The group was first started by the two brothers Malcolm and Angus Young whose family had immigrated to Australia in the early 60’s, in the early days members came and went almost weekly, they did manage to recruit a lead vocalist by the name of Dave Evans and began playing gigs around their hometown of Sydney, first gig at Chequers Club 31.12.1973.
In June of 74, AC/DC recorded their first single “Can I Sit Next To you Girl” with the b-side “Rockin' In The Parlour” they hired their older brother George Young to produce the tracks along with Harry Vanda. When the single was released in Australia in July of 1974 it became a minor hit and a club tour soon followed. While on that tour they meet a night club owner by the name of Michael Browning and soon after signed him on as
their manager. The band found the key to their success when their vocalist Dave Evans refused to go on stage one day and the band’s chauffeur, Bon Scott got the gig by default.
Once Bon’s throat shredding vocals mixed with Angus’s high voltage lead guitar riffs a legendary band was born. Shortly after Bon joined AC/DC the band went into the studio to record their debut album “High Voltage” which was released in Australia in February 1975 and became an instant success.
The bands lineup solidified soon after when Angus and Malcolm recruited drummer Phil Rudd and a bass player by the name Mark Evans to join the band. With a hit album under their belt they returned to the studio and recorded “T.N.T”, which was released at February 1976 and helped cement the groups success in Australia. However, no one outside of Australia or New Zealand had heard of them. While the band was busy recording their third album, their manager Michael Browning went to London to try and find the band a label outside of Australia. They finally convinced the American label Atlantic to give them a deal in mid ’76. They released the album “High Voltage” as an mixed from the Austalian "High Voltage" and "T.N.T." in Europe. By the end of that year the groups third album “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” was in record stores in Australia and Europe. When they arrived in London to tour in Europe, they became an instant smash with the locals and despite the popular punk movement at the time, they had no problem filling the clubs while other rock bands were being dismissed as dinosaurs and corporate whores. Their follow up album “Let There Be Rock” also became a hit when it was released in March 1977 and was followed by a headlining club tour of Europe and an the support slot on Black Sabbath’s European tour. The Sabbath tour didn’t last long though, rumor has it that Malcolm and Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Bulter bumped heads and AC/DC was thrown off the tour.
The band made their first trip to America in the summer of 1977, they began the tour playing clubs and by the time it wound down they were playing arenas, opening up for REO Speedwagon. They returned to Europe that Fall to headline their own tour and then came back to the states toward the end of the year to support KISS and Rush.
As 1978 dawned the group went back into the studio and recorded their next album “Powerage” which was released at the end of April. Their popularity in England was growing in epic proportions so the band undertook the requisite headlining tour in Europe before returning to the States to open shows for bands like Aerosmith, UFO, Journey, Rainbow and Alice Cooper. The band still was without a hit in the US but their underground following had steadily grown since they first toured America. By the time their live album, “If You Want Blood You've Got It” was released in October of 1978. By releasing a live album, AC/DC had followed KISS’s lead from three years previous. But it was their next album that was poised to make the band international superstars.
With momentum pushing them steadily forward the band wanted to make the best album of their career so they enlisted the production wizardry of “Mutt” Lange and entered the Roundhouse Studios and emerged six months later with “Highway to Hell”. The album was released in July 1979 and sold well. The band hit the road in North America supporting bands like Cheap Trick, UFO and Ted Nugent and a Eurpean tour with Judas Priest as support, on this tour the cocert in Paris was filmed and released later as the legendery “Let There Be Rock” Video. As they entered 1980 their popularity was climbing and it appeared that the floodgates of superstardom were about to open for them, then tragedy struck.
On February 20th, 1980, Bon Scott’s friend Alisdair Kinnear, whom he had been out drinking with the night before found Bon unconscious in his car. Kinnear rushed Bon to the hospital but it was too late, the world had lost Bon Scott. According to official reports Bon had far too much to drink the night before and choked to death on his vomit because he was too drunk to regain consciousness and the way he was laying prevented him from breathing.
The band was devastated and didn’t know whether to carry on without their fallen frontman, Malcolm and Angus finally decided that Bon would want them to continue so they sought out a new vocalist to front the band. Replacing Bon Scott is an impossible job, but it had to be done. They auditioned a number of singers before settling on former Geordie lead vocalist Brian Johnson.
In April they traveled to the Bahamas with their new lead vocalist and producer “Mutt” Lange and began recording their next album “Back in Black”. By the end of May the recording was completed and the band took some time off. They regrouped on July 1st to perform a concert in Belgium. Not knowing how the audience would respond to their new vocalist, the band was apprehensive about the show, but as soon as they started into the first song the crowd exploded with cheers and whole heartedly welcomed Brian Johnson to the band.
“Back in Black” was released at the end of July, 1980 and the band was not prepared for what was to come. “Back in Black” catapulted AC/DC into the big time.