Perth radio station says legendary hard rock band are to retire owing to a band member's illness, though other reports say they are set to start recording again
AC/DC's future was thrown up in the air in the early hours of Tuesday morning after an Australian radio station reported the band are to retire, owing to a band member's illness. However, the Australian newspaper countered that story with a report that the band have booked a six-week recording session in Vancouver from May 1, "according to a music industry source".
The rumours about AC/DC's retirement stemmed from an anonymous email to Perth radio station 6PR by a person identifying themselves only as "Thunderstruck", who said: "I have extremely good contacts in Europe that are very close to AC/DC. I have it on very good authority that one of the band members is quite ill and has returned to Australia with his family. AC/DC members have previously made a pact that no band members will be replaced should someone need to leave the band. No more is currently being said, however the particularly ill member of AC/DC's son has stated that AC/DC may well be over." The member in question is said to be rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young.
Entertainment reporter Peter Ford told 6PR he believed the information to be correct. "It may be that … they don't actually retire as such, they just never perform together again or record again."
AC/DC's singer, Brian Johnson, told a Florida radio station in February that a band member had been ill, which had caused them to be tight-lipped about their plans. "We've been denying anything, 'cause we weren't sure," he said. "One of our boys was pretty ill, so we didn't like to say anything, and we're very private about things like this, so we didn't wanna say anything.
However, Johnson also added: "But I think we'll be going in the studio in May in Vancouver. Which means, we should be getting ready."
The Guardian has contacted AC/DC's UK publicist for comment, and has been told no statement is yet available. We will provide an update when more information is issued.
AC/DC were formed in Sydney in November 1973 by brothers Angus and Malcolm Young, releasing their first album, High Voltage, in 1975. They became popular internationally with their fourth album, 1977's Let There Be Rock, but became superstars in 1980 with their seventh album, Back in Black, recorded with Brian Johnson after the death of singer Bon Scott. It became one of the biggest selling albums ever, selling 22m in US alone, according to the Recording Industry Association of America.
The band have remained hugely popular worldwide. Their last tour, promoting the Black Ice album between 2008 and 2010, grossed $441.6m (£264.1m), making it the second highest grossing tour in history. The band said it had told 5.1m tickets for 168 shows in 31 countries during the tour.