AC/DC's new album, "Rock Or Bust", sold around 172,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 3 on The Billboard 200 chart. This marks a huge drop from the opening number of AC/DC's last CD, 2008's "Black Ice", which topped sales charts in 29 countries, including the U.S., where it sold an incredible 784,288 in its first week — marking the band's first-ever No. 1 debut on the U.S. album chart. "Black Ice" went on to sell another 270,923 units in its second week, bringing the first two weeks' sales in the U.S. to over 1 million copies. Sold exclusively at Wal-Mart, Sam's Club, and ACDC.com in the U.S., "Black Ice" quickly became the biggest-selling rock record of 2008.
"Rock Or Bust" was released on December 2. The 11-song set is AC/DC's first without guitarist Malcolm Young, who is suffering from dementia. He has been replaced by nephew Stevie Young.
AC/DC made it official in September that Malcolm would no longer record or perform with the group. His family disclosed a short time later that he was afflicted with dementia. The guitarist was rumored to have suffered a stroke earlier this year.
AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd put his own future with the band in doubt, showing up late for the recording sessions, missing a video and photo shoot entirely, and finally being arrested on charges of murder-for-hire, threatening to kill and drug possession. Rudd showed up for a court hearing last month but his status with the band remains unclear.
AC/DC recently shot down reports that "Rock Or Bust" was recorded in just ten days, with singer Brian Johnson calling the prospect of laying down all the tracks for the CD in less than two weeks "impossible."
The idea that AC/DC blazed through the production process for "Rock Or Bust" at a Vancouver studio with producer Brendan O'Brien first came to light in August when some music news sites erroneously quoted Rudd as saying that the album was recorded in ten days, he actually told Australian radio station Triple M that he was done with his drum parts in that time, adding, "I've never played better."
Asked about reports that AC/DC spent just ten days making "Rock Or Bust", Johnson told Ultimate Classic Rock: "No, no. It's impossible. You've got four or five days of getting the sound right — at least. But it was very rapid; don't get me wrong. It was like four to four and a half weeks in the studio. And after that [guitarist] Angus [Young] went with Brendan and did some more work on figuring which was best — 'keep in and keep out' type of thing. So that takes a bit longer, but that just goes with the territory; that's part of the thing as well."
"Rock Or Bust" track listing:
01. Rock Or Bust
02. Play Ball
03. Rock The Blues Away
04. Miss Adventure
05. Dogs Of War
06. Got Some Rock & Roll Thunder
07. Hard Times
08. Baptism By Fire
09. Rock The House
10. Sweet Candy
11. Emission Control