In 1981, when I was a sophomore in high school, and my older brother Jak was a senior, I relied on him for transportation to and from school. He drove my Dad’s old 1979 VW microbus, which we affectionately termed the “Magic Bus” (and which I would later inherit and use for illicit activities). I remember one day he picked me up, and as I got into the passenger seat, he turned to me and said “You gotta hear this.” He slipped a fresh white cassette in to the cassette player and turned the volume up.
The first raunchy chords of “Back in Black” boomed from the speakers. It was my first exposure to AC/DC and I had never heard anything like it. The singer had a voice that sounded like a cross between a growl and a scream. We drove slowly around the high school parking lot. By the time “You Shook Me All Night Long” came on, I was hooked. I knew I would love this band forever. I later went back and listened to the older stuff, with Bon Scott, and fell in love with that too, but it would never have the visceral gut-level appeal that the album Back in Black does for me.
Although there are many good solos on that album, I chose “You Shook Me…” because I feel it captures the essence of Angus Young’s solo style and it has a great build up to it that sounds fun to play. Here’s the full song and the original music video on YouTube.
I don’t have an SG, but I think I can get a similar sound from my Les Paul. Here’s a photo of Angus Young’s signature cherry SG — what a sweet guitar:
I never got to see AC/DC live as a teenager, and now that I could see them (they are playing Houston and Dallas in a few weeks), I find the thought mildly distasteful. I don’t want to ruin my memories of that time with a chunky Brian Johnson and balding Angus parading around the stage. I’m sure they still sound great, but they are way past their glory days.
Here’s how I want to remember Angus Young, the wild child with the schoolboy outfit who just knew how to rock:
Video Lesson: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydOctq2pJOo