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45 years on and AC/DC’s ‘Let There Be Rock’ is still kicking


It’s 45 years on from AC/DC’s final outing with their original line-up, Let There Be Rock, and the record remains ground-breaking by, well, not being all that ground-breaking at all. The band rattle the rafters and grab the weekend by the lapels for a maelstrom of manic music that still has youngsters reaching for their first guitar to this day. It achieved that feat by seemingly not wanting to achieve much else. 

When most bands approach their fifth record, they look to expand and evolve. These two E’s of music are flaky notions, and they have been the downfall of many artists—they can make you, and they can break you, so AC/DC just decided to rock on. With eight headbanging songs, they stuck to their guns and just kept firing. 

Beginning with the honky-tonk riff of ‘Go Down’, the intent of the record is laid out from the get-go—and that intent is simply to have a whole lot of fun. Bon Scott rattles with a one-take feel, and Mark Evans offers up some parting bass simplicity to keep the whole thing rolling along like a juggernaut of that Friday feeling. The track is far from the sexy serenade they seem to think it is lyrically, but if anything, that misguided mishmash adds to the charm. 

There is also a great deal of malice to the vying one-track mentality of the album, which Evans’ profanity-laden assessment attests. “There was always a siege mentality about that band,” he recalled. “But once we all found out that Atlantic had knocked us back the attitude was: ‘Fuck them! Who the fuck do they think they are?’ So from that point onwards, it was: ‘Fuck, we’ll show them!’ We were seriously fucking pissed off about it. It didn’t need to be discussed. We were going to go in and make that album and shove it up their arse!”

Angus Young added to this frenzied fuck you feel when he recalled: “Our brother George asked us what kind of album we wanted to make and we said it would be great if we could just make a lot of guitar riffs, because we were all fired up after doing all this touring.”

That’s how the album stands up best 45 years on. There are a lot of great albums about these days, but if there is one thing you can bemoan, it is that often they sound studio-bound and you can’t even imagine them live. Let There Be Rock sounds like a band that can’t get out of the studio quick enough. Fortunately, they clearly had the chops to ensure that their race to the stage didn’t sound slapdash. Superb stuff. 

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