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AC/DC's Brian Johnson announces autobiography The Lives of Brian

Heatworld 12/04/2021 Scott Colothan
a person standing on a stage: AC/DC's Brian Johnson © Credits: © Getty AC/DC's Brian Johnson

Legendary AC/DC singer Brian Johnson will release his autobiography The Lives of Brian on Tuesday 26th October 2021.

The 400-page memoir is being published by Penguin Books and it tells Brian’s story from his upbringing in County Durham to his fledging career with Geordie to fronting one of the biggest bands on the planet, AC/DC.

Brian Johnson: “I’ve had some long nights and some great nights, bad days and a lot of good ones. I’ve gone from choirboy to rock ‘n’ roll singer, and now I’ve gone and written a bloody book about it…”

Available to pre-order right here, The Lives of Brian is available on Hardback, eBook and audiobook formats, the latter of which is read by Brian Johnson himself. A signed version of the book can be purchased from Waterstones and there’s a Special Edition from Rough Trade.

a man wearing a costume: Brian Johnson - The Lives of Brian © Credits: Brian Johnson - The Lives of Brian Brian Johnson - The Lives of Brian

A synopsis for Brian Johnson’s The Lives of Brian reads:

“‘It wasn’t me. I didn’t do it. And I’ll never do it again!’ says Brian Johnson of The Lives of Brian. That AC/DC’s legendary front man got to do it all is one of the most cheering and entertaining stories in rock ‘n’roll history.

“The son of a British army sergeant-major and Italian mother, Brian grew up in Dunston, Tyne and Wear, as it emerged from the shadow of the Second World War. Then he saw Little Richard on the BBC and it changed the course of his life.

a person standing on a stage: AC/DC's Brian Johnson © Getty AC/DC's Brian Johnson

“The choirboy and cub scout was going to be singer.

“For over a decade he tried to make his mark with a succession of bands. He appeared on to Top of the Pops, toured Australia and yet the big time looked out of reach. Then he was invited to London for an audition for one of the world’s biggest rock acts. AC/DC were a band in crisis following the tragic death of their lead singer, Bon Scott, but with Brian on board they would record their masterpiece: Back in Black. It became the biggest selling rock album of all time. The tour that followed played to packed out arenas. Quickly embraced by the band’s fans, the new boy had earned his spurs. But there was to be a twist in the tale. In 2016, Brian was forced to quit the band after being diagnosed with hearing loss, only to make a triumphant return to the band he loved with the release of 2020’s smash hit album Power Up.

“It’s been a rollercoaster of a life, throughout which Brian’s kept his feet firmly on the ground, never losing touch with his roots.

“Warm, vivid, evocative, life-affirming and often laugh-out-loud funny, The Lives of Brian tells the story of one of our most well-loved performers in his own inimitable voice.”

AC/DC released their latest studio album ‘Power Up’ in November 2020 and it stormed straight in at Number 1 in the UK and at over 20 more countries worldwide.

Brian Johnson told Absolute Radio's Leona Graham last year he’d be up for touring ‘Power Up’ with AC/DC once the situation with the coronavirus pandemic allows.

AC/DC's legendary career in photos:

AC/DC’s legendary career in photos

a group of people posing for a photo: Angus Young and Malcolm Young in the 1970s © Credits: © Getty Angus Young and Malcolm Young in the 1970s

Glasgow-born, Sydney-raised siblings Angus Young and Malcolm Young formed AC/DC in 1973 when they were just 18 and 20 years old respectively. The first incarnation of the band also featured bassist Larry Van Kriedt, vocalist Dave Evans, and drummer Colin Burgess.

AC/DC’s legendary career in photos

logo: AC/DC's logo © Credits: © Getty AC/DC's logo

Angus and Malcolm Young came up with the AC/DC band name when they saw the letters on their sister Margaret's sewing machine. Literally meaning "alternating current/direct current", the brothers said the name perfectly reflected the raw power and electricity of their music. AC/DC's iconic logo (pictured) was designed in 1977 by Gerard Huerta.

AC/DC’s legendary career in photos

a close up of a sign: AC/DC 'Can I Sit Next to You, Girl.'; © Provided by Heatworld AC/DC 'Can I Sit Next to You, Girl.';

Embracing a glam rock sound, AC/DC released just one single with Dave Evans as their frontman, July 1974's 'Can I Sit Next to You, Girl.' The band performed the track on Australian music television show Countdown that summer. The original Australian vinyl is now a highly sought after collector's item.

AC/DC’s legendary career in photos

Alun Davies, Vince Lovegrove posing for a photo: Bon Scott with The Valentines © Credits: © Getty Bon Scott with The Valentines

Abandoning their embryonic glam rock sound, AC/DC ditched vocalist Dave Evans in 1974 and Angus and Malcolm recruited fellow Scottish born, Aussie raised musician Bon Scott as their new frontman on the recommendation of their older brother and producer George Young. Older and more experienced than Angus and Malcolm, Bon Scott had previously been in the bands The Valentines, Fraternity and The Spektors. Pictured is Bon Scott (second left) looking resplendent in red with The Valentines in 1969.

AC/DC’s legendary career in photos

graffiti on a wall: AC/DC 'High Voltage' © Provided by Heatworld AC/DC 'High Voltage'

Featuring a cover of Big Joe Williams' 'Baby, Please Don't Go', AC/DC's debut album 'High Voltage' was released in Australia only in February 1975. Produced by Harry Vanda and Malcolm and Angus' older brother George Young, the album peaked on the Australian charts at no.14 and has since gone on to sell 350,000 units.

AC/DC’s legendary career in photos

Malcolm Young, Phil Rudd posing for the camera: AC/DC in 1975 © Credits: © Getty AC/DC in 1975

Shortly after the release of 'High Voltage', AC/DC's line-up evolved to also feature bassist Mark Evans and drummer Phil Rudd alongside the core members of the Young brothers and Bon Scott. Here they are straddling a ladder, naturally.

AC/DC’s legendary career in photos

a close up of a sign: AC/DC 'TNT' album cover © Provided by Heatworld AC/DC 'TNT' album cover

AC/DC's Australia and New Zealand only album 'T.N.T.' was released a few weeks before Christmas in 1975. 'T.N.T.' saw the band delve into more abrasive, hard-edged rock and roll and featured the album title track, 'High Voltage', 'It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)' and a re-recording of debut single 'Can I Sit Next to You, Girl.'

AC/DC’s legendary career in photos

Bon Scott et al. sitting at a table: AC/DC in London in 1976 © Provided by Heatworld AC/DC in London in 1976

Atlantic Records' UK head Phil Carson signed AC/DC on a global deal in December 1975, and the following April the band released their first international album 'High Voltage'; essentially a compilation record featuring songs from their Australian releases 'High Voltage' and 'T.N.T.' To date, 'High Voltage' has sold more than 3 million copies worldwide.

AC/DC’s legendary career in photos

a group of people posing for the camera: AC/DC ‘Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap’ © Provided by Heatworld AC/DC ‘Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap’

AC/DC's third studio album 'Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap' was released in September 1976 with the Australian and international editions featuring different track-listings and artwork. Released for the first time Stateside in 1981 on the back of the success of 'Back in Black', 'Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap' has sold more than 6 million copies in the US alone.

AC/DC’s legendary career in photos

a person with graffiti on the side of the road: AC/DC ‘Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap’ Australian version © Provided by Heatworld AC/DC ‘Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap’ Australian version

Here's the Australian artwork for AC/DC's 'Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap' depicting Angus Young flicking the v's and Bon Scott with an almost Popeye-esque right arm. It was created by Kettle Art Productions.

AC/DC’s legendary career in photos

a group of people performing on a stage: AC/DC 'Let There Be Rock' © Provided by Heatworld AC/DC 'Let There Be Rock'

AC/DC's fourth album 'Let There Be Rock' was released on 21st March 1977 and once again the track-list was different on the Aussie and international editions. It features some of AC/DC's biggest tracks including 'Whole Lotta Rosie', 'Dog Eat Dog' and the album title track.

AC/DC’s legendary career in photos

Cliff Williams et al. posing for a photo: Cliff Williams and Home in 1973 © Credits: © Getty Cliff Williams and Home in 1973

Mark Evans was fired from AC/DC in 1977 allegedly due to a feud with the Young brothers and replaced by English musician Cliff Williams. An experienced bassist, Williams was previously a member of progressive rock band Home and hard rock act Bandit. Pictured is Cliff (on the left) with his Home band mates Laurie Wisefield, Mick Cook and Mick Stubbs in 1973.

AC/DC’s legendary career in photos

AC/DC 'Powerage' © Provided by Heatworld AC/DC 'Powerage'

Cliff Williams' inaugural album with AC/DC was May 1978's hard rock tour-de-force 'Powerage'. Featuring the single 'Rock 'n' Roll Damnation', although it wasn't an instant commercial success 'Powerage' is rightfully regarded as a classic amongst AC/DC fans.

AC/DC’s legendary career in photos

Malcolm Young, Cliff Williams posing for the camera: AC/DC in 1979 © Credits: © Getty AC/DC in 1979

AC/DC's Malcolm Young, Phil Rudd, Angus Young, Cliff Williams and Bon Scott in 1979.

AC/DC’s legendary career in photos

Malcolm Young, Phil Rudd posing for the camera: AC/DC 'Highway To Hell' © Provided by Heatworld AC/DC 'Highway To Hell'

Produced by Robert John "Mutt" Lange and released in July 1979, AC/DC's blockbuster sixth album 'Highway to Hell' proved to be a colossal commercial breakthrough in the US peaking at no.17 and shifting 7 million copies to date. It was the last album to feature Bon Scott, who died seven months after its release.

AC/DC’s legendary career in photos

Bon Scott dies aged 33 © Provided by Heatworld Bon Scott dies aged 33

Legendary AC/DC vocalist Bon Scott died on 19th February 1980 aged just 33 years old. Following a night of drinking at Camden club Music Machine (now known as KOKO), Bon Scott slept in a Renault 5 car outside his friend Alistair Kinnear's flat in East Dulwich. After Kinnear found Bon lifeless in the vehicle, he was pronounced dead King's College Hospital in Camberwell.

AC/DC’s legendary career in photos

Jeremy Spencer et al. posing for the camera: Brian Johnson with Geordie © Credits: © Getty Brian Johnson with Geordie

After briefly considering quitting, AC/DC decided to carry on after receiving encouragement from Bon Scott's family. Former Geordie vocalist Brian Johnson successfully auditioned for the band singing 'Whole Lotta Rosie' and Ike & Tina Turner's 'Nutbush City Limits.' Bon Scott was a fan of Johnson having seen Geordie live on trips to the UK.

AC/DC’s legendary career in photos

a group of people sitting at a table: AC/DC on stage in 1980 © Credits: © Getty AC/DC on stage in 1980

In April 1980, AC/DC and new vocalist Brian Johnson decamped to Compass Point Studios in The Bahamas to complete songs they had begun working on with Bon Scott. Pictured is Brian Johnson and Angus Young on stage in the early 1980s.

AC/DC’s legendary career in photos

text: AC/DC 'Back in Black' © Provided by Heatworld AC/DC 'Back in Black'

Dedicated to the memory of Bon Scott and produced by Robert John "Mutt" Lange, the resulting album 'Back in Black' was an unprecedented success and has sold more than 50 million units globally including an astonishing 25 million in America. It's the second best-selling album of all time behind Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' and it has spawned the singles 'You Shook Me All Night Long', 'Hells Bells', 'Back in Black' and 'Rock and Roll Ain't Noise Pollution.'

AC/DC’s legendary career in photos

a clock on the wall: ‘For Those About to Rock We Salute You’ and ‘Flick of the Switch’ © Provided by Heatworld ‘For Those About to Rock We Salute You’ and ‘Flick of the Switch’

AC/DC's next two albums 'For Those About to Rock We Salute You' and 'Flick of the Switch' were released in November 1981 and August 1983 respectively.

AC/DC’s legendary career in photos

Cliff Williams, Malcolm Young, Angus Young posing for a photo: Simon Wright with AC/DC in 1983 © Credits: © Getty Simon Wright with AC/DC in 1983

Drummer Phil Rudd's relationship with Malcolm Young deteriorated rapidly during the 'Flick of the Switch' sessions due to Rudd's issues with alcohol and drugs. He exited the band and was replaced by English drummer Simon Wright in the summer of 1983. AC/DC held hundreds of auditions on both sides of the Atlantic before eventually settling on Wright

AC/DC’s legendary career in photos

David Mucci et al. posing for the camera: AC/DC hit the beach in 1985 © Credits: © Getty AC/DC hit the beach in 1985

Here's AC/DC looking resplendent in their swimwear on the beach in Ipanema, Brazil during their South American tour in January 1985.

AC/DC’s legendary career in photos

‘Fly on the Wall’ and ‘Blow Up Your Video’ © Provided by Heatworld ‘Fly on the Wall’ and ‘Blow Up Your Video’

With Simon Wright on drums, AC/DC released the albums 'Fly on the Wall' and 'Blow Up Your Video' in 1985 and 1988, the latter of which features the fan favourites 'Heatseeker' and 'That's the Way I Wanna Rock 'n' Roll.'

AC/DC’s legendary career in photos

a person holding a guitar: Malcolm Young in the 1980s © Credits: © Getty Malcolm Young in the 1980s

Malcolm Young temporarily took time off from touring during the Blow Up Your Video World Tour in 1988 to recover from alcoholism. His nephew Stevie Young briefly stood in for him.

AC/DC’s legendary career in photos

Cliff Williams, Malcolm Young, Chris Slade, Angus Young posing for a photo: AC/DC with new drummer Chris Slade in 1989 © Credits: © Getty AC/DC with new drummer Chris Slade in 1989

Following a six-year tenure, Simon Wright left AC/DC in 1989 and joined Ronnie James Dio's eponymous band Dio. AC/DC replaced Simon Wright with distinguished session musician Chris Slade who had previously played with Tom Jones, Uriah Heep, Gary Numan, Manfred Mann's Earth Band and David Gilmour to name but a few.

AC/DC’s legendary career in photos

Released in September 1990 and produced by Bruce Fairbairn (Aerosmith, Bon Jovi), AC/DC's twelfth studio album 'The Razors Edge' was a rip-roaring commercial success and featured the blockbuster single 'Thunderstruck'

AC/DC’s legendary career in photos

a person standing on a stage: AC/DC's Angus Young at Monsters of Rock © Credits: © Getty AC/DC's Angus Young at Monsters of Rock

Buoyed by the success of 'The Razors Edge', AC/DC embarked on a massive world tour in 1990 and 1991, including a headline slot at Monsters of Rock (immortalised in the 1992 concert film 'Live at Donington') and the spin-off event in the Soviet Union in front of an estimated 1.6 million people. It's widely regarded as one of the largest concerts of all time.

AC/DC’s legendary career in photos

a man jumping in the dark: AC/DC Live © Provided by Heatworld AC/DC Live

A number of concerts on The Razors Edge World Tour featured on the 1992 live album 'AC/DC Live', which, along with AC/DC's 1978 live album 'If You Want Blood You've Got It', is widely and rightfully regarded as a classic.

AC/DC’s legendary career in photos

a close up of a bicycle: AC/DC 'Big Gun' © Provided by Heatworld AC/DC 'Big Gun'

AC/DC released the standalone single 'Big Gun' for the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie Last Action Hero in 1993, and the following year Phil Rudd returned to AC/DC with Chris Slade departing on amicable terms.

AC/DC’s legendary career in photos

text, calendar: AC/DC 'Ballbreaker' © Provided by Heatworld AC/DC 'Ballbreaker'

'Ballbreaker', AC/DC's first album in half a decade, was released in September 1995 with Rick Rubin and Mike Fraser on production duties. It featured the singles 'Hard as a Rock', 'Hail Cesar' and 'Cover You in Oil.'

AC/DC’s legendary career in photos

Cliff Williams, Phil Rudd, Brian Johnson, Malcolm Young posing for a photo with a guitar: AC/DC in 1996 © Credits: © Getty AC/DC in 1996

AC/DC's Cliff Williams, Phil Rudd, Brian Johnson, Malcolm Young and Angus Young in 1996.

AC/DC’s legendary career in photos

a person standing in front of a building: AC/DC 'Stiff Upper Lip' © Provided by Heatworld AC/DC 'Stiff Upper Lip'

AC/DC's fourteenth album 'Stiff Upper Lip' came out shortly after the turn of the millennium and saw George Young take on production duties once again.

AC/DC’s legendary career in photos

Malcolm Young, Phil Rudd, Steven Tyler, Brian Johnson, Cliff Williams posing for the camera: AC/DC inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame © Credits: © Getty AC/DC inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

AC/DC were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003 alongside The Clash, Elvis Costello & The Attractions, The Police and The Righteous Brothers. They were inducted by Aerosmith's Steven Tyler with Angus Young, Phil Rudd, Malcolm Young, Brian Johnson, Cliff Williams and Bon Scott all honoured. AC/DC played 'Highway to Hell' and 'You Shook Me All Night Long' at the ceremony, and were joined by Tyler for their performance of the latter.

AC/DC’s legendary career in photos

a man holding a sign: ACDC Lane © Credits: © Getty ACDC Lane

On 1st October 2004, Corporation Lane in central Melbourne was renamed ACDC Lane in the band's honour. The street is emblazoned with tributes to AC/DC and in 2018 Bon Scott was honoured with a 'bas-relief' sculpture - a low relief carved from a wall – on ACDC Lane. It's three metres high, two metres wide and protrudes 15cm.

AC/DC’s legendary career in photos

a group of people posing for the camera: Bon Scott statue in Freemantle © Credits: © Getty Bon Scott statue in Freemantle

In February 2008, a bronze statue of Bon Scott was unveiled at Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour in Western Australia where the late singer was brought up. The life-size statue depicts Bon standing on top of a Marshall speaker. Eight years later in April 2016 a life-sized bronze statue of Bon was revealed by former AC/DC bassist Mark Evans in Bellies Brae Car Park in Kirriemuir, Scotland.

AC/DC’s legendary career in photos

text: AC/DC 'Black Ice' © Provided by Heatworld AC/DC 'Black Ice'

AC/DC's first album in eight years, 'Black Ice', was unleashed to the world in October 2008 and featured the singles 'Rock n' Roll Train', 'Big Jack', 'Anything Goes' and 'Money Made.' It was produced by Brendan O'Brien and recorded at The Warehouse Studio in Vancouver, British Columbia. Sadly, it proved to be Malcolm Young's final AC/DC album.

AC/DC’s legendary career in photos

Malcolm Young et al. sitting on a bed: Malcolm and Angus Young © Credits: © Getty Malcolm and Angus Young

AC/DC's Malcolm and Angus Young in a Toronto hotel room in 2009 during the Black Ice World Tour.

AC/DC’s legendary career in photos

AC/DC at Download Festival 2010 © Credits: © Getty AC/DC at Download Festival 2010

As well as providing the soundtrack to Marvel superhero movie Iron Man 2, 2010 saw AC/DC headline Download Festival in triumphant style. Testament to their legendary status, AC/DC brought their own stage to Download Festival, which sat alongside the Main Stage. Download booker Andy Copping told Planet Rock it was his proudest Download moment ever, explaining: "They hasn't done a festival in nearly 10 years, and they weren't looking to play festivals, but I convinced them to play. Yes, they brought their own stage, yes, they brought a whole load of demands, but it's AC/DC, and I would do the same again. It was an important part of Download's growth that we got a band like AC/DC and it was an incredible day: we had over 100,000 people in that year. I feel that was my biggest, most inspired and best booking."

AC/DC’s legendary career in photos

a man holding a sign posing for the camera: AC/DC 'Live At River Plate' © Provided by Heatworld AC/DC 'Live At River Plate'

AC/DC's trio of December 2009 shows at the River Plate Stadium in Argentina were released as the DVD 'Live at River Plate' in May 2011. The concerts featured arguably the most enthusiastic crowd in the history of rock music. Also documenting the concerts, AC/DC's first live album in two decades, 'Live at River Plate', came out in September 2012.

AC/DC’s legendary career in photos

Malcolm Young holding a guitar: Malcolm Young retires © Credits: © Getty Malcolm Young retires

In July 2014, AC/DC announced that Stevie Young had replaced Malcolm Young in the band due to Malcolm's ill health and they were releasing a new album entitled 'Rock or Bust'. They said in a statement: "Unfortunately, due to the nature of Malcolm's condition, he will not be returning to the band. AC/DC will undertake a world tour in support of Rock or Bust in 2015." Malcolm's last concert with the band was in Bilbao, Spain in June 2010. It later transpired he was battling dementia.

AC/DC’s legendary career in photos

text: AC/DC 'Rock Or Bust' © Provided by Heatworld AC/DC 'Rock Or Bust'

AC/DC's first album not to feature Malcolm Young, 'Rock or Bust', was released in November 2014 and reached number three on the UK album chart.

AC/DC’s legendary career in photos

Phil Rudd arrives at court © Credits: © Getty Phil Rudd arrives at court

AC/DC drafted in drummer Chris Slade once again in early 2015 for the Rock or Bust Tour due to legal issues Phil Rudd was facing in New Zealand. In July of that year, Rudd was sentenced to eight months' home detention after admitting drug charges and threatening to kill a former assistant. Pictured is Phil Rudd arriving at court wearing an AC/DC leather jacket.

AC/DC’s legendary career in photos

a person on a stage in front of a sunset: Brian Johnson retires from touring © Credits: © Getty Brian Johnson retires from touring

In March 2016, Brian Johnson quit the Rock or Bust Tour, with AC/DC explaining: "Brian Johnson, has been advised by doctors to stop touring immediately or risk total hearing loss." He thanked the band for their support in his departing statement.

AC/DC’s legendary career in photos

a young boy standing on a stage: Axl Roses joins AC/DC © Credits: © Getty Axl Roses joins AC/DC

Following intense speculation and rumours, AC/DC announced in April 2016 that Guns N' Roses frontman Axl Rose was joining them to perform the final two legs of the Rock or Bust Tour in North America and Europe. Unfortunately for Axl, he broke his foot at Guns N' Roses' show in Los Angeles that April and he was forced to use Dave Grohl's throne (used when he broke his foot in Sweden) for the early AC/DC shows.

AC/DC’s legendary career in photos

Cliff Williams sitting in a chair: Cliff Williams retires © Provided by Heatworld Cliff Williams retires

Following the conclusion of the Rock or Bust Tour at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on 20th September 2016, Cliff Williams announced he was retiring from AC/DC. "Thanks to everybody who supported us on this tour, it's been a hell of a tour, it's been great," Cliff said. "It's time for me to step out, and that's all."

AC/DC’s legendary career in photos

Malcolm Young standing in front of a building: Malcolm Young tribute on ACDC Lane © Provided by Heatworld Malcolm Young tribute on ACDC Lane

Just three weeks after his older brother George passed away, legendary AC/DC guitarist and co-founding member Malcolm Young died on 18th November 2017 following a lengthy battle with dementia. He was 64 years old. Pictured is a tribute on ACDC Lane, Melbourne.

AC/DC’s legendary career in photos

Cliff Williams, Phil Rudd, Stevie Young posing for a photo: AC/DC in 2020 © Provided by Heatworld AC/DC in 2020

Following two years of intense speculation after band members were spotted at The Warehouse Studios in August 2018, in September 2020 AC/DC announced their return with their seventeenth studio album 'Power Up'. Excitingly, Brian Johnson, Cliff Williams and Phil Rudd were all on board for the new record.

AC/DC’s legendary career in photos

a stop sign at night: AC/DC's new album 'Power Up' © Credits: AC/DC 'Power Up' AC/DC's new album 'Power Up'

Released on 13th November 2020, AC/DC's seventeenth studio album 'Power Up' serves as a tribute to Malcolm Young, much like 'Back in Black' was a tribute to Bon Scott four decades earlier. Preceded by the single 'Shot In The Dark', 'Power Up' boasts 12 new AC/DC tracks and it was produced by Brendan O'Brien.

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