Sound Issues Impacted Early Recording Sessions
After rehearsing the songs for the album, the band headed into the EMI-Pathé Marconi Studios in early July, where they were ready to lay down basic tracks.
But after trying and trying, they just couldn’t get the right sound, or a sound that Lange was happy with. Heck, the story goes they worked for three days just on the snare drum sound alone. Only the snare drum.
Singer Brian Johnson recalls “The studio came highly recommended, but we just couldn’t get a good live sound. Mutt finally said ‘This is hard work – we’re missing the point.'”
So in August 1981, after trying (and not liking) several different studios around Paris, the uber rock producer found a solution to their recording problems: He’d simply moved the operation to a rehearsal space on the outskirts of Paris, and hired the Mobile One Studio from London to record the group. The sound was deemed solid, and recording began anew with basic track. Vocals and overdubs were completed at Family Sound Studio and overdubs at HIS Studios and recording was finished in September, ending a five-month process that included lots of tinkering by Lange. Back in Black was done in two months.
Malcolm Young would famously say, in a 1992 interview that “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.”
Lange is a notorious perfectionist in the studio, and it’s highly probably AC/DC were more than fed up with doing take after take, especially since it was their third time working with him.
So, it’s not surprising For Those About To Rock was the last time the Aussie rockers worked with Lange.
While the album sounds very polished and crisp, their follow-up records, 1983’s Flick of the Switch and 1985’s Fly on the Wall were self-produced, with neither boasting exceptional sound, certainly nothing as sonic as found on the Lange-produced records. Neither Flick of the Switch nor Fly on the Wall sold particularly well.