AC/DC is the common link between you and that dirty-looking guy in tree-camo coveralls.
When it comes to macho, few rock bands embody the farmer's tan and a loud, rusty, old pickup truck better than AC/DC. What began as just another 70's blues rock band with loud, overdriven guitars has evolved over the past 30 years into one of the most recognizable symbols of redneck America in the world.
This is odd, given that exactly zero of AC/DC's members are Americans, that their name is also a slang term for bisexuality, that their songs have absolutely nothing to do with the south rising again, and that their lead guitarist's stage costume is designed to completely destroy one of the most popular sexual fantasies among men everywhere.
Oh, yeah... now this is what I'm talking ab- MOTHER OF GOD, MAKE IT DIE!
No contest. Ladies, you know you'd sleep with the Fat Boys first.
AC/DC is, hands down, the ugliest band in rock and roll, ever. Even if we included pop and rap to get A Flock Of Seagulls and The Fat Boys in on this contest, Angus Young alone would out-ugly the whole crowd.
"But Cracked dot com", you say, "that's totally not fair! These guys have been around forever! They're old! I'll bet you won't look as good as that when you're 29!"
We thought you'd say that, which is why we went and found proof that they've always been ugly:
Pictured L - R: The camaro guy, the gas huffer, the class clown, the bully, and the 22-year-old sophmore.
AC/DC's lineup has remained intact since their formation in 1952. Formed by cousins Angus McPhee and Malcom Inthemiddle, they quickly recruited bassist Cliff Cliffstofferson, drummer Phil Collins, and singer/professional alcoholic Bono to round out the band. Tragically, Bono died just before the release of what would become their biggest record yet. Fearing that the band would end up like Def Leppard, whose drummer's missing arm broke them up and ruined any chance at commercial success, the boys decided to carry on, and despite his lack of a pulse, Bono's performances only got better.
OK, so we didn't really "research" or "verify" our information, but let's be real here - no one wants to read another boring old band bio. Didn't you guys watch that Anvil movie? Band stories are always melodramatic and depressing. Better to just make it up and move on...
Please note that this is not the end of the article. There is more after these ads:
AC/DC was accused once of making the same record nine times, to which guitarist Angus Young said, "I thought it was ten times?" This blatant disregard for innovation and creativity managed to keep the band at the top of their game throughout the 70's and well into the early 80's. A "these couple of records don't exactly not suck" period in the mid 80's forced the band to stay alive on reputation alone, until some hack writer named Stephen King asked them to do a soundtrack for a new Emilio Estevez movie about self-aware trucks, and who would pass that up?
As a general rule, the AC/DC formula works for many of the same reasons the Ramones formula works. Three chords are perfect, four are pushing it, and five are simply not allowed. Alternating verses and choruses are predictable in length, structure, and lyrical content. Don't believe us? Go look at the cover of an AC/DC album you don't already own. Read the song titles and try to imagine in your head what those songs would sound like. Now buy the CD and listen to it. It's almost scary how right you were.
AC/DC singer/lyricist Bon Scott loved nothing better than to evoke creepy images of himself doing the horizontal bop with a wide array of women, and therefore based most of his lyrics on that very topic. He had a special place in his heart for clever puns, but typically the best he could come up with was "It's my belief that my big balls should be held every night".
Get it? It's 'cause he's really talking about a dance, but he also might be talking about his balls - like, you know, his genitals - on account of 'cause they're, like, so big, or maybe it really is a dance and he's just innocently saying that- oh, you already got it? OK. Hey, have you heard that song "The Jack"? It's about cards, but really...
After Scott's death in 1980, AC/DC recruited Brian Johnson. Oddly enough, Johnson's voice was nothing like Scott's. This isn't strange in itself, but it does make the band sort of an anomoly in that very few bands have ever replaced their singer and maintained their popularity. What makes it even more puzzling is that Johnson's voice isn't at all pleasant by any definition of the word. He doesn't sing, he yells, and over the years, his voice has changed from that of an angry rock and roller to that of an elderly woman who has smoked far too many cigarettes.
In spite of all of this, his first record with the band went on to become the second-best selling album of all time, ever. Johnson's lyrics retained some of Scott's sexual theme, but mostly, this dude is interested in writing about three things: electricity, loud noises, and how much stuff rocks.
"I know you hear the thunder when the voltage rocks your soul!"
- We don't know what AC/DC song that's from, but we're sure it's in one or four of them.
In their first decade or two, AC/DC was lumped in with all of the other loud guitar bands as heavy metal. While they certainly never had the creativity and songwriting skills of Led Zeppelin or the dark outlook and memorable riffs of Black Sabbath, they were worlds above their contemporaries like Kiss and Nazareth. For years, their music appealed to the same demographic as these other bands, and antisocial teenaged boys everywhere could be spotted with the band's logo drawn on the backs of their jean jackets in black Sharpie.
The late 80's saw the over-commercialization of everything that could even remotely be considered heavy metal, and the 90's saw whole stupid scene die one of the quickest and most deserved deaths since punk rock put its boot up disco's ass. While many other bands either changed their sound or disappeared completely, AC/DC decided instead to just slow down. In the 20 years since 1990, they have released exactly as many records as they did in the first two years of their career. (Fans may be quick to point out that two of those 1975 - 76 records were the same record with a few songs moved around. We would quickly point them at the regurgitated Iron Man 2 soundtrack and ask them to kindly shut the fuck up and let the writers write the articles.)
You see, someone at the AC/DC headquarters was smart. They knew there was a flock of 14-year-old boys anxiously awaiting the next CD full of exactly the same thing they'd heard on the last 15 CD's, and they knew that keeping it from them was a brilliant career move. By the time "Black Ice" was released, the band was able to do it on its own terms.
Apparently, AC/DC's own terms involve dealing exclusively with the most blatantly evil retail outlet on the face of the earth. Wal-Mart seems to have cornered a monopoly on all things AC/DC, propelling their status a few years back from a casual "Yeah, I remember that band, they were ok" to "When Toby Keith ain't tough enough for my mood, I pop in some AC/DC".
Censoring the titles on Nirvana CD's was fun, but we need to find a new way to control what the masses are going to hear. We need to buy a band. Who were those guys who did that "Shake Me All Night" song or whatever it was? Get them on the phone!
Following the release of Black Ice in 2008, AC/DC kicked off a world tour, pretending, as evidenced by high ticket prices, that they were still relevant. And the crazy thing is that it worked. AC/DC today is possibly bigger than they were at their peak, catering to the redneck market and being extremely successful with a group of people who traditionally don't like anything that isn't from Nashville.
When you look this good, you don't even NEED to be a rock star!
The reality is that AC/DC is one of those bands that pretty much everybody at least somewhat likes, even if they don't go out of their way to listen. It's catchy, loud music that appeals to the lowest common denominator, and it's that "common" bit that ropes us in. No matter how many times you tell yourself "For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)" is really a pretty stupid song, you'll find yourself tapping your foot while it plays.
It's for this reason that AC/DC will probably never go away, and despite having never done anything innovative, will be inexplicably remembered for generations as one of the greats of their era.
That's not to knock their talent for performing. Angus Young's solos are impressive, especially considering that he's had to find a new way to approach the same exact structure EVERY time they've written a song. That's like 500 solos, each different than the last, that fit the same song. So, yeah, maybe we were wrong. That sort of is innovation, isn't it?