1. They are a blues band. End of. They took the blues, electrified it further than any band before them, and applied not only lyrics that were written from the working man’s/band’s perspective, but added a Stakhanovite work-rate to boot. They sweated blood for their audience. And made it HEAVY and POWERFUL. Full of testosterone. Nothing wrong with that, Brothers and Sisters. I refer you to the MOST killer version of ‘Baby Please Don’t Go’, available on the DVD set ‘Plug Me In’.
2. They have a bass player who has to look down when he changes key. ‘Nuff said. And a drummer who couldn’t breathe through his nose if you taught him to do it, but who never misses a beat. And a rhythm guitarist whose face you barely ever see. Who took the guitar his older brother gave him, stripped off the colour, and took out the pick-up that didn’t sound right, and hammered the FUCK out of his instrument. Together, they could power a small town.
3. In Bon Scott, they had… well, a truck packer. A Scottish one, at that. And a perv, to boot. Roguish grin, though possibly with a taste for girls who were a bit too young (witness ‘Little Lover’ – from ‘High Voltage’)*, clearly an enormous thirst… And bagpipes. Oh, my god, the bagpipes… Just listen to ‘Long Way To The Top’. Incredible.
4. Angus Young. I was there when a good friend said to Angus: “I failed my exams because of you…” His response: “Me too, Mate… hehehehe…” Lovely. He dresses as a schoolboy. What better way to reduce us all to an unformed state? To that point in our lives when the only certainty was being picked on by the bigger kid? A bit like living under the Tory yoke, no?
5. ‘Down Payment Blues’. If you can find a more eloquent paean to living the way more and more people in this country are going to be living over the next few years, I’d like to hear it… “Can’t even feed my cat… on Social Security…”
6. When they mattered (clearly, I’m talking about the band up to and including ‘Back in Black’), every song was about them. What they did, their ambition, their lives. Rock and Roll as narrative. There are plenty who’ve done similar, but none with the visceral heft of the ‘DC.
7. ‘Rock’n’Roll Singer’. Best couplet EVER. “Gonna be a rock’n’roll singer, gonna be a rock’n’roll star… Yes, I ARE…” BECAUSE IT RHYMES…
8. Rock and Roll Singer is the classic, pithy rejection of bourgeois values – ‘They wanted me to be respected, like a doctor or a lawyer man – but I had other plans…’
9. Because they are about Hard Graft. Hard Work. They always knew that, in order to communicate, you have to work. You have to communicate on the most base level. We work hard – so do you. This is what we share. This is what connects us. Playing hard doesn’t hurt, either. You know it, so do we….
10. Because never, ever, have they given a fuck about singles. Because never, ever, have they changed in order to ‘sell product’. Because never, ever, have they done iTunes. Seriously. Look up the Beatles. It’s there. AC/DC aren’t, and probably never will be. THEY OWN THE MEANS OF PRODUCTION, REAP THE REWARDS, AND DO NOT RELINQUISH IT TO THE MAN. Bon Scott, Angus Young, Malcolm Young, Cliff Williams, Phil Rudd – We Salute You.
*[‘Little Lover’, probably written about the dangers of being a successful touring band, also contains a reference to Gary Glitter that would really be overly ‘knowing’ were it to be composed now… See also Motorhead’s classic ‘Jailbait’]