Sunday, April 08, 2007

AC/DC (1982)

We got into AC/DC right around the height of their popularity, shortly after the release of For Those About to Rock We Salute You, which reached #1 on the U.S. charts in 1982. By we, I'm referring to me, Len, Mark and the rest of our Martin Drive crew, but once again I'll acknowledge that I was a bit of a latecomer. For Those About to Rock was actually a less than inspired effort by the band, but they were still riding high on the strength of its predecessor, 1980's Back in Black.

These were the first two albums of the Brian Johnson era, following the alcohol related death of lead singer Bon Scott in early 1980. Unbelievably, the band was able to replace Scott and release their most successful album within the same calendar year. Despite this, we were always partial to Bon Scott over Johnson. Highway to Hell, Scott's swan song and the band's breakthrough album; Let There Be Rock, my personal favorite, which included the undisputed (in my mind) greatest song in heavy metal history, "Whole Lotta Rosie"; and Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap were an effective case for the strength of their mid to late-70's material, despite the greater popularity of their first two albums of the 80's.

It wouldn't take long before anybody who had a clue would come to agree with us. If For Those About to Rock was more than a slight dropoff from Back in Black, 1983's Flick of the Switch and 1985's Fly on the Wall were a plummet. I don't know if these were the two weakest albums in their history, because I stopped paying attention after that, but they were definitely the two worst to date.

As I write this, while listening to "Hell Ain't a Bad Place to Be" from Let There Be Rock, it seems like a good time to return to the Satanism issue. Among the bands I listened to, AC/DC was near the top of the list in terms of the amount of grief they received from the holy rollers [Iron Maiden and Judas Priest certainly were not overlooked either]. Some even thought it was fitting that Bon Scott met his demise following the release of Highway to Hell.

My cousin Lorri had found God (although I don't know where he was hiding) and was worried about me. She gave me a cassette on which an admonishing narrator outlines most, if not all, of the Satanic references in the past decade and a half of rock music. It was awesome! It would have made one of the most informative and entertaining VH1 documentaries in existence. I was absolutely enraptured, that is until my cassette player ate the tape.

I was a bit freaked out. Was this a sign? Despite my arrogant dismissal of these accusations, deep down I had always remained a bit wary, so this incident definitely fostered those concerns. Was there really evil in this music? Obviously, I considered myself too intelligent to be swayed by these influences, but was there some credence to the idea that these "subliminal" messages could affect me in a way that I couldn't even realize? Plus, what was I going to tell Lorri? My final answers to these questions, in order: no, give me a break, you've got to be fucking kidding me, and nothing. I completely ignored this "message", and, to this day, I'm yet to check into the Hotel California.

Among the bands that I listened to during my heavy metal phase, AC/DC is by far the best. In fact, although I have nothing against the heavy metal moniker itself, I have often contended that AC/DC was not really a metal band, but a band with a true knack for pop music that just happened to rock hard.

No comments:

Post a Comment