This is the fourth of the “50 Albums to Christmas 2019” series.
Sleaze, innuendo, sweaty pubs, bits of blues, bit of rock, many cans of fosters, a devil may care, balls-out attitude. All your highest quality ingredients slow-cooked for a couple of years of graft playing live. Record a couple of locals-only LPs that sound like they were recorded in one of the aforementioned sweaty pubs, pick the best bits, throw them at the world and conquer the UK in a year. Oh - and bagpipes. Sounds like a great recipe for success.
Even the strongest trees start from humble roots. AC\DC, a band that can headline any festival, sell out any stadium, and who could be put in the hallowed company of true “big bands” with U2, Guns ‘n’ Roses and the like began with High Voltage in 1976, which as you might imagine is about as raw and frankly fun as you might expect. I mean, c’mon, you gotta have some cojones to kick off album number one, track one with a bagpipe solo. It’s not your typical rock instrument — unless you’re the Red Hot Chili Pipers of course - but it doesn’t matter. Held down by a rhythm section of drummer Phil Rudd, bass player Mark Evans and rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young, this album is all about the band’s two icons - singer Bon Scott (RIP) and lead guitarist Angus Young. For every ounce of rebellion and in your face attitude that timely contemporaries The Sex Pistols could muster, there was double the welcoming sweaty swagger from the Aussies.
Such is the influence that AC\DC have had on almost every Aussie rock band - Jet, Airborne and so on - that it seems the land Down Under can mostly produce only AC\DC clones when it comes to rock. Which would be great except that no other band is AC\DC and more power to them for that. They are truly High Voltage.