AC/DC's Top 10 Albums: 'Back in Black,' 'Highway to Hell' & More
Since AC/DC blasted its way onto Billboard’s charts back in 1977 with its album Let There Be Rock, the band has charted an impressive list of iconic rock hits and thundering albums.
Let There Be Rock arrived on the Billboard 200 chart dated Aug. 13, 1977, and peaked at a modest No. 154 on Oct. 15 of that year. The Australian group’s next two entries would also rack up so-so chart performances: Powerage (No. 133 in 1978) and If You Want Blood You’ve Got It (No. 113 in 1979).
But, 1979 proved to be a watershed year for the band, thanks to the release of its epic Highway to Hell album. The set reached No. 17 on the Billboard 200 on Nov. 10, 1979, spent 83 weeks on the chart, and went on to sell 7 million copies in the U.S., according to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The album launched the rock radio staples like its title track, “Girls Got Rhythm” and “Touch Too Much.” The set was also the first produced for the band by Robert John “Mutt” Lange (later known for his work with Def Leppard, Foreigner and then-wife Shania Twain) – a creative pairing that would prove incredibly fruitful.
However, tragedy would strike the group in early 1980, as the act was enjoying the huge commercial success of Highway to Hell. The band’s then front man, Bon Scott, was found dead on Feb. 19, 1980 of acute alcohol poisoning. He was only 33.
AC/DC regrouped, hired a new singer (Brian Johnson), and again teamed with Lange for what would become the band's most successful album -- and one of the largest-selling albums of all time in the United States: Back in Black.
Back in Black debuted on the Billboard 200 chart dated Aug. 23, 1980 and jumped into the top 10 in just its seventh week on the list -- becoming the band’s first top 10 effort. It would peak at No. 4 for three weeks in December 1980 and January 1981, and sell 22 million copies in the U.S. according to the RIAA. (It’s one of the RIAA’s top 10 best-selling albums ever.) Back in Black -- which also ranks as the band’s biggest album of all time on the Billboard 200 (see list, below) -- launched the group’s first top 40 single on the Billboard Hot 100: “You Shook Me All Night Long,” which peaked at No. 35 on Nov. 8, 1980. “Shook” was the second of seven charting hits for the band on the Hot 100, following “Highway to Hell” (No. 47 in 1979).
The band continued to notch hit after hit in the ensuing decades. They claimed 34 singles on the Mainstream Rock Songs airplay chart (since the list’s inception in 1981, through Nov. 25, 2017), including 15 top 10s (of which four reached No. 1). And, in total on the Billboard 200, AC/DC has earned 25 charting albums -- with a total of nine hitting the top 10 (and two reaching No. 1). The band scored its first No. 1 with its second album with Johnson, 1981’s For Those About to Rock (We Salute You), which ruled the chart for three weeks in December 1981 and January 1982. AC/DC returned to the top with 2008’s Black Ice.
The act most recently visited the list with a new album in 2014 with the No. 3-peaking Rock or Bust.
Here’s a look at the group’s top 10 biggest albums on the Billboard 200 chart:
Rank, Title, Peak Position, Peak Date
1. Back in Black, No. 4, Dec. 20, 1980
2. For Those About to Rock (We Salute You), No. 1 (3 weeks), Dec. 26, 1981
3. The Razor’s Edge, No. 2, Oct. 27, 1990
4. Black Ice, No. 1 (2 weeks), Nov. 8, 2008
5. Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, No. 3, May 30, 1981
6. Iron Man 2 (Soundtrack), No. 4, May 8, 2010
7. Highway to Hell, No. 17, Nov. 10, 1979
8. Rock or Bust, No. 3, Dec. 20, 2014
9. Ballbreaker, No. 4, Oct. 14, 1995
10. Who Made Who (Soundtrack), No. 33, Aug. 23, 1986
AC/DC’s top 10 albums on the Billboard 200 chart are ranked based on an inverse point system through the chart dated Nov. 25, 2017, with weeks at No. 1 earning the greatest value and weeks at the lower reaches of the chart earning the least. Due to changes in chart methodology through the years, eras are weighted differently to account for chart turnover rates over various periods.