I’m a very emotional person. Stuff hits me a lot harder than it probably does some of you. For example, when a musical icon who was part of my childhood and helped shape me musically passes away, I feel it, and hard. That’s not to say you guys don’t; I’m sure you do. Otherwise you wouldn’t be here on this site. You’d be busy browsing one of the clickbait websites that really doesn’t give a shit. Anyway, where am I going with this? I was planning on doing another Classic Albums on AC/DC in the near future. But with rhythm guitarist and co-founder Malcolm Young passing away yesterday I felt the time was now, to pay tribute to the man, the band, and the music. And what better album than For Those About to Rock We Salute You?
A few short months after the launch of MTV in 1981 I was at my friend Brian’s house when a particlular live performance video came on. That video? “For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)” by the mighty AC/DC. I’ve said before that my old neighbor Anthony was the one who turned me onto this band, and I was already a fan having heard Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap and Back In Black. But this was something different, something I’d never experienced before. This, this title track is the stuff of legend. It’s the band’s perennial show closer (saw them in 1990 and couldn’t hear for two days after!), and when I was a salesman for Kirby (the vacuums), every time this tune came on the radio as I pulled up to a house I stayed in the car and soaked it all in. By the way, if I heard this before a demo, I made the sale. Every. Fucking. Time.
“I Put the Finger On You” was also in heavy rotation on MTV and it’s got such a killer riff that I was mesmerized. I knew I had to have this album at all costs. Well, once again my neighbor Anthony came through because his Dad got it for him, which meant I got to hear it all the time. We would sit there in his room while it spun on his turntable and I stared transfixed at the gatefold cover. Eight-year old me really didn’t grasp the sexual connotations that permeated “Let’s Get It Up” but still, it had a great groove that had me going from note one. Nearly a decade later I got the CD and it lost absolutely none of its magic. Say what you want, but producer Robert John “Mutt” Lange knew how to get the best out of bands back then (DEF LEPPARD, anyone?)
“Inject the Venom” has this killer push and pull thing going on resulting in another sexy groove, while “Snowballed” is/was one of those tracks that makes me wanna get up and rock the hell out! I don’t know what would look sillier, eight-year old me, or 44-year old me trying to dance (eight-year old me had some moves, so I’ll give him the edge for sure)! “Evil Walks” showcases another fantastic riff from the Brothers Young, Malcolm and Angus, and it’s a great testament to what these two could do together. Also, on his second outing with the band, vocalist Brian Johnson really swings for the fences and knocks it out of the park, especially on this tune.
“C.O.D.” is a clever play on the whole “Cash on delivery” thing, only in this case it stands for “Call of the Devil”, which being named Damian I obviously loved from day one, right? The power of the riff compels you on “Breaking the Rules” as it slowly gets you off musically, and “Night of the Long Knives” is deliciously evil from start to finish. As a kid I couldn’t wait for this one to come on just because the title was so cool, and then when I heard it I was all in, and still am to this day. Closing this amazing record is “Spellbound”, a song that doesn’t get anywhere near the credit it deserves for being one of those tracks that burns hotter than the sun.
So there you have it, my take on AC/DC and their landmark For Those About to Rock We Salute You album. I have loved every inch of this record since I was eight years old and I will love it till the day they cover me with dirt. I know people are all Rah-Rah-Rah over its predecessor Back In Black, a fine album in its own right, but this one, to me, is the band’s finest hour with Brian Johnson on the mic. Say what you will, but this will forever be a Classic Album here at A&GS HQ. Hope you enjoyed this bittersweet stroll down memory lane. Rest in Peace, Malcolm. And thank you for the music. ~dc
IN MEMORY OF MALCOLM YOUNG (January 6, 1953 – November 18, 2017)