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The Story of AC/DC’s Comeback With ‘Blow Up Your Video’

Arguably no album released during the Brian Johnson era arrived with smaller fanfare than AC/DC‘s Blow Up Your Video, which was released on Jan. 18, 1988.

AC/DC’s prior two studio albums, 1983’s Flick of the Switch and 1985’s Fly on the Wall, had both paled in comparison to prior mega-triumphs For Those About to Rock and Back in Black, creatively speaking. In fact, were it not for the Who Made Who soundtrack-cum-greatest hits gimmick to raise the band’s commercial profile, their career might have been in some real danger.

There were many problems contributing to AC/DC’s fall from grace — Malcolm Young‘s escalating alcoholism; Phil Rudd‘s ejection; even complacency, sure — but perhaps the most obvious of these addressed by Blow Up Your Video was bringing back an actual producer to work with the band in the studio. And who better to simultaneously put the boys at ease and whip their asses into gear than the Vanda & Young team that had shepherded their first five albums to fruition?

It worked, for the most part.

Let’s be honest: many of the new songs (“Some Sin for Nuthin,” “‘Ruff Stuff”) proved almost as pedestrian and imminently forgettable as those recent efforts, but a pair of bona fide hits in the frantic “Heatseeker” and infectious “That’s the Way I Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll” proved AC/DC could still compose hits without totally losing their balls.

Simply put, all of these songs — mediocre or great — at least sounded like the AC/DC of old. The final verdict was, of course, rendered by the fans, who snapped up as many copies of Blow Up Your Video as they had its two predecessors combined. Perhaps more than any other accomplishment, though, Blow Up Your Video helped the Young brothers begin righting their ship, thus setting the stage for the resounding return to form that was 1990’s highlight-packed The Razor’s Edge album.

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