By Joe Bonomo
Published in 1979, AC/DC's "Highway To Hell" was once the notorious final album recorded with singer Bon Scott, who died of alcohol poisoning in London in February of 1980. formally chalked as much as "Death through Misadventure," Scott's loss of life has ceaselessly secured the album's popularity as a partying primer and a bible for deadly habit, branding the album with the joys chaos of alcoholic extra and its turn aspect, early loss of life. the simplest songs on "Highway To Hell" in achieving Sonic Platonism, translating rock &roll's transcendent beliefs in stomping, dual-guitar and eighth-note bass riffing, a Paleolithic drum mattress, and insanely, recklessly peculiar yet enjoyable vocals. Joe Bonomo moves a three-chord essay at the energy of formative years, the sturdiness of rock &roll fandom, and the transformative homes of reminiscence. Why does "Highway To Hell" topic to an individual past non-ironic little ones? mixing interviews, research, and memoir with a fan's viewpoint, "Highway To Hell" dramatizes and celebrates a undying album that one critic acknowledged makes "disaster sound just like the most sensible enjoyable within the world."
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A tried-and-true Chuck Berry model refitted for Seventies Camaro culture, “Get It Hot” serves its purpose well. Bon describes a classic, and comical, scenario: he’s riding in a car, a girl by his side, the night’s young, and, most crucially, no one’s playing Barry Manilow or soul music on the tape deck. Soul might’ve been code for disco — a genre never visited by the band in their recordings — but Bon doesn’t pull any punches with Manilow, who in the late Seventies was traipsing along the charts with such MOR classics as “Copacabana (At The Copa),” “Looks Like We Made It,” and “Can’t Smile Without You,” theatrical soft-rock that was the antitheses of AC/DC.
Angus has claimed that many Powerage tracks were recorded in a single take; just listen to “Up To My Neck In You” on which Angus doesn’t overdub his Berry-on-speed solo, he just steps forward and lays right in from the rhythm track. The hope was that Lange would help to capture a similar spontaneity onto Roundhouse’s twenty-four tracks, with overdubs limited to lead vocals and solos. In hindsight, Dearnley recognizes that his contribution came at a gut level. With the goal being to capture the feel of a performance, high-tech doodling be damned, this enduring approach helped to shape the massive but warm tunes at these sessions, and to relieve them of a vibe that could become dated.
And that’s what matters. Malcolm and Angus lock in with the rhythm section, the song’s pumping, well-oiled engine allowing me to rocket past the more questionable lyrics. But the unease is there, and creates some of the disquieting moods and tensions of the album. Listening to the record when it was released, I heard both lust and violence in “Walk All Over You,” guessing that in some forlorn circumstances the two are more closely aligned than I might wish. Scott had a checkered past before joining AC/DC in 1974.
AC/DC's Highway to Hell (33 1/3 Series) by Joe Bonomo