Brian Johnson: My AC/DC debut hell

Brian Johnson has recalled his “traumatic” first show with AC/DC in 1980 – when he was so nervous he sang the same set of lyrics to two different tracks.

He fronted the Aussie giants for the first time in June 1980, just four months after the death of Bon Scott, and soon after recording his vocal tracks for the Back In Black album.

MusicNews reports Johnson saying: “I was so nervous I sang the first song – and then I sang the second one with the same words.

“I couldn’t hear anything. I could see the audience going, ‘He must be avant-garde… he’s singing anything he wants.’

“I finished it and thought, ‘Oh, God, what have I done?’ Malcolm Young looked at me and went, ‘What the fuck was that?’”

AC/DC premiered six tracks from what would become the second-biggest selling album in history that night.

Johnson remembers: “It was the first time we sang Back In Black. We finished and there was silence – half of them hadn’t heard it yet.

“I thought, ‘Oh shit, they don’t like it.’ It was a very traumatic night.”

The singer last week told how Malcolm Young, now retired, ordered his colleagues to get back on the road. They return to the UK in the summer in support of 2014 album Rock Or Bust:

Jun 28: Glasgow Hampden Park

Jul 01: Dublin Aviva Stadium

Jul 04: London Wembley Stadium

Freelance Online News Contributor

Not only is one-time online news editor Martin an established rock journalist and drummer, but he’s also penned several books on music history, including SAHB Story: The Tale of the Sensational Alex Harvey Band (opens in new tab), a band he once managed, and the best-selling Apollo Memories (opens in new tab) about the history of the legendary and infamous Glasgow Apollo. Martin has written for Classic Rock and Prog and at one time had written more articles for Louder than anyone else (we think he's second now). He’s appeared on TV and when not delving intro all things music, can be found travelling along the UK’s vast canal network.