What the hell could I possibly add to a review of Back In Black that already hasn’t been said or done by someone in the last 35 years (yikes) that pertains to Back In Black, one of the best albums of all time?
Nuthin….haahahaha ….well I guess all the reviews of Back In Black were done by critics who received their vinyl copies free! Me? Ha,Nope i was 12 years old going on 13 when AC-DC dropped Back In Black in my lap(July of 1980)and taught me about…..well,just keep reading……
AC-DC I first heard about in grade 7 from a friend whose older brother had a copy of Highway To Hell(Bon Scott/r.i.p) and Powerage and he raved on about them. At the time to be honest I was fixated on Kiss Dynasty/Cheap Tricks Budokan/Queens The Game etc….hell Van Halen hadn’t even registered with me it! (Soon though) so it was a matter of time before Angus/Cliff/Phil/Malcolm and Brian(Bons replacement) would steal the show and knock me off my block with their sound……
Word on the street back in the day was AC-DC had this hot-shot new single You Shook Me All Night Long and it was a killer tune and once I heard it on our local radio station(CKPR) the top 9 @ 9 I was hooked just like how a few years later when I first heard Love It Loud by Kiss on the top 9 @ 9 for the first time and was glad that Kiss went hard rock..well no one cared much about that ….but I did(Kiss going heavy) that is…
So as soon as I heard You Shook Me All Night Long it was like in order..1- listen to this dudes voice! 2- listen to those guitars 3-listen to the production(hello Mutt Lange) 4- wowzers check out them lyrics 5-my heads gonna explode 6- I need this!
So off to downtown Tbay and to a local record shop Record On Wheels(which for all you Tbay readers was once located in what is now Gargoyles Resteraunt ) anyhow myself,Tbone and John Young (real name) bought 3 vinyl copies of Back In Black. We all raced back to our individual home bases dropped the needle and within 10 minutes we were all phoning each other! We’re we blown away with what we were hearing? Was this the second coming of J.C?
Well I wish I could say that. But in all honesty all 3 records that we bought were skipping everywhere,each song (the whole shipment of BIB albums were duds) man we were deflated so the next day we returned our 3 copies of BIB to Record On Wheels and then began the proceedings of harassment on my part of calling Record On Wheels daily from home ….’Is it in? When? What? How Long? Tomorrow? Maybe they would tell me just to shut me up! I mean I probably gave the sales person a nervous breakdown with my relentless calling but hey I’m a 13 year kid with snot running out of my nose and my school marks ain’t so great but You don’t understand………
I need this…and hear comes the saviour in this. Chico,mine and Tbones childhood buddy who just lived about a half a block away from me(just down the road) Chico back than and still does loves cars/snow machines/motorcycles basically anything with speed. My need for speed on the other hand consisted of my 10 speed bike back than!
Chico didn’t really talk music much but he had an older sister who I remembered had a copy of Queens News Of the World that we had listened to so Chico had a bit of schooling in music and of course when he turned 16 (a few years later)and got his driver’s license he flipped me a 10 pack of Maxwell blank cassette tapes and told me quote ‘give me some Rockin stuff” for his tape deck in his car!
Ok,so back to 1980 I told Chico about the new AC-DC album and he goes ‘yeah I got it!” I was like ????…. He said “I got a copy of it on 8 track” I was like ??????
Who the hell cares what it’s on. Chico came through in the clutch and man my first time hearing BIB in full was in Chicos moms car(can’t remember what kind of car,kinda resembled a Sherman World War 2 Tank without the turret) and we sat in his driveway as Chico was too young to drive and he cranked it and of course halfway through Given The Dog A Bone the 8 track would change mid tune,make some clacking noises and then resume …who cared man? I didn’t ..Chico stepped up an delivered ….come to think of it Chico back than must have thought I was like some crazed out music junkie looking for a hit (Back In Black)
For Those About Rock Chico,I Salute You!
So after about a week of nonstop harassment of Record On Wheels they said “yeah we got some new copies of BIB” Bam,phone is dropped and I’m gone back downtown/back home unwrap the plastic put it on and …..ahhhhhhhh Mothertrucker…it skips?!! Again?!..Yep but this time no fooling around no more trips to downtown no more harassing Record On Wheels this time it was scotch tape and 2 pennies taped to the top of my needle to give it weight! Viola! No skip!
So here it is BIB in my house! And so begins the AC-DC journey……
Hell Ain’t A Bad Place To Be……so some say!
HELLS BELLS- The bell chimes and I guess it’s the tribute to Bon. Angus opens the song with one of the many classic riffs of all time and Malcolm,Phil and Cliff join in and here comes new boy vocalist Brian Johnson telling me that Satan will get Ya! Ahh yeah man if he does I’m taking Tbone/Chico/Muc and John Young with me! Angus takes about 3 minutes to become my new guitar hero and well why wouldn’t he? He shifts gears and steers the bus right down to hell with all of us on board! What a opener!
SHOOT TO THRILL- To this day I love the opening of this song! Those guitars of The Young Brothers are cranked! Phil drives the song along and Cliff lays down the bass and this is just straight ahead rock! The solo once again is off the charts especially at the end of the solo when Johnson is yelping “Pull it…Pull it….Pull The Trigger” of course when your about to turn 13 and the lead singer is chiming off about too many woman and too many pills ….ummmm instant street cred!
WHAT YA DO FOR MONEY- Ok so young DeKEs is getting schooled by AC-DC. The song starts in with everyone soon to be followed by Johnson and we’re off .Cool,simple yet effective hard rock! And back to the schooling deal from 9-3:30 pm Monday – Friday it was math/history/Geography/science/gym from 4pm to bedtime my rock schooling consisted of Mr Johnson and he taught me about Hell/Pills/Women/Prostitution with a side order of licks and tricks!…and were only on track 3!
GIVEN THE DOG A BONE-The sonics on this album sound heavy like it was recorded LOUD! This song well its sleazy dirty grimey AC-DC and man Like I said In my review of Flick Of The Switch. Who needed sex education class in high school just listen to AC-DC they will tell Ya what to do! Case in point in this song the words used are….in no set order/easy/knees/Devils/degrees/crazy/dry/again/head/ union/hot/doing/got! Yep there it is folks just play the tune and you can fill in the blanks(ha) here at Arena Rock!
LET ME PUT MY LOVE INTO YOU-ACDC slows the party bus down(kinda) and Ummm yeah if ya think AC-DC is getting lovey dovey think again. So since Angus and Malcolm write the riffs they start off the tune with Phil and Cliff and bam this song is a slow driver and the pre chorus with the lines’ don’t ya struggle,don’t you fight” man I love the guitars at this point of the tune and of course Jonno drops the chill vocal and delivers one of the best lines ever that Gene Simmons would have wished he wrote” Let me cut your cake with my Knife” Brillant!
And so ends Side 1……..
Side 2 begins with a little unknown track(ha) titled …
BACK IN BLACK-this song and riff reminds me of Zeppelin on steroids! Who the hell has not heard of this track? This is one little ball of nasty. Angus and the boys groove it down with some real cool chops and Johnson sounds like he’s gonna heave a lung across and thru my stereo speakers! Geez this song is tense,makes me wanna break things! Plus Angus takes it over the top with the solo and man it does not get any better when he’s locked and loaded with his brother Malcolm on rhythm guitar and BIB the song proves it!
YOU SHOOK ME ALL NIGHT LONG- The song that kicked AC-DC into Maximum Overdrive(ha)into the households of North America! Dirty lyrics,dirty guitar, pounding drums and bass and you got one hell of a monster track! This is a great song. I’m sure Mutt Lange got a lot of work do to after his production on this album and from this song as it was plastered everywhere!
HAVE A DRINK ON ME-cool opening riff and now Brian and the boys are teaching me about alcohol and it wasn’t til years later that after I got real familiar with the Bon albums and his lyric prowess and Ummm I think he may have had SUMTHIN to do with the lyrics on this record but Bon was uncredited! Just saying! I mean take a listen to the lyrics on this album and well each album after the lyrics kinda take a bit of a dip(like I could do better!) but seriously Bon when he wrote Sin City ….that’s Bon right there or NightProwler for instance. I dunno man my own conspiracy theory but I have read a few things in my time(mystery note-book with Bon’s lyrics supposedly disappeared after his death) and no one but the brothers of AC-DC know for sure! Still though when your song starts off with “Whiskey,Gin,Brandy/with a glass I’m pretty handy!” Holy hell did Tbone write these lyrics?….
SHAKE A LEG-Ok tighten up the hatches and Wowzers Johnson hits the vocals sky-high on this. I mean he sounds like his head is about to explode! The verse is great and so is the music to this tune! Bam enter solo bam exit solo….still umm yeah Shake A Leg with Jonno and sing along…
Magazines,wet dreams,dirty women on machines for me/Big licks skin flicks tricky dicks are my chemistry /Goin against the grain trying to keep me sane with you/so stop your grinning and drop your linen for me…..
Rock n Roll Poetry(in motion)
ROCK N ROLL AINT NOISE POLLUTION- what a great title man! This is simple but effective tune and ACDC keeps it simple and well I think I can sum up this tune with one of the best titles of a ACDC album review ever and that was years ago in an English magazine called Sounds and I think it was for Highway To Hell and the article was titled “More songs about humping and booze” hahaha…..that my friends sums up this song and of course Angus and Brian end the album!
IN CONCLUSION-at the time 1980 album covers were colourful affairs like Kiss with their mugs everywhere. Queen The Game with all that cool silver around the band picture and here’s ACDC black everything (in tribute to their fallen comrade Bon Scott) and how about those band pics on the inside. Angus looks crazed in that live shot. I mean pretty impressive they lose their main guy (Bon Scott)in Feb 1980..audition and hire Brian Johnson….record Back In Black with Mutt Lange in the Bahamas …and start their tour in July 1980. That’s 5 months man…..
What a way for us 13 year olds to learn about the birds and sleaze… oops I mean bees via AC-DC. It’s all here like I said earlier! Satan/Women/Pills/Booze/Women/Hookers/More Women/Tricky Dicky Chemistry/Noise Pollution…
I had a ton of fun writing this one and I hope Ya dug it!