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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for both dedicated and casual AC/DC fans
I was delighted to receive Mick Wall's excellent AC/DC biography as a Christmas gift from my wife - a gift she may now regret due to the minor obsession with the band it's inspired in me.

I came to be an AC/DC fan relatively late in life, starting with the two obvious albums, Highway to Hell and Back in Black. I collected the rest of the Bon Scott era catalogue...
Published 22 months ago by Stuart Neville

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3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as it could of been.
Was very disappointed with this publication. Have many books about AC/DC going back to the 1980's and all of them good. But having not bought one for many years though i'd updat my bio's on this fab group. I first bought " Maximum Rock n roll" by Murray Englehart ( which i did enjoy) a couple of years ago , but then this year saw that Mick Wall had done a...
Published 3 months ago by chiron


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for both dedicated and casual AC/DC fans, 6 Feb 2013
By 
Stuart Neville (Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I was delighted to receive Mick Wall's excellent AC/DC biography as a Christmas gift from my wife - a gift she may now regret due to the minor obsession with the band it's inspired in me.

I came to be an AC/DC fan relatively late in life, starting with the two obvious albums, Highway to Hell and Back in Black. I collected the rest of the Bon Scott era catalogue over recent years, as well as the main post-Scott works, but I perhaps haven't paid the earlier albums the attention they deserve. I think the highest compliment I can pay to Mick Wall's book is that it has made me go back to those records a fresh ear.

The greater part of the book is dedicated to the Bon Scott years, with much time spent on the Young brothers' formative days, the successes and failures of their elder sibling George, and Scott's time spent moving between Australia and England in one band or another. There were many revelations within these pages, at least for this ill-informed reader, including the strictly enforced hierarchies in the band. I never knew, for example, that Malcolm Young was and is the boss of the operation.

It has to be said that Wall's depiction of AC/DC, and in particular their internal politics, is often less than flattering. He strips aside the good-bloke personas of the brothers Young and reveals them to be ruthless in their dealings with everyone from road managers to other band members. Malcolm Young's near-tyranny goes so far as to almost derail AC/DC's career on more than one occasion. If you're looking for a rose-tinted view of the band, you'll be disappointed. This is very much warts-and-all. Wall's portrayal often seems filtered through his own personal feelings, particularly on the circumstances of Bon Scott's death, but this is no bad thing. The subjective viewpoint gives the narrative a passion that rock biographies often lack.

I have two minor criticisms: first, the prose is occasionally a little lacking in finesse, sometimes pulling me out of the narrative to re-read the odd clumsy sentence and ensure I understood its meaning; second, the Brian Johnson years seem somewhat skimmed over, though this may be due to a combination of scant source material and the band's relative inactivity since the early 90s. But I'm being very picky there because this is a terrific book for fans of AC/DC, and anyone with more than a passing interest in classic rock.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hell of a trip, 6 Dec 2012
By 
Harry Paterson (notts United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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Mick continues to mature and develop still further as one of the world's finest chroniclers of rock 'n' roll history, even after 30-plus years in the business. His Zep book, 'When Giants Walked The Earth' is already the definitive work for serious readers and the purple patch continues, following the Metallica opus, with this;the hitherto untold tale of bar-room boogie bad boys made international mega-stars, ACDC.
I have to share Mr McIver's view that it took some balls to so firmly focus on the Scott years. With so little of the book left to discuss Brian Johnson there was a very real danger of the the latter quarter seeming rushed and perfunctory. That it is not, in any way, is a testament to Mick's skill and talent as a storyteller.
Rudd's exit is jaw-dropping and is covered quite unlike anyone else's account, with new insights and information that add to the depth and substance of the work.
Mick has a real nose for sniffing out previously unknown facts and weaving them skilfully into his work and so it has proved here again. You think you know the ACDC story? Trust me; not until you've read this, you don't.
Outstanding and essential reading for any serious lover of 20th century contemporary music.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking insight., 2 April 2013
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First of all let me say I'm 48, a fan since back in black. My brother came home from uni with the live if you want blood . . And I couldn't believe what I heard. I was too young then to really follow them, and they were off my radar when Bon died.
By the time for those about to rock was released I had all their albums to that date.
This book covers in great detail that period, rather glossing over the more recent stuff.
It's clearly and openly stated that noone within the band or current crew has cooperated, and it's true that many of the sources have been fired by them, well really Malcolm, so you could say its likely to be biased.
I was particularly interested in the Bon Scott aspect, clearly an intelligent and warm guy, allowed to decend into hell without any intervention.
I think it's probably accurate as I've read before frankly that malcolm is a tyrant.
It's a real shame as they are superb, but they have lost their direction since I don't know when.
It's now all I need to re-affirm my view that ac/dc pretty much ended when Bon died, a few songs and perhaps BIB being an exception. Their best album for me is Powerage.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another giant-slaying epic from Wall!, 26 Nov 2012
By 
JJ McIver (London) - See all my reviews
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Mick Wall has a habit of delivering gold-standard biographies that pull no punches, and in the wake of his Zeppelin and Metallica books he has pulled off a splendid hat-trick in Hell Ain't A Bad Place To Be. Like most sane people he focuses much of his interest in AC/DC on the Bon Scott years, placing Bon's death -- which he investigates more thoroughly than any previous author -- coming after approximately three-quarters of the book's length has elapsed. The reader is swept along, marvelling at the author's balls for taking on the closed shop of the Young brothers while bringing fresh light to new and old tales alike. Outstanding work, that man.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as it could of been., 7 Sep 2014
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Was very disappointed with this publication. Have many books about AC/DC going back to the 1980's and all of them good. But having not bought one for many years though i'd updat my bio's on this fab group. I first bought " Maximum Rock n roll" by Murray Englehart ( which i did enjoy) a couple of years ago , but then this year saw that Mick Wall had done a autobiography on AC/DC , i thought i'd invest in buying it ( lets face it his bio on Led Zeppelin was fantastic).
My first moan is that as with a lot of the other AC/DC bio's too much of it is based around what the Young brothers and Bon Scott did before the band emerged which would them take up nearly 2/3's of the book when you then put in the equation of the Bon Scott years. then you would end up with three chapters racing through Brian Johnsons part in the band. Now considering that Brian Johnson has been in the band almost 4 decades i feel he does deserve a bit more of a input in the book.
I thought that maybe Mick Wall would of been different but he did exactly what the others have done , so to me if you want the ultimate AC/DC bio buy " Maximum Rock n Roll" it is better.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book about AC/DC, but mostly about the Bon Scott-era, which is understandable., 24 Oct 2014
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This is a very good book about AC/DC. I don't write a lot of reviews, so it will be a short one.
Mick Wall is a fine writer, and I got to know his writing through reading Kerrang!magazine in the 80's.
You can tell, that he first and foremost is a fan of the Bon Scott-era, but so am I, so why waste time and place one stuff regarding the not so good years/albums in the AC/DC-world, but everything is covered, more or less. I agree with Wall, that the last really classic AC/DC-album was "Back In Black".
Good to read about Robert John "Mutt" Lange as well, since there's not much information about him elsewhere (that I'm aware of). Best producer ever!!
I'm looking forward to reading Mick Wall's books about Black Sabbath and The Doors as well, and hope to see him writing books about Cheap Trick, Van Halen and Jethro Tull in the future, since there are no good books about those bands around. Which is pretty strange.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Book, 31 July 2013
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This review is from: AC/DC: Hell Ain't a Bad Place to Be (Kindle Edition)
What an excellent book about the band very well researched interviews with every one involved in band,It shows what an influence Malcolm Young has on band .A book well worth buying.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Controversial, 21 July 2013
Seems to be a rather good and informative book, although much of the information in this book can be found in other ac/dc books, especially the Highway to hell Bon Scott book. I get the feeling that this author doesn`t like the Young brothers, especially Malcolm. The author praises Mutt Lange, the producer of the 3 ac/dc albums highway to hell, back in black and for those about to rock. The author claims that these are ac/dc`s best albums, where most would disagree. I think ac/dc`s best albums are the first 5 George Young Harry Vanda produced albums. No way is For those About To Rock better than Let There Be Rock or Powerage. The author does touch on a few controversial topics such as who really wrote much of the lyrics to the Back In Black album. He claims Bon did. I don`t suppose we`ll ever know the truth about who did write the lyrics but it wouldn`t be suprising if Bon did write the lyrics to that album. Bon did have a note pad where he did write down many of his lyrics for songs. That note pad did disappear after his death. I have also seen an interview with angus where Angus says that sometimes Bon would struggle to write lyrics and he had to get George, Angus`s brother, to help Bon with the lyrics. So maybe Bon`s notepad of lyrics had both his and george`s lyrics written in that book. And when the time came to put words to the Back In Black album, the band maybe didn`t know which lyrics were Bon`s or which lyrics were George`s in that note pad. The most controversial topic in this book is the story about how bon died. I have to agree with the author here who claims that we`ve not been told the full story about how Bon died. It`s now pretty well known that the "chocking on his vomit" was a cover story. The author in this book claims that Bon had snorted heroin that night and actually died from snorting the heroin. The author also claims that alister Kinnear, who last saw Bon alive, was a heroin dealer as was bon`s live in lover at the time, Margaret Silver. I do believe that there`s more to the story of bon`s death but whether he died of a heroin overdose, i don`t know. If this story about bon`s death is true then alister Kinnear will, and rightly so, end up being the most hated man in the history of Rock`n`roll.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Angry young men!!!, 1 July 2013
By 
Rab and Tricia Cook (loughborough, leicester United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
Having read lot's of AC/DC book's this is without doubt the best. The Bon year's are very well covered and offer plenty of information to all AC/DC fan's. However the Brian Johnson year's are skipped through and it left me wanting more from Johnson's 33 year's. I feel the author has a personal problem with AC/DC especially after Johnson joined the band. The AC/DC of today is still at the very top of the rock world but if Malcolm Young hadn't received help in 1988 I wonder if the show would have been over. A fascinating read throughout but it could have been even better with more time spent on Johnson's time in the band. I think a lot of people have grew up knowing only Brian as the front man and would love more info.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Britain's best rock writer on the great white shark of the music biz, 24 April 2013
By 
N. Page (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
I've been a die-hard rock music fan since 1976. One of the first bands I ever saw live was Bon Scott and Co in a small pub in Hammersmith, west London and it was quite an experience being up that close to such a powerhouse of a band. Wth punk at its height, I saw them twice on the Powerage tour during 1978 when they would open the set with 'Riff raff', one of my all-time fave AC/DC songs - I'm somewhere down the front on that youtube footage of the band at Essex University (Colchester) on 21 October 1978, a set that was broadcast on the BBC in their 'Rock goes to college' series. The album following 'Powerage' entitled 'Let there be Rock' was probably the turning point for the band and "Whole lotta Rosie" from 'Let there be rock' used to make my all-time Top 20 rock chart on a regular basis. It probably appears in millions of other fans' charts too. I must admit to not being too keen on the Mutt Lange-produced 'Highway to Hell' and by that time (1979) I was much more into other great bands such as Priest, Kiss and Rush. To be honest with their relentless boogie onslaught AC/DC weren't the most sophisticated of bands - I had taste after all - but by that time and within just two short years AC/DC had taken themselves from relative obscurity to headliner status (Def Leppard were their support on some of those 1978 gigs). The background to just how they achieved their break-through, the terrible internal politics, the wrangling, the fights and bust-ups along the way, how the Young 'clan' rode the waves of misfortune and heartbreak, even turning them to advantage whenever somebody or something seemed poised to snatch it all away from them are detailed in this remarkable account by Mick Wall. Read this book and amuse yourself by seeking out those old clips on youtube- the band's first TV appearances playing 'High Voltage'or Bon Scott with long-hair, beard, and playing recorder in his hippy-trippy days with pre-AC/DC band Fraternity. Or worse re-visit his teeny-bopping 'Bay City Roller' band 'The Valentines'- great stuff! Wall's book focuses on the Bon Scott years necessarily - after all the band have done little since - aside from the Lange-produced 'Back in Black', one of the all-time great rock albums - and nowadays it's less about the music than the marketing, the merchandise and finding ever more inventive ways of re-cycling the back catalogue. Wall of course re-visits Bon's death - and questions at length the accepted wisdom that Scott died after choking on his vomit; he quotes eminent physicians on the risks of consuming even a small amount of alcohol with heroin in the system. (Scott's long-term girlfriend 'Silver' was a well-known dealer..). The circumstances and the build-up to the death are relayed in grim and gripping detail. The band and management bear some blame too for not having Bon chaperoned or 'watched' - the guys though were more business associates than friends and moved in different circles outside of the band. The period following Scott's death is fascinating for historians of AC/DC - how they picked themselves up and moved on, discovering Brian Johnson and hooking up with producer-extraordinaire Mutt Lange. Even Trevor Rabin gets in on the story. Wall discusses the various myths and rumours about their 1981 post-Bon Scott 'Back in Black' - the album that catapulted them to the top of the superstar first division; were most of the lyrics penned by Scott prior to his death? How much of the album was Lange-inspired? Why was Lange subsequently sacked ? The 1981 LP 'For those about to rock' and the 1982 world tour showed perhaps that the band could still cut it, but Wall is harsh on the abilities of Brian Johnson - song highlights post-Scott are few and far between in the AC/DC catalogue and it wasn't long before the new vocalist even gave up lyric-writing duties, if he ever had any. Of course it must be hard playing second-fiddle to Bon Scott's burning ever-brighter legacy, having constantly to proclaim his greatness and sing his songs. As Wall makes clear, there is no happy ending to the AC/DC story. Like the great white shark of the music world AC/DC go on " it's hungry snout pushing ever forwards". Even as the Young brothers approach old age and inevitable infirmity, the AC/DC legend is cemented with every Youtube click or CDR rip or 'Best of ' or 'Re-mastered..' sale - of course not all of the back catalogue is available to download on i-Tunes or elsewhere; the success of 2008's 'Black Ice was, Wall states, in part due to the decision not to make it available for download. But that surely can only be a matter of time as the band seek out new revenue streams. Having survived the death of Bon Scott and the utterly insurmountable and unrepeatable success of 'Back in Black', last year's 'Live at River Plate' is simply the latest leg of one long victory lap. And if as his blurb states, Mick Wall is Britains's best-known rock writer and broadcaster then this book surely cements his reputation too..
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