Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories

Australian Method Series: AC/DC – Powerage

I’ve already reviewed “TNT” and in The Record Vault post I had “High Voltage”, “Blow Up Your Video”, “For Those About To Rock”, “Let There Be Rock”, “Flick Of The Switch” and “Family Jewels” reviewed.

But.

No AC/DC discussion can be had without mentioning “Powerage”.

Released in 1978. A lot of discussions are had in Australia and around the world, if this is the “album”. It’s not their most famous work and it didn’t chart well but it is seen as their definitive work, like “Sgt Peppers” and “Exile On Main Street”.

Keith Richards and Slash call this their favorite album.

The personnel for the album is Bon Scott on vocals, Angus Young on lead guitar, Malcolm Young on rhythm guitar, Cliff Williams on bass guitar and Phil Rudd on drums.

The label wanted Bon gone as they believed his voice was the reason the band couldn’t get radio play but the Young brothers wouldn’t hear it.

“Let There Be Rock” didn’t do great numbers commercially and bassist Mark Evans was replaced by Cliff Williams, but he couldn’t get a Visa to enter Australia. So because of this, it’s believed that most of the bass tracks are played by George Young.

“Rock N Roll Damnation”

The riff that spawned a thousand copy cat bands.

“Take a chance while you still got the choice”

What a lyric line from a boozer, lover and party animal. AC/DC lost this art when Bon died. Johnson had it in him but the Young brothers took over most of the lyric writing and that was that as AC became sleeker and more corporate.

Burn all your self help development books and listen to Bon Scott’s lyrics in AC/DC. They will motivate you.

“Down Payment Blues”

It’s one of Slash’s favorite songs. And mine too. Especially the riff that would be reused a few years later for “Givin The Dog A Bone” riff.

Living on a shoestring
A fifty cent millionaire
Open to charity
Rock ‘n’ roll welfare

Bon Scott might have portrayed a certain confidence and strut, but he had a soft spot for the broke, bruised and the weak of society. Because he lived what he wrote and we understood what he wrote because we lived it as well.

Get myself a steady job
Some responsibility
Can’t even feed my cat
On social security
Hiding from the rent man
Oh it make me wanna cry
Sheriff knocking on my door
Ain’t it funny how the time flies

Eventually we all fall in line to what governments want. Obedient workers who enslaved to earn and pay taxes. And by the time you know it, your retired and then dying. Ain’t it funny how time flies when your doing routine 9 to 5.

“Gimme A Bullet”

How good is the verse riff?

And if the verse sounds familiar it’s basically the “Highway To Hell” verse riff.

“Riff Raff”

Those open string riffs with smashing power chords and that little riff towards the end that sounds like something that Mick Mars took for “Rattlesnake Shake”.

I never shot nobody
Don’t ever carry a gun
I ain’t done nothin’ wrong
I’m just havin’ fun

I thought of this song and lyric when I came across the video clip to “You Can’t Stop Rock N Roll” from Twisted Sister and how the anti noise or was it anti-fun police kept chasing em.

“Sin City”

One of the best riffs ever.

Where the lights are bright
Do the town tonight
I’m goin’ in
To sin city

And you believed every word of it.

“What’s Next To The Moon”

Lars ripped the drum groove from this song and “Dirty Deeds” for his “Enter Sandman” Intro.

Two awesome songs to use for inspiration in my opinion.

“Gone Shootin”

The tune is bluesy and not as heavy but the subject matter of losing someone close to you to heroin is anything but light.

“I stirred my coffee with the same spoon
Knew her favourite tune
Gone shootin’
My baby gone shootin’…”

“Up To My Neck In You”

It’s that Chuck Berry shuffle they used on “Jailbreak” and “Long Way To The Top”.

“Kicked In The Teeth”

It’s basically “Whole Lotta Rosie” and “Let There Be Rock” musically. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. Bon Scott is channeling his Robert Plant voice.

In Australia it went 3x platinum. In the U.S only Platinum. But to me, it’s the AC/DC album. Here is a review I wrote for the album when I covered the 1978 year.

And for the Brian Johnson era “Flick Of The Switch” is his “Powerage” album.

Crank it.

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8 thoughts on “Australian Method Series: AC/DC – Powerage

  1. Great write-up. This is one of the Bon Scott albums I don’t have. Not for lack of trying, I just don’t see it as often. I will add this one as soon as I can find it at the right price and decent condition.

  2. Growing up – always remember seeing this album and Alice cooper, Toto etc.. in the cheap bins.. Took me years to shake the stigma and give them all a chance.

  3. you can pick it up here for around 20 dollars these days .. i actually bought flick of the switch for 6 dollars the other day in a second hand shop

  4. Solid album! Although I feel that Down Payment Blue slows down the top half a little too much. But, I’m the minority. Riff Raff, I think is their best song ever. And Gone Shootin’ is Bon’s lyrics at their finest. Love it!

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