AC/DC, the review of "High Voltage"

AC/DC, the review of “High Voltage”


High Voltage

Columbia Records/Legacy Recordings

It's Monday 17th of the hot summer February – we're in Australia, don't be surprised – of 1975, when Albert/EMI launches the debut album of a novice band on the national market. The musicians involved are the brothers Angus and Malcolm Young (guitars), Bon Scott (vocals), Rob Bailey (bass), Peter Clack and Tony Currenti (drums) and call themselves AC/DC, a name suggested by Young's sister who he noticed it on the body of his electric sewing machine. It's perfect: short, dry, simple and above all evocative of the electrifying energy that the group's music is imbued with. The album is the photograph of a band that already has its own distinct identity, but has little impact initially, especially due to its diffusion in the southern continent alone.

But the going gets really tough in April 1976, with the decision to market an international version of the album which, however, has notable differences compared to the initial one. First of all the cover (now there is a drawing of Angus hit by a bolt of lightning, instead of the dog pissing on the electrical control unit), but the great coup of class is an artfully reworked tracklist: only two pieces of the old print are kept, to make way for real bombs – only go up TNTa second work in the meantime published and exclusively distributed in Australia – like the irresistible It's A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock'n'roll), Rock'n'roll Singer, The Jack And Live Wirejust to mention a few epochal titles.

This version (which features Mark Evans and George Young on bass and Phil Tudd on drums in the replaced songs) does 100% justice to a band destined to shake stages, eardrums and souls – so much so that, in the Old Continent, for their sanguine exuberance, some go so far as to compare AC/DC to a punk band, but this isn't very popular with kids. And in fact Malcolm said in an interview in 2003: “When we were in England for the first time, in 1976, the record company intended to promote us as a punk rock band. We told them to go fuck themselves!”.

To stay in the mood of quotes, Phil Sutcliffe of Sounds that same year he wrote prophetically, regarding the album and the band's live shows: “In my opinion AC/DC will give an irreversible turning point to heavy metal, (they are) a totally physical rock'n'roll experience. The music of the two Youngs is like a forge in a dark night that forges heat and energy together to create something wonderful and powerful. And Bon Scott's lyrics, well, they have balls.”

The one of High Voltage it's a promise made at the counter of a pub, after the sixth beer and whisky, based on lascivious and dirty blues, but also on tough, electrifying, liberating hard rock. And full of desire to have fun. The engines are turned on and hot: the road to get to the top, with rock'n'roll, is long… but AC/DC knows it and are ready to go all the way. Whatever it takes.

Columbia Records/Legacy Recordings, on the occasion of the band's 50th anniversary, reissues the entire AC/DC catalog on gold vinyl. All LPs – in limited edition – are accompanied by a 12″x12″ print, different for each album, to collect and frame.

Australian edition tracklist:

Baby, Please Don't Go

She's Got Balls

Little Lover

Stick Around

Soul Strippers

You Ain't Got A Hold On Me

Love Song

Show Business


It's A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock'n'roll)

Rock'n'roll Singer

The Jack

Live Wire


Can I Sit Next To You, Girl

Little Lover

She's Got Balls

High Voltage