A long time ago, we used to have a regular column here at Rockpages called “Diamonds & Rust”. In this frame, we presented two records of one band; the good side (Diamond) and the bad or uninspired moment (Rust). So, we resurrected it a few weeks ago with Blackmore’s Night. Up next is…AC/DC!
“Highway To Hell” (1979): We could have easily included in the “Diamond” category the landmark “Back in Black” record; as we could have done the same really with the all the Bon Scott-era albums. But for me personally “Highway To Hell” was the turning point in the recording and artistic career of AC/DC. After all, this is the album thus has the title track on it which is the definite and most popular AC/DC song (right beside “Thunderstruck” and “Back in Black”). In addition, this was the first record that featured the genius Mutt Lange behind the console thus the result was nothing less that stellar! With a crystal clear sound, well-crafted songs and an incredible performance in the studio, “Highway To Hell” was bound for glory right from the very beginning. Of course, this was the last album with the late Bon Scott behind the mic so you can see why we chose “Highway To Hell” as the quintessential AC/DC record. “Highway To Hell”, “Touch Too Much”, “Girls Got Rhythm”, “Shot Down In Flames”, “If You Want Blood”…DIAMOND!
“Rock Or Bust” (2014): It would be a shame if this was the last ever AC/DC studio album. “Rock or Bust” is a mediocre if not bad album with below par songs that leave you under the impression that the album surely lacked of inspiration. The missing link in the studio was non other than Malcolm Young who was diagnosed with dementia and died 3 years after the release of this album. Phil Rudd barely cut his parts and he was busted a few months later by the authorities while Cliff Williams and Brian Johhnson had to leave the tour early for different and well-documented reasons. You can understand that “Rock Or Bust” is a record that will be remembered mainly for all the wrong reasons…and not the songs!