Tag Archives: gitaar

Eb is a rocker’s best friend – chord of the week

Eb is a rocker’s best friend. Want to know why? Well, it’s quite simple actually. In the past, a great many rockers were men and men don’t have very high voices. So to be able to sing along in tune, without damaging their vocal cords, they tuned their guitars down a half step. And what happens if you drop a semitone in E tuning? Yup, your guitar is tuned in Eb instead of E.  The scale of the key Eb – or the D# depending on how you look at it – consists of the Eb, F, G, Ab, Bb, C, and D. These are the notes that make up the chord forms and progressions of songs written in Eb. Now here’s the fun part: when you tune your guitar in Eb the sound is lower, but you can still use the fingering of the chords as if it were in E. Use the Chordify transpose tool to do so.

Voodoo Child (Slight Return) – Jimi Hendrix

When you think of a rock legend, you think of Jimi Hendrix. The man whose influence on the genre  can still be heard today. “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” is one of his gems. Listening to the song feels like being sent on a music-induced trip by a friendly wizard. https://youtu.be/IZBlqcbpmxY When we look at the chord progression we notice that it’s quite basic. If you’ve already tuned your guitar one semitone lower (to Eb) you can use Chordify’s transpose function and convert the song to E. Since your guitar is in Eb the chord grips are the same.

1979 –  The Smashing Pumpkins 

“Voodoo Child” is a classic and of course very cool to play along with, but rock has also evolved since then. In the ’90s bands like The Smashing Pumpkins broke through to the mainstream. In the song “1979” frontman Billy Corgan looks back on his youth. The track won an MTV Video Music Award in 1996 and was voted best Smashing Pumpkins song ever in 2012. https://youtu.be/4aeETEoNfOg Transpose the chord progression to E again and watch how the triads get a lot more familiar. Do you still have your guitar in a normal E tuning? Then don’t transpose anything and challenge yourself. The song consists of about seven chords, some more difficult than others.

Chop Suey! – System of a Down

Remember when “Chop Suey!” was released by System of a Down? Maybe you do or maybe you just weren’t born yet. But still, it was quite a happening. This is one of the first hard-rock tracks with a successfully applied touch of Armenian folklore. In 2002 the song was nominated for a Grammy. “Chop Suey!” is the epitome of a System of a Down song, and its signature sound that has kept listeners enthralled over the years. https://youtu.be/CSvFpBOe8eY This is perhaps the only song in this list where the chords seem somewhat familiar, in standard tuning. So tune your guitar to E (you can use Karang for this) and watch how the chord progression develops. In this song the strumming is very important. You’ll have to hold some chords for a long time, which might seem easy. However, if you don’t play it tightly, the soul goes out the window and the whole track with it. Therefore practice your wrist and keep up with the rhythm of the song.

Valerie – Amy Winehouse

Rock ‘n’ roll is not only made by men. Thank God. But it is kind of hard to find girl rockers singing in the key of Eb. “Valerie” is a great example of a song where this does happen. We’re talking about Amy Winehouse’s hit version, which is actually a cover of a song by the Zutons. https://youtu.be/d_EADBnXjXc After playing System of a Down you can tune your guitar back to Eb. Ready? Great! Now transpose the chords from Valerie to E. What you see is a sequence of some jazzy chords. Don’t be scared. The Emaj7 and B7 aren’t your common triads, but it’s good to practice them. Looking a bit closer at the F#maj7 and the G#m, you can maybe see a possibility to simplify them to power chords. Do you like to rock hard? Then play some power chords. Do you like a challenge? Then take the original Eb chord progression. Whatever you do, go for it. Enjoy and happy jamming!

In case you didn’t know, the G minor is always there for you – chord of the week

From the Beatles to Damien Marley everyone loves the G minor (Gm). This chord of the week is a cherishable barre, and its sound lends itself to every genre. Want to see more Chordify awesomeness? Follow us on Instagram.

First, let’s take a look at the Gm scale. This will give us an insight into which tones go well with our chord of the week. In this case, these are the G, A, Bb, C, D, Eb, and F. These tones are fundamental tones that form the basis for variations on chords that result from them, so we can get a picture of what awaits us.

Welcome to Jamrock – Damien Marley

Welcome to Jamrock” is Damien Marley’s breakthrough. The son of the great reggae star certainly sticks to his roots but gives it his own spin. He developed a style that’s a beautiful crossover between reggae and hip-hop.

What remains characteristic of the Jamaican style is the simplicity of the chord scheme. This song mainly consists of the Gm, the D, and the Bb. Try it out and throw it in a spontaneous jam. Pay attention to the attack of your strum.

Shine On You Crazy Diamond – Pink Floyd

The song “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” is a suite in pop music, which means the structure of the track is reminiscent of a classical piece. The song is about Syd Barrett, a band member who was expelled, because of his drug problems. The song is drenched in melancholy and love.

The intro is made up of a subtle guitar solo accompanied by keyboards. In it, the Gm, Dm, and Cm play the leading role. The second part of the song is dominated by the Bb, F, G, and E. Overall, the track is quite clear and even recommended for the beginning guitarist. If only to get a feeling for barre chords.

Bone Dry – EELS

The track “Bone Dry” by the Los Angeles-based band Eels takes you on a journey through the scale of Gm. The song largely consists of a long riff that descents along the scale through F, Eb, Dm, Bb, Cm, and Gm.

The advantage of this track is that both advanced beginners and newbies can practice switching grips at a manageable pace. Moreover, this song is a nice addition to your setlist. Let your audience sing along with the bitter “shalalaa”.

While My Guitar Gently Weeps – The Beatles

We will end this week with another classic. “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” is one of the few Beatles songs written by George Harrison. It is a melancholic blues with a topping of pop.

Don’t be surprised when you see chords like C/E or Gm/F. The second note is an extra bass tone. So a C with an E in the bass, or a Gm with an F as the lowest tone. The rest of the chord scheme speaks for itself. The song is full of basic chords like Em, Bm, G, C, D, and F. In other words: the ideal exercise during your weekend. Happy jamming!

Hip-hop, blues rock you name it and the C minor’s got it – chord of the week

This week we tune into the C minor. Wait, there no reason to be sad. Minor is not always a synonym for tearjerkers and sad songs, on the contrary. From hip-hop to blues and pop, our chord of the week fits everywhere – and everywhere in between. It’s an honor, and a real pleasure to present to you: the C minor (Cm).

Our chord of the week is – not surprisingly – build up out of notes from the Cm scale, which consists of C, D, Eb, F, G, Ab, and Bb. You might recall, from other blog posts, that the notes from a scale often appear as chords in compositions. But enough theory. Time for action!

Since I’ve Been Loving You – Led Zeppelin

Let’s start with a classic. “Since I’ve Been Loving You” by Led Zeppelin is an example of a song in which blues and rock converge, and it’s written in Cm. The track is a nice crossover between seventies rock and the fertile ground from which this genre originated: the blues.

The song starts with a solo by Jimmy Page. The accompanying melody immediately covers the entire spectrum of the basic tones of the Cm scale – it passes through C, Eb, F, G, Ab – and variations thereupon, that follow each other in quick succession. As such, this song is a good exercise for the advanced beginner.

Skyfall – Adele

We all know the sweet soulful voice of Shirley Bassey that symbolizes the sound of the first Bond movies. ‘No diva can beat that’, you might say, although Adele will certainly come close with “Skyfall”.

The verse of “Skyfall” consists of Cm, F, Fm, Gm, and Ab. The chorus is extended with a D and an Eb. Don’t be put off by the fast succession of chords, rather make it easy for yourself by cutting the song into pieces. First practice only the verse, and then only the chorus. Use the loop function for this. This way you don’t have to rewind each time.

Rich Bitch – Die Antwoord

We promised you pop and hip-hop, and if we promise something, we deliver on it. Die Antwoord is one of the most controversial hip-hop acts of the moment, and this South African duo is anything but boring, as we can hear in the track “Rich Bitch.

This song is suitable for the beginner who is up for an experiment. The chord scheme is not very difficult since it only consists of two triads: Cm and Fm. Diversions to Gm and D are good for some variation. Play this song in a jam and see if your audience recognizes it.

Africa – Weezer

“Rich Bitch” may not fly at your grandmother’s birthday party, but you can lighten the mood with this classic song in a new look. Weezer made a quite literal cover of the Toto song “Africa“. The track is exactly the same as the original, with the only difference that it is set in Cm instead of C#m.

This track is a challenge, even for the advanced guitarist. If you thought “Since I’ve Been Loving You” has a fast chord progression, then the pace at which the triads in this song follow each other may feel like warp speed. Of course, nothing is impossible. Use the loop function and cut the song into pieces, it will become much easier to comprehend. Happy jamming!

Back to School Sale – Get Back in Shape After Your Summer Break

And then all of a sudden, it’s September! In other words: kick off your swimming trunks and grab your guitar. To give you a little nudge in the right direction we’ve set up a Back to School discount, offering you 50% off! So you can ‘get back in shape after your summer break’. Because you know, that guitar in the corner isn’t going to play itself.

That’s why it’s important to slowly, bit-by-bit, get into the routine of practicing every day. What do you say we put on some tea and try out some easy four-chord songs for breakfast? We’ve listed seven tracks that all consist of a maximum of four triads. This way you can practice one song a day for a whole week.

Sublime – What I Got

We promised a maximum of four chords right? Let’s start off the week even easier. The song to lift your moody Monday is Sublime’s “What I Got“. The perfect example to show that a song doesn’t have to be difficult to be good. Two chords are enough.

The Wild Rover – The Dubliners

A classic song from ye ole’ Irish pub on Tuesday. “The Wild Rover” by The Dubliners is the song that fits into any jam. Besides, it’s the perfect way to practice your basic chords: G, C, D, and A.

Folsom Prison Blues – Johnny Cash    

The legendary lyrics “I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die” come straight from the heart of outlaw singer-songwriter Johnny Cash. The song “Folsom Prison” is a classic. Perfect for celebrating that it’s Wednesday and we’re halfway there!

Simple – Florida Georgia Line  

Let’s keep it “Simple” on Thursday. This track by Florida Georgia Line doesn’t seem that simple at first sight. The chords Eb, Ab, and Bb might scare you a bit, but let’s be smart: just slide the capo tool to the first fret and have another look at the chords. Way better right?

Blitzkrieg Bop – Ramones

Friday means: almost weekend! Let’s start off this day by rebelling with this punk wonder “Blitzkrieg Bob“. Let this Ramones classic be your theme song of the day. This also gives you a chance to get rid of some of that extra anger by playing loud and hard, and screaming: “Hey, ho! Let’s go!”

Tanist – Conway Savage

Saturday, time to recuperate from that stressful week with a slow and beautiful track by the late Bad Seeds pianist, Conway Savage. You can play “Tanist” on your guitar or piano. For those of you that want to get more advanced, try fingerpicking the chords instead of straight strumming them.   

Bitter Sweet Symphony – The Verve

Everything must come to an end. Yup, “Bitter Sweet Symphony“, that’s life! There’s no better song for your Sunday. Look back at all your jams this week and ask yourself: “have I improved?” If you played for at least ten minutes a day, the answer must be “Yes!” Keep up the routine, and watch yourself get better every day!

Check out the new Chordify app for Android!

This just got in! The new Chordify app for Android is out! “Wait what? Didn’t you guys have an Android app already,” we hear you ask out loud. And yes, you are right. But this is an even newer version with many extras and adjustments. Now you can learn to make music even more efficiently while enjoying all the comforts.

What’s new about the Chordify app? That’s what we’re going to tell you in detail. Buckle up, because it’s quite a lot.

Soundcloud

Isn’t the singer-songwriter you recently heard playing in the pub on Spotify, but did he upload his songs to Soundcloud? No problem, just look it up in Soundcloud and play it via the Chordify app! Now you can just use the Android app to play along with tracks from your favorite artist on Soundcloud. 

Do you happen to be that artist? This is your chance! Promote your work and make sure people learn to play your music via the Chordify app. The more followers playing your tracks, the bigger your fan club gets. So don’t let it pass you by with the new feature on the Chordify Android app.

Tracks Upload

In the Chordify iOS app, you can upload new tracks from your app and play along with them. At the moment, the Chordify application for Android works a bit different. When you upload songs to your Library via your account on your PC or Mac, you can play along via the app. That’s really nice, because it couldn’t be done before!

Metronome and Chord Playback

Of course it’s great if you get all the chords with your favorite track, but of course you also want to know in what kind of rhythm and at what tempo you have to play them. Instead of guessing, you can now simply turn on the metronome tool. It clearly shows when you have to strike which chord. In addition, with the chord playback function you can now also hear how this chord sounds.

Click on a triad and watch what happens. You hear a clear representation of the chord. For example the G. Very handy if it goes too fast, or you can’t hear clearly what kind of chord is being played because of the sound effects that are used. If you still can’t hear it right, we also added a volume control for both metronome and chord playback. Now you can turn the loudness of the song down and one of the tools up. Pretty handy.

Transpose songs

Sometimes you have songs that sound very easy and then suddenly you see all these Bb, F# and Abm chords in front of you in the app. What do you do? Often this is due to the tuning of the guitar in the song. When a track is in Eb, it means that the band is tuned one semitone lower. Something that happens a lot in grunge and metal tracks.This can be easily solved with the transpose tool. You can see in which key a song is written and you can transpose tones up or down. Do this until you find a chord progression that is convenient to you.

Capo

Another thing you can do when a song is written in a key that you find difficult is to use the capo tool. The capo is a clamp with which you flatten all strings in a certain position. What you actually do is shift the ridge (top of the guitar neck). By applying the capo- or the transpose tool you keep the intervals between the chords, while you have a more accessible chord progression. Try it out for yourself on the new app, don’t forget to place your real-life capo after you’ve found a good position for it.

Faster, slower or in a loop? Whatever you want!

Imagine you are playing along with a song and suddenly everything is going so fast that you feel overwhelmed. No problem! In the new app, you can speed up or slow down the track. Once you have mastered the chord progression, but you still need some practice turn on the loop tool. The loop tool helps you rehears a specific part of a track. This allows you to set the number of bars you want to repeat. Very handy if you want to learn a song part by part. First you play the verse ten times in a row and then you go to the chorus and the bridge. Whatever you want, it’s all possible with this new function.

Sheet music as it should be

Are you going to a cabin in the woods for the weekend where there is no wifi, or are you just old school? It doesn’t matter, because with the export tool you can simply download the chords of your favourite songs in PDF files. So you can read them from all your devices without having to log on to internet, or you can just print them out. Can it be any easier? Probably not. Download the new Android app here – Happy jamming!

Jam along with Dave Grohl’s PLAY – ‘The reward of putting effort in an instrument is to play’

Dave Grohl is one of the most diverse musicians in the rock business. He plays drums, guitar and is a pretty good singer. We know Grohl as drummer in Nirvana and of course as frontman of Foo Fighters. In his new project called “PLAY” we see that Grohl is even more skilled than we ever thought. He literally plays a 23 minute song all by himself.

Music is a puzzle

Do you know the feeling of picking up a guitar and thinking that if you could somehow learn to play that one song you love, your life purpose would be fulfilled? But when you actually master the track, it’s like there was never a challenge in playing it. The real challenge is that other song that has a way more difficult chord progression.

Will this quest for full mastery ever end? Dave Grohl doesn’t think so. Even as a highly skilled musician, he says that his battle of becoming better and better never stops. That’s why he wrote, recorded and preformed a 23 minute song all by himself. Just to keep the juices flowing.

Learning how to play

The idea for “PLAY” came about when Grohl watched how his kids were struggling with the same challenges he still has to overcome; becoming better and more skilled in the instrument your playing. It’s a proces of winning, failing and most of all learning.

“When I take my kids to the place where they take their lessons, I see these rooms full of children that are really pushing themselves to figure this out. And even now, as a 49-year-old man, I’m still trying to figure it out… it’s not something that you ever truly master. You’re always chasing the next challenge, and you’re always trying to find a way to improve on what you’ve learned”, Grohl says in “PLAY”.

The reward is to play

In the end the reward you get from pushing yourself to master an instrument is the fact that you can keep playing. Just keep that in mind every time you pick up a guitar, ukelele, drumsticks or your keytar. Check out the song “PLAY” and try to jam along with Dave. Happy jamming!

A minor equals classic rock – Chord of the week

One of the most dramatic chords you can grab at the top of your neck is the Am. The scale of this chord of the week consists of the basic notes A, B, C, D, E, F and G. That’s why there are countless rock classics written with the Am at the core.

Our chord of the week is made up of the same tones as the A major, with the main difference that the third tone – the third – is not a C# but a C. The above tones that appear in the Am scale, therefore, fit as stand-alone chords in combination with the Am. Just look at the tracks below.

Stairway to Heaven – Led Zeppelin

Stairway to Heaven” is a rock classic and a welcome addition to any setlist. Jimi Page’s powerhouse display of technical skills might overshadow the core of the song: the chords. But, when you look past the spicy fingerpicking and listen to the soul of the track, you’ll soon notice that it consists of basic triads played at the top of the neck.

Which is why “Stairway to Heaven” is actually a good song for a beginning guitarist. It comprises several standard chords, like Am, C, D, E, F, and G. Give it a try. If it’s easy, you can go and see how the plucking fits in there.

Le Freak – Chic

While true for “Stairway to Heaven”, not everything written in the Am sounds serious and gloomy. Take “Le Freak“, the song from the legendary funk band Chic, led by hitmaker Nile Rodgers. It doesn’t get more buoyant than this. The track has everything, from frisky vocals to groovy bass lines and well-timed guitar punches.

As you might expect this song is not very difficult as far as the chord scheme is concerned. The most important funk riff revolves around the Am, D, C progression. The only thing you have to pay close attention to is your strumming hand. It doesn’t take long to play the chords, but to ‘feel the funk’: that’s a steep learning curve.

Child in Time – Deep Purple

If you include Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” in your jam, another classic that shouldn’t be omitted is the epic “Child in Time” by rock band Deep Purple. It’s a mesmerizing gem from the seventies. Let’s take a closer look at the song. We’ll see straight away that one thing stands out.

It’s not Richie Blackmore’s versatile guitar part that makes this epic ballad feel so elusive. This can be attributed to frontman Ian Gillan’s towering range and Sir Jon Lord’s illuster organ part, which envelope the basic chords of the song: Am, G, and F.

Bad Romance – Lady Gaga

Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga is not old enough to be a golden oldie, but it’s sure to be a classic in the long run. And of course, we don’t want to bore you with only seventies classics. “Bad Romance” will restore the balance.

Obviously, this track is electronic, but you can tame the electric bleeps and turn this song into a sultry campfire hit, by applying a standard strum to the basic chords Am, F, G, E and C. Well, that’s pop music for you of course. Everything is possible with a limited number of chords. That doesn’t make it any less fun to play though. Happy jamming!

Rapper Juice WRLD addresses the elephant in the room with new video Lean Wit Me

Rapper Juice WRLD is only 19 years old and one of the first of his generation to address the elephant in the room; casualties of drug abuse. Last year rapper Lil Peep died from an accidental overdose. But the 21-year-old artist isn’t the only one to bite the dust after abusing substances. Too many legends left this world too early due to drug abuse, according to Juice WRLD.

Michael Jackson, Prince and Ike Turner are just a few examples of top-notch artists that died after intentionally or unintentionally taking drugs. The track “Lean Wit Me” by Juice WRLD is about them and, maybe more important, about the new generation that experiments with different kinds of substances like Xanax and Fentanyl.

Lean Wit Me

In his new video, released on August 2, we hear Juice WRLD’s message loud and clear: if you have a problem don’t be afraid to ask for help before it’s too late. The track starts off with a catchy guitar tune written in the key of E. We see the rapper talking about his problems in a meeting where the twelve steps (an addiction recovery program) are mentioned.

The video ends with Juice WRLD getting arrested after he calls the police telling them that his girlfriend has overdosed. The last shot shows the text: “RIP to too many young legends that left us early. If you or somebody you know is suffering from addiction call 1-800-662-HELP to take the first step.”

Goodbye & Good Riddance

“Lean Wit Me” is a single from the rapper’s debut album Goodbye & Good Riddance, which you can check below. Juice WRLD released the record in March after which it reached number six in the Billboard 200. If you like jamming along with “Lean Wit Me” also check out the rapper’s other single “Lucid Dreams.” Happy jamming!

Warning! The versatility of the Dm can make you dizzy – chord of the week

This week we’ll discuss one of the most mysterious triads you can play at the top of the neck of your guitar. The D minor has something sad, something exciting, something tough and something scary in its sound. Therefore, it lends itself to many styles. From pop and rap to metal and folk, the Dm covers it all.

Our chord of the week is versatile, so take advantage of it by including some of the songs below in your jam. They’re not necessarily the easiest tracks, but a little challenge every now and then is good for your skills.

Fear of the Dark – Iron Maiden

Fear of the Dark by British metal band Iron Maiden is a classic; from the intro, on which the bass guitarist plucks a Dm, to the dramatic end. Due to the technical nature of the metal genre, a song like this sounds difficult, but nothing could be further from the truth. When we look at the chord progression of this track we quickly see that it mainly consists of the basic chords Am, C, F, G, E, D, Em and of course the Dm.

The Bb, the Fm and the Gm seem to be the more difficult chords, at first glance. If you look closely though, you see that these barre chords have almost the same finger placement. The only difference is that they are performed on a different position on the neck. With this in mind the level is not as difficult as it seems. But you really have to practice.

Chan Chan – Buena Vista Social Club

The hit single “Chan Chan” performed by the legendary musicians of Buena Vista Social Club is a nice track for the sultry summer evenings. The song is very laid-back and has a less predictable chord progression than many other pop songs.

Use this track to practice your basic chords and for training your motor skills, because there are a few quick transitions between Dm and G and Dm and F. Make sure that your grip doesn’t soften and that the triads sound bright and clear.

All Eyez on Me – 2Pac

Did we say how multifaceted the Dm chord is? Yes, we certainly did. The song “All Eyez on Me” by rapper 2Pac is yet another example of this. The melancholic harmony and the sturdy beat ensure that everything falls perfectly into place in this track.

As far as the chords go, this song is entirely built around a bass line that varies between the Dm and Gm. This makes it fun to experiment with filling in the time between these chords with some plucking. However, the rapping part is a completely different story. You really need to spend a little more time on mastering that skill.

In the Air Tonight

We saved the best for last. This pop classic will never sound the same again after you’ve seen the movie “The Hangover.” Yes, we’re talking about “In the Air Tonight ” by drummer, singer and songwriter Phil Collins. The drum break halfway through the song is epic.

This track is a good moment to borrow your sister’s keyboard. On the guitar the chords Dm, Gm and C sound beautiful, but the song is mainly written for synthesizer. So, if you’re able to experiment on the black and white keys, then this is the moment. Happy jamming!

Even in the darkest hour there is always a sparkle of light – the story behind AC/DC’s historic album Back in Black

What do you do as a band when your frontman dies tragically while you are on the verge of becoming world famous? Back in Black is much more than just a hard rock album. It is the story of the Australian band AC/DC who, in the middle of a mourning period, produce a record that goes down in history as one of the best-selling and hardest rock albums of all time.

The seventh album of the Australian rebels AC/DC Back in Black was released on the 25th of July 1980 and is one of the best-selling records ever. The album is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the best sold record by a non-American or British band in the United States. The band sold 50 million copies in total, of which 21 million in America. The story behind this record is one of sadness and joy.

Highway to Hell

At the end of the seventies there is a change in the musical field. Hard rock and metal acts such as Iron Maiden, Led Zeppelin, and Black Sabbath no longer dominate the terrain. They lose fans to emerging acts like Foreigner, Journey, and REO Speedwagon. With the beginning of the eighties a new genre is born: adult-oriented rock. It’s much softer, and more poppy than the hardrock which emerged in the seventies.

Between all this turmoil a raw sound comes from down under. AC/DC crashes through America for the first time with their record Highway to Hell. This is their moment. It seems as if the rock ‘n roll oriented hard rockers don’t care about the new trend. The fans share that opinion and the band’s tracks rise quickly in the charts with more and more people screaming: “I’m on a highway to hell!

Bon Scott

During the Highway to Hell-tour, brothers Angus and Malcolm Young–the founders of the band–write a lot of guitar riffs. All these ideas are ready to be worked out in the studio at the moment they are back from the road. In order to maintain the momentum of their last album, they decide not to waste any time and to jump right into the studio in London after the end of the tour.

Frontman Bon Scott is supposed to join the group later on. The planned day of his arrival is 20 February 1980. The evening before, Bon decides to dive into the London pub scene. The night progresses and the singer drinks a lot together with his friends.

When it’s finally time to go home, a buddy takes Bon home. Bon falls asleep in the car and his friend leaves him there. A few hours later the singer suffocates in his own vomit caused by acute alcohol poisoning.

Shock and sadness

Bon’s death is a shock to the band members. Guitarists Angus and Malcolm, together with drummer Phil Rudd and bass guitarist Cliff Williams, are considering quitting the band; their frontman is inimitable, in their eyes there is no AC/DC without him.

Bon Scott’s mother encourages the grieving boys. “You have to go on. Bon wouldn’t have wanted it any other way”, Malcolm recalls in a documentary about the band. And so, a few weeks after Bon Scott’s death, the search for a replacement begins. In the eyes of many fans an impossible task.

Brian Johnson

Angus and Malcolm know right away that they shouldn’t look for someone who would imitate Bon’s act. The new frontman should have his own charm, his own strengths. While the Young brothers are asking around, the management of AC/DC receives a tape from a fan who argues that the former singer of the British glamrock band Geordie, Brian Johnson, is the man for the task.

Car mechanic Johnson is totally caught off guard when he receives the call from his old management. “The woman on the phone didn’t want to tell me which band was asking me to audition,” says Johnson in an interview. “When I insisted, she said that she could only tell me the initials of the band name.” He laughs. “AC/DC. I was stunned, and not only by the stupidity of the woman on the other side of the line.”

Instant connection

When Brian shows up for his audition he meets the AC/DC road crew, but the band is nowhere to be found. He starts joking around with the guys. After a while Angus and Malcolm enter the room anxiously looking for him just to find Brian drinking beer and playing pool with their roadies.

“He was himself from the very beginning,” Malcolm says. “We found him chilling out with our crew. The connection was there right from the start so to say.” But drinking beer and partying was not what the singer came for. Johnson had to prove himself, and so he did. After Brian opened his throat during the audition the band just knew almost instantly that this was the guy they were looking for.

The real deal

After conquering his spot behind the mic the real work was just about to begin. The band moves to a studio in the Bahamas. London has left a bitter aftertaste after Bon’s death. And the climate is also much more pleasant at the new location than in the United Kingdom.

While Malcolm and Angus, together with Phil and Cliff, try to create the right sound in the studio, the new kid on the block Brian is left with the important task of writing kickass lyrics. And he’s struggling. “It’s difficult when you know you have to match someone who not only had a great voice, but who also was a great showman, and on top of all that was a brilliant poet,” says Brian referring to the late Scott.

Rolling Thunder

The singer recalls the moment when a storm appears on the horizon while he is writing in his block note, tearing one page out after the other. With that storm closing in over the ocean Brian feels a bizarre presence. It’s as if Bon Scott himself is visiting his successor.

“It was really a very weird and special experience. That’s all I’m saying about it. Except that at the moment it happened I began writing like a madman. The words just started pouring out of my pen: A rolling thunder, a pouring rain, I’m coming on like a hurricane.” The rest of course is history.

Hells Bell

The bell you hear on the album’s opening track is a story in itself. During the recording of Back in Black Angus and Malcolm decide that they want to have a bell sounding, a la Black Sabbath, for the intro of Hells Bells. When their sound engineer sets out to record the Denison Bell in the Carillon Tower of the Loughborough War Museum, he encounters a problem.

Every time the bell is sounded dozens of pigeons fly away. He cannot get a recording without the fluttering of wings. When it becomes clear that the band wants that particular bell sound at any cost, AC/DC solves the wing-problem once and for all. The band orders John Taylor Bellfounders – the manufacturer of the original Carillon Tower of the Loughborough War Museum – to make an exact replica of the bell.

Special tour

The rock clock, however, gets a bonus; the band’s name and the name of the song are written on its surface. When the moment comes to record the carillon, the manufacturer himself rings the bell. That’s the sound you hear at the beginning of Hells Bells.

Fun fact: on their world tour the band took the 910 kilogram (2000 pounds) heavy carillon on stage. But even after AC/DC returned to the studio, the bell had a world tour of its own. The carillon was exposed in big cities all over the world where people could ring it and take a picture.

Back in Black

From the title to the cover and the songs the record Back in Black is a clear statement for the fans, which welcome both the band and its new frontman back on the stage after suffering a great loss. The album is full of references to the life of Bon Scott. Tracks like Hells Bells, Have a Drink on Me and of course the title track Back in Black with its epic main riff are all dedicated to the life of a friend.

Brian Johnson’s throat, lyrics and personality are certainly not inferior to those of the deceased frontman. And so with this historical album AC/DC proves that even in the darkest moments there is always a sparkle of light. A tiny little flame that, when you dare to believe, can turn into a ball of fire that inspires generations. Happy jamming!