For Those About to Rock We Salute You is an album by Australian hard rock band AC/DC. It was the band's seventh internationally released studio album and the eighth to be released in Australia.
Released in 1981, the album is a follow-up to their highly successful album Back in Black. For Those About to Rock has sold over four million copies in the US. It would be AC/DC's first and only No. 1 album in the U.S. until the release of Black Ice in October 2008. In their original 1981 review, Rolling Stone magazine declared it to be their best album. In Australia, the album peaked at No. 3 on the Kent Music Report Albums Chart.
The album, recorded in Paris, France, was the third and final produced for the band by Robert John "Mutt" Lange. The album was re-released in 2003 as part of the AC/DC remasters series.
By the summer of 1981, Back in Black, AC/DC's sixth international release, was nothing short of a phenomenon. It was the band's biggest album by far, having gone platinum multiple times, a feat all the more remarkable because it featured a new vocalist, Brian Johnson, who had replaced the late Bon Scott. In fact, Back in Black was such a smash that Atlantic Records in the United States finally released the band's 1976 album Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, an LP the label had initially rejected because they felt the production was subpar. In addition, Red Bus Records released an album of recordings by Geordie, Johnson's old band, under the name Brian Johnson and Geordie to cash in on the group's massive success. In December 1980, the film Let There Be Rock, featuring concert footage and interviews with the band from the Scott-era Highway to Hell tour, was released in France and was enormously successful; according to the 2006 Murray Engelheart book AC/DC: Maximum Rock & Roll, the movie did a million dollars of ticket sales in Paris, while 300,000 people across the country also saw it - an almost unprecedented response to a music movie, which cost roughly $100,000 to make. Engleheart also states that the Rolling Stones offered the band a million dollars to open at least one stadium date on their 1981 North American tour, but the band turned them down because they were focused on finishing what would turn out to be For Those About to Rock We Salute You.
In July 1981, the band began work on the album at EMI Pathe-Marconi Studios in Paris with producer Robert John "Mutt" Lange but were unsatisfied with the sound, eventually opting to record the basic tracks in an old warehouse on the outskirts of Paris with the Mobile One studio, with vocals later recorded at Family Sound Studio and overdubs done at HIS Studios. In September the album was finished. In November 1992, guitarist Malcolm Young recalled to Mark Blake of Metal CD, "I don't think anyone, neither the band or the producer, could tell whether it sounded right or wrong. Everyone was fed up with the whole album." In 2006, engineer Tony Platt stated in AC/DC: Maximum Rock & Roll, "I think there was a general feeling that Back in Black was the pinnacle of how produced AC/DC should ever be. For Those About to Rock was a bit overproduced in terms of what the band were about." The LP offers up the group's usual litany of sexually-infused metaphors on songs like "Let's Get It Up," and "Inject the Venom," but the LP is perhaps best remembered for its title track, which has gone on to become the band's perennial show closer accompanied by the firing of stage prop cannons. The song and the name of the album was inspired by a book Angus Young read, entitled For Those About to Die, We Salute You, about Romangladiators. The gladiators' final words to the emperor were "Ave Imperator, morituri te salutant" – or, "Hail Emperor, those who are about to die salute you". Angus Young explained to Kerrang magazine (reprinted in Mark Putterford's AC/DC bio Shock to the System), "We had this chorus riff, and we thought, 'Well, this sounds rather deadly.' We were trying to find a good title...and there's this book from years ago about Roman gladiators called For Those About to Die We Salute You. So we thought, 'for those about to rock.' It's a very inspiring song. It makes you feel a bit powerful, and I think that's what rock n' roll is all about."
In a 1982 interview with Creem's Sylvie Simmons (available at www.thequietus.com), Angus Young commented on several of the album's songs:
"Evil Walks": "As the name says, evil walks. It's everywhere. Actually it's just a catchy title with a catchy tune. We were playing it at the beginning and I said, 'those chords sound dead evil.' And that's usually how we do it – just sitting around and nattering and thinking and jamming away, and someone says something like 'evil walks' and that's it. Some crud just sent me a letter – addressed to Bon too – sending us these stupid things. Some people are sick. If they want to go God-bothering they should go God-bother the Pope. He needs it. We don't...I had one idiot trying to blast away in my earhole. He started with 'Do you believe in God?' and I said 'I've no interest in it so leave me alone.' Their main beef is songs like 'Highway to Hell.' But they're just titles. It's only a song."
"C.O.D. (Care of the Devil)": Most people think COD – cash on delivery. I was sitting around trying to come up with a better one and I came up with 'Care of the Devil.' We're not black magicSatanists or whatever you call it. I don't drink blood. I may wear black underwear now and again but that's it."
"Let's Get It Up": You can take it one of two ways. Let's get it up, meaning musically up, or..."
"Snowballed": "Meaning you've been conned, fooled again. And we figured we'd been tricked enough in our time, so we came out with that. It could be the woman you're paying alimony to, anything."
"Put The Finger On You": "That's basically a gangster line like they do in the movies...We're not putting the finger on anyone in particular. It's always been the other fucking way around."
"Inject The Venom": "That's a power thing like 'For Those About To Rock.' It just means, have it hot." Brian Johnson: "There's one line that says, if you inject the venom it will be your last attack. Which is like a snake – once it bites you it's got nothing left."
"Night Of The Long Knives": "It's like a horror movie. Another power thing. It just sounded nice."
"Breaking The Rules": "It's like when somebody says 'you can't do that,' at school or whatever. They were always saying that to me at school. You do it anyhow." Brian Johnson: "But at the same time it says don't start any fooking revolutions, don't be a big fooking hero, just break the rules in your own way. Don't just do what the man says and go 'aye, okay.' Do it the way you wanted to."
This is the only AC/DC studio album for which the group filmed no promotional videos. Live performances of the first 3 tracks (as well as other tracks from other AC/DC albums) on the album were filmed at the band's Maryland shows on the 20th and 21st of December 1981 were used as promotional material and seen on many music channels around this period as well as some today. The live version of "Back In Black" and "T.N.T" from this show were released as B sides to "Let's Get It Up" and the live version of "Let There Be Rock" was the B-side to "For Those About To Rock". All 3 previously B-side only releases were issued as part of AC/DC's "Backtracks" box set in late 2009 and on iTunes on November 19th 2012. According to the official AC/DC website, the second track is "Put the Finger on You". On some versions of the album the title is shown as "I Put the Finger on You". In Spain, early copies of the album featured a sleeve with the colours reversed, i.e. a gold cannon on a black background. After the album's release, the band embarked on its first arena tour of North America, in late 1981 through early 1982. For the title track, large cannons were placed on stage, set to go off in accordance with the song on the album. During the tour, 100,000 watts of power were used for the front of house sound. The cannons were flown above the speaker arrays. The title track's popularity was such that in almost every live concert AC/DC has done thereafter, the song is performed as an encore and is always accompanied by firing cannons on stage. Subsequent tours had to deal with crossing international borders with big cannons used as a prop, creating strange situations with customs officials.
The album was re-released in 1987 on CD format. In 1994 it was reissued after being digitally remastered from the original master tapes.
For Those About to Rock became the first AC/DC album to ever hit No. 1 in the US on the Billboard chart and stayed on the top for three weeks. To date, in the US, it has achieved four million sales. In the UK, the album's two singles, "Let's Get It Up" and "For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)", made it to No. 13 and No. 15, respectively. The album has sold an estimated seven million copies worldwide, making it one of the highest sold AC/DC albums worldwide. In a 2008 Rolling Stone cover story, David Fricke singled out the title track for praise, noting its "unusual stop-start effect that hooks you just as hard as their usual railroad drive."
The concert video For Those About to Rock, about the first open-air rock concert in Moscow in 1991, was named after the album and title track, and featured live performances by AC/DC and other rock bands, including the title track.
Parry Gripp's first LP For Those About to Shop, We Salute You is a reference to the album.
In the video game The Last of Us, there is an album in the record store with an album by fictional band "BRASSARD/BOYS" stylized the way AC/DC is written. The cover features a cannon on the front.