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A glimpse of what might have been....
on 9 January 2016
With the death of lead singer Bon Scott in February 1980, the band wasted no time, recruiting Brian Johnson as the new front man, officially joining on April 1st, 1980. It was rumoured at the time that Slade's Noddy Holder was considered for the job........what about that?!
One of the interesting things for me with this album is that many of the basic tracks had already been written by the Young brothers, for what became BiB, before Scott died. They ended up reworking many to suit Johnson's different vocal style (and lyrics, of course). So you get a glimpse of what might have been, an album that was conceived in one form, but delivered in another.
So what about the album? Well, it's produced again by Mutt Lange, following on from the previous commercial break-through album, Highway to Hell and sounds similar in some ways. The sound is rounder and fuller than the pre-HtH AC/DC albums. It has some fantastic trademark riffs and thumping rock tracks, my favourites being Shoot to Thrill, Given the Dog a Bone, Shake a leg and Have a Drink on Me. In my view, the lyrics are certainly sly and filled with not-so-subtle sexual metaphors, typical of earlier albums, however, Johnson doesn't deliver them with the same humour and cheeky-chappy, lovable rogue panache of Scott. And of course, who knows what lyrics Scott would have written to these tracks? Finally, I'm just not a fan of Johnson's singing style. It just grates on me. Always has. Sorry.
Overall a good hard rock/bluesy album, from a band that was in transition. Not my favourite and the last AC/DC album I still play. I can't help but wondering what it could have been if Scott had lived.