26 Classic Rock + Metal T-Shirts Everyone Has Owned at Some Point

Ah, the band tee. One of the most beloved, but also controversial, pieces of fabric in the rock and metal world.

You only know three songs by a band, and you’re shunned if you’re caught repping their logo. You’re an enormous fan, and you’re ridiculed for sporting their most “mainstream” album cover. There’s truly no winning, but you take the risk and throw one on anyway. Whether you got your Metallica top from Target, Hot Topic or at the merch stand outside their show 30 years ago, you better be prepared to answer some questions.

And for the rest of you who don’t give a shit what anyone says, you understand that wearing the shirt in public may earn you a few new friends because music tends to bring people together.

Regardless of where you stand on the spectrum, if you’re a fan of rock and metal you most likely own or have owned one of the shirts featured below at some point. Even if it’s not the exact shirt, you’ve probably had a shirt from at least one of these artists. We’re not judging — we got ’em too. See 26 classic rock and metal T-shirts that everyone’s had at some point below. And if you haven’t, click the link under the picture to change that.

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Thunderstruck Singer Lost His Day Job to Audition for AC/DC

Chances are you don’t know the name Lee Robinson, but he got fired from his job in 2016 to audition for AC/DC, which makes him a legend in our book. Robinson told his story on the Beyond the Thunder podcast, admitting nerves got the best of him during his audition.

After Brian Johnson’s departure from AC/DC due to hearing issues, the legendary Australian band reached out to singers from various tribute acts, including Robinson, who sings for Thunderstruck out of North Carolina. Robinson was asked by AC/DC not to talk about the audition, which led him to be fired from his HVAC technician job.

“[They] told me to come over right now. It was about an hour-and-a-half drive. I would have lost a day of work and left in an emergency hurry without any explanation to my boss,” Robinson recalls. “My head supervisor — I didn’t really tell him anything other than I have to go — and he fired me. He did not know the real reason.”

Thankfully, once Robinson was able to prove without a shadow of a doubt that he was really auditioning for AC/DC, his boss called and gave the AC/DC tribute singer his job back.

Robinson didn’t get the job, obviously losing out to Guns N’ Roses singer Axl Rose. It’s unlikely he would have beat out the other potential replacement singers anyway, as his audition didn’t go so well at first. “I actually could barely sing,” he recalls. “I was so nervous and so uptight. I couldn’t get anything out. The tech crew stopped playing and they all just went dead silent. [I asked], ‘Have I wasted anybody’s time yet?’”

Robinson was eventually able to show AC/DC his best, singing “Hells Bells” to the praise of guitarists Angus and Stevie Young. “Now that’s the way it supposed to sound!” Robinson remembers Stevie saying, while Angus pulled the singer aside to say, “You’ve got a hell of a voice.” [via Blabbermouth]

Listen to Robinson’s story in the AC/DC Beyond the Thunder podcast below.

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Elderly Woman Hears AC/DC Song, Stops to Dance + Wows Crowd

AC/DC‘s music is a universal language and an invitation to indulge in your free spirit. Or, at least, that’s what one elderly woman did when walking down the street, stopping to rock out to a cover band playing “Highway To Hell,” which was met with applause from the onlooking bystanders.

The scene that was just described took place in Paisley, Scotland at the Spree Music Festival in 2016. Cover band Badboys were wrapping up the title track to AC/DC’s classic 1979 record as the bag-wielding, wheelchair-pushing woman took the crowd by surprise. Clapping along to the song, she then struck a pose with one arm stretched toward the sky, unleashing her super-charged rock frontwoman persona.

As this commander of the cobblestone walkway carried on, she continued to strike more poses and, humorously, got duped by the song’s crash ending, unsure of exactly it was supposed to conclude.

“She was amazing and we couldn’t believe the moves that she was coming away with. We were all shouting from the stage, ‘Look at her, she’s awesome!’ She stole the show,” Badboys bassist Billy Kinnear told Team Rock at the time. “As we say in Badboys, ‘You’re as old as you rock’ – and boy, can she rock! With moves like that, she must have been a rocker back in the day. We’d love to know the gigs that she’s been to. It was such a great buzz. It made our day and everyone else’s,” he added.

Watch the video clip toward the bottom of the page.

In recent years, rumors have been buzzing of a forthcoming AC/DC album, which is expected to feature both singer Brian Johnson (who had to relinquish his live role in the band in 2016 due to a risk of permanent hearing loss), drummer Phil Rudd (who has experienced a wealth of legal woes) and bassist Cliff Williams (who retired from the group in 2016). Angus Young‘s nephew Stevie Young is also expected to retain his spot on rhythm guitar.

Twisted Sister legend Dee Snider recently told ABC News Radio that AC/DC’s new record “has been recorded” but “has been delayed” due to the coronavirus pandemic. “I haven’t heard anything,” added Snider, “but…it’s AC/DC, man. You can’t go wrong!…Four chords and a dream, baby! That’s it!”

The singer went on, “This is gonna be a miracle of technology. What will be achieved, the reuniting of the band that we know for one more album, is gonna to be uplifting and heartbreaking at the same time. Because nothing goes on forever. But this is the ultimate ‘one more time.'”

Elderly Woman Dances to AC/DC Cover Band in the Street

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Dee Snider: New AC/DC Album ‘Has Been Recorded,’ But ‘Delayed’

Dee Snider has been sharing insight on a proposed new AC/DC album over the last year, and in a new interview with ABC News Radio, he reveals the album “has been recorded,” but like many things in this year of Covid-19, it “has been delayed.”

The longtime Twisted Sister singer adds, “I haven’t heard anything, but … it’s AC/DC, man. You can’t go wrong! … Four chords and a dream, baby! That’s it!”

In 2019,  Snider spoke of the four surviving members of AC/DC’s classic Back in Black lineup reuniting to do an album that included some late AC/DC guitarist Malcolm Young “presence.” He says in his latest interview, “This is gonna be a miracle of technology. What will be achieved, the reuniting of the band that we know for one more album, is gonna to be uplifting and heartbreaking at the same time. Because nothing goes on forever. But this is the ultimate ‘one more time.'”

Back in February, Snider told Eddie Trunk on his Trunk Nation show, “Brian [Johnson] confirmed it. They’ve been in the studio; they’ve been recording. The original — I don’t say the ‘original’ guys, because a lot of them are gone, but I say the ‘classic’ lineup is back together and there are some surprises, which I can’t talk about, regarding Malcolm Young that just had my jaw on the floor. I will say he will be present. So this is AC/DC as we know and love them.”

Snider has expressed his love for AC/DC in a variety of ways. Earlier this year, he was pushing a petition to have AC/DC perform at the Super Bowl halftime show. He’s also been performing AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell” while touring with his solo band. “AC/DC is a huge influence on me,” Snider told ABC News Radio. “The band influenced my songwriting. Bon Scott, the original singer, influenced my vocal style. And I’ve always felt that ‘Highway to Hell’ was the international heavy metal anthem.”

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40 Years Ago: AC/DC Overcome Tragedy With ‘Back in Black’

When a popular band loses its singer, it rarely bounces back to reach the level of success it had prior to the lineup shift. The most remarkable exception to this rule is Australian powerhouse AC/DC, which released the legendary album Back in Black on July 25, 1980.

The album was dedicated to the band’s late vocalist Bon Scott, who died on February 19, 1980, after a night of heavy drinking. Though they were devastated by the death of their friend and briefly considered breaking up, AC/DC decided to carry on with a new singer. Two days after Scott’s funeral, guitarists Angus and Malcolm Young continued working on new riffs. Angus has said that getting right back to work distracted them from the grief. Soon after, they auditioned singers, including Gary Pickford Hopkins, Easybeats vocalist Stevie Wright and Fat Lip’s Allan Fryer.

Ironically, when Geordie vocalist Brian Johnson (whom Mutt Lange referred to the band) was invited to try out, he wasn’t immediately interested. “Someone phoned up and asked me to join this thing, and I just said, ‘Nah, I’ve been bitten before,’” Johnson told me in 2011. “I had three Top 10 hits with Geordie. And after three years we were as broke as when we started. Those were the days of the great rip off. I was with a company called Red Bus Records, whose motto was, ‘You make the music and we’ll make the money.’ But it was written in Latin so we couldn’t understand it. I just said, ‘I’m not gonna do this again. I was away from home all the time, missed my daughters growing up. But then I got curious and thought, ‘Well, what’s the harm in trying out?’ So I went down, sang with the boys and…. Boing!”

While most other singers auditioned with Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water,” Johnson tried out with Tina Turner’s “Nutbush City Limits,” which earned the immediate approval and respect from the band, who were tired of playing “Smoke on the Water” and pleased Johnson listened to different styles of music. On April 8, 1980, following two auditions, Johnson agreed to sign a six-month contract with AC/DC, which would be evaluated after it expired. If at any point during the six months either the band or Johnson decided the pairing wasn’t working out, they could sever the deal. Of course, that was never an issue. Johnson fit AC/DC like a rubber glove.

The band dove right into recording Back in Black with Johnson and Lange at Compass Point Studios in Nassau, Bahamas. For Johnson, who was used to working in a less chaotic manner, it was a trial by fire. The Youngs wrote much of the music in the studio while Johnson worked on the lyrics. AC/DC plowed through six songs, including the title track, which was a triumphant comeback song with slightly sinister lyrics. But when he was asked to write lyrics to a song they wanted to call “Hells Bells,” Johnson hit a wall – until he received some unholy intervention.

AC/DC, “Hells Bells”

“Just then there was the mother of all thunderstorms,” Johnson told Louder Than Hell: the Definitive Oral History of Metal. “I said, ‘Jesus, the noise of the thunder is coming in. Mutt said, ‘There you go, that’s a start, Brian, the rolling thunder.” And I went, “It’s f–king pouring rain, look at the wind, it’s comin’ on like a hurricane. And look at that lightning flashing across the sky!” Honestly, I was like a reporter. There as an alarm bell ringing, so I went, “Got my bell I’m gonna take you to hell. Gonna get ya, Satan get ya! Hells bells.’ That was it. It was ten minutes and the song was done.”

Other numbers, including “Shoot to Thrill” and “You Shook Me All Night Long” came in just a few hours. Without thunderstorms to rely on, Johnson had to use his wits and imagination to help create classics like “Givin’ the Dog a Bone,” “Have a Drink on Me” and “Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution.”

AC/DC, “You Shook Me All Night Long”

Like Scott, Johnson enjoyed writing lyrics about partying and double-entendres about sex. And he did so at an astonishing pace. “There was hardly time to think,” Johnson told me. “I’d just go with one idea after another, and any time I got stuck the guys were really patient and supportive. I’d say, ‘No, I just can’t think of anything else. I can’t do it.’ And they’d go, ‘Sure, you can. You’re doing great. Just get some tea then keep going.’ And somehow that always worked.”

Seven weeks after AC/DC started recording Back in Black with Lange, the album was done. “We just started writing and everything poured out of us,” Young said. “I don’t even remember specifics for a lot of the songs. We had almost nothing in front of us one day, and then the next there they were with a finished record.”

AC/DC, “Back in Black”

AC/DC released Back in Black with all-black cover art in tribute to Scott. At first, the record company was resistant, but agreed to the design providing the band outline its name in gray. The album was an immediate success, hitting  No. 1 in Australia, the UK and France and reaching No. 4 in the United States. It was an album that only improved with repeat listens, and years after its release it was still selling strong. The first U.S. single “You Shook Me All Night Long” peaked at No. 35 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the title track reached No. 37, yet the album remained on the Billboard chart for 131 weeks.

While Johnson’s vocals were more rooted in soul and blues than Scott’s had been, he had a similar vocal range, and was able to perform all of the band’s best Scott material in concert, staying true to the originals, while augmenting them with his own voice.

“It has been really great because we didn’t have to drop any of them classics,” Johnson says. “We can still do ‘Highway to Hell,’ ‘Whole Lotta Rosie,’ ‘For Those About to Rock’ – any of those great tunes plus all of our new stuff. So we really have a lot of material to pull from every time we play.”

And Back in Black’s usefulness extended beyond its stellar music. Motörhead reportedly used the record to tune their sound system, and because of its pristine production, some studios in Nashville have used it to test the acoustic of a room. In addition, “You Shook Me All Night Long” was one of the songs the U.S. military blasted at the Papal Nunciatura in Panama City on Christmas Day 1989 to convince dictator general Manuel Noriega to surrender.

One more not-so-minor thing to add: Back in Black is one of the biggest selling albums of all time. To date, the disc has sold 22 million copies in the United States and an estimated 50 million around the world.

Loudwire contributor Jon Wiederhorn is the author of Raising Hell: Backstage Tales From the Lives of Metal Legends, co-author of Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History of Metal, as well as the co-author of Scott Ian’s autobiography, I’m the Man: The Story of That Guy From Anthrax, and Al Jourgensen’s autobiography, Ministry: The Lost Gospels According to Al Jourgensen and the Agnostic Front book My Riot! Grit, Guts and Glory.

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The Most Performed Songs by 50 Rock Acts

Encore! Encore! We’d all love to hear our favorite rock bands play their most popular songs live right about now. But with the touring world at a standstill, it seems like a great time to revisit what some of rock’s biggest bands have spent their years of shredding stages playing.

Setlist.fm has done its best to document the touring histories of bands, and through researching their archives, we’ve found the most played songs of 50 of rock’s biggest acts.

You would naturally assume that a group’s first major single would often be the most played song, and you’d be pretty correct in guessing that in most cases. But there are some interesting anomalies along the way.

Would you have ever guessed that Nirvana‘s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” or for that matter anything off Nevermind, was not among their most played songs? How about AC/DC classics “You Shook Me All Night Long” and “Highway to Hell” failing to make the band’s three most often played songs?

Would you know that Alter Bridge‘s most played live song was never released as a single? And which legendary band’s most frequent contributions to their live performances were actually a guitar solo and drum solo more than any individual track?

Scroll though our gallery as we examine the most played songs of 50 rock acts. And if your favorite band isn’t on this list, don’t fret — metal acts is coming soon!

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Watch The Full AC/DC ‘The Story Of Back in Black’ Documentary

AC/DC‘s historic Back in Black album will celebrate its 40th anniversary on July 25. Looking back on the pivotal moment in the band’s career, Loudwire — for a limited time only — is hosting viewing party of the complete Story of Back in Black documentary in partnership with Sony Music, beginning at 7PM ET on Friday, July 24.

“On the short list of best-selling albums of all time, none are paradoxically steeped in personal tragedy and good-time partying as AC/DC’s Back in Black,” begins the documentary, setting the stage for an epic look behind the scenes of this landmark release not just for AC/DC, but all of rock. 

“The album, recorded just months after the tragic death of original lead singer Bon Scott, has gone on to take over record stores, radio stations and college campuses everywhere, selling over 40 million copies [worldwide] to date,” the narration continues, prefacing what’s to come by stating, “Back in Black is the unbelievable story of a band of brothers overcoming loss through the power of rock ‘n’ roll.”

In this 23-minute documentary interview clips from the album’s entire recording lineup — Brian Johnson, Angus Young, Malcolm Young, Cliff Williams and Phil Rudd — collectively recall the crossroads the band was at following the tragic death of Bon Scott in February of 1980.

Johnson was officially named the new singer of AC/DC on April 1, 1980 and the group quickly got to work with returning producer Mutt Lange, who was at the helm of the group’s previous record, Highway to Hell.

Ultimately, Back in Black was a tribute to AC/DC’s late singer, with the black album cover serving as a memorial.

The Story of Back in Black is loaded with other historical anecdotes, such as “Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution” being written in 15 minutes to satisfy the requirement of needing one more track on the record. Shedding some light on the track’s fruition, Malcolm said, “We were in London at the time and there was a big deal about noise pollution with the clubs around London and everything else. They wanted the [decibel] meters in there and wanted to ban [rock bands] really.”

Whether you’re a casual AC/DC fan of a decades-long obsessive, The Story of Back in Black is mandatory viewing for anyone who considers themselves a rock fan.

Tune it at 7PM ET on July 24 to watch the complete documentary in the video player at the top of the page and at Loudwire’s YouTube channel. This video will only be available for viewing for 40 hours, one hour for each year of the album’s existence, so act quick!

Subscribe to Loudwire’s YouTube channel here.

If you’re not one of the 40 million people who have purchased Back in Black worldwide, get your copy of the album at this location.

See AC/DC’s Back in Black in the 20 Highest Selling Rock + Metal Albums in the U.S.

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Four More AC/DC Jigsaw Puzzles Coming This Fall

For those about to rock an AC/DC jigsaw puzzle in September, we salute you, but you should make space for more AC/DC jigsaw puzzles to come. It was recently revealed that Zee Production would roll out four AC/DC “rock saws” in September, but an additional four puzzles will follow in October.

The latest AC/DC albums to get the jigsaw treatment will be Black Ice, Highway to Hell, If You Want Blood and Let There Be Rock, with each of the 500-piece puzzles featuring the album artwork arriving on Oct. 9. The company is also serving up a 1000-piece Highway to Hell puzzle on Sept. 18.

The new puzzles come just a month after fans have pieced together the puzzles for High Voltage, For Those About to Rock, Blow Up Your Video and Ballbreaker.

Zee Productions have been rolling out a line of rock and metal-centric jigsaw puzzles, dubbed Rock Saws, over the last year with fans snapping up puzzles tied to Metallica, Rush, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Slayer and Motorhead so far.

Pre-orders for each of the four new puzzles can be made here.

AC/DC “Rock Saws”

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