The Solution Angus Young Found For The ‘AC/DC Crisis’

Imagine this; you’re in the middle of a world tour, and when you’re almost at the finish line, the band’s lead vocalist suffers from hearing loss. Many wouldn’t want in Angus Young’s place during the turbulent time when Brian Johnson lost his hearing. As the co-founder, Young had to make an urgent decision to save the rest of the tour dates. You might be wondering about the guitarist’s solution. Well, let’s see what he had to do to keep the show going.

Let’s rewind the tape to when AC/DC released their 16th studio album ‘Rock or Bust’ in 2014. To support the album, they went on a tour between 2015 and 2016. Although it started with no major hiccups, the band soon had a black cloud over their head. Before they knew it, a series of unfortunate events piled on each other that started with Malcolm Young’s retirement due to his health condition, followed by Phil Rudd’s conviction which came with another set of problems. To top it all off, their vocalist Johnson suffered from hearing loss.

The lead vocalist had to stop touring per the doctor’s requirements if he wanted to recover and avoid losing his hearing entirely. This meant that the guys had to figure out their next step immediately, as there were quite a few more dates left to wrap up the tour. The guitarist recalled his thought process to NME in 2016. He recalled, “To be honest with you, it was a case of ‘what do we do?’” Right then, Angus had to choose whether to stop or continue with a new lead singer.

He added there was no time to dilly-dally; he had to act quickly. “It was a crisis that came then, and we had to act. We were in Miami at the time when all of this came up, and unfortunately, when you’re in that situation, you have to make decisions pretty quickly because there are a lot of people waiting.”

Young explained, “We were supposed to play in Atlanta, so you’re going, ‘what do we do now.’ Because of the nature of Brian’s deafness, we knew that there was no easy fix. So you’ve got to then say, ‘what do we do here?’ The options were very limited, and you think, if we stop with all of this machinery, it will be a hell of a lot of legal entanglement.”

During that limited time, the guys auditioned four singers to replace Johnson, and Guns N’ Roses’ Axl Rose came to the rescue and became AC/DC’s lead for the remaining dates. Although it wasn’t a crossover that seemed likely to work, it turned out to be a good match in the end. It was a bumpy ride, no doubt about it, but it was a smooth finish that fans also enjoyed.