Who Did Rick Rubin Say Was The Best Rock 'N' Roll Band Of All Time?

Few music producers can have their involvement in an album be almost as notable as the artist's, but Rick Rubin is one of them. Rubin has been known to dabble in a wide variety of genres, having produced everything from rap to thrash metal to punk to pop. Born on Long Island in 1963, Rubin grew up listening to punk and heavy metal but made a name for himself producing hip-hop. His first producer credit on a single was "It's Yours," by T La Rock and Jazzy Jay, which became a popular track in clubs, and led Rubin to start his own label, Def Jam Records, per Britannica.

Def Jam skyrocketed and the label — as well as Rubin — is credited with being a major force in shaping hip-hop. The company features a roster with some of its biggest stars, including Run-D.M.C., Public Enemy, and the Beastie Boys. According to AllMusic, Rubin has worked with many rock and metal bands and has produced some classics, like Slayer's "Reign In Blood," the Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Blood Sugar Sex Magick," and Metallica's "Death Magnetic." Still, none of those bands are the ones Rubin referred to as the best of all time (via Ultimate Classic Rock).

Rubin was referring to AC/DC

In an appearance on the podcast "Talk is Jericho," hosted by professional wrestler and musician Chris Jericho, Rubin talked about his time working on music with the Australian rock band AC/DC. Despite being a huge fan of the band, Rubin told Jericho that he didn't have the best time working on AC/DC's 1995 album "Ballbreaker."

"My favorite group post-Beatles was AC/DC, and I think they're the best rock band in the world, of all time. They're a perfect band. They don't have the breadth and depth of songwriting that the Beatles have, but for straight-up rock, AC/DC is perfection. So it was another dream-come-true scenario that, I will say, was a difficult process."

Rubin's first experience with the Brian Johnson and Angus Young-fronted outfit came during recording sessions for the single "Big Gun," which was included on the soundtrack for the 1993 movie "Last Action Hero," starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. Both parties were happy with the experiences and decided that the next logical step was to work together on a full-length album. However, it didn't turn out to be the dream relationship both sides had hoped for.

There were some problems from the start

The band and Rubin entered the studio to record what would become "Ballbreaker." Their first stop was a studio in New York that Rubin had always wanted to use, and thought the "Ballbreaker" sessions would be a great opportunity, but he ran into an issue almost immediately (via Ultimate Classic Rock).

"I was excited ... but it never sounded good," he said. "We did a million things trying to make it sound good — nothing worked. And I remember saying to Malcolm at one point, like, 'Maybe we should just move somewhere else?'" Malcolm, of course, was the band's legendary rhythm guitar player — and Angus' brother — Malcolm Young, who declined the idea of moving, saying that they always ran into similar issues while recording in European studios with another legendary producer, Mutt Lange. Still, things never improved in New York, and Young was forced to call an audible. "So then we stayed for another few weeks," Rubin recalled to Jericho. "And the guy said, 'You know what — let's just go to the studio you like.' And then we ended up going to L.A. to a studio that I worked in a lot, and it got better."

It really did improve, and Ballbreaker went on to become one of AC/DC's best received albums since 1980s "Back In Black." According to Ultimate Classic Rock, it's seen as revival of sorts that pushed the band into the next phase of their career.