AC/DC - Let There Be Rock

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fange
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AC/DC - Let There Be Rock

Postby fange » 11 Apr 2013, 13:25

You know that small group of albums which you’ve had and loved for so long, the ones that are so deep down inside that they’ve practically become part of who you are? I have a couple – The Saints’ Eternally Yours, C’est Chic, Cheap Trick’s Heaven Tonight and Miles Davis’ ‘Round About Midnight are among them – but probably the first cab off the rank would be AC/DC’s Let There Be Rock. I’ve been playing it regularly since I was knee high to a Young, and even after 30+ years I can put it on right now and feel a rush of adrenaline and excitement that still floors me. Hoowee and hot damn, I fucking love this album.

If you’re a fan of the band too you’re probably gonna say there are several albums of theirs which are better than LTBR - well, I think you’re right. Objectively speaking at least, I’d say both Highway to Hell and Back In Black have stronger songs, and on some days I might even give you Powerage as well. But ‘best’ does not always equal favourite, in music or anything else I guess. LTBR is my favourite AC/DC album for many reasons that go beyond cold logic. It was one of the very first pieces of vinyl I bought with my own money, back around the age of ten or so, circa. 1981. As a kid growing up in Australia in the ‘70s, AC/DC were practically inescapable - one of the biggest bands in the land, their songs blowing up a storm out of homes, cars and FM radios across the land. ‘TNT’, ‘It’s A long Way To The Top’, ‘Jailbreak’, ‘Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap’, ‘Highway To Hell’ and many other songs were a part of my life as far back as I remember. But when I walked into the Brash’s Music store at Brandon Park Shopping Centre, pockets jingling with some birthday money, it was LTBR which found itself in my hot little hands as I headed to the cash register. Maybe it was the stark simplicity of the original Australian gatefold-sleeve cover which caught my eye over the other AC/DC titles there…

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… or maybe it was because it had ‘Whole Lotta Rosie’, which was my fave Acca Dacca tune at the time. Who knows? Either way, it went home with me that day, and from the first minute I dropped the needle onto those shiny grooves I was hooked. It sounded hard, angry, full of energy and absolutely beautiful, and it still sounds the same way.

From Bon’s gravelly count in, to the dirty sound of the Youngs’ guitars as they cranked the opening riffs, it was absolutely clear that this was no nice little pop record made for the lawn-bowls market. It was harder, RAWER in every way, even compared to the AC/DC tunes which were on the radio at the time and getting more airplay and sales than LTBR ever did. I think they were still finding their feet sonically until then, feeling their way through the glam-era sound of stuff like ‘Jailbreak’ and ‘It’s A Long Way To The Top…’ and moving onto a rougher sound with the Dirty Deeds… LP. But from the very start, LTBR sounds like a mission statement, and the mission seemed to be ‘how fucking raw and nasty can we make this record’.

Now, as a ten year old, the subtler nuances of the opening track ‘Go Down’ were still not quite within the realms of my experiences… but the general gist was there to hear perfectly well in Bon’s shrieked cries and Angus’ answering guitar wail in the last spoken/sung verse - and the gist felt gooooood. The sound of the guitars just in the first few seconds is exhilarating, and they never let us. I’ve always loved the band’s backing vocals on those early records, despite how they almost comically sound like thugs trying to sing.
‘Dog Eat Dog’ keeps the heat going, Bon’s street-poet lyrics brash as always.

Now, is the title track the best song AC/DC ever did? It’s academic anyway, but man, it is simply glorious. There is so much space, even when the band is cranking, oozing between Rudd and Evans’ beats, it becomes like oxygen fanning the flames of the Youngs’ guitar inferno. And that point at about 4:15 when Bon shrieks ‘And the singer turned and said to the crowd…’ and the band go to another level again – that’s rock and fucking roll right there, the spirits of Little Richard, Chuck, Jerry Lee, Bo and every mad genius who tapped into that explosiveness and sheer joy of life at its heart.


‘Bad Boy Boogie’ is the perfect follow up really, a comparatively ‘calmer’ tune that nevertheless just smokes with attitude. Listen to that hard tone on Malcolm’s vicious riffing, dirty and low and growling like a leashed dog, while Angus seems more exuberant, like always, ready to take flight. Maybe that’s why Angus often seems to be tuned slighty higher than his older brother – he always seems to want to get his sound up and out there to be heard faster, to take off and be in the spotlight, the showman of the guitarists. Well, it works. When they come together again after Angus' choppy, tense single-note solo it's so absolute right there is a sense of release that's just electric.


‘Overdose’ is the next tune on the Aussie version of LTBR, and opens Side 2 with the half a minute of tuning and preparations that are so much a part of the album, in a way that ‘Problem Child’ – however great a tune it is – just can’t suitably match. And when they lock on that simple riff which is the heart of the song, it is perfection. So much air and power, a blues-powered train with Bon’s tortured vocals the conductor.
‘Crabsody In Blue’ is a bit of a joke tune, sure, and Bon’s lyrics are pretty cringeworthy, but again it’s about the sound of the band when they lock in again at the break. Listening to Angus shred at a slower tempo highlights exactly why I’ll always go for the ‘feeling’ over the ‘technique’ musician, every time. He makes you ride every feedback warble and string bend, pure emotion.


‘Hell Ain’t A Bad Place To Be’ is maybe your typical ‘second-last song on a great album number’ – good, but somehow usually overshadowed by the stuff around it. The live version of ‘Hell…’ is always a better option for me, but it’s always great to hear the Youngs really get together for those unison riffs.

And then there was ‘…Rosie’ – man oh man, there so many great elements to this tune. Yes, I hear you, lyrically it’s crass and sexist and all that… but I still love it. That oddly stuttering, disjointed start is the aural equivalent of a fuse being lit, and when Bon screams ‘You can say she’s got it aaaaall…’ and the band explode with the fuel of a thousand envious punk bands, it’s just about everything I love about rock and roll all rolled into one. Pile-driving riffage, the tight as fuck call-and-response section in the middle of the break, and just the way the song seems to slingshot itself out of the last verse to an even greater intensity than before, till Angus seems to climax at the 5-minute mark and the band downshift and unwind, all washing cymbals and descending notes, to a hot and sweaty end.[youtube][/youtube]


LTBR is the sound of a band confident and willing to take on the world, and that they did, albeit a little later and with a little more gloss than the unvarnished majesty of this record. I’ll give Mutt Lange some credit for getting the band to work harder and longer on their songwriting chops, and tightening things up in that department, but I’ve always thought the band lost a little of what made them so damn special sounding when their roughest edges got the Mutt polish. There’s always LTBR though.
Last edited by fange on 20 Nov 2017, 01:44, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: AC/DC - Let There Be Rock

Postby Toby » 11 Apr 2013, 14:41

Great post. I'm not an AC/DC fan but this is the sort of thing that makes BCB so good at times.

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Re: AC/DC - Let There Be Rock

Postby sloopjohnc » 11 Apr 2013, 14:49

The album I discovered them with. They use to play Let There Be Rock and Go Down on our local FM radio station.

It's their meanest, fastest, dirtiest, crankin'est album - those are complimentary adjectives, by the way.
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Re: AC/DC - Let There Be Rock

Postby Charlie O. » 11 Apr 2013, 16:35

GREAT post, fangedango!

Personally, I could do without "Go Down" and "Hell Ain't A Bad Place To Be" - but the other six tracks (I don't know "Crabsody" either) are so utterly perfect that this is nonetheless my favorite AC/DC record by a considerable distance. Played it just a couple of nights ago, in fact.

It's their best sounding too, in my opinion.
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Re: AC/DC - Let There Be Rock

Postby sloopjohnc » 11 Apr 2013, 16:47

Charlie O. wrote:Personally, I could do without "Go Down" and "Hell Ain't A Bad Place To Be"


No soup for you!!!
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Re: AC/DC - Let There Be Rock

Postby Charlie O. » 11 Apr 2013, 17:38

Not even chili con carne? :(
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Re: AC/DC - Let There Be Rock

Postby lord_of_light88 » 11 Apr 2013, 17:41

Will we ever get the early AC/DC catalogue normalized to the Oz issues? Why the hell hasn't it happened yet?
Those substitute covers we got in the rest of the world suck, the tracklist changes are stupid AND we even got to miss out a few songs.
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Re: AC/DC - Let There Be Rock

Postby Captain Jazzmag » 11 Apr 2013, 19:05

lord_of_light88 wrote:Will we ever get the early AC/DC catalogue normalized to the Oz issues? ...
Those substitute covers we got in the rest of the world suck



What about Dirty Dirty Deeds? That Oz album cover's shockingly bad.

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(Great initial post, btw)
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Re: AC/DC - Let There Be Rock

Postby Piggly Wiggly » 12 Apr 2013, 04:34

Hell of a fucking post!

I've turned my back on them, and I think you've just flipped me right back around.

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Re: AC/DC - Let There Be Rock

Postby Jimbo » 12 Apr 2013, 07:01

that’s rock and fucking roll right there, the spirits of Little Richard, Chuck, Jerry Lee, Bo and every mad genius who tapped into that explosiveness and sheer joy of life at its heart.


Relative newcomer to AC/DC here but what one thing I love about them is their dedication to the roots of rock and roll. AC/DC is the ultimate blues band.
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Re: AC/DC - Let There Be Rock

Postby mentalist (slight return) » 12 Apr 2013, 07:26

great stuff
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Re: AC/DC - Let There Be Rock

Postby lord_of_light88 » 12 Apr 2013, 09:56

Captain Jazzmag wrote:What about Dirty Dirty Deeds? That Oz album cover's shockingly bad.


The original Dirty Deeds aussie cover is as sleazy as the music and that's why I prefer it, but I like the international version too (pink logo excepted).
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Re: AC/DC - Let There Be Rock

Postby mission » 12 Apr 2013, 10:17

Excellent writing about an excellent thing.

I am at that sort of stage where I am willing to seriously discuss the way Bon sings "fingers" when he tells us about the fifteen million fingers.

Or how difficult it is to walk the balance between leaden and unbridled. How difficult it is to ride those feedback squalls in the dropouts without sounding contrived.

Malcolm Young is some sort of genius. His sense of time should be put with the universal standard metre or used to greet aliens with as proof of our powers.
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Re: AC/DC - Let There Be Rock

Postby sloopjohnc » 12 Apr 2013, 14:27

mission wrote:Malcolm Young is some sort of genius. His sense of time should be put with the universal standard metre or used to greet aliens with as proof of our powers.


Let's start a petition to change Greenwich Mean Time to Malcom Young time.
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Re: AC/DC - Let There Be Rock

Postby mentalist (slight return) » 12 Apr 2013, 14:43

sloopjohnc wrote:
mission wrote:Malcolm Young is some sort of genius. His sense of time should be put with the universal standard metre or used to greet aliens with as proof of our powers.


Let's start a petition to change Greenwich Mean Time to Malcom Young time.


Better still, Phil Rudd time.
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Re: AC/DC - Let There Be Rock

Postby bobzilla77 » 12 Apr 2013, 17:40

Great post! I aboslutely agree with the bit about how it may not their objectively best but it's still theone I prefer to hear.
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Re: AC/DC - Let There Be Rock

Postby The Slider » 14 Apr 2013, 10:37

lord_of_light88 wrote:Will we ever get the early AC/DC catalogue normalized to the Oz issues? Why the hell hasn't it happened yet?
Those substitute covers we got in the rest of the world suck, the tracklist changes are stupid AND we even got to miss out a few songs.



My Complete AC/DC Mp3 Collection has both versions included.
It's not hard to make your own from the official CD issues - and there are no offically released tracks that are unavailable nowadays.
David Bowie Reduxed Mp3 set now available in the usual place, should you want one
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Re: AC/DC - Let There Be Rock

Postby fange » 20 Nov 2017, 01:39

Been playing Let There Be Rock over the weekend, and drinking it in. Again.

What a guitarist Malcolm was, and what an incredible band he was a part of. One of the greatest rock and roll bands to ever walk the earth.

RIP Malcolm. Long may your Firebird fly.
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Re: AC/DC - Let There Be Rock

Postby Charlie O. » 20 Nov 2017, 02:09

Ride on.


I know, I know - wrong album...
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Re: AC/DC - Let There Be Rock

Postby sloopjohnc » 20 Nov 2017, 02:16

Let There Be Rock is AC/DC's hardest album and why I like it most - High Voltage is good, yet flawed, Highway to Hell, their most polished, and I never liked Powerage too much - too bluesy. From it's opening song, Let There Be Rock doesn't let up.
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