If you haven’t read my review for AC/DC’s Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (1976), go check it out! We are moving on with Let There Be Rock (1977), a classic AC/DC record that fans love! We know the boys love it because most of their setlist comes from that album (and Back in Black (1980)). Right of the bat, the cover artwork is stunning. It’s so bad*** with the guys on the front, a partial view of the audience, and Angus Young playing his guitar like a boss. I love the dark color palette as well to give it a more vintage vibe.
Let There Be Rock is the band’s last studio album to feature Mark Evans on bass and produced by Harry Vanda and George Young (Mal and Angus’ older brother). Like Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, the Australian release features a slight variation from the international release. The Australian release has “Crabsody in Blue,” while the latter has a shortened version of “Problem Child.” I don’t mind having a shortened version of “Problem Child” because I complained in my Dirty Deeds review that the track was too long, so I’m glad the band took my advice (haha).
But dang, “Crabsody in Blue” is such a blues-oriented track, and the guitar tones are so mean and gritty. That was a bad move on the record company’s part to take out “Crabsody in Blue.” AC/DC released it along with other unreleased tracks on Backtracks (2009), but it took them so long to put out these hidden Bon Scott gems that fans weren’t even aware of them when he was alive. With that said, let’s move on to the album tracks!
“Go Down” has a solid groove, heavy distorted guitar tones, and a punchy bass riff. The chorus repeats the song title over and over again, but I still dig it. My first introduction to “Go Down” was through the band’s 1996 performance at VH1 Studios, so Brian Johnson sang it. Not that I’m complaining, but I enjoyed Scott’s playful persona he brought to the studio version. “Dog Eat Dog” features pounding drum work from Phil Rudd, and it has a brilliant main riff from Malcolm Young. My only complaint is what’s with AC/DC’s obsession with dogs? Like seriously, “Dog Eat Dog,” “Givin’ the Dog a Bone,” and “Dogs of War,” what’s the hidden meaning behind those songs, boys?
“Let There Be Rock” is overplayed, but I am not sick of it…yet. Part of the reason is that Rudd’s metronome drumming still blows my mind. His wrists and arm muscles must be sore performing that one on tour and keeping time for 12 to 14 minutes straight. Props to Rudd for his chops! “Let There Be Rock” also features Mal’s classic riff (which is like three chords for the most part), and there is a subtle bass riff, which I adore.
“Bad Boy Boogie” is best known as Angus’ striptease song, and it’s exactly that! AC/DC is the only band that can create fun dance songs that are not cheesy; Let There Be Rock came out in the 70s, and there were a lot of cheesy boogie songs released then. Oh, and to the guy that threw beer at Angus, you messed up BIG TIME!!!! “Problem Child” is incredible with the Young brothers’ ferocious riffs and mean guitar playing, and the maracas beginning in the third verse were a nice touch. As mentioned in my Dirty Deeds review, I prefer this version over the Dirty Deeds version because it is much shorter.
“Overdose” is a fine deep cut with another solid groove, heavy guitars that pierce through the mix, and Scott sings about being addicted to his lover. “Hell Ain’t a Bad Place to Be” has my favorite lyrics on the album; “Sometimes I think this woman is kinda hot / Sometimes I think this woman is sometimes not.” Way to be subtle, guys! I think the title is a bit much because they’re trying too hard to be bad boys. Then again, I like “Bad Boy Boogie,” so what do I know? The rhythm section is spot on for “Hell Ain’t a Bad Place to Be,” Scott’s tongue-in-cheek lyrics make for great entertainment, and Angus goes nuts during his solo.
AC/DC fans may hate me for this, but I am not a fan of “Whole Lotta Rosie.” In the first verse, I can barely understand what Scott is singing, and he screams the rest of the song. When looking at the song title for the first time, I thought it’d be a rip-off of “Whole Lotta Love;” yeah, it was the total opposite of that. I love the band’s energy in the song, despite the negatives. I’ll also give Scott props for showing some love for fat ladies!
Overall, I enjoy the vibe of Let There Be Rock. The guitar tones on this album are the best-sounding guitars I’ve ever heard on a rock record! I’m glad the bass was noticeable in the mix; Rudd did his thing, and Scott brought his humorous and cheeky personality to his vocals. I wasn’t a huge fan of Scott when I first got into AC/DC because I thought he wasn’t tough enough, and his smile creeped me out, but I dig him now (sometimes). Before I irritate any more AC/DC fans, I’ll end the review by giving the album 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Take care and see ya real soon!