Rock N' Roll Ain't Noise Pollution

Album: Back in Black (1980)
Charted: 15

Songfacts®:

  • This is the final track on Back in Black, the first album AC/DC recorded after their lead singer, Bon Scott, died on February 19, 1980 at the age of 33. The album can be interpreted as a tribute to Bon, or even a "f--k you" to all critics and others besides who had no respect for the band and thought they would fall through because of Bon's death. Whatever it was meant to be, Back in Black is one of the most successful albums of all time, with more than 42 million copies sold worldwide.

    Just two days after Bon's funeral, Angus and Malcolm Young went back to work on the album. Malcolm explained at the time, "I thought, 'Well, f--k this, I'm not gonna sit around mopin' all f--king year.' So I just ran Angus and said, 'Do you wanna come back and rehearse?'"
  • AC/DC is championing rock and roll music in this song, which is something they did consistently throughout their career, steadfastly refusing to alter their style or cross genres. In 1980, rock needed a champion: Led Zeppelin had disbanded and mainstays like Black Sabbath, The Rolling Stones, Rainbow and Kiss were either out of the game or dabbling in ballads - or worse, disco.
  • Back in Black was the first album AC/DC recorded with Brian Johnson, who officially joined the band on April 8, 1980. He passed his audition in London by singing "Whole Lotta Rosie" and Ike and Tina Turner's "Nutbush City Limits." He'd even been approved by Bon, who had seen him perform with his previous band Geordie. According to Angus, "We knew if Bon liked him, he must be good, because Bon didn't like many people." (quotes in the two entries above taken from David Fricke's piece in the booklet in the Epic 2003 release of Back in Black)
  • Brian Johnson claims that the spoken intro was improvised ("Hey all you middlemen... good sense").
  • Twelve seconds into the song, you can hear the click of a lighter, and then someone taking a pull from a cigarette. It was most likely Brian. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bess - San Diego, CA
  • The song's opening riff featured in a series of TV ads for the Applebee's restaurant chain, which started being shown in May 2016.

Comments: 7

  • Rj from TexasDoes anyone else have a problem with some of these lyrics? They seem to be the same all over the internet, but I think they are wrong. 1) I always thought the first line was "minute men", not middle men; 2) the 3rd line doesn't make sense - it's only half of a sentence. I think it says "And why're you out there sittin' on a fence." Anyone else agree, or am I way off?
  • Jeff Conway from CaliforniaGreat song, but opening riff was copied from Zeppelin's song "In My Time of Dying." Of course Zeppelin was the king of song plagerization anyway.
  • Squigle from Columbus, OhRock and Roll has lasted for more than 50 years!! Brian Johnson was very right in some of the lines in this song. I might go so far as to say ALL of them!!
  • Luke from Manchester, EnglandThis song is actually a "F**k you" to all the people who claimed rock 'n' roll music was "the Devil's work" and a bad influence on people. It was AC/DC's way of showing that rock 'n' roll is just as valid as any other, moreso in fact as it gets you out of your troubles and picks you up... And yes, that is Brian Johnson lighting a cigarette at the intro, the son'g so laid back, he had time to.
  • Homer from Springfield, Ky"Rock and roll ain't gonna die" How wrong you were Brian. I grow sad now.
  • Austin from Bristow, VaGreat way to close the immortal Back In Black album.
  • Zabadak from London, EnglandThe 12" version of this in the UK came with a free badge.
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