they journeyed down the Highway To Hell and came Back In Black

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how can a band have back to back swansongs? Leave it to AC/DC. I was watching a documentary on the band and it got me thinking about their career. Keep in mind these are just my opinions and mine alone.

AC/DC has been hanging out in my ears since “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” caught my attention in late 1976. I was hooked from the get go. I really identified with the rebellious dirty sound of these guys. AC/DC was a band full of guys that were the type your parents warned you to stay away from and yet you couldn’t. I felt an affinity towards these guys and made it my mission to collect their music and adopt their attitude.

I earned money to buy High Voltage, T.N.T, Dirty Deeds, Let There Be Rock, and Powerage. I did my best to wear them out as they remained in constant rotation on my turntable. There was just SOMETHING about the vibe of the music.

The summer of 1979 AC/DC delivered unto the world their best work to date, Highway to Hell. This record was perfection start to finish. The songs were flawless, and the cover was every parents nightmare back then. Devil horns, pentagrams, sullen hooligans…heroes to us rebellious youths.

Then a short seven months later my hero Bon was found dead in a car, death by misadventure, taken out like he lived.

In my mind I think that AC/DC made the best album they could ever make and the pressure to top it was weighing heavy on Bon. I think it was Bon Scott era AC/DC’s swansong.

My mind was blown when in the summer of 1980 a new AC/DC record hit the stores, Back In Black. Wait, what?!?!? They had replaced Bon Scott?!?!? Turns out that yes they had.

I bought it and raced home to hear what my beloved AC/DC had done. It wasn’t bad, in fact the record kicked ass. Brian Johnson wasn’t Bon and he wasn’t trying to be, and I was ok with that. It was AC/DC and yet….not. I felt that the new stuff was good but was missing a bit of their street tough element. To me this was Brian Johnson era AC/DC’s swansong.

And that was that, the following records really did nothing for me and I felt that my beloved AC/DC had crossed into the realm of hard-pop music and even though I have consistently purchased every release the love affair  was long over.

That is how to me AC/DC made back to back swansong records. They jumped the shark twice, and to me that’s ok.

AC/DC soldiers on to this day and yes I still support them and always will, but that special connection, that spark, that nod from one street tough to another is long gone…

Thanks for the history guys, I still have the denim vest, and can still smell cigarette smoke and feel the whiskey flask in my pocket, and probably always will.

it’s loud, it’s dirty, it’s AC/DC!!!

the Hellion

Bon Scott and Brian Johnson and AC/DC

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I was 13 years old and had that one older friend that my parents warned me about. He was also that friend who turned me on to some great music. He had long hair, wore a denim vest, engineer boots, drank beer, and smoked cigarettes. He also loved this band from Australia called AC/DC.

I grew to love this band as well and their “dangerous image”. They were raw, abrasive, and didn’t give a shot about niceties. They songs reached into your dirty side and made you feel cooler by just having listened to them. There was no pop, bubblegum, with these guys, just nasty Rock N’ Roll.

Bon Scott had a voice like no other, period. There was no smooth golden notes to slide easily into your ears. Bon himself exuded so much coolness, and it worked.

Then in 1980 on the heels of their greatest album to date, Highway To Hell, the world lost Bon. I was devastated to say the least. Myself and my Rock N’ Roll cronies paid our respect by trying to wear out our AC/DC records. And yes, I shed a few tears for Bon.

I don’t remember when it was but I soon read rumors that AC/DC was going to soldier on with a new vocalist. My circle was abuzz with speculation. And on July 25th 1980 we were waiting at the record store for the new release, Back In Black.

We listened to the record trying to be accepting of what we were hearing. It was a great record from start to finish. While the new singer, Brian Johnson, was no Bon Scott, he did the band justice. We had hope for AC/DC with Brian.

It is now 2015 and I now find myself reflecting back through the years of AC/DC music. Now, I am gonna piss a lot of you off. Back In Black was the last great album AC/DC made.

I had high hopes for the band but in my opinion they strayed into the pop world with all of the albums after Back In Black. While not becoming a shitty band, they just lost that dangerous raw edge that drew me in in the first place.

I do happen to own every AC/DC release from the beginning to Rock Or Bust, and will continue to support them, I just happen to not get the same rush from their newer music.

Bon, I miss you and wonder how far you could have taken the band,  and Brian great effort in carrying on but sorry, it wasn’t the same.

it’s loud, it’s dirty, it’s AC/DC

-the Hellion

AC/DC: Rock Or Bust?

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The last great AC/DC record was Back In Black. There I’ve said it, and I’ll stand by it. I was worried about the future of the band with the loss of Bon Scott and was impressed with their release of Back In Black and then, it all fell apart for me. There were the occasional singles that were decent but overall I lost interest in AC/DC. All of the While I continued to purchase each release with the hopes of finding something inspiring within.

2014 brought us the news of Malcolm having health issues and leaving the band and Phil Rudd living up to the bad boy rocker image, and the news of a new record. Could these issues give the album a new fire? I hoped.

I received my copy and with fingers crossed, shut out the world, and listened.

What was there was an average AC/DC record. There were no tracks that jumped out and grabbed me like the songs of old. Don’t get me wrong, the tracks are not terrible, just not great. Their playing is still excellent and powerful, but the songs themselves are not. I feel that they have found a comfort zone and are playing safely within it. They’ve still got “Big Balls” though.

Rock Or Bust? Sorry AC/DC, it’s a bust for me….

it’a loud, it’s dirty, it’s ROCK N’ ROLL

-the Hellion