Brian Johnson

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Brian Johnson

Post  ChillShaman on Fri Apr 15, 2016 7:42 am

Note: Please go here for the current version of this thread.



Voice Type: Me? A baritone?
Vocal Range: D2-A5

Significant High Notes:

A5 ("Black Cat Woman")
G5 ("Back In Black", "Breaking the Rules", "Evil Walks", "Flick of the Switch", "Fly on the Wall", "For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)", "Givin’ the Dog a Bone", "Hells Bells", "Inject the Venom", "Let Me Put My Love Into You", "Let's Get It Up", "Night of the Long Knives", "Playing With Girls", "Rock the Blues Away", "Shake a Leg", "Shake Your Foundations", "Shoot to Thrill", "Sink the Pink", "Snowballed", "Stand Up", "This House Is on Fire", "What Do You Do for Money Honey?", "Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On (Live '73)")
F♯5 ("Danger", "Don't Do That", "Kissin' Dynamite", "Rising Power", "For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)", "I Put the Finger on You", "Nervous Shakedown", "Thunderstruck")
F5 ("Anything Goes", "Back in Business", "C.O.D.", "Don't Do That", "Meanstreak", "Rock N Roll Dream", "Rock or Bust", "Send for the Man", "Stormy May Day")
E5 ("Ain't It Just Like a Woman", "All Because Of You", "Back In Black", "Ballbreaker", "Bedlam in Belgium", "Big Gun", "Black Ice", "Black Cat Woman", "Brain Snake", "Bring the Boys Back", "Can You Do It", "Caught With Your Pants On", "Deep in the Hole", "Fire Queen", "First Blood", "Give You Till Monday", "Go Zone", "Got to Know", "Guns for Hire", "Hard as a Rock", "Have a Drink on Me", "Heatseeker (Live)", "Hell or High Water", "Highway to Hell (Live)", "High Voltage (Live)", "Hope You Like It", "House of the Rising Sun", "The Jack (Live)", "Keep on Rockin'", "Landslide", "Light in My Window", "Mama's Gonna Take You Home", "Mercenary Man", "Old Time Rocker", "Play Ball", "Ride on Baby", "Rock and Roll (Live)", "Rock and Roll Ain't Noise Pollution", "Rocking Horse", "Rock the House", "Save the World", "She Likes Rock N Roll", "She's a Lady", "Snowballed", "Spellbound", "Ten Feet Tall", "That's The Way I Wanna Rock 'N' Roll", "Wheels", "Whole Lotta Rosie (Live)", "Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On (Live '73)", "You Shook Me All Night Long", "You Had Me Rollin'")
E♭5 ("Emission Control", "Heatseeker", "Hope You Like It", "Meanstreak", "You Had Me Rollin'")
D5 ("Badlands", "Baptism by Fire", "Big Jack", "Close the Door", "C.O.D.", "Decibel", "Dirty Deeds Done Dirty Cheap (Live)", "Dogs of War", "Electric Lady", "Hard Times", "Miss Adventure", "Money Made", "Nick of Time", "Oh Lord", "Playing with Girls", "Rock N Roll Train", "Sin City", "Skies on Fire", "Smash N Grab", "Spoilin’ for a Fight", "Thunderstruck", "War Machine", "You Shook Me All Night Long")
C♯5 ("Jailbreak", "Sweet Candy", "Rockin' With the Boys Tonight", "Treat Her Like A Lady")
C5 ("Cover You In Oil", "Goin' Down", "Goodbye Love", "Got No Love", "Got Some Rock and Roll Thunder", "Hope You Like It", "Look at Me", "Tried to Tell You So", "You Had Me Rollin’")
B4 ("Geordies Stomp", "I Can’t Forget You Now")

Significant Low Notes:

E3 ("All Because Of You", "Go Zone", "Hail Caesar", "Little Boy", "Old Time Rocker", "Sin City (Live)")
D3 ("Electric Lady", "Red Eyed Lady")
C3 ("Oh Lord")
B2 ("Hard as a Rock", "Spoilin’ for a Fight", "Thunderstruck")
B♭2 ("Fire Queen", "Rocking All the Way", "Thunderstruck (Live)")
A2 ("Fire Your Guns (Live)", "I Can't Forget You Now", "Stiff Upper Lip", "Send for the Man", "Shoot to Thrill (Live)")
G2 ("Hope You Like It", "Mama's Gonna Take You Home", "Money Made", "Stiff Upper Lip (Live)")
F♯2 ("Fire Queen", "Mistress for Christmas", "Sweet Candy")
F2 ("Black Ice")
E2 ("Boom Boom (Live)", "Dirty Deeds Done Dirty Cheap (Live)", "Dogs of War", "Hard as a Rock", "House of the Rising Sun")
E♭2 ("Black Ice")
D2 ("Chase That Tail")

.......................................................
*Italics mark non-sung notes.
*Blue marks clear, falsetto notes.


With waily Plantesque vocals, Brian Johnson is the lead singer for AC/DC, and previous lead singer for Geordie. He used to have an excellent voice in his Geordie and For Those About to Rock days, but many years of touring and misuse have taken its toll. Saying that though, he made a vocal comeback of sorts with 2008's Black Ice, with each song having at least a good D5 at the minimum. He mainly uses his famous (now scratchy) head voice to sing, and rarely dips below E4, but he also had a very strong lower second octave baritone, most notably heard in the beginning of House of the Rising Sun, his finest vocal moment. Obviously this thread isn't finished yet, so I'll get round to doing the rest of AC/DC's albums soon.


Notewatched Albums:

With Geordie:
Hope You Like It
Don't Be Fooled by the Name
Save the World
No Good Woman

With AC/DC:

Back in Black
For Those About to Rock We Salute You

Flick of the Switch
Fly on the Wall
Blow Up Your Video
The Razors Edge
Ballbreaker
Stiff Upper Lip
Black Ice
Rock or Bust




Last edited by Ollie on Fri Jul 29, 2016 8:32 am; edited 15 times in total
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Re: Brian Johnson

Post  ruff_stuff on Thu Apr 21, 2016 6:17 am

He's seriously underrated! I don't know why some people hate on him.. oh, I know - either hating Bon fanboys who can't get over his death or somebody who didn't like his voice on Thunderstruck.
Other than that, he's one of the most impressive, powerful rock singers ever. If not the most. Maybe on technical level his range wasn't overly insanely unnatural, but it still is. When it comes to actual "on the ear" - what you hear vocal range, it was huge. He could go so high with supreme power, while having naturally pretty low voice. Could sing gently and smoothly like in Geordie, high-note energetic screams in BIB (best selling, and best rock album by itself ever, with the best vocal performance) and FTATR, FOTS (abbreviations of albums). Then had a raspy sounding period with a power, which a lot of people still loved. Then after 2001 freshened his voice and sounded as great as in his early days. On Black Ice his vocal performance was great, with crooning. Rock Or Bust as good. And could sing real raw, old-school badass blues aswell. I mean he's actually really versatile as a singer, with unmatched power. He has given his all for these years, performing as hard as can every show and still being able to sing really good at age of 68.
Just a rant.


Last edited by ruff_stuff on Thu Apr 21, 2016 6:55 am; edited 2 times in total
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Re: Brian Johnson

Post  ChillShaman on Thu Apr 21, 2016 6:27 am

I wouldn't exactly say that his power is unmatched, with people like Jeff Buckley having graced our world (pun intended), but the relative ease of which he sang in the fifth octave in the early 80s is certainly highly impressive.
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Re: Brian Johnson

Post  JaredLetoIsBack on Thu Apr 21, 2016 7:15 am

Ollie wrote:I wouldn't exactly say that his power is unmatched, with people like Jeff Buckley having graced our world (pun intended), but the relative ease of which he sang in the fifth octave in the early 80s is certainly highly impressive.
how is Buckley a good example of power? I will never understand why people mention him in that context.

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Re: Brian Johnson

Post  ChillShaman on Thu Apr 21, 2016 11:30 am

Have you not heard live versions of Grace??
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Re: Brian Johnson

Post  JaredLetoIsBack on Thu Apr 21, 2016 4:21 pm

Yes. By no means a good example of powerful singing.

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Re: Brian Johnson

Post  Hopscotch on Thu Apr 21, 2016 4:58 pm

The lows section of this thread could use a lot of revision. Probably still a lot of mispitched notes there, or spoken notes marked as sung. I know that you copied it from the old thread, but just saying as a heads up.

Would recommend starting the highs at A4 too. Some good examples of that pitch in the Geordie version of "House of the Rising Sun".
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Re: Brian Johnson

Post  Private Perineum on Thu Apr 21, 2016 9:32 pm

JaredLetoIsBack wrote:
Ollie wrote:I wouldn't exactly say that his power is unmatched, with people like Jeff Buckley having graced our world (pun intended), but the relative ease of which he sang in the fifth octave in the early 80s is certainly highly impressive.
how is Buckley a good example of power? I will never understand why people mention him in that context.

Exactly my thoughts. Amazing singer, but certainly not the key example of power to me... Emotional power more like.

Hopscotch wrote:Would recommend starting the highs at A4 too. Some good examples of that pitch in the Geordie version of "House of the Rising Sun".

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Re: Brian Johnson

Post  Private Perineum on Thu Apr 21, 2016 9:36 pm

ruff_stuff wrote:He's seriously underrated! I don't know why some people hate on him.. oh, I know - either hating Bon fanboys who can't get over his death or somebody who didn't like his voice on Thunderstruck.
Other than that, he's one of the most impressive, powerful rock singers ever. If not the most. Maybe on technical level his range wasn't overly insanely unnatural, but it still is. When it comes to actual "on the ear" - what you hear vocal range, it was huge. He could go so high with supreme power, while having naturally pretty low voice. Could sing gently and smoothly like in Geordie, high-note energetic screams in BIB (best selling, and best rock album by itself ever, with the best vocal performance) and FTATR, FOTS (abbreviations of albums). Then had a raspy sounding period with a power, which a lot of people still loved. Then after 2001 freshened his voice and sounded as great as in his early days. On Black Ice his vocal performance was great, with crooning. Rock Or Bust as good. And could sing real raw, old-school badass blues aswell. I mean he's actually really versatile as a singer, with unmatched power. He has given his all for these years, performing as hard as can every show and still being able to sing really good at age of 68.
Just a rant.

Although you're hamming it up at points, I mostly agree with you actually! Brian in the 70s and (up to the mid) 80s was a total beast of a singer. That's the reason why AC/DC chose him in the first place, apparently he was one of Bon's favourite singers. BIB and FTATR certainly remain rock vocal powerhouses, I feel like Brian's voice weakened a lot after supporting those two, returning back to a nice form for Black Ice. Right now, he sings amazingly well, considering his age and the wear and tear on his voice!
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Re: Brian Johnson

Post  ChillShaman on Thu Apr 21, 2016 10:46 pm

Okay, I'll revise the low notes section, it's a shame he doesn't have more. I was considering having an A4 section, but I've yet to find a song where A4 is significant, and he has loads of E5s and C5s in House of the Rising Sun anyway. I'm sure AC/DC have a few albums where A4 might be significant, but I've yet to get round to those.
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Re: Brian Johnson

Post  ruff_stuff on Fri Apr 22, 2016 12:06 am

Brian has/had a great, beautiful sounding low/midrange. I wish he used it more. There's some short-couple second moments of that voice in For Those About To Rock (Album) in songs like Evil Walks @2:41 (sung); Night Of The Long Knives @2:49/50 (really like the sound of his voice at those seconds) - as I've said, wish he sang more like that. Danger @2:56.
And what about the notes on Treat Her Like A Lady just before 1st chorus?
there's some low note action on Sin City (Live - 2nd CD *collectors editions), @3:24 "ladders and snakes..ladders give"
what else comes to mind.. pretty badass sounding lows on Sweet Candy at the beginning, though more of a fry, talk than a singing? 50/50.

Boogie Man (No Bull - live) real nice lows in the beginning.

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Re: Brian Johnson

Post  Private Perineum on Fri Apr 22, 2016 1:05 am

I can't get over the awesomeness of the "Evil Walks" middle part screams.
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Re: Brian Johnson

Post  ruff_stuff on Fri Apr 22, 2016 6:13 am

Yes, those are great! Actually all of the FTATR is just superb in my book. And the lyrics on Evil Walks just as great by Brian -
Black widow weavin' evil notion
Dark secret's bein' spun in your web
Good men goin' down in your ocean
They can't swim cos their tied to your bed


BTW, as what notes we could consider Brian's singing in the beginning here on SUL at Circus Krone? they sound lower than on album.
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Re: Brian Johnson

Post  ChillShaman on Thu May 05, 2016 4:30 am

D2 at 0:26 and throughout, could it be Brian? The guitarist is also as listed as doing vocals on this album, so it could be him.
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Re: Brian Johnson

Post  Molandfreak on Thu May 05, 2016 5:04 am

I think It sounds consistent with the rest of his low range. Vic Malcolm also sounds like a tenor in interviews, but I don't think we can know for sure. Since Brian already has a D2, I'd just leave it out. Confused
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Re: Brian Johnson

Post  ChillShaman on Thu May 05, 2016 6:26 am

Thanks pal, I thought so too, just thought I'd check!
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Re: Brian Johnson

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