AC/DC name: How did AC/DC get its band name? ‘ELECTRIC’

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AC/DC’s band name is likely not much of a surprise to many. The band’s persona is full of electricity, so the name seems completely apt. However, the story behind the name reveals its origins were not necessarily quite as rock ‘n’ roll as one would think.

Brothers Malcolm and Angus Young were the brains behind AC/DC, and came up with its name as well.

The pair moved from Glasgow, Scotland, to Australia in 1963, and saw their older brothers, Alex and George form bands.

Alex formed London-based band Grapefruit in 1967, while George became a member of Australian band Easybeats, which got young Malcolm interested in music.

Malcolm joined the New South Wales band Velvet Underground, though this is not the famous New York-based band, but eventually came up with a band name with Angus.

The idea for the band name came when their sister Margaret saw the initials on a sewing machine, AC/DC.

The abbreviation means alternating current/direct current electricity, which is what many believe is the genesis behind the name.

A sewing machine is hardly a rock ‘n’ roll item, and the band members knew that, which is why this is not the narrative which many look to when considering the band’s name.

It has instead been reported the brother’s felt the name represented the band’s energetic performances, though it is possible this was also a consideration.

The band’s signature logo, which has their name with a lightning bolt through the AC and DC, was designed in 1977 by Gerard Huerta and first appeared on the international version of Let There Be Rock.

However, the brothers formed the band, with their brand-spanking-new name in 1973, meaning they spent some time without this signature item.

The band’s line-up was bassist Larry Van Kriedt, vocalist Dave Evans, and drummer Colin Burgess who they likely met on the Australian band circuit.

Angus quickly began performing in a school uniform-style outfit, which was reportedly an idea of Margaret’s after he tried a variety of other costumes.

In 1974, Dave was replaced by Bon Scott, who re-recorded the band’s only single.

Then later that year saw the departure of Larry and drummer Colin, and the band’s first line-up was completed with the arrival of bassist Mark Evans and drummer Phil Rudd.

Mark Evans was replaced by Cliff Williams in 1977, who remained with the band until 2016, though the biggest blow was to come with the death of Bon Scott in 1980.

Brian Johnson was brought in to replace Bon, and he remained with the band until 2016 when his hearing forced him to retire, though he has now rejoined the band.

Phil Rudd left the band in 1983, though he returned from 1994 until 2015 after being replaced by various drummers in the interim years. He has now returned along with Brian.

Cliff also took a short break after Phil’s departure and has since returned, meaning the line-up is almost that which launched after Bon’s death.

There is one major change, however, as Malcolm Young departed in 2014 due to his oncoming dementia. He died in 2017.

The rhythm guitarist was replaced by his nephew Stevie Young.

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