AC/DC’s Fly on the Wall Turns 30: Rock Out With 30 Album Facts

Shake your foundations with this pink-sinking hard rock classic.

AC/DC unleashed Fly on the Wall on June 28th, 1985. This collection of pumped-up, tricked-out, down-and-dirty blues-metal broadsides in keeping with their previous nine studio LPs, as well as the six they’ve released since then.

Fly on the Wall arrived smack in the middle of the ’80s, AC/DC’s biggest decade by far, and it landed as something of a misfire on immediate impact. Although the LP generated no pop hits or even any enduring classic rock radio staples, the album remains a crucial cannonball in the group’s arsenal. It’s also, with age, only garnered greater impact.

In honor of Fly on the Wall’s 30th anniversary, here now are 30 facts about the album to enjoy as you crank it up again and air-guitar all Angus Young-like for the rest of the day.

1. Fly on the Wall is the ninth studio album by AC/DC to be sold internationally. Their 1975 debut, the original version of High Voltage, came out commercially only in Australia.

2. Fly followed the 1984 release of ’74 Jailbreak, an EP composed of rarely-heard tracked culled largely from the first High Voltage sessions. The title single “Jailbreak” caught on as a fan favorite and remains in regular rock radio rotation.

3. Critics largely slammed Fly on the Wall upon its release. Mainstream rock writers circa 1985 despised heavy metal in general, and AC/DC in particular. Even those who didn’t hate the band mostly branded Fly as repetitive and lazy.

4. Rolling Stone wrote: “You’d never guess how sexist and politically incorrect all this is if you didn’t read the lyric sheet, because you sure can’t make out a single word coming out of the dentist’s-drill glottis of Brian Johnson (except maybe the song titles, which tend to be repeated like mantras). Angus Young is also in great form, playing the dumbest, most irresistibly repetitive chords in the lexicon.” Now bear in mind: that’s what passed as a positive review!

5. One unexpected outlet that differed from most critics was, bizarrely, People magazine. The celebrity gossip weekly deemed Fly on the Wall the single greatest album of 1985 in its year-end issue. Really—People magazine!

6. For the most part, AC/DC fans actually agreed about Fly on the Wall with the bulk of our Self-Anointed Professional Tastemakers. After the multiplatinum triumphs of Back in Black and For Those About to Rock, Fly on the Wall repeated the number of 1983’s similarly non-beloved Flick of the Switch and sold “only” one million copies.

7. Fly on the Wall peaked at #32 on the Billboard albums chart.

8. Who Made Who followed Fly in 1986. Essentially a “best of” collection, the album served as a soundtrack LP for the cult horror favorite Maximum Overdrive, author Stephen King’s only effort to date as a movie director. Of the album’s nine tracks, three are originals, the instrumentals “D.T” and “Chase the Ace,” as well as the absolutely killer title track, “Who Made Who.”

9. “Sink the Pink” and “Shake Your Foundations,” the two lead singles released from Fly on the Wall, also made the cut for inclusion on Who Made Who.

10. “Shake Your Foundations” was remixed for Who Made Who and shortened from 4:10 to 3:53.

11. AC/DC had high hopes for the single “Danger.” Alas, not only did the song stiff on vinyl, the band noticed audiences getting bored or taking bathroom breaks when they performed it in concert. Thus, it was dropped fairly quickly from their live set.

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