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On Monday, I’ll be buying Rock or Bust, AC/DC’s new and probably final album, within minutes of it hitting the shelves.
Just as I did in 1979 when Highway To Hell came out and in 1980 and 1981 with the respective releases of Back In Black and For Those About To Rock.
It was the same at the turn of the Millennium with Stiff Upper Lip and six years ago when Black Ice went on sale.
But the five studio albums released between 1983 and 1996 – Fly On The Wall, Flick Of A Switch, Blow Up Your Video, The Razor’s Edge and Ballbreaker – were bought months, even years after they came out.
And with the exception of Highway To Hell, AC/DC’s early albums, featuring Bon Scott on vocals – Jailbreak, High Voltage, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, Let There Be Rock and Powerage – were also bought subsequent to them arriving in the record stores.
Why do I mention this? Because my interest in AC/DC has perfectly mirrored by passion for music at that particular time.
I wouldn’t exactly describe their music as the soundtrack to my life but I first got into the band in sixth form at about the time their first live recording If You Want Blood was released.
A mate at school was already an AC/DC diehard. Not only did he dress up like Angus Young for sixth form discos, he once persuaded a teacher to record an edition of Rock Goes To College which a few of us watched in the lecture theatre one rainy lunchtime.
That was my introduction to AC/DC and very soon, the highlight of any school disco was the electrifying intro to the live version of Whole Lotta Rosie from the aforementioned live album, recorded at the Glasgow Apollo with the crowd chanting Angus’ name in in perfect synchrony with his piercing riffs.
I was hooked on the band even if they provided me with frustration, heartache and disappointment in the next few years.
Frustration when I had a ticket to see them at the Newcastle Mayfair only for the concert to be cancelled due to a fire.
Heartache when I heard Bon Scott had died – my pain made all the worse because I was unable to go to the rescheduled concert, one of the frontman’s last-ever live appearances.
There was disappointment the first time I did see AC/DC in concert. I can’t recall looking forward to a gig more than Brian Johnson’s first appearance at the City Hall in his hometown on the Back In Black tour but it was an underwhelming occasion with the Geordie barely acknowledging crowd and the band being well below their best on the night.
Since then, I’ve seen them at Newcastle Arena on the Ballbreaker tour and most recently at Glasgow’s Hampden Park. I could not have enjoyed either occasion any more than I did.
The Newcastle Arena gig may hold unhappy memories for Johnno, who was acutely embarrassed to find out that it was the only concert in the UK that year which did not sell out.
But for me, it was a watershed moment. Work, marriage and family life had dulled my love for music and this was the first live gig I’d been to for over a decade.
It rekindleD my passion for rock after the wilderness years. Indeed, I had barely bought a record after 1983 and was relatively slow in embracing the CD age.
The releases of Fly On The Wall and Flick Of The Switch passed me by and while I loved tracks such as Heatseeker and Thunderstruck when I heard them, I never felt tempted to buy the two albums they were on.
Looking back, I don’t think I was the only one who went off AC/DC. The mid-80s were not kind to them and while The Razors Edge and Blow Up Your Video certainly had their moments in songs such as the two I’ve just mentioned, few fans would include either in their top five albums.
Ballbreaker and Stiff Upper Lip were good but not great. Black Ice was a spectacular return to form though it would be even better with one or two of the filler tracks left off.
I’m not expecting Rock Or Bust to be Back In Black Mark II but with the exception of the awful Fly On The Wall, there is at least once classic on every AC/DC album.
And certain tracks still have the capacity to thrill me in the same way that Whole Lotta Rosie did all those years ago – the live version of Riff Raff, Big Jack, Let There Be Rock, Down Payment Blues, You Shook Me All Night Long, Thunderstruck, Touch Too Much, Anything Goes…..
The list is endless.
Maybe, AC/DC do represent the soundtrack to my life after all.