A few times a year, there’s a date on the calendar that rocks harder than others. Let’s look back at 3 albums released on July 25.


First, we’ll go back to July 25th, 1980. That’s the day AC/DC dropped Back In Black. You know the story by now. The band finally broke through internationally with Highway to Hell in 1979. Then, founding lead singer Bon Scott died. In less than a year, the band found a new singer, recorded a new album, and released it. It’s their greatest album to date, and I wrote about its 40th anniversary.


Next, we’ll hop in the wayback machine to July 25th, 1983. An up-and-coming Bay Area thrash metal band called Metallica released their debut album, Kill ‘Em All, on that date. Released on independent label Megaforce Records, it was recorded on a $15,000 budget. Flash forward 40 years and that little thrash metal band is now the biggest metal band in the world. And Kill ‘Em All still shreds.


Rounding out the trio is another album that hit shelves on July 25th. Beastie Boys put Paul’s Boutique out into the world in 1989. It built on their 1986 debut Licensed to Ill and leaned more heavily into their hip-hop influences. It was also one of the last albums of that era of rap to be made without clearing samples. Today? The album would never actually be made. It would cost too damn much.


3 Essential ’80s Albums Released on July 25

A few years ago, the Beasties put out an anniversary edition with rarities; you can read about that here. Below, I’m giving you a pair of tracks from each album: my two favorites. So maybe, in the years to come, you’ll spend your July 25th celebrating this trio of albums that all share the same birthday and are all essentials in any discerning collection of rock releases.

  • AC/DC "Have a Drink On Me"

    Is there a bad song on this album? The answer is no. They’re all great, to varying degrees. I’m quite fond of this one.

  • AC/DC "Rock And Roll Ain't Noise Pollution"

    My favorite song on the album. My favorite AC/DC song, period. And it was a last-minute toss-on!

  • Metallica "Hit The Lights"

    Side 1, Track 1. Your introduction to Metallica. Unless you were savvy enough to have the No Life ’til Leather demo.

  • Metallica "Whiplash"

    The album’s first proper single. One of the many Metallica songs my brother would shred when he was first learning guitar.

  • Beastie Boys "Shake Your Rump"

    Or, as I like to call it, “Shake Your Rump-ah!” Certified banger. Never get tired of it.

  • Beastie Boys "Shadrach"

    You gotta give it up to the B-Boys: they know their bible stories. I wonder if church kids listen to this one in Sunday School?

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