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Why I 🧡 AC/DC's Powerage, by Aerosmith's Joe Perry

Joe Perry and the Powerage artwork
(Image credit: Noam Galai/Getty Images/Atlantic Records )

"I was introduced to AC/DC when we were lucky enough to have them open for us at shows on the Draw The Line tour in 1977. I was absolutely blown away the first time I saw them, and I’ve been a really big fan ever since. Even if you hadn’t heard their songs before, when you saw them live they had everybody on their feet, including me. 

"They didn’t need any production, they didn’t need any lights, they just needed their guitars, their amps and plenty of watts, and they’d destroy the place. They were pretty mellow guys off-stage, but once they stepped onstage, they were on fire. They’re rock’n’roll at its best, the real deal.

"All the early records with Bon Scott are great, and Powerage is definitely one of my favourites. To me, it perfectly distilled everything that I like about rock’n’roll down to its essence. As a guitar player, obviously I’m going to be drawn in by the riffs and the way Angus [Young] just tore it up on every solo, but then you listen to Bon’s story-telling and that’s just wonderful.

"I got to know Bon pretty well, and spent more than a few late nights hanging out with him, and that guy was the real deal: he was a couple of years older than the other guys, but was definitely part of the family, and he lived the rock‘n’roll life to the fullest. When you heard a song like Sin City, you knew that he’d seen it all, and he understood life. It’s A Long Way To The Top isn’t on Powerage, of course, but when you heard that you knew that he lived and breathed that lifestyle.

"People will know Highway To Hell and Back In Black because they’re the albums with the big radio songs, but there’s so many great, great songs on Powerage. People who’re really into AC/DC understand that Powerage is a classic album, a milestone. With each album that came out they were refining their basic sound, they weren’t trying to invent anything new, and by the time they reached Powerage the songs were just getting better and better. 

"I have the album on vinyl and I’d just play it over and over, flipping it and starting again, and it never loses its power. These might not be the AC/DC songs that you hear on the radio or necessarily hear on jukeboxes in bars, but no-one writes rock’n’roll better than this.

"I’ll still go to see AC/DC when I can and they’re still a great band. Brian Johnson had such big shoes to fill when he came into the band but he’s done an amazing job and they still kill it. But when I listen to Powerage I hear that amazing band who played 30 or 40 shows with us at the time, and tore it up every single night.

"It’s a brilliant record, just pure rock’n’roll, and it will never age."


The November 2021 issue of Classic Rock Magazine ventures backstage at Glasgow's legendary Apollo Theatre in 1978 as Angus Young & Co. prepare for the show that will deliver the monstrous live album If You Want Blood You’ve Got It, then shunts forward in time to tell the chaotic story of Bon Scott’s final tour. Buy it now