Two of the biggest, most important rock/metal bands to ever kick up dust — AC/DC and Metallica — hold July 25 in special regard. It was on that day in two separate years (1980 for AC/DC and 1983 for Metallica) that they released albums that would forever change the course of their careers.
In 1980, AC/DC was in a tough spot. Lead vocalist Bon Scott passed away in February, leaving the Australian band’s future up in the air. Scott passed right before they were to enter the studio to record the follow-up to 1978’s Highway to Hell, and expectations were high.
Instead of quitting, the band — Angus Young, Malcolm Young, Cliff Williams and Phil Rudd — recruited a new singer, Brian Johnson, and the rest is…well, you know the rest.
The album has since sold upwards of 50 million copies, helped cement AC/DC as an undeniably legendary rock band and influenced legions of fans, followers and future musicians in its wake.
Three years later, a young, hungry thrash metal band calling themselves Metallica were ready to unleash their sounds to the masses. The result was Kill ‘Em All, a vicious set of songs with guitars from Kirk Hammett and Dave Mustaine, drums by Lars Ulrich, bass by Cliff Burton and guitars and howling vocals from James Hetfield.
Their sound, blending thrash metal with frenetic rhythms and punk energy, was enthralling — and helped put Metallica on the map for good.
35 years later, they’re a global institution, and while Mustaine moved on after this record to found Megadeth (his own legendary band), you can’t discount his contributions to Kill ‘Em All‘s undeniable raw power.
Flipping through the pages of rock history, July 25 stands especially tall in light of these two landmark albums’ releases, more than three decades later.