Let There Be Rock is AC/DC’s fourth studio album but only the second to be released in the USA. After their first two albums were combined to make High Voltage, the band’s 1976 album Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap was given a pass by their North American label, Atlantic Records. Not breaking into the American market only fueled the band’s desire to do so even more. Everyone upped their game for Let There Be Rock and by golly do we ever have a gem here. AC/DC’s prior outings have been great, but this album is their first masterpiece.
Before we discuss the tunes, we need to talk about the cover. It is the best AC/DC album cover if not the best Rock ‘N Roll cover of all time. Not only is the first appearance of AC/DC’s now iconic logo designed by Gerard Huerta but… well just look at it:
I rest my case.
The sleazy Go Down, launches the album with a hard rock punch in the face with one of Malcolm Young’s tastiest of riffs. Angus Young shreds lead with an amazing tonal range.
Singer Bon Scott’s lyrics, about a.. shall we say… sexually uninhibited and legendary groupie Ruby Lips are as bluesy as ever.
Ruby, Ruby, where you been so long
Done took to drinkin’ whiskey
Baby since you been gone
Ain’t no one I know do it as good as you
On the vinyl record the song fades out due to space limitations and for some reason that was repeated the original CD, but every copy since the album’s first remastering now has the tune ending in the usual AC/DC flourish. Make sure you update if you haven’t already. #WorthIt
Dog Eat Dog was the album’s first single which is odd, because for me it is probably the weakest tune on it.
The title track, Let There Be Rock might be the heaviest song they ever recorded. You can feel the anger. The tune frequently breaks down to only Mark Evan’s bass and Phil Rudd’s drums backing up Bon’s soliloquies. Listening to a locked in Phil Rudd for its entire 6 minutes and 10 seconds is a treat in of itself. Legend has it that Rudd recorded only four takes for this… all back to back. The second take is the one that made the record.
Bad Boy Boogie got major play during the live shows as it earned Angus Young’s “strip tease” treatment. As someone who plays these songs on guitar like a true amateur I can see why. It is a blast to play. I also enjoy the intro that features the sound of the tape machine coming to full speed and Phil Rudd setting up the high hat. It helps to give the album a raw vibe.
Problem Child is the only song that differs from the Aussie release. We are supposed to be hearing “Overdose” right now, but instead we have a tune that was recorded for Dirty Deeds. I’m really not a fan of it being here. It is edited down to fit the album and its production quality doesn’t quite fit the rest of it. Crabsody in Blue is a fine song and should not have been chopped off to make room for this.
The final three tracks are all gold. Overdose goes for that raw vibe again by leaving mistakes in the intro. It is a slow burn but it really picks up. I swear, every guitar is set to a different tuning for Hell Ain’t A Bad Place To Be. It works as to give them a deeper sound for the tune’s big, chugging guitar riff. Bon lyrics are about a woman who doesn’t treat him right, but he stays with her because she’s good in bed. Classic Bon. Classic tune.
Whole Lotta Rosie wraps it up. which means Let There Be Rock is book ended with two tunes about a sexually uninhibited women. On the surface you could argue that there is something overly chauvinistic but these songs, but they are really about Bon having fun. He isn’t angry at the women or fixated on their physical beauty. It’s about two consensual adults having a good time. Damn, that man was a poet.
If you are a fan of music get this album.
As an AC/DC album: 4.5/5
Compared to all other music: 5/5