In celebration of the 40th anniversary of AC/DC’s monumental album Back In Black, here are 40 interesting facts about the album and the band’s process making it.

1) Back In Black was released 5 months after lead singer Bon Scott died. It is a tribute to him.

Bon Scott of AC/DC performing on stage, Lyceum Theatre, London, United Kingdom on July 7, 1976 from the Lock Up Your Daughters Tour. (Photo by Dick Barnatt/Redferns)


2) Before it was a song, the main guitar riff for the title track ‘Back In Black’ was frequently used by Malcolm Young as a warm up tune.

3) Only Michael Jackson’s Thriller has beaten AC/DC in worldwide sales. Back in Black ranks #2.

4) Back In Black is the best selling rock album of all time with over 50 million copies sold worldwide.

5) Back In Black was produced by Robert John “Mutt” Lange. He also did their Highway To Hell album.

6) Brian Johnson was announced as AC/DC’s new vocalist on April 1, 1980.


September 20, 1980. Pictured is Brian Johnson. (Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images)


7) Back In Black  was supposed to be recorded in London, but a sudden opening at Compass Point Studios in Nassau, The Bahamas, spurred them to record there instead.

8) When the band got to the island to record, Malcolm Young was almost arrested when a customs agent briefly seized his guitar and Young tried to take it back.

9) When it was released, Back in Black was #1 in England, Australia, Canada and France.

10) In the beginning of The Rundown starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Sean William Scott, a remix of ‘Back In Black’ by Missy Eliot is played called ‘Get Your Freak On (AC/DC remix)’

11) This album inspired countless rock bands from Def Leppard to Metallica, Guns N’ Roses to The Darkness and continue to inspire musicians today.

12) Motorhead uses the album Back In Black to tune their sound systems. Sound engineers consider the sound of the album so perfect that it is now used in several studios to check the acoustics of a room; becoming an industry standard.

13) ‘Back In Black’ was the first song Kurt Cobain learned on his first guitar at the age of 14.

14) In US strip clubs, ‘You Shook Me All Night Long’ is known to be the most played track due to the heavy bass and suggestive lyrics.

15) There’s a bootleg version of Eminem’s ‘My Name Is’ with ‘Back In Black’ as the backing track.

16) The weather during the making of the album was so bad it almost prevented its recording. The weather is even referenced in Johnson’s lyrics: “I’m rolling thunder, pourin’ rain. I’m comin’ on like a hurricane. My lightning’s flashing across the sky. You’re only young but you’re gonna die.”

17) Although the album was recorded in the Bahamas, it was produced in New York by Mutt Lange. He went on to produce for big names like Def Leppard, Foreigner, Bryan Adams and more.

18) During the rocket launch on May 30, 2020, astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley played the song ‘Black In Black’ as they prepared to board the Dragon spacecraft.

18) The bell ringing in ‘Hells Bells’ was a custom made. It was too difficult to record church bells because flocks of birds would ruin the recording. A mobile studio was brought to the foundry where the bell was being made to record the now iconic ringing before the bell was even finished.

19) There are unconfirmed reports that the Scott estate is receiving 1/3 of the publishing royalties from the Back In Black album.

20) ‘You Shook Me All Night long’ was the first song Brian Johnson wrote with the boys. It’s his favourite to sing on stage.

21) Producer Mutt Lang married Shania Twain in 1993. She also did a cover of ‘You Shook Me All Night Long’.

22) When AC/DC were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003, ‘You Shook Me All Night Long’ was the song they played.

23) Brian Johnson’s very first show as the new lead singer for AC/DC took place on July 1, 1980 in Namur, Belgium.

24) Tracks from Back In Black (the title track and “Shoot To Thrill”) were used in Marvel’s first two Iron Man films in 2008 and 2010.

25) ‘Let Me Put My Love Into You’ made it onto the “Filthy 15” by the Parents Music Resource Center. This ignited the debate about adult content in rock music which resulted in the creation of the Parental Advisory sticker you see today.

26) ‘You Shook Me All Night long’ was the first AC/DC single to feature new lead singer Brian Johnson.

27) When Army pilot Michael Durant crashed in Mogadishu, Somalia  in 1993, he was found after search teams played his favorite song “Hells Bells,” from the rescue aircraft.  The 2001 film Black Hawk Down dramatizes this sequence of events.

28) “Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution” was written in 15 minutes after AC/DC needed one more song to complete the Back In Black album.

29) The iconic album’s all-black cover was a tribute to Bon Scott. They wanted to have the title in all black as well, but at the insistence of their label at the time, Atlantic Records, the band allowed the text to be bordered in grey.

30) The song “Back In Black” is #2 on VH1’s list of the greatest hard rock songs of all time.

31) There were lots of songs that Bon Scott had written for AC/DC’s follow-up to Highway to Hell, but the band felt that it wouldn’t have been right to profit off of their late friend’s work.


AC/DC group portrait, London, July 1976, L-R Phil Rudd, Bon Scott, Angus Young, Mark Evans, Malcolm Young. (Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images)


32) While recording the album in the Bahamas, a crab wandered into the studio during a session.

33) 4 singles came from Back in Black. In order of release, it was “You Shook Me All Night Long,” “Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution,” “Hells Bells,” and “Back in Black.’

34) “You Shook Me All Night Long” has 2 music videos. The first was released in 1980 with the band playing live. The second was released in 1986 for Who Made Who, an AC/DC’s greatest-hits and soundtrack album for the movie, Maximum Overdrive, which is written and directed by Stephan King. 


35)  Angus and Malcolm Young didn’t want to sit around and be sad after Bon Scott died, so 2 days after his funeral, they went back to work on the album.

36) Malcolm Young once said of Back in Black that: “With Bon’s death we wanted to put everything down right, we were really focused on that album and it turned out to be timeless and I think it’ll stay that way. I think maybe AC/DC had come to a peak at that point.”

37) For ‘Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution’, the spoken intro was apparently improvised according to Brian Johnson.


38) In 1980, even the worst song from Back In Black was still better than anything else released at the time.

39) The one-ton bronze bell they commissioned from a foundry for the song ‘Hells Bells’ was brought on tour with AC/DC. Brian Johnson would ring the bell during the live performance of the song.

40) At the end of the Back In Black tour in 1981, Bon Scott’s mother, Isa Scott, told Brian, “Our son would have been proud of you.”

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM – AUGUST 18: Bon Scott lead singer for AC/DC performs at Wembley Stadium on August 18, 1979 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by FG/Bauer-Griffin/Getty Images) 170612F1