July 1980, the 25th to be precise, it was a Friday and I remember it like it was yesterday. Ac Dc was to release their follow up album to Highway to Hell, their 7th one and FIRST without lead singer Bon Scott who died of alcohol poisoning on February 19th 1980 at the age of 33, the same age as Belushi, Bellini, Moana Pozzi and other greats in their fields. These were years when there was no internet, no google, no Tik Tock and magazines across the musical spectrum began circulating the news that Ac Dc would replace Bon Scott with ex-Gordie singer Brian Johnson. We were shocked, disgusted and ready to fight.
The idea to protest against the release of their new album “Back in Black” was born spontaneously, like any other stupid idea does, at Bar Cinque Vie over several pints of ale. “Il Branco” aka myself, Cesare, Claudio and Rene decided that we would park ourselves in front of Transex Records in Via Cappellari (Milan) on Thursday after school and start a sort of “sit in” ala Civil Rights protests. We arrived at Transex after school and much to our surprise the “sit in” was already in place! But instead of a protest, we discovered that these were all fans of Ac Dc waiting to buy their record to be released the following day!! Our attempt to protest lasted one beer, and soon we were caught up in the hysteria that followed. Turns out that rumor had it that “Back in Black” was a hard rock masterpiece and while NOBODY had heard of it (as these were the days before the pre-releases) we began to trust the rumors and immediately decided to break our wait into shifts. Claudio who lived nearby went and got two sleeping bags. 6 hours each sleeping on the sidewalk assured us a place in Hard Rock’s Valhalla and so we did. We slept in front of Transex Music in Milan and were 10th in line to purchase the following day 4 copies of AcDc Back in Black.
Was it worth it? If you pose this question to anyone who is a fan of Hard Rock and Metal you obviously do not understand a thing about this musical Genre. Back in Black is monumental, it defined Hard Rock for an entire generation and took it away from Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath and lift it up to a mainstream public. Song after song, rift after rift, of musical awesomeness without a single filler song, simple and pure hard rock perfection.
For those of us who grew up in the 70’s and 80’s this record is eternal, but it is no wonder to me that today, 40 + years later, this record remains solidly in the top 10 selling records I have in my shop, with an audience that ranges from teens all the way into the 60 year olds.
I cannot begin to tell you how many times I have listened to this record, and words cannot do enough justice to explain what this record meant to me growing up. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that this record has saved me many times during my life.
Epic and impossible not to have in ANY top 100 album list.