AC/DC Band Facts: Insights Into The Legendary Band

AC/DC is one of the biggest heavy metal bands in the world, but do you know a lot about this iconic group? We will be telling you some of the best AC/DC band facts, so keep reading to learn all about them! 

AC/DC Is From Australia 

One fact some people don’t know is that the two brothers who formed the band, Angus and Malcolm Young, are originally from Scotland. It was when they moved to Sydney, Australia, that they formed AC/DC in 1973. 

AC/DC Got Their Name From a Sewing Machine

The name AC/DC comes from a sewing machine that Margaret Young, the sister of Angus and Malcolm Young, had around the house. She happened to enjoy sewing while the boys were having their jam sessions. They would see AC/DC on her sewing machine and had an idea for their name, which is short for alternating current and direct current.

March 21, 2020 – Woman hands sewing a mask with a Singer Ideal Model 1014 sewing machine. Tadeáš Bednarz, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The boys thought that the meaning of AC/DC fit well with how high-energy they were and how they had performed in their jam sessions. Obviously, having the lightning bolt is a way to separate the AC from the DC 

Australia Pronounces AC/DC Differently 

While people in the United States typically just say AC/DC as letters, people in Australia say it as Acca Dacca. Unless you’ve traveled to Australia or know people within the country, you’ll probably never hear AC/DC said as Acca Dacca.

Angus And Malcolm Young Were The Only Constants In AC/DC For 20 Years

AC/DC - Hells Bells (Official Video)

While the lineup has changed quite a bit through the years, there have been two members that have been constants in the band until recent years. That would be the two brothers, Angus and Malcolm Young. 

Bon Scott Isn’t His Real Name 

Late 1970s – Angus Young (left) and Bon Scott (right) at the Ulster Hall, Belfast. Image source: Lost Parables from Ballymena, Northern Ireland. ©jameshughes, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Everyone is used to saying Bon Scott as that is what he went by as a part of AC/DC, but his real name is Ronald Scott. When he moved to Scotland, he would often get made fun of and was called Bonnie Scotland. He was not a fan of this and would shorten his name to Bon Scott. 

Angus Young Could Only Find One Guitar For His Hands 

December 25, 2012 – Gibson SG. Image source: Megan Allen from United Kingdom, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Some people play a certain guitar because of its name or because their favorite musician was known to play it, but with Angus Young, the issue was his hands. His hands could not wrap around any other guitar comfortably except for the Gibson SG, which is why he has always played that particular guitar. 

Bon Scott Would Gargle an Unusual Mixture To Keep His Voice Edgy 

We all have heard how gravel-like and raw Bon Scott’s voice is, and he had a special concoction to keep his voice the same. In the mornings, he would take honey and red wine and gargle them both to ensure his voice had that same gravely tone all of the time. 

AC/DC Provided Soundtracks For Two Hit Movies 

AC/DC - Shoot To Thrill (Iron Man 2 Version)

AC/DC provided soundtracks for two hit films that you’ve probably seen before and may not have known it was them. There were 15 different songs that were used on Iron Man 2 from more than 10 AC/DC albums. The other famous movie was Maximum Overdrive, which is a Stephen King movie, and for that film, the band provided Who Made Who. 

Angus Young Had a Milk Addiction 

September 7, 2018 – One US gallon of milk. Image source: Rlsheehan, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In the early days of Angus Young, he had an addiction to milk and enjoyed it to the point of it seemingly being a real addiction. It’s definitely one of the quirkier aspects of the band, and when you’re used to hearing about musicians being addicted to alcohol or drugs, the milk addiction seems rather tame. He even said he would drink multiple gallons a day of the stuff, which is crazy when you think about it. 

75 Million AC/DC Albums Have Been Sold In America 

Just in America, AC/DC has managed to sell more than 75 million albums, and they are clearly one of the biggest bands to ever come out of Australia. In fact, looking at the numbers puts AC/DC within the top five of the highest-selling groups of all time within the United States. 

AC/DC Has Released At Least 17 Albums Throughout Their Career 

Given the fact AC/DC formed in 1973 and put out their first album in 1975 in Australia, it’s no surprise that the band has released more than 17 albums throughout their career. Two of their albums, High Voltage and T.N.T were released in 1975 in Australia only, with the other albums going international including the following: 

  • High Voltage (international version – 1976)
  • Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (1976)
  • Let There Be Rock (1977)
  • Powerage (1978)
  • Highway To Hell (1979)
  • Back In Black (1980)
  • For Those About To Rock We Salute You (1981)
  • Flick Of The Switch (1983)
  • Fly On The Wall (1985)
  • Blow Up Your Video (1988)
  • The Razor’s Edge (1990)
  • Ballbreaker (1995)
  • Stiff Upper Lip (2000)
  • Black Ice (2008) 
  • Rock Or Bust (2014)
  • Power Up (2020)

AC/DC Didn’t Have A Number One Album Until 2014

AC/DC - Rock or Bust (Official Video)

Even though songs like Highway To Hell and Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap were all over the airwaves, AC/DC didn’t have a number-one album until many years later. It wasn’t until Rock Or Bust came out in 2014 that they finally reached number one on the Billboard 200 album chart

They’ve Only Won Two Grammy Awards 

AC/DC - War Machine (Live At River Plate, December 2009)

AC/DC has been nominated 11 times for a Grammy Award, beginning in 1989 for their song Blow Up Your Video, but have only won two Grammys throughout their career. Their first win didn’t come until 2010 when they won for War Machine in the Best Hard Rock Performance category. They would win again in 2013 with Back In Black, and that was in the Grammy Hall Of Fame. 

Malcolm Young’s Health Led To Him Leaving The Band 

October 3, 1982 – Malcolm Young at Manchester Apollo. Image source: Harry (Howard) Potts, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Sadly, in 2014, the lead guitarist for the band, Malcolm Young, had to leave the band and retire because of dementia. However, Stevie Young, his nephew who played for Starfighters, would join AC/DC to take his uncle’s place in the band. 

You Shook Me All Night Long Was Written In The Bathroom

It seems a lot of musicians get inspiration while in the bathroom, and that’s exactly what happened to Brian Johnson. He was in the bathroom when he penned the lyrics to what would become one of their signature songs, You Shook Me All Night Long. 

They’ve Won Several Australasian Performing Right Association Awards

The Australasian Performing Right Association holds an awards ceremony every year, and AC/DC has been nominated several times with the band winning six times as of 2022. The first time they won it was in 1995, and they won three consecutive years beginning in 2008. 

The Number In Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap Was Real 

AC/DC - Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (Live At River Plate, December 2009)

In the song Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, there is a phone number that is used which was real and used by a couple that didn’t appreciate the harassment they received after the tune dropped. The couple would go on to sue the band and receive a settlement of about $250,000.  

AC/DC Took Heat For Richard Ramirez Listening To Them

AC/DC - Highway to Hell (Live At River Plate, December 2009)

AC/DC was linked to Richard Ramirez because he brought up the fact he listened to the band before murdering people. He specifically talked about the song Highway To Hell and how this track led him into a murderous rampage. When caught, he was wearing a shirt with AC/DC written on it and was even leaving items, such as an AC/DC hat at a crime. The press was having a field day with that and tried to say that the band was Satanist and that it shouldn’t be allowed. 

The Band Is Featured On Stamps In Australia 

Since the group formed in Australia, they are loved in their home country and were honored with commemorative stamps by the Australia Post. One of the stamps was released in 1998, which is a rock and roll one celebrating them and the song It’s A Long Way To The Top

1980 – Cover for Back In Black album. Angus Young (concept), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

In 2013, another stamp was made available, which had the album cover for Back In Black featured on it. This was a huge deal because living people are typically not honored on stamps in Australia unless they’re part of royalty. 

Thunderstruck Played When The Stuxnet Virus Hit Iran 

AC/DC - Thunderstruck (Official Video)

A funny fact about this band is that they were used by hackers who released the Stuxnet virus around 2009 in Iran. If you don’t remember this, it was a virus that struck Iran’s computers and led to the breakdown of their nuclear facilities throughout the country. Once those computers at the facility were hit with the virus, Thunderstruck was heard playing at maximum volume. 

Angus Young Loves Chip Butty Sandwiches 

March 25, 2008 – Chip Butty or Chip Muffin. Image source: Annie Mole from London, UK, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you’ve been to Australia, then you might have heard of chip butty sandwiches before, but if you haven’t, this is one of those common British foods that just happen to be what Angus Young loves. It’s basically a sandwich full of chips and there’s no meat on it, so it’s very salty and crunchy. He mentioned this in an Ask Me Anything thread on Reddit in 2014 when asked about his favorite food. 

AC/DC Topped The Wiggles In Earnings 

A lot of children’s musicians and bands make really good money, but in 2009, AC/DC topped The Wiggles in earnings, which is a rare feat. The Wiggles is also an Australian band, and they had the top earnings spot in Australia for four years consecutively.

The Wiggles - 'Thunderstruck' | AC/DC Cover (Official 'ReWiggled' Audio)

However, in 2009, AC/DC made over $105 million, which put them in the top spot. The funny part is that The Wiggles had covered an AC/DC song previously in 2017 when they held a concert at the Perth Arena, so they likely weren’t too upset that the band earned a little more than them for that year. 

A Street In Melbourne Is Named After Them

January 20, 2005 – ACDC Lane, in Melbourne, Australia. Image source: Chris Brown, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

AC/DC is so loved in their home country that they have a street in Melbourne, Australia, that features the name AC/DC Lane. They are incredibly popular within Australia, and people of all ages and races seem to enjoy their music and understand the significance of the Australian band making it big internationally. 

Brian Johnson Has Strained His Vocal Cords

Billy Joel & Brian Johnson: You Shook Me All Night Long (Live at Madison Square Garden 21/03/2014)

If you’ve heard AC/DC then you know the type of singing that they are known for, and when you scream as Brian Johnson does for decades, it’s going to take a toll on your physical health. His vocal cords have received most of the punishment since he’s the singer, and it’s harder for him to hit those notes like he used to.

A Few Members Of The Band Have Died 

February 18, 2006 – The grave of Bon Scott in Fremantle Cemetery, Fremantle, Western Australia. Nachoman-au., CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

While some bands may still have all of their current and former members among the living, there have been a few deaths in AC/DC through the years. The most notable death was Bon Scott, who was the original lead singer of the band. He died in 1980 at just 33 years old from alcohol poisoning. He was found passed out in a friend’s car and was already gone by the time he arrived at the hospital.  

Malcolm Young, the founder of the band, passed away in 2017 when he was just 64. He died after battling dementia. He was diagnosed with dementia in 2014, which is what led to him having to retire from the band, with it progressing rather quickly after that.

There was a bass player who played for AC/DC in 1975 named Paul Matters, although he only had a short stint with the band and Mark Evans soon replaced him. Matters died in 2020 from heart disease, and he was only 68 years old.

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