drummer Phil Rudd released his first solo album, Head Job, on August 29, 2014. He confirmed that there would be another AC/DC tour, and stated that the band had no intention of retiring, adding, "We'll all have to be dead before it stops."
On September 23, 2014, Alberts management confirmed that founding member Malcolm Young had officially departed from the band and revealed that their new record entitled Rock or Bust featuring eleven new tracks would be released on November 28, 2014, as the first AC/DC album in the band's history without Malcolm Young on the recordings. The band also announced plans for a world tour to promote the new album with Malcolm and Angus' nephew Stevie Young as Malcolm's permanent replacement.
On November 6, 2014, Rudd was charged with attempting to procure a murder, threatening to kill, possession of methamphetamines, and possession of cannabis, following a police raid on his home. The charge of attempting to procure a murder was withdrawn the following day, but the other charges remained. AC/DC released a statement clarifying that the tour promoting Rock or Bust would continue, but did not say whether or not Rudd would participate, or if he was still a member of the band.
In an interview on November 13, 2014, Angus Young stated that the band had experienced problems with Rudd earlier in the year when recording Rock or Bust, and that his situation had taken the band by surprise. Rudd had also missed video and photo shoots, and with reference to Rudd's future in the band, Young added, "So, at this stage, it's a pretty tough call for us." He also said the band would continue: "He's got to start himself out I think...at this point it's kind of a question mark. But if we're touring, there will be a drummer in place, put it that way."
At the charity singing before the Grammy awards, the band was photographed together with former drummer Chris Slade. It was later confirmed that he had rejoined the band for the Grammy sand upcoming tour. In April 2015, Rudd pleaded guilty to drug charges and threatening to kill a former assistant. Shortly after, the band's website removed Rudd as the band's drummer and replaced him with Slade. On July 9, 2015, Rudd was sentenced to eight months home detention despite seeking to be discharged without a convention.