The Darkness and Skunk Anansie hail AC/DC on 40th anniversary of ‘Back In Black’

"It is a permanent reminder to all musicians that we can achieve something mind blowing when we come together."

Some of rock music’s biggest voices have opened up on how AC/DC‘s ‘Back In Black’ shaped their lives, to mark the 40th anniversary of the seminal record.

Released on July 25 1980, the record marked the band’s first with vocalist Brian Johnson, following the death of frontman Bon Scott in London earlier that year.

In the following decades, the album has gone on to become one of rock’s most influential records, with a wide array of bands hailing it as a huge influence on their sound.


Speaking to NME ahead of tomorrow’s anniversary, The Darkness‘ Dan Hawkins said: “Back In Black is still such an important record. It is a permanent reminder to all musicians that we can achieve something mind blowing when we come togetherr as a group, have faith in one another and actually play together when we record.

“The feel, natural groove and aggression on this record feels so human. We need more albums to be approached in this way. The thing that so many incredible recordings from the past have in common, is that they were putting these tracks down in a room together and just relying on each other for tempo and feel.

“That’s what makes all this music enjoyable all these years later,  the human element. I mean, we’ve got to be good for something!”

“Let’s hope that bands come together after this period of enforced isolation with a new found understanding that interaction with fellow humans is essential – this chemistry is really what makes a record like Back In Black essential and truly timeless. Thank you AC/DC for changing my life with this masterpiece.”

His views were echoed by Skunk Anansie guitarist Ace, who hailed the record as a “true masterpiece”.


“From the first all black album cover that I had seen, with the embossed logo just about visible, I knew it was going to be something different. The anticipation of being able to surpass the Bon Scott catalogue was a huge expectation,” he said.

“And from the opening bell chiming on ‘Hells Bells’ the shivers started to run down my spine and the drop of the riff and the production just went to a whole new level with Mutt Lange on board.

He added: “Every song was a stormer,  and amazingly it’s really stood up well against the test of time, still sounding absolutely bang on all these years later! The reaction it gets in the clubs and bars that I’m in from all the punters symbolises it is still one of rock’s most treasured and favoured LPs of all time… and gives me a sense of home. I think it’s a true masterpiece!”

Elsewhere, ex-Anthrax guitarist Rob Caggiano described it as the “holy grail” of rock music.

“Not only is it the first album I ever owned as a kid (lucky me), but it’s actually the ultimate rock record of all time on every level,” explained Caggiano.

“I may have been a little seven year old kid back then, but I had already decided I wanted to be a guitar player after hearing this…I wasn’t kidding about that!! Years later ‘Back in Black’ inspired me to become a record producer and an engineer as well. Mutt Lange’s production here is mind blowing, timeless and utterly game changing.

Brian Johnson and Angus Young of AC/DC (Picture: Jason Squires/WireImage)

“The performances are the tightest I’ve ever heard. Actually after all these years I still haven’t heard another rock record with a vocal performance that beats what Brian Johnson did here. His vocals are evil and it still gives me chills. Angus and Malcolm are also the most ferocious and potent they’ve ever been on this album, in my opinion. When I put on ‘Back in Black…it feels like the devil is sitting next to me!”

The latest tributes come after the band shared a rare performance video of ‘You Shook Me All Night Long’ from their 1981 ‘Back In Black’ tour.

They have been posting a host of previously unseen live clips to their official YouTube channel, with a video of ‘What Do You Do For Money Honey’ arriving on the platform last week.

Earlier this month, AC/DC also premiered the inaugural episode of a new documentary series which chronicles the creation of their ‘Back In Black’ record.

The first instalment focused on ‘You Shook Me All Night Long’, and featured past interviews with the band’s members, who detailed the creative process behind the song. Yesterday (July 20) AC/DC shared the second edition, which delved into the making of ‘Hells Bells’.