Tag Archives: AC/DC

AC/DC’s Malcolm Young Is Dead And So Is AC/DC

AC/DC Was Dead Long Before Founder Malcolm Young Died

Malcolm Young’s death does not end AC/DC.

The end unofficially came at the conclusion of the Black Ice tour in Bilbao Spain on June 28, 2010. That was the last show Malcolm Young performed with AC/DC.

In 2014 when Malcolm Young left the band because he was suffering from dementia, that more or less sealed the deal. Any song put out in the future by AC/DC would not be written by Malcolm Young.

Though there is a band called AC/DC and they are still recording and touring, the 2008 Black Ice album was the last that Malcolm Young had a hand in writing. Musically, that is what is important.

Guitar players are replaceable. Great songwriters are not.

As great as a rhythm guitar player he was, writing music is what Malcolm Young did best.

Not just writing amazing songs, but incredible memorable riffs and jaw dropping solos performed by his brother Angus. They are deceptively simple, yet undeniably catchy songs and riffs that changed rock n’ roll and influenced, and will continue to influence generations of musicians.

Proof? Listen to the magical 1977 AC/DC album Let There Be Rock.

As hard as it may be, ignore Bon Scott’s brilliant tongue in cheek lyrics and just listen to the main riff of every song.

How many rock albums have two memorable songs? Let There Be Rock has, “Go Down”, “Dog Eat Dog” ,”Let There Be Rock”, “Bad Boy Boogie”,  “Problem Child”, “Overdose”, “Hell Ain’t a Bad Place to Be”, and “Whole Lotta Rosie”. Eight catchy songs, heard once – remembered forever.

Lead guitarist Angus Young, the only remaining original band member, has continued AC/DC.

I feel sorry for Angus Young. Angus certainly keeps AC/DC going not for the money, but  because honestly what else is there for him to do? An entertainer, a performer has a need to perform.

However without retired bassist Cliff Williams, the unceremoniously dispatched lead singer Brian Johnson and drummer Phil Rudd and the late rhythm guitarist and main songwriter Malcolm Young, this is not AC/DC.

This is like calling Paul McCartney and his recent 2017 touring band The Beatles. It’s not and McCartney knows better.

The touring AC/DC is is basically a juggernaut of explosions, lights,and sound. Even with the great Angus Young heading them up, AC/DC are truthfully now no better than an AC/DC tribute band.

How many post-1982 songs were in AC/DC’s live set list in 2016 with Axl Rose on lead vocals? Continue reading

Ten Original Handwritten Lyrics To Some Of Rock ‘N’ Roll’s Greatest Songs

Genius At Work – Handwritten Lyrics From Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Paul Simon, Rush, The Beatles and Others

Bob Dylan’s handwritten lyrics to Mr. Tambourine Man

Maybe you’ve wondered; how did some of the greatest songs in the history of rock ‘n’ roll get written? When a creative artist puts pen to paper in a moment of inspiration, what does it look like?

If you are Paul McCartney or Keith Richards, sometimes melodies and words come in a dream.

McCartney’s melody for “Yesterday” was penned right after he dreamed about it. The original words he thought of were very different from the final version. Instead of,

“Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away. Now it looks as though they’re here to stay. Oh, I believe in yesterday.”

the words McCartney originally thought of were,

“Scrambled eggs. Oh, my baby, how I love your legs. Not as much as I love scrambled eggs. Oh, we should eat some scrambled eggs.”

MCartney obviously worked on those lyrics for what has become one of the all-time great Beatles songs, with John Lennon apocraphally changing the title to “Yesterday.” Unfortunately there is no trace of McCartney’s original handwritten lyrics for Yesterday.

Keith Richards said he recorded Satisfaction, the breakout song for The Rolling Stones while dreaming as well. Instead of a pen, Richards had a tape recorder by his bed in a hotel while on tour in 1965. In the morning he checked his portable recorder and was surprised it was at the end of the tape. He rewound it to the beginning and discovered he had laid down the main riff and chorus and the words “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction.” He had no memory of actually recording the song, but surmises he woke up while dreaming it and proceeded to record what he had dreamed and went back to sleep! Richards presented the song to the band, and singer Mick Jagger later helped with the lyrics.

Outside of dreams, words come to musicians in a variety of ways. We will not look at the story behind the songs, but the actual drafts of the lyrics to those songs.

Searching the internet for the early drafts of songs with corrections yielded few results. But this assemblage is still interesting to look at.

Jim Morrison singer and poet of The Doors wrote the haunting Riders on the Storm, and it was placed as the last song on the final album Morrison performed on, L.A. Woman. It was also the last song to be recorded for that album.

Interestingly guitarist Robbie Krieger’s name is crossed out. Well, we know Morrison didn’t write the entire melody, but Krieger quite possibly contributed some of the words. It is the only song on the album where all four band members receive writing credit.

Next, Paul Simon of Simon and Garfunkel with The Boxer from the 1970 album Bridge Over Troubled Water. Here you can see Simon’s thought process at work with most of the words never making it into the final version.

Continue reading

Remembering AC/DC’s Bon Scott

It Was 35 Years Today That The Greatest Front-man in Rock History Died

Bon Scott 1979 I clearly remember when Bon Scott of AC/DC died. I heard it on the radio on a dreary February day in 1980. To me he was just a good singer in a band where all the members were very short.

It was sad, but honestly I didn’t think too much about it at the time having heard only some of AC/DC’s songs such as Let There be Rock, Highway To Hell and Touch Too Much. I was more into The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, E.L.O., Judas Priest, Van Halen, The Cars, Elvis Costello and The Clash and many other mainstream bands. But his death sparked an interest in discovering what Bon Scott and AC/DC was about.

Over the next year I would come to love AC/DC especially with the American release of Dirty Deeds in 1981, five years after it was released everywhere else in the world. After hearing Dirty Deeds, I went out and bought all of the old AC/DC albums. To say I liked the Bon Scott version of AC/DC would be an understatement.

As the years have passed and I get older, I get more and more depressed that Bon Scott left us at age 33. It is hard to fathom he has been gone 35 years.

While not diminishing the passing of Buddy Holly, Jimi Hendrix or Jim Morrison and countless other rock icons, Bon’s death along with John Lennon’s and John Bonham’s (all coincidentally in 1980) are among the greatest losses to rock music ever.

What Bon Scott would have gone on to do can only be left to conjecture, but I would venture to say he would have built upon the previous successes the band had finally achieved. My friends who had seen AC/DC live said Bon’s charismatic stage presence was palpable in person and it came through on film and video as well. With his unique voice and take no prisoners attitude when performing, the audience felt an authentic connection to Bon Scott.

In the six years Bon Scott was the lead singer for AC/DC he recorded six studio albums. It says a lot that from those six albums are where AC/DC have continually pulled half of their live set from.

Brian Johnson who replaced Bon as AC/DC’s lead singer Continue reading

Malcolm Young’s Illness Spells The End For AC/DC

AC/DC Founder Malcolm Young Quietly Played A Huge, Behind The Scenes Part In AC/DC’s Long Success

Malcolm (l) & Angus Young (r)J photo Jaime Saba For the L.A. Times

Malcolm (l) & Angus Young (r)J photo Jaime Saba For the L.A. Times

When reading about the recent disclosure that AC/DC founder and rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young was suffering from dementia and was retiring from the band, it occurred to me how many casual fans of AC/DC are not aware of how important Malcolm is to the band.

Malcolm did a lot more than stand in the background pounding out crunchy rhythm guitar riffs and come up to the microphone to sing things like “hoy” with his backing vocals.

AC/DC is (was) Malcolm’s band.

Malcolm controlled the touring, personnel, finances, important band decisions and most importantly the songwriting.

It was Malcolm Young, not his flashier, lead guitarist younger brother Angus Young, who came up with most of the riffs and leads for those brilliant AC/DC songs over the past 41 years.

In a recent Guitar World interview Angus Young said:

Malcolm is a big inspiration to me; he keeps me on my feet. Even when I’m tired from running around the stage for two hours, I’ll look back at what he’s doing and it gives me that boot up the backside I sometimes need. [laughs] Also, he can always tell me if I’m playing well or if I’m not. Mal’s a very tough critic, and I know that if I can please him, I can please the world. A lot of people say, “AC/DC-that’s the band with the little guy who runs around in school shorts!” But I wouldn’t be able to do what I do without Malcolm and the other guys pumping out the rhythm. They make me look good.

Mal is really a great all-around guitarist. I know it says “rhythm guitar” on the album jacket, but if he sits down to play a solo, he can do it better than me. Not a lot of people have picked up on this, but in the early days he used to play lead. But then he said to me, “No, you take the solos. I’ll just bang away back here.” And what’s more, he actually plays rhythms. He just doesn’t make a noise; he works them out, and he knows when not to play.

My part in AC/DC is just adding the color on top. Mal’s the band’s foundation. He’s rock solid and he pumps it along with the power of a machine. He doesn’t play like a machine, though. Everything he does grooves and he always seems to know exactly what to play and when to play it. He’s a very percussive player too, his right hand just doesn’t stop sometimes. It’s scary, it really is!

Fans on the official AC/DC web site commenting about the announcement that Malcolm has retired because of dementia are clueless. Most are writing things like, “Get well soon, Mal!” Continue reading

Five 1970’s Rock Songs About Losing Your Virginity

Those Naughty 70’s Songs

Raspberries Go All The Way coverRock lyrics tell stories. Many times those stories are about love. Often they are about sex. Rarely are they about virginity. If they are, the lyrics are cloaked in the language of teenage angst. In the 1970’s bands that would sing about losing your virginity were pushing the boundaries.

For a band to get radio airplay which was a key to sales, they had to carefully construct a song so that they did not arouse the suspicions of the parents of “impressionable” kids. This means the lyrics were not too lascivious or explicit.

These five songs exemplify the “losing it” genre of the 70’s.

1. Foreigner – Feels Like The First Time

Foreigner likes songs with the theme of first time sex. Feels Like The First Time was just part of a trio of songs that play on the whole virgin thing; Urgent (which some people misheard as Virgin) and I Want To Know What Love Is also cover the virginity field.

I liked Feels Like The First Time when it was originally released. It is a very catchy song with a good hook, as are most of the early Foreigner songs. But Feels Like The First Time comes off today a little schmaltzy with lines like “And it feels like the first time, like it never did before (ooh-ooh ooh-ooh oooh), Feels like the first time, like we’ve opened up the door, feels like the first time, like it never will again, never again.”

2. Meat Loaf – Paradise By The Dashboard Light

Probably the most overt and famous rock song about losing it. Graphically described and all rolled up in a mini rock opera. When I hear this song today all I can think of is that every teenager in New York in the 1970’s had a copy of this album in one form or another LP or cassette. If you are ever at a flea market and see a bunch of 8 track tapes I can practically guarantee that this album will be among the stash.  A brilliant stroke of this song was to have Yankees announcer Phil Rizzuto do the “play by play” of getting “from base to base” in the middle break. Continue reading

12 Great Heavy Metal Albums From The 80’s That Are Under The Radar (Part 2)

Great Metal Albums from the 1980’s That Have Been Forgotten

Continuing our article from Part 1 of twelve metal albums from the 1980’s you should check out:

1986 – Metal ChurchThe Dark (Elektra)

Metal Church put out great albums during the 1980’s and 1990’s and even opened for Metallica during their 1991 tour and this should have lead to more exposure for the band. But Metal Church never caught on with the music video generation and that may have had an big impact on sales. Continue reading

AC/DC Riff Raff – Live in Glasgow 1978

Bon Scott and Angus Young With A Blistering Version of Riff Raff

Rock n’ roll was meant to be dangerous and a live performance should reflect that.

In the late 70’s as AC/DC were on the way to conquering the world with a relentless tour schedule and knockout performances, they filmed a few shows for posterity. This one at The Apollo Centre Theatre in Glasgow Scotland on April 30, 1978 does not have great footage, nor is the sound quality all that good. What is exceptional is the dynamic tension that is displayed in this show. AC/DC is ready to blow any other band off the stage. And you can feel it. Continue reading