AC/DC Back in Black: The meaning behind the album cover

Available on Amazon

The ominous tolling of a bell opens what is arguably one of the greatest rock and roll albums of all time. AC/DC’s Back in Black marked a turning point for the group after the untimely death of lead singer Bon Scott at the age of 33. After the band achieved success not only in their home country of Australia but around the world as well, Scott battled issues with alcohol and drugs, eventually succumbing in February of 1980. At the time, the remaining members of the group contemplated disbanding but decided to press on after urging from fans, family and friends.

In choosing Scott’s replacement, the band strove to find someone who would not just imitate Scott’s signature rasping wail, but who could integrate into the band as they refined their new sound. Brian Johnson fit the bill and stepped into Scott’s shoes as the group’s new front man. Johnson himself wrote the lyrics for this album, as the group felt that it would be sacrilege to Scott’s legend to use his lyrics after his tragic passing. Less than six months after Scott’s death, AC/DC released Back in Black, which would go on to become the band’s most successful album and the second best-selling album of all time.

Staying true to AC/DC’s sex, drugs, and rock and roll roots, Back in Black delivers songs centered around partying and the hard rock lifestyle. The album serves as AC/DC’s homage to Scott, with the album cover in solid black as a symbol of mourning their loss. Maintaining elements of the style that fans knew and loved, this album features AC/DC’s rousing two-lead guitar sound, delivering a hard rock style that rattles listeners to the core with its rollicking guitar riffs. There is just something about this heavy-hitting sound that makes you want to get up out of your seat, jump around and dance.

AC/DC Back In Black

Photo: By Elfast (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

From the slow lead-in of the opening track, “Hells Bells,” the album references the group’s recent tragedy but does not dwell on it for too long. It moves on to use thinly-veiled sexual metaphors extolling the perks of rock and roll fame in “Givin’ the Dog a Bone” and “Let Me Put My Love into You.” The album progresses to deliver perennial party anthems “You Shook Me All Night Long” and the title track “Back in Black.” The stadium-shaking power chords, booming bass lines and aggressive drumming back up Johnson’s shrieking vocals, which pay tribute to Scott’s legacy while solidifying Johnson as the new lead singer.

AC/DC Back in Black: The meaning behind the album cover article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2022

Classicrockhistory.com claims ownership of all its original content and Intellectual property under United States Copyright laws and those of all other foreign countries. No one person, business, or organization is allowed to re-publish any of our original content anywhere on the web or in print without our permission. All photos used are either public domain creative commons photos or licensed officially from Shutterstock under license with ClassicRockHistory.com. All photo credits have been placed at the end of the article.

DMCA.com Protection Status

Add Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Periphery Songs
Top 10 Periphery Songs
Dirty Rotten Imbeciles Songs
Top 10 Dirty Rotten Imbeciles Songs
Debbie Harry Solo Songs
Top 10 Debbie Harry Solo Songs
Carly Simon Album Covers
Top 10 Carly Simon Album Covers
15 Greatest Hits Albums With Best Unreleased Tracks & Non-Album Songs
18 Best Greatest Hits Albums With Unreleased Tracks & Non-Album Singles
Best Rock Albums Of 2022
Best Rock Albums Of 2022
12 Essential Jazz Guitar Albums
12 Essential Jazz Guitar Albums
Real Meanings Behind The Songs On Stevie Nicks In Your Dreams LP
Real Meanings Behind The Songs On Stevie Nicks In Your Dreams LP
Tom Verlaine Of Television Has Passed Away At 73
Tom Verlaine Of Television Has Passed Away At 73
Remembering David Crosby
Remembering David Crosby
David Crosby Dead At 81
David Crosby Dead At 81
Bono & The Edge: A Sort of Homecoming With Dave Letterman To Premier On Disney+ March 2023
Bono & The Edge: A Sort of Homecoming With Dave Letterman To Premier On Disney+ March 2023
10 Classic Rock Bands That Have Never Released A Live Album
10 Classic Rock Bands That Have Never Released A Live Album
Will Music CDs Become Collectors Items?
Why Basic Music CDs Will Become Collectors Items
Greatest Rock Bass Lines Of The 70s
Greatest Rock Bass Lines Of The 70s
Don Kirschner Rock Concert
Before MTV, There Was Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert
Christone "Kingfish" Ingram Interview
Christone “Kingfish” Ingram: The ClassicRockHistory.com Interview
Garnett Grimm Of Savoy Brown Interview
Garnet Grimm of Savoy Brown: The ClassicRockHistory.com Interview
Pat DeSalvo Of Savoy Brown Interview
Pat DeSalvo of Savoy Brown: The ClassicRockHistory.com Interview
Steve Zing of Danzig Interview
Steve Zing of Danzig: The ClassicRockHistory.com Interview
Real Meanings Behind Songs On Rihanna’s Good Girl Gone Bad Album
Real Meanings Behind Songs On Rihanna’s Good Girl Gone Bad Album
Real Meanings Behind The Songs On Rihanna's Music of the Sun Album
Real Meanings Behind The Songs On Rihanna’s Music of the Sun Album
Rihanna Albums
Real Meanings Behind The Songs On Rihanna’s A Girl Like Me Album
Real Meanings Behind The Songs On Stevie Nicks Rock a Little Album
Real Meanings Behind The Songs On Stevie Nicks Rock a Little Album
Turnstile Albums
Complete List Of Turnstile Albums And Discography
Pentatonix Albums
Complete List Of Pentatonix Albums And Discography
Kim Petras Albums
Complete List Of Kim Petras Albums, Songs And Singles
Complete List Of Måneskin Albums And Discography
Complete List Of Måneskin Albums And Discography