Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Greatest Album Is...Highway To Hell

Every band that has been around for a while and released great records runs into this debate; what is their greatest album? The greatest album is…is a column dedicated to tackling that age old question. What is the greatest album recorded by AC/DC? Join with us now as the question is answered and arguments are made that the greatest AC/DC album is Highway To Hell.

It starts with one of the most recognizable riffs in rock and roll history. By the time the first notes to “Highway To Hell” are finished, every listener with ears knows what song is playing. It finishes with the very original, albeit highly controversial, “Night Prowler,” an exceptional song about a stalker, or a boy sneaking into his girlfriend’s room, depending on which report is accepted. And in between are eight hard rocking, heavy hitting, extremely delightful, rock and roll songs with absolutely no filler.

The last album that Bon Scott ever recorded with AC/DC was 1979’s Highway To Hell. It is also the best album that AC/DC ever released. In the spring of 1979, the band set out to record the follow up to Powerage. When those sessions finished, AC/DC had Bon Scott’s last recorded album and their finest work ever. Not one song on Highway To Hell should be skipped. Each one is a magnificent work of art in its own right.

Highway To Hell is a pure hard rock masterpiece. Filled with themes of sexual desires, hard rocking riffs that no guitarist can duplicate, and the entertaining, double entendre lyrics that the band has become famous for; this was AC/DC at their best. There is a sense of urgency in all of Angus Young’s leads, evident on sensational tracks like “Touch Too Much,” “Highway To Hell,” and “If You Want Blood (You Got It).” The lyrics maintain the typical AC/DC playful style of drinking, partying, loving women of all types, and playing rock and roll.

Highway To Hell also contains one of the most overlooked gems recorded by AC/DC---“Love Hungry Man.” This is a terrific song that many fans have simply forgotten exists. A romper stomper bar room brawl of a song, “Love Hungry Man” highlights Bon Scott at his most prodigious. The yowls were perfect, the energy in his voice was simply amazing, and Angus’ guitar solo on this magnum opus is one that leaves other guitarists in envy. Go ahead and re-listen to this song and then ask yourself why in the world the band doesn’t play this one in concert more often.

Highway To Hell vaulted AC/DC to the top ranks of hard rock acts. And while Let There Be Rock saw the creation of one of their signature live tracks, and Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap had a much more blatant sexual overtone, it was Highway To Hell that saw AC/DC reigning as champions of rock. Their future was full moon bright, and if Bon Scott had lived on, who knows where the band would have ended up.

AC/DC still managed to make incredible records with Brian Johnson after Bon Scott passed away, but there has never been another record quite like Highway To Hell. Every song is a sing along anthem that can be enjoyed over and over and over again. Every note of music is a song unto itself. Every Bon Scott yowl is a joyous celebration of all things grand. Yes, Back In Black is an incredible album in its own right, and yes, a huge argument can be made that Back In Black is AC/DC’s best album, but Back In Black is more of a celebration of the AC/DC yet to come. Highway To Hell is a celebration of the AC/DC that was at that moment. And that AC/DC was a joyous romp of young lads hitting their stride and reaching their musical peak.

The greatest AC/DC album is…Highway To Hell

Vital Statistics
Released: July 27, 1979
Produced by Robert “Mutt” Lange
RIAA Sales: 7x Platinum
Peak Position on US Charts:  17
Ranked number 200 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of 500 greatest albums of all time

Highway To Hell

Track Listing
Highway To Hell
Girls Got Rhythm
Walk All Over You
Touch Too Much
Beating Around The Bush
Shot Down In Flames
Get It Hot
If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It)
Love Hungry Man
Night Prowler

Band Members
Bon Scott – Vocals
Angus Young – Lead Guitar
Malcom Young – Rhythm Guitar
Cliff Williams – Bass Guitar
Phil Rudd – Drums

No comments: