The Story Of How AC/DC Decided To Use Cannons On Stage Causing Burn Marks On Brian Johnson’s Shoulder


AC/DC lead guitarist Angus Young once revealed how the band started using cannons as stage props during an interview with Louer Sound and apparently, the cannons which left lead singer Brian Johnson with burn marks were inspired by the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana.

As many of you know, ‘For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)‘ is the eighth studio album of AC/DC, released on November 23, 1981. The title track of the band was punctuated by cannon-fire booms and the band kept on using the concept with a Napoleonic cannon appearing on the front of the album sleeve.

As well as the album cover and little homages such as punctuations, AC/DC has been using cannons as stage props, especially during the live performances of the track, ‘For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)’ for years which is a visual celebration for fans, however, small torture to Brian Johnson as he once revealed.

During a recent interview, Angus Young revealed the inspiration behind the cannons and stated that he came up with the idea after the marriage of Prince Charles and Princess Diana at St Paul’s Cathedral in London on July 29, 1981. Four months after the royal wedding, the studio album was released with the cannon on front, and apparently, it reminded him of the spirit of rock and roll along with masculinity.

Here is what Young said:

“I just wanted something strong. Something masculine and rock’n’roll. And what’s more masculine than a cannon, y’know? I mean, it gets loaded, it fires and it destroys.”

During an interview back in 2013, Brian Johson also opened up about the cannons which endured as well as being used on stage for decades and stated that they produced sparks while firing the ‘cannon’ which caused burn marks all over his shoulders during the performances.

Here is what Johnson said:

“I could write a book about standing under the cannon for thirty years. These horrible sparks come out of them. And at the end of the show, I have burn marks all over my shoulders.

You can see the source right here and watch the live performance with cannons down below.