AC/DC 'Retirement' Rumors Rumble On Down Under
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UPDATE: Insiders tell Billboard that there's no truth to the breakup rumor, though the group's management and Columbia Records, its current label, have chosen not to comment on the matter. Get the full story

Earlier:

Depending on which news outlet you believe, the members of AC/DC are either getting ready to hang up their black shirts, or it’s business as usual. 

The Australian rock veterans are back in the news in their homeland, with some reports suggesting they’re about to draw curtains on a hugely successful career due to illness in the band. The speculation emerged from comments made by entertainment commentator Peter Ford on radio station 3AW that “we may not hear them perform or record ever again”. As the rumor mill cranked into action earlier today, it was reported that founding guitarist and songwriter Malcolm Young had returned to Australia with his family. “He is believed to be unable to continue playing, although there has not been any explanation why,” the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

The news title and others claim that the band members have a pact where no-one will be replaced should they need to leave.

However, The Australian newspaper points out that the band is booked into a recording studio in Vancouver for six weeks from May 1, while sources close to the group tell Billboard they were “unaware of any break-up or change” to what is one of the world’s most famous rock ‘n’ roll brands. At this stage, representatives for the band’s label home Alberts aren’t talking and no statement has been issued.

Earlier this year, frontman Brian Johnson revealed that the rock legends were poised to start work on new music. And there was talk of the band celebrating its 40th anniversary with a special tour, though nothing was confirmed. Recording had already been postponed due to one of the band mates being seriously ill, which Johnson hinted at in a recent interview.

AC/DC is Australia’s biggest rock ‘n’ roll export, having sold more than 200 million albums over a career spanning more than four decades. 

The band’s 15th international studio set, “Black Ice,” was an international smash following its release in 2008. That album, AC/DC's most recent, had shipped more than 5.3 million units by year's-end en route to topping sales charts in 29 countries -- including the U.S. -- according to Sydney-based Alberts. The subsequent tour in support of the album is recognized as one of the biggest grossing treks in history. When the act returned for the “Black Ice” stadium tour of Australia, roughly 650,000 tickets were snapped up.

AC/DC was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 1988 and into the Rock And Rock Hall Of Fame in 2003.