39 years after its release, AC/DC’s landmark “Back In Black” has just been certified twenty-five times platinum. That announcement came from the RIAA, The Recording Industry Association Of America, who keeps track of such things.
This means Black In Black has sold 25 million copies in the US alone. It’s the fourth biggest selling album of all time in the United States, behind only “Hotel California” at 26x platinum, “Thriller” with a 33x platinum certification and “Eagles Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975” still way out in front at 38x platinum. “Back In Black” is also the second-biggest selling album in the WORLD, behind only “Thriller.”
That’s pretty amazing feat for an album that was not without its challenges.
Of course, the band had to get a new lead singer when Bon Scott died earlier in the year. Once Brian Johnson was in place, they began rehearsals for the album, but had trouble finding a studio in the UK to record it. They decided on Compass Point Studios, a resort-style facility in the Bahamas, which would give them not only a swanky place to record but offer them tax advantages by recording outside the UK. The problem was, when the band arrived to the studio, it had been damaged in a recent hurricane, causing periodic power outages and affecting power in the studio. To complicate matters, some of their musical equipment was held up at customs and didn’t arrive in time for the beginning of the sessions. In addition, the rest of their gear was shipped via freighter, which was also delayed.
To make matters more tense, Brian Johnson was feeling the pressure of having just been added to the group, and the desire by the band for this album to succeed. The band procured the services once again of producer Robert John “Mutt” Lange, who’d worked with them on “Highway To Hell.” Lange was known to be tough on musicians in the studio, particularly vocalists, and Johnson remembers Lange working him hard, for many hours, to get the right vocals down.
AC/DC worked their butts off, finishing the album in just six weeks, where they then flew to New York to mix it at Electric Lady Studios.
“Back In Black” was released on July 25, 1980 with an all black cover, as a symbol of mourning for Bon Scott and, now, 39 years later, it’s 25 times platinum. Congrats, boys!!