My thoughts on AC/DC…..

The first time I heard AC/DC was on the local Rock radio station when I was about 8 years old…..yeah, I go way back! I heard this powerful guitar play the heaviest riff (didn’t know what a riff was back then!) and then the singer came on and the guy couldn’t sing. It was like he was shrieking into the microphone! The one thing I did know was that the song I was listening to was cool…..that song was ‘Back in Black’. I started out at the beginning of the Brian Johnson era with AC/DC and I was finding it hard to understand what was so cool about a singer that couldn’t sing and a new album with a plain black cover. I laugh about it now but at 8 years old I just had no clue! I didn’t even know that AC/DC had a different singer (Bon Scott) and that he had died just a few months prior. This was part of the innocence, or ignorance, of my youth.

I spent hours at my local record stores pouring over vinyl to look at the covers and then buying the cassette version. My first AC/DC album was bought in 1981 and it was BACK IN BLACK. I remember it like yesterday because I was looking through the new albums and there was this new AC/DC album with a cannon on the cover (FOR THOSE ABOUT TO ROCK…WE SALUTE YOU) and I decided that if I was going to listen to AC/DC, I’d better start with BACK IN BLACK. Now I had already heard the whole BACK IN BLACK album, I just didn’t own it. I was lucky to have some older kids living across the street and they were the “rockers” of the neighborhood. They used to sit on their front porch with their friends and listen to tapes all day and smoke cigarettes. Back in those days, us kids were always outside, especially on weekends and in the summer, so I always tried to get the kids my age to play ball closer to the guys playing the music. That idea didn’t always work but sometimes I would get a hit and make it to third (the driveway of this particular house) and I would groove to the tunes these denim clad guys were playing. One day, I was the only kid outside and I decided to actually cross the street and ask if these guys liked AC/DC. These guys were all in high school, 8 to 10 years my senior, so I was a bit afraid but they ended up playing me the BACK IN BLACK album.

Anyway, I ended up buying FOR THOSE ABOUT TO ROCK a few months later and then I bought FLICK OF THE SWITCH (1983) and FLY ON THE WALL (1985) when they came out. At this point I wasn’t really into the older AC/DC albums with the original singer, the current AC/DC was my AC/DC. My first album of the Bon Scott era was HIGHWAY TO HELL (1979) because I always heard the title track on the radio. I knew it word for word and I liked it so I decided to grab it when I bought the WHO MADE WHO (1986) soundtrack. It was like two different bands but also the same. After that, I was hooked on the Bon Scott era and I slowly collected all the older AC/DC albums. Today I tend to lean more towards the Bon Scott era.

AC/DC has been an important band for me because of the way I first heard them on the radio and outside on the neighbor’s porch. I wish it was still that way today! When was the last time you saw a group of teenagers huddled around a boombox or stereo listening to the newest albums? Ask kids today and they are either playing video games or surfing the Net while music is playing as background noise. Same goes for radio…..when was the last time you heard a song so distinct and so cool on the radio? Seriously, today’s radio is more about repeating the same playlist loop over and over to give the listener something to hear in between commercial breaks. It wasn’t like this back in my childhood and I will always remember hearing bands like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and AC/DC for the first time the way I did.

AC/DC – Black Ice (2008)

AC/DC – Black Ice (2008, Columbia)

  1. Rock N Roll Train
  2. Skies On Fire
  3. Big Jack
  4. Anything Goes
  5. War Machine
  6. Smash N Grab
  7. Spoilin’ For A Fight
  8. Wheels
  9. Decibel
  10. Stormy May Day
  11. She Likes Rock N Roll
  12. Money Made
  13. Rock N Roll Dream
  14. Rocking All The Way
  15. Black Ice

Band Lineup:
Brian Johnson – Lead Vocals
Angus Young – Lead Guitar
Malcolm Young – Rhythm Guitar & Backing Vocals
Cliff Williams – Bass & Backing Vocals
Phil Rudd – Drums

Producer: Brendan O’Brien

Total Time = 55:30

AC/DC official website

Hard to believe that it’s been 8 years since AC/DC released a new album! Turn the radio to any Rock station at any time and you can bet an AC/DC song is playing…..there, I just did it…..’Highway To Hell’. After many attempts to get started, and rumors flying the band was on permanent hiatus, AC/DC delivered one of the most anticipated albums of the year with the release of BLACK ICE. I was at the front door of my local Wal-Mart on Monday 10/20 for this exclusive release with the band’s latest radio single ‘Rock N Roll Train’ firmly planted in my brain.

So what is really new about the band? Nothing. That is what makes AC/DC great, they never change. Some Rock fans preach how a band needs to grow, to improve on their accomplishments, but the guys in AC/DC are still following their basic formula for strong Blues-based three chord Hard Rock that they’ve had since 1975. Why mess with success? Brian Johnson may be 61 but he still has a strong growling voice, Angus & Malcolm Young still play their guitars with attitude and power, and Cliff Williams & Phil Rudd supply the rhythmic foundation that the songs are built on. What more is needed?

After tearing the cellophane away and hearing the anthemic new single (a song that fits right in with all the other hits), the band moves into the bluesy stomp of ‘Skies On Fire’, a song that sounds like the FLICK OF THE SWITCH era, and the fist-pumping hard rocker ‘Big Jack’, a tune full of meaty chords from the brothers Young. Both songs easily fit alongside ‘Rock N Roll Train’ as possible singles. ‘Anything Goes’ features a more melodic side rather than pure power with Brian Johnson toning down his balls out style for more of a singing style. More power chords are in store when the fist pumping battle cry ‘War Machine’ hits the stereo. This is one of my favorite tracks on the album because it sounds like early AC/DC from the Bon Scott era where the band builds on a simple blues base and attacks with precision. Brian Johnson adds a trace of the sinister Bon style to his straight forward growl while the backing vocals from Malcolm and Cliff  sound like they came straight off HIGH VOLTAGE or HIGHWAY TO HELL.

‘Smash N Grab’ is a mid-tempo blues number with some cool licks from Angus and a smooth delivery from Brian but the best part of this song is the thumping bass from Cliff Williams. A lot of accolades get thrown at Angus, Malcolm and Brian but Cliff Williams has been providing solid bass playing for 31+ years, the guy is as solid as they come. The band continues the Hard Rock flow with the guitar driven ‘Spoilin For A Fight’ and the old school vibe of uptempo rocker ‘Wheels’. ‘Wheels’ especially catches my attention as another potential single or song in the setlist because it’s uptempo, has some serious Angus axework and has that full sound with the rhythm guitar and backing vocals filling the sound nicely. The pace slows down to a mid-tempo groove on ‘Decibel’, a song where things are taken down a notch but still provides that power punch the band delivers so well. It’s another blues rock affair with some of the best Angus leads on the album. Same formula follows for ‘Stormy May Day’, another mid-tempo stomper that retains it’s power with a subtle delivery. Put ‘Decibel’ and ‘Stormy May Day’ together in the same box because they sound close to each other…..then again most people think all AC/DC songs sound the same!

‘She Likes Rock N Roll’ is a little simplistic in the chorus but the guitar riff is very catchy and the bass has a little funkiness to it, definitely a good radio song. Mid-tempo bluesy Rock hits hard on ‘Money Made’ with one of the most simple but catchiest choruses of the album: “Work, work, money made”…..sounds like all I do! Nice simple pounding from Phil Rudd here right up front in the mix with a clean main riff and cool rhythm track, the song just gets the head bobbing and foot tapping. ‘Rock N Roll Dream’ starts off like a ballad (something AC/DC rarely does!) but the main guitar kicks in and the song gets heavier when the chorus arrives. Brian Johnson gives us some actual singing rather than his “go for the throat” style so it’s a different change of pace all around. Not my favorite song on the album but it’s not a bad one either, just average. ‘Rocking All The Way’ sounds like one of those mid-80s AC/DC songs from either the FLY ON THE WALL or WHO MADE WHO albums. It just sounds a bit light and commercial, not enough bite until the guitar solo. The album closer is the title track and it is an strong blues rocker that has the bite that ‘Rocking All The Way’ lacked. Ultra cool riff, solid rhythm guitar and a pounding backline all added to a smooth Brian Johnson delivery…..AC/DC save a good one for the parting shot!

Bottom Line:
Was 8 years worth the wait? Hell yes! AC/DC decided to buckle down and gives the fans an album worthy of standing toe to toe with some of the greats from years past. Sure this isn’t the famed BACK IN BLACK or THE RAZOR’S EDGE from the Brian Johnson era but the band has taken charge and created an album rich in Blues based Hard Rock. I’d call BLACK ICE a continuation of the sound the band had on STIFF UPPER LIP but done better. And the band gives us 15 solid songs! That’s a lot of good music for your buck! I’ve been enjoying this record since I grabbed it the day of release and I can tell right away that this is one of those CDs that is not going to leave my playlist for a long time.

Favorite Songs: ‘Rock N Roll Train’, ‘War Machine’, ‘Black Ice’, ‘Big Jack’, ‘Wheels’, ‘Money Made’

AC/DC – Fly On The Wall videos (1985)

The original 5 videos were actually one long form video released for the FLY ON THE WALL album and they were all broken up for MTV/radio consumption. I put them all here in the correct order that they were in on the FLY ON THE WALL VHS.

‘Fly On The Wall’


‘Sink The Pink’

‘Stand Up’

‘Shake Your Foundations’

AC/DC – Fly On the Wall (1985)

AC/DC – Fly On The Wall (1985, Atlantic)

  1. Fly On The Wall
  2. Shake Your Foundations
  3. First Blood
  4. Danger
  5. Sink The Pink
  6. Playing With Girls
  7. Stand Up
  8. Hell Or High Water
  9. Back In Business
  10. Send For The Man

Band Lineup:
Brian Johnson – Lead Vocals
Angus Young – Lead Guitar
Malcolm Young – Rhythm Guitar & Backing Vocals
Cliff Williams – Bass & Backing Vocals
Simon Wright – Drums

Produced by: Angus Young & Malcolm Young

Total Time = 40:20

AC/DC official website

I listen back on FLY ON THE WALL with a lot of fond memories. The record came out in the summer of 1985 and I got it for my 13th birthday, not a bad gift! When I went back to school a few weeks later all my friends had the album too and it became one of the soundtracks of my last year of grammar school. The best songs were ‘Sink The Pink’ and ‘Shake Your Foundations’ and I remember rewinding that cassette back and forth to keep listening to those two tracks. These two singles were also the two big videos for the band on MTV but then the FLY ON THE WALL VHS came out and I started to get into ‘Danger’, ‘Stand Up’ and the title cut. Back in the day it was all about the videos. Another reason I got into the video songs a little more was that ‘Sink the Pink’ and ‘Shake Your Foundations’ were featured on the WHO MADE WHO (1986) album and that record exploded. I always got a kick out of the kids that didn’t know that those two songs were released a year earlier on a “real” album.

Listening to the album now, the same five songs stand out just as much as they did 23 years ago but I had forgotten that the other half of the album was also pretty good. Of the other five, ‘Hell Or High Water’, ‘Playing With Girls’ and ‘First Blood’ stand out a little more than they did. What is really cool about this album is that AC/DC still made their usual brand of Hard Rock at a time when a Glam look, sex-filled lyrics and faster guitar techniques were all the rage. AC/DC came out, did what they usually did, and made no excuses! Maybe that’s another reason I like this album, you could take a simple formula like this and make a solid record without all the frills and excesses.

Bottom Line:
A pretty good record with five songs featured prominently as singles/videos. The album is more of a trip down memory lane for me but it’s also a “lost” album because it’s sandwiched between ’83’s FLICK OF THE SWITCH and ’86’s WHO MADE WHO. When I get sick of hearing all the usual AC/DC radio hits, I put on FLY ON THE WALL and remember how exciting it was to have this record when it was a new album.

Favorite Songs: ‘Sink The Pink’, ‘Shake Your Foundations’, ‘Danger’

AC/DC – For Those About To Rock (We Salute You) (1981)

AC/DC – For Those About To Rock (We Salute You) (1981, Atlantic)

  1. For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)
  2. Put The Finger On You
  3. Let’s Get It Up
  4. Inject The Venom
  5. Snowballed
  6. Evil Walks
  7. C.O.D.
  8. Breaking The Rules
  9. Night Of The Long Knives
  10. Spellbound

Band Lineup:
Brian Johnson – Lead Vocals
Angus Young – Lead Guitar
Malcolm Young – Rhythm Guitar & Backing Vocals
Cliff Williams – Bass & Backing Vocals
Phil Rudd – Drums

Producer: Robert John “Mutt” Lange

Total Time = 40:01

AC/DC official website

This was the first album I bought in 1982. I will never forget going to Good Vibrations about a week after Christmas with a gift certificate I got as a present stuffed in my pocket along with a little cash. I remember walking in the store, seeing the new release rack with FOR THOSE ABOUT TO ROCK displayed right up front. The album had come out in late November and I had it on my Christmas list but buying Rock tapes wasn’t something my family was going to do because they still considered me a kid (I was 9 yrs old!). Thanks to my Mom, I had an envelope to open Christmas morning with a $10 gift certificate inside! Probably the best present I got that year!

I used my good fortune to buy FOR THOSE ABOUT TO ROCK on both vinyl and cassette, blowing everything I had in my wallet. I had never bought two formats of the same album but I remember having this theory that the title track was so good that the album had to be completely awesome. That meant I needed the vinyl for home and the tape for school when Xmas break was over. We used to listen to tapes in the schoolyard before school (the nuns hated that!) and I knew for a fact that none of my friends had, or got for Xmas, this album. Mom had a cassette deck in her car so I was able to enjoy my new album on the way home…..for some reason, Mom shut me down when she heard ‘Let’s Get It Up’ and ‘Inject The Venom’ and she pulled over to inspect the rest of the song titles!

I’ve always had a soft spot for this album, not only because of the buying experience, but because I think it gets forgotten following AC/DC’s two biggest records: HIGHWAY TO HELL (1979) and BACK IN BLACK (1980). This album is kind of like a new band’s follow-up after a huge debut album, it had to follow the international phenomenon that was BACK IN BLACK with the death of original throat Bon Scott still fresh in fans’ minds. This was also the first time I had bought a new AC/DC album so close to it’s release date so this was fresh music, I hadn’t heard much on the radio aside from the title track.

‘For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)’ is one of the best songs AC/DC ever recorded and is embedded into most fans’ brains as one of the top Heavy Metal anthems of all-time…..not much has to be said about this classic. The next three songs are my favorites from the album: ‘Put The Finger On You’ reminds me of ‘You Shook Me All Night Long’ with it’s groove, ‘Let’s Get It Up’ has that sleazy stomp that defined the Bon-era, ‘Inject The Venom’ is heavy as hell and has serious power. Of them all, ‘Inject The Venom’ is tops for me on the record and even surpasses the iconic title song. I’ve always liked how the music cuts out for Brian Johnson’s vocal and the chorus has power without being overdone.

‘Snowballed’ is a cool uptempo song that slows come the chorus, Brian belting the lyrics while Angus and Malcolm weave in and out of the groove. I’ve never liked ‘Evil Walks’ or ‘C.O.D.’ for some reason. It’s not necessarily that they are bad songs, I just never got past the titles and they follow five great songs. ‘Breaking The Rules’ slows the album down to about the same pace as the title cut but it doesn’t have the bite to it as ‘For Those About To Rock’, I describe it usually as being too “quiet”. The tempo picks up again with the much under-rated ‘Night Of The Long Knives’, a song that sports a cool Angus riff and cymbal crashing from Phil Rudd. This song picks up right where ‘Snowballed’ left off, I almost wish this one was farther up in the sequencing to keep the pace going. ‘Spellbound’ is another mid-tempo song like ‘Breaking The Rules’ but it’s better due to it’s groove. I’ve always felt like the band was holding back a little around the chorus, needing a little more power.

Bottom Line:
A near perfect record! If I could get into ‘Evil Walks’, ‘C.O.D.’ and ‘Breaking The Rules’ more then I think that the album would be flawless. That said, this seems to be my favorite Brian Johnson-era album, even surpassing the mega-seller BACK IN BLACK! The best songs for me are ‘Inject The Venom’, the title track and ‘Night Of The Long Knives’.

AC/DC – Highway To Hell (1979)

AC/DC – Highway To Hell (1979, Atlantic)

  1. Highway To Hell
  2. Girls Got Rhythm
  3. Walk All Over You
  4. Touch Too Much
  5. Beating Around The Bush
  6. Shot Down In Flames
  7. Get It Hot
  8. If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It)
  9. Love Hungry Man
  10. Night Prowler

Band Lineup:
Bon Scott – Lead Vocals
Angus Young – Lead Guitar
Malcolm Young – Rhythm Guitar & Backing Vocals
Cliff Williams – Bass & Backing Vocals
Phil Rudd – Drums

Producer: Robert John “Mutt” Lange

Total Time = 41:42

AC/DC official website

HIGHWAY TO HELL seems to be the definitive Bon Scott era AC/DC album. If you add the band’s steady success and rising popularity with Bon’s tragic death a mere 6 months after the album’s release, then you have the legend that is HIGHWAY TO HELL. As of it’s last certification, the album is 8x Platinum in the U.S. and the singles ‘Highway To Hell’ and ‘Girls Got Rhythm’ are Classic Rock radio staples. This was my first Bon Scott-era AC/DC record.

I picked up HIGHWAY TO HELL sometime in late 1982 because I knew that the voice I heard on my BACK IN BLACK (1980) and FOR THOSE ABOUT TO ROCK (1981) albums was much different then the voice I heard singing these songs on the radio. Some people think Bon Scott and Brian Johnson sound similar but I hear two distinct singers. I was about 10 years old at the time and I was obsessed with album covers, HIGHWAY TO HELL was no exception. Nothing was cooler than Angus Young in the schoolboy uniform with a pair of devil’s horns and a tail but I couldn’t figure out where Brian Johnson (the guy with the snap cap) was! Once I put a face (Bon) to the songs on the radio (‘Highway To Hell’, etc.), it was like I discovered a whole new band.

My all-time favorite AC/DC song is here on this record, the powerful ‘If You Want Blood (You Got It)’. All the Rock radio stations I listened to when I was a kid played that song, ‘Girls Got Rhythm’ and the title track over and over until they were burned in my brain. They still play these three songs just as much today but ‘Shot Down In Flames’ has gained ground over the years! I remember everyone loved the title song and ‘Girls Got Rhythm’ because they were the first two songs on Side 1 and ‘Shot Down In Flames’ opens Side 2 but ‘If You Want Blood’ was in the middle of Side 2. Most people I knew would fast forward the tapes or skip on the record to get to the singles but I have always been an album guy…..the deep tracks are what I like best. ‘If You Want Blood’ was a single but not as big as the first two songs on the record.

I used to spin this record a ton after I bought it and every song was really great. I still get a kick out of ‘Touch Too Much’ (a song I hear occasionally on the radio), ‘Walk All Over You’ and the album closer ‘Night Prowler’. When i spin this CD today I usually skip over the first two songs and ‘Shot Down In Flames’ because I hear them enough on the radio.

Bottom Line:
I think most would agree that HIGHWAY TO HELL ties with BACK IN BLACK as the most popular AC/DC album. Sales figures have the latter way ahead but when fans get into the “Bon vs. Brian” discussions, these are the two albums that get the most critical comparisons and the older fans side with HIGHWAY. This album is the pinnacle of the band’s work with Bon Scott. Of course a lot of that has to do with the fact that he passed away 6 months later but, if you listen to all the early albums, you can hear the progression in the band’s sound. HIGH VOLTAGE (1975) is my favorite Bon-era record but HIGHWAY TO HELL is a close #2.

AC/DC – High Voltage (1975)

AC/DC – High Voltage (1975, Atlantic)

  1. It’s A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll)
  2. Rock ‘n’ Roll Singer
  3. The Jack
  4. Live Wire
  5. T.N.T.
  6. Can I Sit Next To You Girl
  7. Little Lover
  8. She’s Got Balls
  9. High Voltage

Band Lineup:
Bon Scott – Lead Vocals & Bagpipes
Angus Young – Lead Guitar
Malcolm Young – Rhythm Guitar & Backing Vocals
Mark Evans – Bass & Backing Vocals
Phil Rudd – Drums

Produced by: Harry Vanda & George Young

Total Time = 44:37

AC/DC official website

HIGH VOLTAGE is one of my favorite AC/DC albums but, before I discuss the record, I need to clarify the album’s history. This version is the international version released in May 1976 but the original Australian debut was released in February 1975 with a different tracklisting. Only two songs from the Australian release made it onto the international: ‘Little Lover’ & ‘She’s Got Balls’. The other seven songs on this international version of HIGH VOLTAGE come from the band’s December 1975 Australian only sophomore effort….. T.N.T. So if we look closely at this version of HIGH VOLTAGE, it’s really T.N.T. minus two songs.

HIGH VOLTAGE was my second Bon Scott era AC/DC album, the first being the classic HIGHWAY TO HELL (1979). I grew up listening to this album without even knowing it! For as long as I can remember, local Rock radio stations have been playing 6 out of 9 songs from this album with regularity. The only three I’ve never heard on the radio are ‘Can I Sit Next To You Girl’, ‘Little Lover’ and ‘She’s Got Balls’ and they are all solid songs with that sleazy/sinister Bon Scott vocal over a Blues riff. ‘It’s A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll)’ (one of my Top 5 AC/DC songs of all-time), ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Singer’ and the title track are my three favorite songs on the album, I especially like the bagpipes on ‘It’s A Long Way To The Top’ because it adds a distinct element to the song. ‘Live Wire’, ‘The Jack’ and ‘T.N.T.’ are radio and concert staples and I hear them all the time so I get a little burnt with them. Don’t get me wrong, all of them are great songs, just overplayed in my area.

Bottom Line:
Probably the best AC/DC album that everyone forgets about! Every song is classic and shows that, even though they were a young band, AC/DC were already at the top of their game. I reach for this record more than I do HIGHWAY TO HELL or the landmark BACK IN BLACK (1980).

New Release Monday: AC/DC – Black Ice & No Bull DVD

Today is the big day! The U.S. release of AC/DC’s new record…..BLACK ICE! I went out to Wal-Mart right after I dropped my daughter off at school, by 8:30 it was mine! There was a ton of AC/DC product and promotion all over the store and the new album was well-stocked, as was the rest of the band’s catalogue…..they had EVERY album. That doesn’t usually happen in a Wal-Mart.

AC/DC – Black Ice (2008) – $11.88: Can’t beat the sale price but it’s Wal-Mart…..the most evil of big corporations! I’m in a Union (UFCW – United Food and Commercial Workers) and Wal-Mart is something I stand against. I don’t shop there at all but, like the new releases from The Eagles, REO Speedwagon and Journey, it’s the only store in town to buy BLACK ICE! Anyway, I wanted the red lettered cover but I only saw the silver and yellow….. I grabbed the silver.

AC/DC – No Bull (The Director’s Cut) DVD – $10: I passed on this DVD earlier in September because it’s a Wal-Mart exclusive and because I wanted to compare the original release to this re-release. When I grabbed the BLACK ICE disc, I couldn’t help noticing the price point for this DVD, 10 bucks is a great price, too good to pass up. It’s been a tough year for music DVDs, I’ve only bought a few this year so I figured I would treat myself.

AC/DC Mixtape

I have every AC/DC album, except for T.N.T. (1975) and the new album BLACK ICE, and they are all loaded into my MP3 player. I know all of these albums so well that listening to them in their proper order gets stale sometimes. I like to mix it all up and shuffling all the Bon Scott era tracks in with the Brian Johnson era is a nice way to keep it fresh. AC/DC is on the radio so much but I only ever hear the same 20 or so songs, I need a deep track now and then!

Here’s the first 20 songs from AC/DC off my Dell DJ (song-album-year):

  1. ‘Touch Too Much’ – Highway To Hell (1979)
  2. ‘Meltdown’ – Stiff Upper Lip (2000)
  3. ‘Mistress For Christmas’ – The Razor’s Edge (1990)
  4. ‘Inject the Venom’ – For Those About To Rock We Salute You (1981)
  5. ‘Let’s Get It Up’ – For Those About To Rock We Salute You (1981)
  6. ‘Nervous Shakedown’ – Flick Of the Switch (1983)
  7. ‘Ride On’ – Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (1976)
  8. ‘Boogie Man’ – Ballbreaker (1995)
  9. ‘All Screwed Up’ – Stiff Upper Lip (2000)
  10. ‘Girls Got Rhythm’ – Highway to Hell (1979)
  11. ‘Nick Of Time’ – Blow Up Your Video (1988)
  12. ‘T.N.T.’ – High Voltage (1975)
  13. ‘Rising Power’ – Flick Of The Switch (1983)
  14. ‘Up To My Neck In You’ – Powerage (1978)
  15. ‘Problem Child’ – Let there Be Rock (1977)
  16. ‘Cover You In Oil’ – Ballbreaker (1995)
  17. ‘Night Of The Long Knives’ – For Those About To Rock We Salute You (1981)
  18. ‘Baby Please Don’t Go’ – ’74 Jailbreak (1984)
  19. ‘I Put The Finger On You’ – For Those About To Rock We Salute You (1981)
  20. ‘Whole Lotta Rosie’ – Let There Be Rock (1977)

Bonus Track: ‘Sink The Pink’ – Fly On The Wall (1985)

Interesting mix of songs here but two things are plainly obvious: my MP3 player prefers the Brian Johnson era and it’s favorite record is FOR THOSE ABOUT TO ROCK WE SALUTE YOU! Seven songs out of twenty were sung by the late Bon Scott and four tunes were from FOR THOSE ABOUT TO ROCK. What surprised me about this mixtape was that not one song from BACK IN BLACK (1980) came up!

AC/DC Week

This week is dedicated to AC/DC!

It’s been 8 years since AC/DC released a new album but BLACK ICE is finally available Monday! To celebrate the new album, it’s all AC/DC this week. I’m going to celebrate both eras of the band but I grew up with the Brian Johnson era so there are going to be a couple more reviews from his tenure, including BLACK ICE…..

Here’s the week’s schedule:

Sunday: AC/DC Mixtape

Monday: New Release Monday – BLACK ICE and High Voltage (1975) album review

Tuesday: Highway To Hell (1979) album review

Wednesday: For Those About To Rock We Salute You (1981) album review and Videos

Thursday: Fly On The Wall (1985) album review and Videos

FridayBlack Ice (2008) album review and Videos

Saturday: My thoughts on AC/DC

Judas Priest – Priest…Live! (1987)

Judas Priest – Priest…Live! (1987, Columbia)

  1. Out In The Cold
  2. Heading Out To The Highway
  3. Metal Gods
  4. Breaking The Law
  5. Love Bites
  6. Some Heads Are Gonna Roll
  7. The Sentinel
  8. Private Property
  9. Rock You All Around The World
  10. Electric Eye
  11. Turbo Lover
  12. Freewheel Burning
  13. Parental Guidance
  14. Living After Midnight
  15. You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’

Total Time = 1:14:01

Judas Priest official website

I know that putting PRIEST…LIVE! in the list of some of my favorite albums is going to spark some serious debate. Why? Judas Priest had already put out a classic live album with UNLEASHED IN THE EAST in 1979 and the TURBO (1986) album, and subsequent Fuel For Life Tour, had a more commercialized Pop Metal sound. I put this album in with my top live albums because I was 14 years old in 1987 and Judas Priest was my second favorite band (KISS being #1). The band was everywhere (radio, MTV, print) and I was along for the ride! I had been a Priest fan for a few years but the combination of the TURBO album, Metal hitting the mainstream, and the hype surrounding the band’s concerts June 4th (Providence, RI) & June 5th (Worcester, MA). I didn’t get to go to either of these local shows, my mom thought I was too young, so when the announcement of PRIEST…..LIVE! started to gain momentum in the media I was psyched! Finally I would get to hear what Judas Priest sounded like live in concert!

Taking a look at the tracklisting you’ll see that all of the songs date from 1980 onward including 5 songs from the TURBO record: ‘Out In The Cold’, ‘Private Property’, ‘Rock You All Around The World’, ‘Turbo Lover’ and ‘Parental Guidance’. Obviously, the band was on tour supporting TURBO so it’s obvious that a third of the album promotes it. Also not surprising is that 4 songs come from the album that came before, my personal favorite, DEFENDERS OF THE FAITH (1984). I lived and breathed DEFENDERS for two years as Heavy Metal doctrine so I was glad to see ‘Love Bites’, ‘Some Heads Are Gonna Roll’, ‘The Sentinel’ and ‘Freewheel Burning’ featured prominently. Then you spread out some classics like ‘Metal Gods’ and ‘Electric Eye’ and I knew that this would be a great live record even before I had listened to it.

I had a problem right away with ‘Out In The Cold’ opening the album. I had been to a few concerts (not sure why my mom thought I was too young for a Priest Show!) and all the bands opened with a fast, hard-charging song. For a Metal monster like Judas Priest to open with a guitar-synth ballad was an immeadiate letdown. ‘Out In The Cold’ was a single from TURBO, I heard it played on the local Rock station, but it opened Side 2 on the album! And where was ‘Locked In’? That was the first single/video and it’s surprising that it’s not included. Moving on to ‘Heading Out To The Highway’ (from 1981’s POINT OF ENTRY), I like this live version better than the studio version…..most likely due to the fact that this version gets played more. Even the band and label have decided to include this live version on various greatest hits and box set packages instead of the original, the song is more aggressive live. ‘Metal Gods’ and ‘Breaking The Law’ are staples of the band’s live repertoire to this day but my high point is the DEFENDERS triumvirate of ‘Love Bites’, ‘Some Heads Are Gonna Roll’ and ‘The Sentinel’. Nothing was better than hearing tracks from my favorite album live, especially ‘The Sentinel’…..a song that is a Metal feast.

TURBO tracks ‘Private Property’ and ‘Rock You All Around The World’ were cool back then but seem out of place now. My guess is that they were put in for the audience participation factor because I would have used ‘Locked In’ instead, I think ‘Locked In’ would have come off harder and more Metal. ‘Electric Eye’ is another concert staple for Priest so it’s a welcome intrusion to all the newer tracks but the live version of ‘Turbo Lover’ sounds too close to the studio version. It also sounds too light sandwiched between the driving ‘Electric Eye’ and the Speed Metal of ‘Freewheel Burning’, one of the album’s best tracks! I always liked ‘Parental Guidance’ so it gets a pass even with the audience participation and ‘Living After Midnight’ sounds a little faster and heavier live. Ending the record is the seminal closer ‘You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’ from SCREAMING FOR VENGEANCE (1982) and it’s a solid extended performance that still gives me chills when I hear it.

I really liked this live album back in my early teens but as I got older, and my musical tastes matured, I started to gravitate towards UNLEASHED IN THE EAST. PRIEST…LIVE! today sounds a little too commercial for my ears, it’s not as aggressive compared to the actual Judas Priest shows I’ve attended since. The TURBO songs don’t have that staying power today that they might have had back in the ’86-’88 era. It’s cool to hear them but when you compare them to heavy classics from UNLEASHED IN THE EAST, they fall flat. PRIEST…LIVE! is a nostalgia trip for me now, a way to reconnect with my teen years…..if I want an all out Metal assault, I look for other records.

This album was remastered and reissued in 2002 and it has 3 bonus tracks: ‘Screaming For Vengeance’ (recorded live in 1982), ‘Rock Hard Ride Free’ (recorded live in 1984) and ‘Hell Bent For Leather’ (recorded live in 1986). I wanted to review the original album, and that’s the ones I listened to again, but it is worthy to note that these songs are performed very well. All three were possibly in and out of the actual setlist on the Fuel For Life Tour but two of these tracks were recorded on past tours making their inclusion somewhat odd. I would rather hear these songs live from ’86 like ‘Hell Bent For Leather’, a song I think should have been on the original album maybe replacing a TURBO song.