Stick This in Your Fusebox!

Now here’s a business plan that I couldn’t see ever being given the green light:

I intend to form a band composed of the least glamorous men I can find, named after something stamped on the guitarists’ sisters’ sewing machine which will play a sped-up rough-arsed blues / Chuck Berry / Stones hybrid in equally sped-up rough-arsed bars in Australia, our guitarist will dress up like a Just William era schoolboy and show his pimply bottom to audiences for 38 years solid, inbetween playing lightning-fast guitar breaks and spinning around on his back a lot, we will ignore any and all trends, innovations, fashions and changes within the industry studiously for 38 years, whilst singing songs about the charms of large ladies, drinking, shagging and fighting – rarely bothering even to go to the trouble of making double entendres and by doing this we will become the greatest hard rock band on the planet and multi-millionaires to a man.

Aren’t you glad that rock wasn’t always run properly like a business?

This is where it all began for my fave band ever, there’s even less objectivity going on here than usual today.  In fact AC/DC are so firmly embedded in my DNA that I find writing about them difficult. High Voltage is one of my favourite LPs ever and in turn it was a compilation of two earlier Aussie-only LPs High Voltage and TNT.  I was enough of an obsessive about them by the age of 16 to own them all.

Listening to the UK High Voltage just plugs me straight back into a time and place, I connect it mostly to walking to and from school.  I still think that it has the best opening track of almost any LP ever in ‘Its a long way to the top (if you wanna rock and roll)’.  Even now I grin from ear to ear when the bagpipes roll over the horizon and the bit where Angus trades licks with the ‘pipes is one of my favourite moments in all of music – I do know what I’m saying, I’m perfectly sober, it is that good!  In a nutshell it’s the perfect mission statement for AC/DC.  In fact this LP contains 3 or 4 of my favourite songs by my favourite band ever, no mean return.

High Voltage is a perfectly played, perfectly sequenced LP, with perfect production throughout; simple isn’t it?  in fact simplicity is the whole point here and why this band always kick so hard.  I won’t bore you about every track but just listen to the bass at the start of ‘Live Wire’, the crowd noise at the end of ‘The Jack’, or the vocals on ‘T.N.T’.  I’m guilty of not listening closely enough to his LP sometimes because I know it so well, you just accept rather than actively listen. It really is great.  I know Bon and Angus get all the attention but the whole band here are incredible, Phil Rudd’s primal drumming is immense and Malcolm Young is simply the best rhythm guitarist ever.

I would like to make it clear I am not receiving vast sums of money for this high-profile product placement
I would like to make it clear I am not receiving vast sums of money for this high-profile product placement

The earlier Aussie LPs are interesting, High Voltage especially.  There are traces of what they would become here and there and some interesting tracks like ‘Soul Stripper’ and their blisteringly paced cover of ‘Baby Please Don’t go’; plus a full-on ballad called ‘Love Song’ – which I always had to skip as my mum’s name is Jean (the name Bon sings over and over again) which embarrassed the crap out of me, and because it wasn’t very good.  Understandably the band, already technically pretty good, are really searching for a sound and style here, Bon in particular.  The two tracks to make it to the UK High Voltage, ‘Little Lover’* and ‘She’s Got Balls’ sound like they’re by a different leaner, meaner band.  As usual the record company made exactly the right choice in what they pushed forwards and what they left.  Listening to it again today I wouldn’t have picked them out for glory if that LP was all I’d heard.

Something fairly astonishing obviously happened between 1974 and 1975, as TNT is a vast step up, being most of the UK High Voltage, plus a cover of Chuck Berry’s ‘Schooldays’ and the manic rocker, umm, ‘Rocker’.  Good funny inner cover too; good to know Bon Scott seems to have shared my weakness for Stones’ Ginger Wine.

It strikes me that not many bands these days would get the chance to make two LPs before finding their feet.  Scary isn’t it? Just think, the likes of the Stones and the Beatles too took a while to gain traction.  But that’s enough of old man pessimism, time for me to strap on my trusty air guitar (cherry red, Gibson custom, obviously), duck walk and pretend I’m a dangerous, horny juvenile delinquent … begging, wheedling and pleading for some, all together now:

She started smiling at me real fine
And that’s when I said
Can I sit next to you, girl
Can I sit next to you, girl
Can I sit next to you, girl
Can I sit next to you, girl
Can I sit next to you
Can I sit next to you
Yeah, c’mon now!
So let me!
Can I sit next to you, girl
Can I sit next to you, girl
Can I sit next to you, girl
Can I sit next to you, girl
Can I sit next to you
Can I sit next to you, girl
Can I sit next to you, girl
Can I sit next to you
Can I sit next to you, girl
Can I sit next to you, girl
C’mon!
Can I sit next to you, girl (9x)
Can I?

Who said rock couldn’t be poetic?

52 Down.  (2 Aussie LPs, 2 different cover UK ones – I know, I know, I’m not proud)

School 4

* 1537 bonus points awarded for mentioning Gary Glitter, wet patch and Coca-Cola in the same song – cannot for the life of me think why Coke have yet to base a major marketing campaign around this song …

4 thoughts on “Stick This in Your Fusebox!

  1. Pingback: Blown Video | 1537
  2. Put that way, I almost have hope for being in a band. Of course, talent matters, too.

    My first album purchase: Back in Black.

    You’ve dashed my hopes and left me sentimental. Thanks! Do I cry over my beer or put on a schoolboy costume and moon the neighbors?

    Like

    1. Moon the neighbors of course! I’m embarrassed you even have to ask!

      (1537 accepts full legal responsibility for any school uniform-related mooning carried out by Mr Orange)

      Like

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