"AC/DC's" ninth album (or tenth if you count the albums released in Australia), "Fly On The Wall" was released on June 28, 1985.
This album is considered by many to be one of the weakest albums of this great band. We think a little differently.
So true, the year 1985 finds AC/DC in a not-so-simple situation. A new breed of young metal bands like "Ratt", "Motley Crue", "Def Leppard" and "Twisted Sister" dominate the dome and sell millions of albums with the help of MTV, and suddenly AC/DC has to fight for its place at the top. Now add to that the internal problems involved in the departure of Phil Rudd - their regular drummer for a decade and the task of locating the new drummer Simon Wright.
Five years earlier the band was at the height of its success with the most perfect comeback album Back In Black, and suddenly after a mediocre "Back to the Roots" album that received mixed reviews ("Flick Of The Switch"), it suddenly had to prove itself again in front of a young generation that grew into glam And the hair metal of the early 1980s. The band is in at a crossroads. They have to choose whether to go with the flow and dedicate themselves to the God of MTV and attract the attention of the new generation of "rockers", or to stay true to themselves and believe they can do it again (after all, they've already died and rose again from ashes).
Admit it, you were not prepared for this, but "AC/DC" chose not to choose. They are left standing at the crossroads squinting left and right with no ability to decide where they want to turn.
On the one hand, "AC/DC" tries to please the MTV audience and releases a VHS tape that includes five clips of the songs: "Fly on the Wall", "Danger", "Sink the Pink", "Stand Up", "Shake Your Foundations". On the other hand, Angus and Malcolm decide to produce the album themselves in an attempt to recreate the immature and simple sound from their first albums (a fact that will probably hurt the sound of the album a bit).
Surprisingly, despite the indecision and perhaps precisely because of it, "AC/DC" released an album that probably saved their career.
The band manages to produce (unintentionally) the formula, which on one hand will retain its old and loyal audience, and on the other hand, will attract a younger audience.
The VHS tape got airtime on various music shows, especially "Headbangers Ball" and this exposes the band to the MTV generation, but not only. The band receives a surprising offer to be part of the soundtrack to Stephen King's film "Maximum Overdrive".
The soundtrack that comes out a year later is called "Who Made Who" and it includes songs from different periods of the band alongside songs from the album "Fly On The Wall", which got a re-production and especially a balance correction and Brian Johnson's increased voice that did not sound good on the original album. The collection of songs in the soundtrack will also include "Who Made Who", a single that will bring the band relative success in the sales charts, but it will mostly give the band greater exposure because it is actually a sort of Greatest Hits album that allows a new audience to know some of the band greatest moments.
It turned out that although "Fly On The Wall" is not considered one of the band's major albums, it is the one that probably managed to save them. The rough production of Malcolm Young and Angus Young, the clips released for MTV, and, yes, even the story that made headlines at the time about serial killer Richard Ramirez who was allegedly a fan of the band, left the band deep in consciousness and probably also were the cause for getting the offer to be a part of the Stephen King's new film "Maximum Overdrive" in 1986.
So true, when it was released the album "Fly On The Wall" received cold reviews. Even the sales (only a million copies in the United States) indicated that this was not one of the band's highs.
At the same time, there are great songs on this album that have managed to overcome production issues and remain relevant for over three decades thereafter. Songs like the theme song, "Shake Your Foundations", "Playing with Girls", "Sink the Pink" and more are an integral part of the endless soundtrack of this great band and will stay with us forever.