Let There Be Rock (1977)
Malcolm Young once said of his band’s music: “It’s just loud rock‘n’roll – wham, bam, thank you mam!” No AC/DC album embodies that spirit better than Let There Be Rock. Released in ’77, when punk rock was at its height, the album had a raw edge, a manic intensity and a streetwise attitude that appealed to punks and headbangers alike.
If the three albums that came before it – High Voltage, T.N.T. and Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap – had an increasingly high quotient of brilliance, Let There Be Rock was the one where AC/DC truly found their place in the scheme of things, not least on the title track, a heartfelt ode to original, no-shit rock’n’roll as evinced by the fastest, most irresistibly hair-shaking piece of high-octane noise ever committed to what was still then just poor, weak vinyl. Elsewhere, Hell Ain’t A Bad Place To Be stood as AC/DC’s own Brown Sugar.
“If you’re a purist and like the guitars being completely in tune and things being completely studio-sterile, that song’s gonna kill you,” Mark Evans says of the latter, “cos the guitars are whomping all over the place out of tune. But it’s just got that nasty, gritty feel about it that says AC/DC.”
Indeed the whole album sounds like it’s on the verge of spilling over into total feedback. It was recorded live in one room. Mistakes were tolerated if the vibe was strong enough, the energy audibly crackling over the speakers on tracks like Overdose or Bad Boy Boogie.
Recorded mostly live-in-the-studio (Hell Ain’t A Bad Place To Be is completely out of tune), it included two tracks that would become rock classics: Whole Lotta Rosie, Bon’s tribute to a 19-stone groupie, and the frenetic and profane title track. The title song became the one AC/DC would end their set with for years to come while Whole Lotta Rosie would be guaranteed to get the crowds moving. To paraphrase Bon’s fond and funny lyrics, it ain’t no fairy story but they give it all they’ve got. It’s a nineteen stone beauty.