Bon: The Last Highway – Book Review

Mars' Music Mondays Banner

On February 19th 1980, Bon Scott, the then lead singer of the Australian rock group AC/DC passed away at only 33 years of age.  His death came after a night of heavy drinking with an acquaintance of his, Alistair Kinnar.  After arriving at his flat in the London suburb of East Dulwich, Alistair (who was intoxicated himself) was unable to carry Bon inside.  Alistair decided to leave Bon in his car over night to sleep off the alcohol.

He set the front passenger seat where Bon was lying all the way down and covered him with a blanket (or two).  Alistair then locked up the car and heading to his own bed.  When he awoke sometime in the late afternoon of the next day, Alistair made the gruesome discovery that Bon was dead.  Bon was lying at an awkward angle and had choked on his own vomit sometime during the early morning.

Two months later AC/DC, headed by brothers Angus and Malcolm Young, were back in the studio recording their next album, Back In Black.  The Young Bros. decided to carry on without Bon (being over $1 million in debt is a solid motivator) and all of the lyrics to the album’s tunes was credited to their new lead singer, Brian Johnson.  Back in Black went on to have über success becoming one of the top ten selling albums (world-wide) of all time.

Both Bon’s death and his involvement in Back in Black have been questioned over the years but not seriously for the most part.  The only substance found in Bon’s body during the autopsy was the equivalent of a half a bottle of whiskey.  Questions to the band from the music press as to if any of Bon’s material ended up on Back In Black was answered with a “no” before they moved on to asking about Angus’ school boy uniform or where AC/DC got its name.  For many years there was no real reason not to believe the official story.

Leave it to the internet though to give a platform to the conspiracy theorists.  Here they can repeat misinformation and junk science until it grows into ‘fact’. (The world is flat, y’all!)   The more times it is stated that Bon had written the lyrics for some of Back In Black‘s songs, or the facts about his death are questioned, the chances become greater that someone will listen.

I bring all of this up because these internet rumors are an integral part of Jesse Fink’s book, Bon: The Last Highway.  Jesse claims that there is something to these conspiracies and that his book will provide evidence to show it.  Spoiler alert: It doesn’t.


AC/DC during the Highway To Hell photo shoot: From the left, Cliff Williams, Malcolm Young, Angus Young, Phil Rudd, Bon Scott

Jesse explores the last three years of Bon’s life, most of it taking place States side as the band hit the clubs and visited local FM stations while touring in support of Powerage and later Highway To Hell.  Along the way, Jesse (who was denied an interview by any of the band members) talks to the people Bon hung out with in between shows and recordings.  They are some former managers, radio DJs, and members of other bands they toured with.  But the majority of the interviews are with friends, acquaintances, and the many lovers he had.  (Those bulging, ripped jeans could talk! Lemme tells ya!)

These folks tell interesting enough tales about Bon.  They describe how he could light up a room while being an all around good guy to hang with, but he also could be recluse at times.  He was unsure of himself and didn’t like the ‘rock star’ persona he had to put on for every show.  He also didn’t know when the party should stop and would continue long after everyone else had ended their night.

Honestly, this is where the book is at its best.  Jesse is a good writer that will keep you invested as he spins these yarns.  When I read biographies I sometimes feel like I’ve cracked open an encyclopedia, but not with this book.

However, I do have an issue with Jesse’s journalism.  Jesse believes these people’s testimony can prove Bon’s work is on Back In Black and substances besides alcohol were in his body the night he died.  People who had a relatively brief encounter(s) with a man they hardly knew.  Most of which came away with good, lasting impressions of someone who would later go onto become a legend in rock music.

These are the people Jesse asks, Do you believe Bon could have written the lyrics to Back In Black‘s biggest hit, ‘You Shook Me All Night Long?  Can you guess what their opinion will be?  Some of these folks are not able to bring themselves to listen to post Bon AC/DC.  I can understand why since they’re fiercely loyal to his memory and it would be difficult to accept how the band went on to have greater commercial success without him.  But they are also likely to give an emotional opinion.  Let take a look at a few of them.

Bon’s former lover Holly-X from Miami Florida (an area the band spent a lot of time in) is convinced ‘You Shook Me All Night Long’ is written about her.  Change a few words around, omit one lyric for another, point out how the horse she once owned that had a verb for a name gets a shout out, and she makes a convincing enough argument.  Thing is, I’m sure we can find a few ladies who spent some time with Brian Johnson who could make as convincing of a claim.  Interpreting the meaning behind song lyrics may be compelling, but it isn’t evidence.

holly x

Bon’s lady friend from Miami, Holly-X.  She claims the lyrics for “You Shook Me All Night Long” are about her.  True or not, Bon certainly had a good eye.

Vince Lovegrove, the lead singer of Bon’s former band The Valentines ‘confirmed’ that Bon’s estate receives royalties for Back In Black.  Hmmmm… why would the Scott family receive royalties for an album that Bon’s name doesn’t appear on?  And how does Lovegrove of all people know this?  According to the book, Bon’s brother told Lovegrove this interesting piece of accounting.  Hearsay aside, this is not evidence.  For one, Bon’s brother or Lovegrove could be mistaken.  Second, the interview took place in 2006.  Since Bon’s brother doesn’t claim the Estate has been receiving money since 1980 it could have started anytime in between.  It is possible that the Scott Estate receives royalties from the copies of Back In Black that were bundled inside AC/DC’s 1997 boxset, BonfireBonfire was designed as a tribute to Bon and features him prominently on the cover.


Could its inclusion in the Bonfire boxset be the reason why Bon Scott’s estate receives royalties for Back In Black?

Finally, one of Bon’s long(er) time lovers, Silver Smith claims the alcohol Bon downed on the evening he died was in celebration for “completing the lyrics for Back In Black“.  According to Silver, Bon wrote these lyrics down in a notebook and left it in his flat.  Since it was hastily stripped clean by the band soon after he died, this has led her to believe that they used his notes.  With all due respect to Silver, this makes no sense.

Some song writers do write music around lyrics.  Elton John is probably the most famous person I know that writes this way.  AC/DC does not.  Their business begins with hammering down a big guitar riff, maybe get an idea for a title, then melody and lyrics over top.  One thing that isn’t in dispute is how after the Highway to Hell tour ended, Bon did not have an opportunity to collaborate with the Young Bros. before he died.  So, how would Bon have the lyrics to songs he didn’t know the melody or phrasing of?  He would not know how many syllables to fit in a line, let alone words.  It is entirely possible he did have some ideas written down, but a full set of lyrics like Silver claims and Jesse backs is ludicrous.

silver smith

Bon’s long time girlfriend Silver Smith claims that he completed all of the lyrics to the Back In Black album the night that he died.

I could go on but I don’t want to turn this into an essay (If I haven’t already).  There are claims that Bon died of a heroin overdose instead of alcohol poisoning despite the autopsy report not mentioning it… ah crap… I have to go on.  This one sticks in my craw too…

Ok, so Jesse biggest piece of ‘evidence’ for this claim is how Alistair has changed the details in his story of what happened that night.  Over the 30 odd years Alistair had been interviewed about that night (He disappeared at sea in 2006.  Yeah, another odd part of the story), he added a second phone call to Silver Smith (apparently she was the one who told him to leave Bon in the car), how he was able to keep an eye on Bon from one of the windows in his flat, and how someone stopped by midday and told him his car was empty.  He went back to sleep thinking Bon got up on his own and left.

To Jesse, Alistair’s ever-changing story is proof of a cover up.  Jesse believes Bon died before they arrived at Alistair’s apartment.  Apparently Alistair wanted to wait to give the heroin in Bon’s system time to leave (How does heroin leave a dead body?) before calling an ambulance or the police.  Alistair later drove Bon to the hospital only after he thought it was ‘safe’.  Not an impossible theory, but also not a likely reason why Alistair changed his story over the years.

Place yourself in Alistair’s shoes for a moment.  You went out with this rock singer one night and now he is dead.  Year after year he becomes increasingly bigger in death than he ever was in life.  Every time his death is brought up, be it in a book, magazine, or blog post your name is in the cross hairs.  Your actions on that evening are questioned every time.  Imagine telling the story of how you threw a blanket on him and left him in a car on a chilly February evening.  Then you are asked the question, “How could you leave him like that?”

“Uh.. I asked the girlfriend twice what to do…. There was some one who stopped by and told me he left… I could see the bloke from my bedroom window…”

Wouldn’t your story change too?  These are attempts by Alistair to not present himself as the aloof drunkard he was that evening.  The burden of Bon’s death placed on his shoulders must have been unimaginable.  The fact is, Bon is the one who downed the booze that night, but no one wants to believe their hero makes mistakes.  It’s much easier to pin the responsibility on some guy from East Dulwich.

Towards the end of the book, Jesse builds to two theories he has for what ‘truly’ happened that evening.  His evidence was so thin to this point that I didn’t even bother to read them.  I approach a conspiracy like how detectives like Philip Marlowe, Sam Spade, Andy Sipowicz, or Odo would approach a crime.  Motive.  Motive is key.  Without motive you do not have a crime.  So, what reason would the Young Bros. have to cover up Bon’s death?  Why would they not take the opportunity to use Bon’s lyrics on a tune or two and not give him the credit?

Two people in the book do mention a couple of possible motives, but they are so ridiculous Jesse glosses over them quickly so the reader doesn’t spend too much time thinking about them. But they were the only ones I could find.

One is money.  The Young Bros. wanted to cut Bon out of the royalties and keep the dough for themselves.  Well, if we are to believe Bon’s estate is receiving a cut of the royalties for Back In Black, as well as Brian who is credited on the album, than this makes no sense what so ever.  The second is how The Young Bros. wanted (needed) to prop Brian up as an amazing song writer.  Again, if money was the motive here, the Young Bros. missed the mark.  What a crutch it would be for Back In Black to have the last two or three tunes ever written by Bon Scott, an album AC/DC desperately needed to succeed better than Highway To Hell.  Instead of they prop up Brian Johnson?  A relatively unknown singer they were not sure would be accepted.  It doesn’t add up.

I’d be cool with this book if Jesse presented these stories without prejudice and let people decide for themselves what to believe.  Instead he dismisses any testimony from the band as lies or takes quotes from them out of context.  He paints the Young Brothers as mustache twirling villains who are only out for their own greed.  At times, Malcolm is the bad guy, other times Angus is.  Sometimes they didn’t do enough to monitor Bon’s behavior, other times they pushed him away with attempts to control him.

Towards the end of The Last Highway, right before he is about to revel his theories, Jesse recaps all of his evidence which he admits is “Anecdotal, circumstantial and subjective”.  Three words that perfectly describe this book.  The stories Jesse uncovered about Bon do make it a worthwhile read, but I recommend you take his rhetoric with a huge grain of salt.


Mars’ Music Pickups 2… with Wife

Wasn’t expecting to have another one of these posted so quickly, but….

We both took Monday afternoon off for some doctor’s appointments that ended up taking a fraction of the expected time.  And what better way is there to spend that extra time than a visit to the local thrift shop?

Also, forgot to take a photo of everything… again.  Sorry.

AC/DC Highway To Hell Review


Mars' Music Mondays Banner

Waaaaay back in the early 90’s, AC/DC’s Highway To Hell was the second CD I had ever purchased (Eric Clapton’s Unplugged being the first) and it was a bit of a gamble for me to pick up.  While I was devouring the Who Made Who and Back In Black cassette tapes I had recently bought at the time; I knew very little from this Bon Scott character.  The only tune I heard their former lead singer who had passed away was “Ride On” which was stuffed at the end of side one of Who Made Who.


I still remember sitting on the living room floor and spinning the album on my parent’s CD player for the first time.  As the tracks rolled on by with the headphones planted firmly on my head, the album quickly leaped ahead of everything else I had heard before.  Bon’s style delivered AC/DC with a different flavour.  This was to become my favourite rock album of all time.  Nothing has passed it yet.

Producer “Mutt” Lange’s involvement on Highway has certainly has been overstated enough, but let’s give credit where it is due.  Mutt’s influence is all over this record.

Is there any rock band that holds off on the bass as the groove builds better than AC/DC?  I think not.  It had been done before on pre-Mutt tunes like “Riff Raff”, but every track on Highway – EVERY track – builds up slowly. (I might give you that the “Girls Got Rhythm” fires from the start, but even it takes a few bars before the bass kicks in.)  I think Mutt really tuned into what this band did well and capitalized on it.

He did an amazing job with mixing the vocals.  Bon’s voice sounds more melodic than before; while the backing vocals from both rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young and bassist Cliff Williams are layered in a way to make average-y singers sound great.

Lead guitarist Angus Young credits Mutt with giving him a better direction with his solos; making them tight and concise.  Perhaps it is a bad idea if you are wanting to be a show-off rock god, but a good idea if you want a radio hit.


Original Aussie Cover had the band surrounded by flames.  This was considered to be too much for North American audiences by the record label and was removed.  Meh, I think we got a less busy one.

While Mutt did tighten the screws on the band’s studio sound; it would not have meant much if the tunes were not good and the band themselves had not stepped up their game.

Angus and Malcolm had some solid guitar tone before, but Highway’s is the kind that others try to emulate.  The shrillness that was present on prior albums was the side effect of cranking the Marshall amp settings (minus “presence”) to 10.  Angus and Mal both began to ease off on the treble for their previous album Powerage, and refined their sound a step further for Highway delivering a full, warm tone.


The song writing took a tonal shift as well.  Despite its title, Highway To Hell is a jovial party album.  At the risk of sounding like I’m trashing Powerage (Love you to pieces, Powerage), I think of how depressing it could be at times.  Tunes like “Gone Shootin'” and “Kicked In The Teeth” are amazing, but their subject matter is quite a downer.  I love ’em all, but the band’s previous albums are loaded with tunes about getting knocked down, or how “bad” they are, or how they will be big one day.  Highway To Hell is about having fun WHILE making it big.  AC/DC had always wanted to be the band on the upswing (and partly was); now they finally sounded like it.


“Walk All Over You” smacks you in the face with its opening line:

“Outta my way I’m a running high”

Bon confidently satisfies his lady friend during the sleazy “Touch Too Much”.  He puts a his foot down on an abusive relationship in “Beating Around The Bush”.  He delivers the goods with pride while being pulled in every direction in “If You Want Blood”.  And even while “Shot Down In Flames” is focused on getting rejected, Bon takes it in stride as he pursues another lady instead of dwelling on the one he lost.

The album’s darkest tune by far is the closer, “Night Prowler”.  Although its lyrics are chilling as Bon describes himself sneaking into a woman’s room, think of how he frames it with the chorus.  I’m YOUR Night Prowler.  As I’m YOURS.  I think he has permission to be this lady’s midnight caller.  The song would have been really dark if it was “I’m A Night Prowler”.  And even if you felt the song was getting too serious, Bon adds a little “Shazbot, Nanu Nanu” at the end.  A call to Robin Williams’ character on the popular ’70s TV comedy sitcom, Mork and Mindy.

I think this optimism is why I like Highway best.  I have no clue if it was the missing ingredient that previously held them back from breaking into the North American charts, but something about Highway did earn them broader appeal.  The title track was what they needed to get a spot onto the US Charts (peeking at #47) and allowed the album to reach the top 20 (peeking at #17).  Highway introduced many to AC/DC for the first time, and if a new comer asked me where they should start listening, I’d tell them right here.

As an AC/DC album, 5/5.
Compared to everything else, Amaze Balls/5.


PS: Shazbot! Nanu, Nanu

Mars’ Music Pickups… with Wife


Mars' Music Mondays Banner

This week for Mars’ Music Monday I made a pickup video featuring Super Sexy Blogger Extraordinaire Sarca_Sim!

I was going to snap a photo of everything we got for people who didn’t want to watch the video but… I forgot….

Well, highlights include a vinyl AC/DC single and ZZ Top’s Tejas.  Sarah got a box set with all of Phil Collins’ studio albums, and a few music related books.

Your Song – Singer/Songwriters – Neil Young – Time Fades Away Album Review

This review is part of “Your Song – Singer/Songwriters” group post put together by Danica.  I’m honoured to be a part of something the includes so many amazing writers.  You can check out the group poster over at her site, Living a Beautiful Life for a list of all of the bloggers involved.

Now, onto the review….


I remember finding Neil Young’s Time Fades Away at a record show back in the early ’00s for only a few bucks.  I was only beginning to dive into Neil’s catalog at the time; reaching further than the greatest hits and my beloved Ragged Glory.  The album was full of tunes I hadn’t heard of before and I gave it a spin when I got home.  There didn’t seem to be any top 40 hit in the mix, but I thought a few of the tracks were good enough for “classic rock” radio.  Despite the lack of a hit single, the album sold very well in the ’70s, reaching gold status fairly quickly when it was released in ’73 on vinyl, cassette, and 8-track.

So, I was surprised to find out how obscure Time Fades Away was.  It had yet to make its way onto Compact Disc and its digital scarcity made it one of Neil’s most bootlegged albums.  Even in 2003 when Neil was putting a lot of his odd ball, experimental albums from the ’80s on CD for the first time, Time Fades Away was not invited to the party.  After digging a little further, I found the reason why:  Neil hates it.

The album is a collection of concert recordings from various venues in 1973 (“Love in Mind” being the only exception as it was recorded in ’71).  Apparently Neil was drinking heavily at this time and wasn’t in the best frame of mind.  To make matters worse, audiences during the tour were lukewarm to his supporting band, The Stray Gators.  Their heavier, electric edge were in direct contrast with those who played on Neil’s mega successful album Harvest.

Neil adamantly didn’t handle things very well due to his own alcohol abuse and the recent death of his friend/Crazy Horse rhythm guitarist Danny Whitten.  Danny was to be with Neil for this tour but was unable cut it in rehearsal due to a heroin addiction.  After Neil handed him his walking papers with $50 and a plane ticket back to LA to get cleaned up, Danny passed away within a few hours from mixing his arthritic medication with alcohol.  All the while Neil had THIS tour, a 65 shows in 90 days commitment, to slog through.  Wow.

In 1987 Neil labeled it as “the worst record I ever made”.

Side One


Even by ’73, computers were taking over.

The album opens up with the title track, “Time Fades Away”.  The tune has a country groove with some harp and pedal steel action added in.  The lyrics are about a father who is advising his son to not waste his time with the drugs because life is too short.  (Or perhaps Neil is talking about Danny.)  I dig the slide work on this one.


Neil is solo on the piano for the next track, “Journey Thru The Past”.  The tune is about Neil and his lady friend taking separate nostalgic journeys through their own respective pasts.  He wonders if they will still be together when they reunite.  Neil wrote it at the same time he was writing the soundtrack for the film Journey Through the Past.  He included it here instead of the soundtrack since, as he states “I found out that they had nothing to do with each other.” Neil makes an audible mistake during a chord change, but man… this is a downright gorgeous tune.  Really too bad it is buried on this album.

“This will be kinda… experimental…”  That is how Neil’s CSN&Y buddy David Crosby kicks off the track “Yonder Stands the Sinner”.  The tune is about conflict and it feels like it could have used some more time in the oven.  Not a bad song, but Neil is pushing the vocals here.

“L.A.” is the only track with its own Wikipedia post.  Most likely because it was covered by The Black Crowes in 2006.  The tune is of Neil’s vision for a post apocalyptic L.A. with lyrics that are a wee bit too much on the nose for my taste.  Not bad by any stretch but again probably needed more time to cook.

The solo piano is back for the shortest track on the album, “Love In Mind”.  Barely not reaching the 2 minute mark, the lyrics are a poem that moves from questions of love to life itself.  Deep stuff.  Past the dutchie on the left hand side.

Side 2


Neil has his electric out for “Don’t Be Denied”, a personal tune that I think defines the “singer/songwriter” category.  It’s about some major moments in Neil’s life where he doesn’t give up.  Getting beat up at school after moving to Winnipeg as a kid, playing guitar with his friends, leaving Canada, playing in L.A.  Great tune.  Probably my favorite on the album.

Neil is solo on the piano and harp for “The Bridge”.  The song is about a broken relationship built on lies.  Both involved are trying to build “a bridge” back to each other. Another one with lyrics that are too on the nose.  It’s OK, but I’m guessing this might be one Neil wasn’t happy with.

If you’re a fan of the Neil’s big jam tunes like “Cortez the Killer” or “Like a Hurricane”, you owe it to yourself to check out “Last Dance”.  Lyrically the tune feels like an early demo:

You wake up in the mornin’
And the sun’s comin’ up.
Its been up for hours
and hours and hours
And hours and hours and hours
It’s been up for hours
and hours and hours

And you light up the stove
And the coffee cup, it’s hot.
And the orange juice
is cold, cold, cold

Monday morning,
Wake up, wake up,
wake up, wake up
Its time to go,
Time to go to work.

Oof.  But if you can look past that, you’ve got a rockin’, almost 9 minute jam with Graham Nash joining in on a six string and backing vocals.  It doesn’t exactly have that signature “Crazy Horse” groove, or a monster guitar solo from Neil, but it does plug along nicely while doing its own thing.


Neil is unhappy with Time Fades Away, but perhaps his dislike stems from how it may rehash some bad memories.  A few tunes have some rough edges, but overall I found an album that is good listen.  I could only imagine what it must be like to write some of these songs and come away with: These are my “worst ever”.

Thankfully, it is so much easier today to check this one out for yourself than it was a few years ago.  A CD of the album was finally released in 2017, although it only received a limited printing which makes it just as expensive as the LP is today.  But it also made it to a few digital outlets like Spotify and whatnot.  Or you can just giver a listen on YouTube for however long that may last.



For more on this album and the source for all quotes and facts head over to:

and the album’s Wiki page:


The curious case of AC/DC’s If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It!)

Mars' Music Mondays Banner

A few years ago I made a CD loaded with mp3 files of every song lead singer Bon Scott recorded with AC/DC.  It was the perfect disc to take with me in the car as I’d drive around town running from errand to errand.  The playback would be set to Random-ALL so I’d get a variety of tracks from any album.  On time, just as I started the car, the disc continued to play my favourite AC/DC tune, “Whole Lotta Rosie”.  The track kicked in right when Bon belts out “You can say she’s got it ALLLLLLLLL”.  As I listened, I could not figure out why the song sounded… a little off.  Bon was fine, but the guitars were playing back too fast.

It then dawned on me that I wasn’t listening to the studio version from the album Let There Be Rock, but the “live” version from If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It!).  With my windows rolled down I couldn’t make out the added crowd noise, and it was the first time I noticed how similar the two cuts are.  I started thinking… maybe those internet rumors about how this album is somewhat doctored are true…


The official line for If You Want Blood (IYWB) is all of the tracks were recorded at the Apollo Theatre in Glasgow, Scotland on April 30th, 1978.  Some are trimmed down and one is omitted (“Dog Eat Dog”, since released on Backtracks in 2009) so most of the concert could fit onto a single vinyl record disc.

Many have questioned the authenticity of this since its release.  They point to evidence that shows how the album has been “sweetened” with additional crowd noise, and some tracks are “improved” with studio takes.  As someone who listens daily to all things AC/DC for the past 25 years, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that SOME of these claims are indeed true.

When I decided to write about IYWB I dragged “Rosie” into some audio editing software (Adobe Audition) to find out for myself what was doing.  And after looking at it under the microscope I am convinced the track is NOT what the audience heard that night in Glasgow.  The following video is about what I discovered:



Other’s have gone further with the track than I have.  There are claims that rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young gets tripped during a chord change at the exact same spot and drummer Phil Rudd’s end fill is a verbatim copy of the studio cut.  I didn’t have to go that far though to know IYWB‘s “Rosie” is indeed a bastard of studio work.  I can hear it in singer Bon Scott’s voice.  The way he shouts that line.  It is enough for me.


So if “Rosie” on IYWB isn’t from that one evening in Glasgow, then what exactly is it?  As far as I can tell, Bon’s vocals are a mix of the final studio track and alternate takes.  The rhythm section is sped up, then the pitch is adjusted so the guitars keep their “ballsy” tone without sounding too “mousy”.  Both are laid on top of some generic crowd noise before finally some questionable solo work from lead guitarist Angus Young is added in.

I know.  Some of you might be screaming at me now about how Angus’ solos are completely different from the studio version, which shows how “Rosie” is indeed live.  Well, not quite.

The final studio cut of Angus’ first solo on LTBR’s “Rosie” has a pattern that he follows every time he plays it on stage.  There are times when he will need to make a small adjustment as he bounces around like a wild animal. So, of course he is going to need to take some poetic licence and swing the strings a wee bit different.

His solos on IYBW, however, are WAY out there.  Not even close.  Instead, Angus begins the first solo by hammering on some C and A notes with vibrato before taking it to places it has never been before or since.  It is cool and all, but… why does Angus play the solo in a different way for only one show?  I don’t believe he did.


My guess is that IYWB‘s solo is actually an alternate take from the studio.  Since it isn’t as elaborate as Angus’ usual one, it is most likely an earlier cut; a first or second attempt at a kick ass solo before Angus perfected it to how it is finally heard on Let There Be Rock.

So, now that we know (and have accepted) the truth… Is this a bad thing?  Well, it depends on how you look at it.  You could be upset how this was sold as a live track 40 years ago (which it clearly isn’t), or you can be happy that you have an alternate studio version of “Rosie” to enjoy.  I choose the latter.

Does this mean IYWB is a terrible album?  Nope.

I believe “Rosie” is the only track to receive this Frankenstein treatment.  There are some shenanigans happening with Malcolm and Cliff’s backing vocals on “High Voltage” and “Rock ‘n Roll Damnation”.  However, the rest of the album seems to be a recording of what happened in Glasgow, 1978.  Plus, by now there is enough concert footage officially released from the band (See Plug Me In DVD Box Set) to show that they were legit that evening.


In fact, I feel that IYWB is a tight live album that you should have in your collection. Editing the show down to one disc means there isn’t a lot of filler to sit through.  Bon’s voice was in fine form and not as… “slurry” as it could be heard on other live shows from the same era.  This Glasgow concert had a different flavour from the norm as “Riff Raff” kicks it open instead of the usual “Live Wire”, and “Rocker” wraps it up instead of “Let There Be Rock”.  The band was on fire that night while the tunes are kept to the point, so I can see why this show was chosen to get official live status.  Despite its flaws, IYWB‘s uniqueness makes it one of my favorite AC/DC albums.

As an AC/DC album: 4/5
Compared to everything else: 5/5


PS:  Follow the link if you want a smokin’ version of AC/DC doing “Rosie” live for REALS in ’78  24:36

AC/DC Backtracks Collector’s Edition Deluxe Box Set Unboxing

Mars' Music Mondays Banner

I know this set has been around since 2009 but I just picked it up myself the other day.  Couldn’t believe amazon still had new copies lying around from 9 years ago!  Oof… 2009 was 9 years ago….


The set has been fantastic so far.  I’ve been listening to the tracks and plan on giving the DVDs a spin soon.  Good times!