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Let There Be Rock

Let There Be Rock.  Or to quote Bon Scott at his blood curdling best, “Letthereberock!”  It’s not just a statement, it’s a command.  In truth, AC/DC’s second international album with its mock biblical moniker should have been subtitled, “In the beginning…”  The reason being it marks in scorched earth terms the point at which the Australian’s launched a hugely successful bid for the title belt as THE world beating rock band complete with a deliciously fresh metallic sheen of sound.  Each song simply tears out of the speaker cones.

With that gear shift came a more serious “album” oriented approach and the shelving of any novelty type graphic imagery that up until that point had been very much a part of AC/DC’s marketing.

At least part of the recording’s high octane fuel was drawn from what had occurred in the lead up to the recording sessions.  The success of the 1976 UK and European engagements dovetailed into “The Giant Dose Of Rock ‘n’ Roll” tour of Australia through December 1976 and January 1977.  However, the homecoming jaunt was marred by cancellations in regional areas by authorities concerned about the band’s reputation and perceived association with the “horrors” of punk rock.

Accordingly, when AC/DC entered Albert Studios in Sydney in the middle of January to begin two weeks of night work on the album, the near electrical energy of the tour along with its frustrations were still charging through their systems.

There also seemed to be an understanding that more than just a new album was in order.  A mission statement, a manifesto of what AC/DC were really all about, was required and producers Harry Vanda and George Young were again brought in to help deliver the goods.

Angus set the tone and led the sessions by example during the recording of the rock ‘n’ roll history lesson that is the album’s title track.  His amplifier caught fire midway through but under frantic instructions from George he continued playing.  By song’s end the amp head was a smoldering puddle of wiring and valves and Angus’ guitar had absorbed part of his tiny body weight in sweat.

“Let There Be Rock” is much more than the album’s centerpiece.  Surrounded on side one on one hand by the time count opening of “Go Down” and “Dog Eat Dog” and the classic blues bravado of “Bad Boy Boogie” on the other, it anchors one of AC/DC’s greatest collections of successive body blows.

The second side kicks off with a few testing chords to herald “Overdose.”  Angus and Malcolm then begin to slam down polarised sheets of guitar thunder which finally come together as one like a force of rock ‘n’ roll nature.  From there it’s back to the protective head and ear gear with “Hell Ain’t A Bad Place To Be” where the guitars of Angus and Malcolm growl as one and Bon details the sort of tale that had set him on the highway to hell.

Then in keeping with the old maxim that it’s never over until the fat lady sings (or something) comes “Whole Lotta Rosie,” the celebrated story of Bon Scott’s most infamous sexual conquest, her considerable portions and the singer’s exploits among them.  It ends with Angus at the very least rivaling the fiery white noise frenzy of “Let There Be Rock.”

Initially there were two versions of “Rosie.”  The first had the title “Dirty Eyes” which was issued in 1997 as part of the Bonfire boxed set.  But it was this version that came up with the required brimstone when it mattered.

In addition to the band’s thunderous new sound and perhaps in recognition of their growing popularity, mystique and mythology, Rosie is one of several actual characters (not too surprisingly all women) that emerged in Bon Scott’s lyrics for the first time in addition to his usual hard-won street wisdom.  The services of Ruby Lips for example are immortalized in “Go Down” which no doubt raised her local social standing on 21 March when Let There Be Rock was unleashed in Australia.

It was another three months before the album was released in America on 23 June but its rough, road-ready sound and stinging guitar attack made it perfect fodder for the band’s first American conquest.  Four more months passed before Let The Be Rock was released in the UK on 7 October where it would be AC/DC’s first UK charting album with a peak position of Number 75 and like America a hugely powerful tool with which to further their very, very, very loud cause.

The UK release came during a year which saw the emergence of the debut albums of all punk’s major players, each desperate allegedly to save rock ‘n’ roll from the boring old guard.  The fact is none of them came close to touching the flame and the spirit as powerfully and as honestly as Let There Be Rock.

Let There Be Rock was the brooding sound of AC/DC putting the world and particularly their critics on notice that their march had really begun, that they were as serious as a cardiac condition with a megaton of amplification.  It simply wasn’t possible to make more exciting rock ‘n’ roll.  Twenty six years on that’s still the case beyond any reasonable doubt.

– Murray Engleheart










All Compositions by A. Young, M. Young & B. Scott
All Titles Published by J. Albert & Son (USA) Inc. (ASCAP)

Malcolm Young, Guitar
Angus Young, Guitar
Bon Scott, Vocals
Phil Rudd, Drums
Mark Evans, Bass

Produced By Vanda And Young
for Albert Productions at Albert Studios, Sydney Jan./Feb. ‘77

Originally Released as Atco 36151 on June 23, 1977

Digitally Remastered from the original master tapes by George Marino at Sterling Sound

Mastering Supervision: Mike Fraser and Al Quaglieri

Digital Assembly: UE Nastasi

Original Album Art Direction: Bob Defrin

Reissue Booklet Design: SMAY Vision

Photography: back of digipak: (from original LP);
Bob Gruen/Starfile: inside digipak (left);
Jonathan Postal: inside digipak (right), pages 2-6, 9 (right), 10 (bottom), 12-15;
Chuck Pulin/Starfile: pages 8, 9 (left);
Photofest: page 10

Additional artifacts courtesy Albert Productions and Arnaud Durieux.

This CD takes advantage of ConnecteD technology and will work as a key to unlock exclusive bonus music, videos, photos and more at www.acdcrocks.com





© 1977, 2003 J. Albert & Son (Pty.) Ltd./ (P) 1977 J. Albert & Son (Pty.) Ltd./ Manufactured by Columbia Records, A Division of Sony Music/ 550 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10022-3211/ “Columbia” Reg. U.S. Pat. & Tm. Off. Marca Registrada/ WARNING: All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws.

EPIC EK 80203

This package consists of previously released material.

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