Sunday, April 15, 2007

"Back In Black" - AC/DC

In the early part of 1980, Bon Scott, lead singer for AC/DC, spent a night of partying which resulted in his fatal alcohol poisoning demise. This incident came as a shock to his band mates. They had been doing very well after their release of "Highway to Hell". After this unfortunate accident, the band came to a crossroad on whether to continue or not.

Did they continue?

Of course they did! At any rate, the decision to go on was beyond any doubt, the best they ever made! The Young brothers got ex-Geordie screamer Brian Johnson as replacement and created their masterpiece "Back in Black" as tribute to their fallen comrade.

I first heard of AC/DC when the horror flick "Maximum Overdrive", a version of Stephen King's short story "Trucks", was shown in the Philippines in 1987. To promote the film, the local radio stations gave considerable airplay to their anthemic song "You Shook Me All Night Long", which was included in the movie soundtrack. Man! After I heard that song, it kept playing in my head over and over. Also, the image of Angus Young strutting the duckwalk and playing lead guitar on the video gave me a lasting impression. What attracted me more was how the solid rhythm section of Malcolm Young, Cliff Williams and Phil Rudd relentlessly laid the foundation for Brian Johnson to dispense his raspy, gut-wrenching vocals.

Once I got enthralled by this song, I started wanting for more. That craving led me to the "Back in Black" album, which is one of the best-selling albums of all time. Thankfully, it turned out that the other songs aren't patsies compared to "You Shook Me…". The album track is definitely another favorite of mine. Its seemingly basic E-D-A riff gets my adrenaline pumping, right (or left) foot stomping and head nodding to the rhythm. Too bad it was covered by Celine Dion (ew!), surprisingly even she was captivated by the song. Could she a be a rocker deep inside that cheesy marshmallow exterior?

Oh my God! Why am I even discussing Celine Dion's musical preferences! Ugh!

"Shoot To Thrill" is another gem. If you had watched Jack Black's movie "School of Rock", you might have heard that the pre-lead portion of this song is quite similar to the song written by the movie's 10-year-old guitar prodigy Zach Mooneyham. My other favorite tracks include "Have A Drink On Me" and the rock statement "Rock N' Roll Ain't Noise Pollution". All AC/DC songs are completely jam-worthy, but I'm guilty of not giving more time to learn the songs enough. I know the whole "You Shook Me.." but still, I want to play along with the whole album.

There's something I noticed though. The riffs for the songs may seem to sound very simple and basic; but there's something that these guys have in their music. That gives them a little more than your average hard rock band. Whatever "that" is, it's something that makes AC/DC special.

Released: 1980

Track listing:
1. Hells Bells
2. Shoot To Thrill
3. What Do You Do For Money
4. Given the Dog a Bone
5. Let Me Put My Love Into You
6. Back In Black
7. You Shook Me All Night Long
8. Have A Drink On Me
9. Shake A Leg
10. Rock And Roll Ain't Noise Pollution

Band Members:
Brian Johnson – lead vocals
Angus Young – lead guitar
Malcolm Young – rhythm guitar, backing vocals
Cliff Williams – bass guitar, backing vocals
Phil Rudd - drums


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