Simply put, AC/DC's Back in Black is one of the biggest albums of any genre of any time anywhere. In December 2019, the Recording Industry Association of America announced that Back in Black has sold 25 million copies in the U.S. alone — more than the Beatles' White Album, Billy Joel's Greatest Hits Volume I & Volume II, and Pink Floyd's The Wall. It's the best-selling hard-rock album of all time, right above Led Zeppelin IV. Globally, it's sold an estimated 50 million copies, making it the No. 2 most popular album in history worldwide, topped only by Michael Jackson's Thriller.
As such, Back in Black has influenced innumerable musicians who have followed in the band and the album's wake. One of those artists is Evanescence's Jen Majura. We talked to the guitarist about her favorite tracks, what Angus and Malcolm Young taught her, and what it was like playing in an all-female AC/DC cover band.
WHEN WAS THE FIRST TIME YOU HEARD BACK IN BLACK?
Back in Black came out three years before I was born, and I remember the song "Back in Black" was the first AC/DC song I ever heard when I was a kid. I just started playing the guitar and remember how catchy it sounded to me and how I totally wanted to play that main riff. Back then, it taught me a lot about controlling your instrument with all the stops in the riff, and I loved it immediately.
WHAT DOES BACK IN BLACK MEAN TO YOU?
Looking at the entire album with all its hits, I think it definitely defined a certain way of classical rock song writing, proving that simplicity in all matters can rock your socks off. For my personal opinion, it's the minimalistic groovy basics that define the typical AC/DC sound! The whole album is a legendary classic and I love it.
ANGUS AND MALCOLM ARE ONE OF THE GREATEST GUITAR DUOS IN ROCK HISTORY. FROM A GUITARIST'S PERSPECTIVE, WHAT MADE THEM SO SPECIAL?
If you watch videos of Angus and Malcolm playing live shows, you totally can tell how they feel every single beat in their entire body while performing. The typical Angus bends and the vibrato in combination with that incredible rhythm guitar performance of Malcolm is priceless!
HOW, IF AT ALL, DID BACK IN BLACK INFLUENCE YOUR OWN CREATIVE DEVELOPMENT, OR THE WAY YOU THOUGHT ABOUT WRITING MUSIC?
First of all, it was a part of the band name I created for my former AC/DC tribute band, Black Thunder Ladies, and what AC/DC taught me as a songwriter in general is that you do not need a million chords to make a song work — it's how you use the minimum amount of chords in the right catchy way.
AS A FORMER MEMBER OF AN AC/DC COVER BAND, WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE BACK IN BLACK SONG TO PLAY?
One of my favorite AC/DC songs has always been "Shoot to Thrill" ... not only because our singer back in the days was pouring an entire bottle of water on my head before the solo part, but because of all the diverse different parts within that song! The groovy picking, the driving chorus, the riffy verses — I just love that song!
IS BACK IN BLACK SOMETHING YOU REGULARLY GO BACK AND LISTEN TO? OR DOES IT REPRESENT A CERTAIN PERIOD OF TIME IN YOUR LIFE?
AC/DC are legends and I will never get sick of listening to their music. I have Back in Black in my car on shuffle each time I drive. If music has the quality to make you feel good — why change a winning team?