Written By Braddon S. Williams
AC/DC: Let There Be Rock
AC/DC were touring in support of Let There Be Rock (1977) when I saw them open for Kiss in December of that year.
To be completely honest, I hadn’t heard a note of AC/DC’s music at that point in time, but I had heard of the band. Little did I know that they quite nearly stole the show from Kiss (who were my undisputed favorite band at that time). Oh yes, and I was in the front row, so I witnessed AC/DC with Bon Scott at the peak of their formidable powers!
Anyway, Let There Be Rock has been claimed by Angus and Malcolm Young to be the first fully formed AC/DC album.
They were in danger of being dropped by their label at the time (crazy, right?) and they were pissed off about it. The result? Guitars…LOUD guitars…and a legend was born.
Bon Scott’s whisky drenched howling banshee of a voice rode atop the Young brothers’ wall of sound, and Mark Evans (bass) and Phil Rudd (drums) provided the granite foundation.
The songs would go on to be concert staples in the live show for decades to come…Problem Child, Whole Lotta Rosie, Bad Boy Boogie, Hell Ain’t A Bad Place To Be, and the crushing onslaught of the title track, Let There Be Rock.
Even the songs that didn’t become live classics (Go Down, Overdose, Dog Eat Dog) are completely badass.
Let There Be Rock is basically a perfect album…all killer, no filler…crank it up and bang your head!
Brian Johnson of the band Geordie gets a new, slightly more high-profile gig: replacing the deceased Bon Scott in AC/DC. Johnson’s first album with the band is Back In Black, which becomes the second-best selling album worldwide behind Thriller.
AC/DC suffered a devastating blow when their beloved lead singer Bon Scott was found dead in February 1980 following a night of heavy drinking in London. They consider disbanding, but with encouragement from Scott’s family they decide to continue.
They find their new frontman in Brian Johnson, whose previous gig was with the little-known band Geordie. With the band already besieged by belittling disregard from mainstream music media and cultural critics, the announcement of an unheralded new singer arouses little excitement amongst those within conservative society.
Johnson overdelivers, writing potent lyrics for their album Back In Black and delivering them with searing vocals that evoke Scott without resorting to imitation. The album, which is dedicated to Scott, becomes one of the most successful in music history, with a hard-hitting and unpretentious brand of heavy rock that embodies a powerful honesty and viscerally resonates with audiences across the world.
Johnson turns out to be a great live performer as well, delivering rough and howling screams that are a perfect vocal accompaniment to AC/DC’s monstrous instrumental section.
Thanks to their new lead singer, the band builds on Scott’s legacy and reaches unprecedented heights, becoming one of the greatest rock bands of all time. “We just get out there and rock,” says guitarist Angus Young. “If your amp blows up or your guitar packs it in, smash it up and pick up another one.”
Written By Braddon S. Williams
AC/DC was at their best in the Bon Scott era. I’m not open for debate on this, and no disrespect to Brian Johnson, because I love his work with the band quite deeply.
But let’s face it, Bon was put on this planet to sing hard partying rock ‘n’ roll, and Powerage(1978) contains some of his best stuff.
Sin City, Riff Raff, Kicked In The Teeth, Gimme A Bullet, What’s Next To The Moon?, Up To My Neck In You, Rock ‘n’ Roll Damnation, and the absolutely magnificent Down Payment Blues are all just prime AC/DC classics.
Scott’s streetwise lyrical style, coupled with that blowtorch whisky drenched voice just fit perfectly over the top of the gloriously crunchy guitar riffs and manic leadwork of the Young brothers (Malcolm on rhythm and Angus on lead).
New bass player Cliff Williams laid down the simple yet essential bottom end anchored to Phil Rudd’s airtight drumming, and another AC/DC album added to the ongoing legacy that was taking the Australian terrors to the very peak of rock royalty. Plug into some Powerage and experience the jolt of a band in total control.
Guitarist and founder AC/DC member Malcolm Young has died at the age of 64
Founder AC/DC member Malcolm Young has died. He was 64. Young, who was diagnosed with dementia in 2014, died peacefully, surrounded by family.
AC/DC released a statement which read, “Today it is with deep heartfelt sadness that AC/DC has to announce the passing of Malcolm Young.
“Malcolm, along with Angus, was the founder and creator of AC/DC. With enormous dedication and commitment he was the driving force behind the band. As a guitarist, songwriter and visionary he was a perfectionist and a unique man. He always stuck to his guns and did and said exactly what he wanted. He took great pride in all that he endeavored. His loyalty to the fans was unsurpassed.”
Angus Young added, “As his brother it is hard to express in words what he has meant to me during my life, the bond we had was unique and very special. He leaves behind an enormous legacy that will live on forever. Malcolm, job well done.”
Young was born in Glasgow in 1953. He moved to Australia aged 10, and formed AC/DC in 1973. He was a constant member of the band until retiring due to ill health in 2014, when he was replaced by his nephew, Stevie Young.
AC/DC were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler in 2003. In July, Young’s elder brother George – a member of 60s band The Easybeats and the producer of some of AC/DC’s early recordings – died at the age of 70.