Friday, December 09, 2011

Top Of The Heap: AC/DC

Andy says-

I know that I have mentioned this numerous times in the past but the first album I ever bought was AC/DC's "Who Made Who". Prior to that though I was aware of the band and their stardom. My older brother had "Highway To Hell" on tape and I can remember more than a few times when he played this as loud as possible to get under my parents skin. Back in the day many parents placed AC/DC high at the top of their list of satanic rock and roll acts so it is funny these days to see AC/DC's logo on toddler clothing. How far we have come! While "Who Made Who" would be the first tape I ever bought by AC/DC it wouldn't be the last as my obsession with the group only grew with time. The more parents and authority lashed out against these Aussie rockers the more I was drawn in. Soon enough I had most of their music on tape and eventually LPs. For many people it is a toss up between "Highway To Hell" and "Back In Black" for AC/DC's top album. I don't plan to dive too deeply into said argument as honestly they are my two favorite albums. That said "Highway To Hell" has always been an album I turn back to time and time. Maybe it has something to do with how overplayed "Back In Black" is but this, their sixth studio album and last with Bon Scott is just perfect hard rock for me. Sadly Bon Scott would pass away after this album only for Brian Johnson to join the band right as they exploded. As the band was always blues-based there is a raw energy to be found here. In a way too I have always seen this album as Bon's way of showing the punks that he was still the top dog despite the change brought on by groups like the Sex Pistols. Bon's swagger and strut on "Highway To Hell" put Mick Jagger to shame. From the album opener which chronicles life in a rock and roll band and all of it's vices (a popular subject for AC/DC) Bon Scott and the Young brothers grab you by the balls and squeeze as hard as they can. This was the sound of bar room rock and roll. It was sweaty and filled with enough sexual tension to knock down the building! Sure the album's title number might not have spelled out what was on AC/DC's mind but the rest of side A left no doubt! . "Girls Got Rhythm", "Walk All Over You", "Touch Too Much" and "Beating Around the Bush" all find Bon Scott on the prowl with Angus right there by his side ready to pick up the scraps! The flip side of the record opens with the classic "Shot Down in Flames". Bon and company lay it out there and let us know that they have been given the old brush off as well. I've always liked the little rocker "Get It Hot" while "If You Want Blood (You've Got It)" might just be my favorite AC/DC number of all time! That drum opening from Phil Rudd is classic and when the rest of the track comes rolling in it hits you hard and fast. The band keeps ladies on their mind with "Love Hungry Man" a track that has grown on me over time. Now as far as "Night Prowler" goes and the controversy surrounding it thanks to Richard Ramírez too much ink has been spilled on that one already. No song alone is going to turn a person into a serial killer. If someone is going to kill people I firmly believe that is already in their DNA and that they were born with some screws missing. Show me someone who was a serial killer and listened to heavy metal and I'll show you someone who went to church and was supposed to be normal and killed people tons of people (I'm looking at you Mr. BTK!). Music, video games, movies, books, etc. do not drive otherwise normal people to kill. The fact that we live in a fallen world leads people to kill. But, that is another article for another time. I love how the band choose to wrap up the album. With the final words spoken by Scott, "Shazbot, na-nu na-nu", I always get a little smile thinking about watching "Mork And Mindy" as a kid. To me it just shows how much of a goof Scott was and that he left this world way too young. "Highway To Hell" is a genre classic. It is hard rocking, catchy and full of raw energy just like Bon Scott was. He left us at the top of his game.


Metal Mark says-

I love Bon Scott-era AC/DC and consider most of the Brian Johnson-era material to be forgettable. Glad I got that out of the way. To me all of the early albums are either very good or great and it is tough to choose a best album. I think it boils down to Let there be rock and Powerage and I'll go with Powerage by a hair. One of the first albums I heard by AC/DC and certainly one where I like every song. Still to this day it's an album I could listen at any time from start to finish. To me it represents the raw power of the early days of the band, but it's right before they began to polish off their rough edges. It's not their most known album due to the lack of songs that get played on the radio a lot, but it's certainly their most consistant album and to me the one that defines all that was great about this band in their early days. "Down payment blues" and "Up to my neck in you" are prime examples of the kind of odd yet humorous lyrics that this band could easily pull off. "Gimme a bullet", "Gone shootin" and "What's next to moon" demonstrated the band's ability to control the pace and get as much as they could out out of every beat and note. "Kicked in the teeth" and "Riff raff" are both tracks that get the blood pumpin' with their heavy, churning grooves. "Rock 'n' Roll Damnation" and
"Sin City" are probably the two best songs out of this great batch with just great attention to details and every band member pulling his weight. To me this is this the most solid album from this band. It's a shame that Scott died because thet were very tight. However after Scott was gone Johnson just didn't have the voice or the presence to ever replace Scott and really no one could replace him. The downfall of AC/DC wasn't all on Johnson's shoulders either. The Young brothers writing became more predictable in the 1980's and formula became the name of the game for AC/DC even through today. They would never be the same without Bon Scott, not even close. The have have been a mere shell of what they once were. However at least Scott left some great records to remember him by.

***What's your favorite AC/DC album?

Labels: ,


Blogger Magpie said...

Confession time: my favourite AC/DC albums is "Flick Of The Switch". I bought it and "Back in Black" at the same time, and although the "highs" of BiB are much higher, there's more filler on that album than most people remember. There aren't the same "classics" on FotS, but the album as a whole is consistently good throughout. There's also a bit of nostalgia involved because "Nervous Shakedown" was the first AC/DC song I ever learned to play on the guitar.

2:21 AM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

Magpie-Actually Flick of the switch is my favorite Brian Johnson album. I thought I was alone in that opinion. It's easily the most consistant album with Brian Johnson.

5:42 AM  
Blogger DPTH International said...

I've always had a soft spot for Razor's Edge. And I especially like Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap.

I'm not overly familiar with Ac/Dc's early work, but Bon Scott was certainly more charismatic then Brian Johnson.

9:40 AM  
Blogger Heff said...

I'm with Mark on this one - a toss-up between Let There Be Rock, and Powerage.

BOTH were solid Grade-A Rock-n Roll.

4:39 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home