AC/DC back in "Black" with global smash

Tue Oct 28, 2008 3:33pm EDT
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By Dean Goodman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Fire the cannon, and hail Australia's most successful rock export.

AC/DC have topped pop charts around the world with their first album in eight years, proving that fans never tire of a middle-aged guitarist who dresses like a schoolboy and a singer whose voice sounds painfully raspy.

In the United States, "Black Ice" sold more than 780,000 copies during its first week of exclusive release through Wal-Mart Stores Inc, a group spokeswoman said on Tuesday, hours before the band begins a world tour.

The Columbia Records release ranks as the second-biggest opening of the year behind the million-copy start for rapper Lil Wayne's "Tha Carter III" in June. It easily outsold major new releases from rock bands such as Coldplay and Metallica.

With 15 studio albums in 33 years to their name, AC/DC have topped the U.S. chart only one other time, with 1981's "For Those About to Rock We Salute You," whose title track is bolstered by "live" cannon every time it is played on stage.

The band, led by 55-year-old guitarist Malcolm Young and his 53-year-old brother Angus, who favors prep-school attire on stage, also went to No. 1 in 28 other countries, including the U.K., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and Argentina.

In all, more than 5 million copies of "Black Ice" were shipped worldwide, and the band expects to sell an additional 5 million or so copies of its back catalog this year, the spokeswoman said.

AC/DC COOL AGAIN   Continued...

<p>Singer Brian Johnson (top) and guitarist Angus Young of ACDC perform as the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the 18th annual induction ceremony at New York's Waldorf Astoria Hotel, March 10, 2003. REUTERS/Mike Segar</p>