7 Surprising Facts About AC/DC

Seven Essential Facts About AC/DC
James Graham


Sep 10, 2021

Despite 23 world tours notched up since their humble beginnings in 1973, front-men Brian Johnson and Angus Young show no signs of slowing down.

Tour promoter Garry Van Egmond, who has worked with AC/DC since 1982, described during their Rock or Bust tour how much they love playing live.

Luckily for diehard fans, they always play all the classic hits too, just as they did when they toured with their 2015 studio album Rock or Bust.

Incredibly AC/DC have sold more than 200 million records worldwide, including 75 million albums in the United States, making them the ninth-highest-selling artist in the United States and the 16th-best-selling artist worldwide.

Seven Essential Facts About AC/DC

Here are seven must-know facts to bring you up to speed.

  1. Original singer Malcolm Young and his brother Angus developed the idea for the band’s name after their older sister saw the initials AC/DC on a sewing machine. 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.
  1. The brainwave for Angus Young’s characteristic school uniform also came from his sister. Before then he’d tried other costumes, such as Spider-Man, Zorro, a gorilla, and a parody of Superman, named Super-Ang. In its early days, most of the band dressed in some form of glam or satin outfit but this approach was abandoned when it was discovered Melbourne band Skyhooks beat them to it.
  1. Original lead singer and co-songwriter Bon Scott died on February 19, 1980 after a night of heavy drinking, and was left in a car owned by an acquaintance named Alistair Kinnear. The following morning Bon was rushed to hospital but announced dead on arrival. Pulmonary aspiration of vomit was the cause of death, while the official cause was listed as “acute alcohol poisoning” and “death by poisoning”.
  1. The remaining members didn’t take long to decide on ex-Geordie singer Brian Johnson as replacement. Angus Young later recalled, “I remember Bon telling me the story of when he saw Brian singing.” He says about that night, “There’s this guy up there screaming at the top of his lungs and then the next thing you know he hits the deck. He’s on the floor, rolling around and screaming. I thought it was great, and then to top it off—you couldn’t get a better encore—they came in and wheeled the guy off!” Later that night, Brian would be diagnosed with appendicitis, which was the cause of his writhing around on stage.

Seven Essential Facts About AC/DC

  1. In 2014 former drummer Phil Rudd was charged with conspiracy to commit murder, but the charges were eventually dropped. He spent time, under house arrest in Tauranga, New Zealand, on charges of threatening to kill and possession of methamphetamine and cannabis.
  1. Sadly, founding member Malcolm Young had to bow out of the band in 2014 after losing a long-running battle with dementia. He knew it was time to retire when he had to rehearse songs he had played for 30 years everyday before doing a show, just so he could remember them. Lead guitarist Angus Young first noticed there was something wrong with his brother during their Black Ice World Tour seven years ago when he really struggled with his worsening condition.
  1. AC/DC has sold nearly 71 million albums in the U.S. alone, making AC/DC one of the five top-selling bands in American music history. They have sold more than 200 million worldwide. One of the group’s best-loved works, Back In Black, has achieved RIAA ‘Double Diamond’ status, for sales in excess of 22 million copies in the United States, and is America’s fifth largest-selling album ever.


By James Graham


With over 20 years as a journalist and TV producer, James Graham has a wealth of experience covering the full media spectrum. James has a formidable reputation as a talented media veteran and worked as a reporter, script writer and as the producer of the TV documentary The Road To Athens. He has worked across newspapers, radio and the biggest flagship magazine brands in Australia and New Zealand. Previously, James was the News Director at Woman's Day and New Idea. Whether filing celebrity exclusives, or some of the biggest real-life splashes of recent years, James’ career has always been at the frontline of mainstream media. When not writing, you’ll find him at Royal Randwick, his beloved Long Reef Golf Club on the Northern Beaches – or visiting his mum in his native New Zealand.


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