Background to a rock classic...
Released 27 years ago (has it really been that long?), AC/DC's Back In Black
remains widely known as one of the most powerful and important rock albums
ever, having sold a whopping 46 million copies since its' release in 1980,
and still counting.
With the new A Classic Album Under Review, Sexy Intellectual Productions
takes an in-depth look at the Australian rocker's most definitive and
What made Back In Black so unique to this reviewer is the fact that the
album was released only five months after the death of original bad-boy
singer Bon Scott, who was already well on his way to not only becoming a
legendary front man in his own right, but becoming the face of the band as
The nearly two-hour documentary begins with the untimely death of Scott,
and the difficult decision of the band to carry on and find a new singer,
(AC/DC stated at the time that Scott could never be "replaced") who would of
course, turn out to be Brian Johnson.
Although there are no interviews with band members here, there is plenty of
insight offered by various sources "in the know", most notably recording
engineer Tony Platt, who was involved in the recording of Back In Black, but
also the band's last album with Scott in 1979, the critically-acclaimed
Highway To Hell.
Platt gives some interesting perspective on the bands' relationship with
the legendary producer of Back In Black, Robert John "Mutt" Lange, who
played a major role in the direction of the album, as well as various
prominent music journalists of the time.
The film goes on to discuss the album track by track by providing
commentary on each song and its' significance to the project as a whole,
while also discussing the subtle differences between the vocal and song
writing styles of Johnson and Scott as the band transitioned into the
defining period of their storied history.
Another interesting, if not curious angle comes from two members of the
AC/DC tribute band Dirty DC, who have obviously dissected the AC/DC's music
with a fine-toothed comb, as they describe certain nuances of the individual
However one missing link seems to be, that although there are several
discussions revolving around the differences between Johnson and Scott, as
well as the guitar styles and interplay between the Young brothers Angus and
Malcolm, there is hardly a mention of the all-important rhythm section,
drummer Phil Rudd and bassist Cliff Williams, who simply cannot be left out
of the discussion despite being the "lesser-known" members of the band.
If there is another glitch to be mentioned, it is only the wish for more
rare video footage of the band in action to be dug up from the bowels of
rock and roll. Oh, plus the minor fact that the front and back cover photos
depict shots of the band featuring drummer Simon Wright, who replaced Rudd
some two years after the album's release.
A few bonus features include some additional commentary from Platt, an AC/DC
"Back In Black Quiz", and complete bio's on the documentary guests. The DVD is also
full-screen, and featured in 2.0 stereo sound.
As a whole, Back In Black Under Review is an informative documentary that
AC/DC fans will enjoy, providing a solid blue print of what was really goin' down, as the greatest band from "down under" were creating this timeless rock and roll masterpiece.
Review by Joe Milliken