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Articles Home » 1979 Articles » AC/DC - 1979 Highway To Hell
AC/DC - 1979 Highway To Hell

ALBUM: Highway To Hell
LABEL: Atlantic
SERIAL: SD 19244
YEAR: 1979
CD REISSUE: 1987, Atlantic, SD 19244-2 * 2003, Epic (USA), EK 80206


LINEUP: Bon Scott - vocals * Angus Young - guitar * Malcolm Young - guitar * Cliff Williams - bass * Phil Rudd - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Highway To Hell * 02 Girl's Got Rhythm * 03 Walk All Over You * 04 Touch Too Much * 05 Beating Around The Bush * 06 Shot Down In Flames * 07 Get It Hot * 08 If You Want Blood (You Got It) * 09 Love Hungry Man * 10 Night Prowler


The album that finally broke AC/DC in the U.S. would of course prove to be the final studio appearance of Bon Scott before he died in 1980. It's almost impossible to comprehend just how great AC/DC were with Scott at the helm and this classic record put them in another league. Using 'Mutt' Lange as producer streamlined their sound slightly and some of the rawness of the earlier albums was perhaps lost in transition, but not much. What a shame it would be Scott's epitaph, ending the lineup that redefined boogie then and now.

The Songs
Much of the material here takes on a more varied tone than the earlier efforts, which were mostly straight down the line 12 bar boogie. That's not to say the band had lost their intensity, with the expected faster tracks like 'Girls Got Rhythm', 'Beating around the Bush', 'Get It Hot' and 'If You Want Blood (You Got It)', some of the best tracks of the bands career. Nobody has ever topped the riffs of the Young brothers or the working class heroics of Scott's vocals. The band takes an interesting turn with 'Touch Too Much', which is as close to AOR as I think the band ever got. The melody is more obvious than usual and I'm sure this can be attributed to Lange. This showed a side to the band that hasn't been explored ever since. 'Night Prowler' is a slow blues drawl that would have been at home on the early albums and the title track is obviously one of the most well known anthems of all time. Every song is worthy of mention, 'Walk All Over You' full of energy and brash Aussie backing vocals and 'Shot Down In Flames' contains riffs made for head banging. 'Love Hungry Man' is another commercial sounding song for the band which makes me wonder what direction the band would have taken if Scott hadn't died.

In Summary
The only complaint I have with 'Highway' is the guitars not sounding as crunching as they had been on 'Let There Be Rock' or 'Powerage.' The live feel that had been present on those was obviously replaced by a more considered production job which left the guitars further down in the mix. I must say this is rather minor in the scheme of things, the album a monumental hard rock classic. This is the last AC/DC album of its kind as the boogie sound was dispensed with upon Scott's death, his passing one of the saddest in rock history. This went on to sell in the millions and put the band in the big leagues, with Bon able to reap the benefits for a brief while.. all too brief unfortunately..

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#1 | gdazegod on January 05 2010 01:07:26
Simply put, a down-under classic! Every Aussie bogan probably owns a copy of this record! have a beer
#2 | Eric on January 05 2010 04:48:43
The first time I heard this was in the Fall of 1979 at College. I never payed much attention to the band prior, but that title track kicked serious ass and at the time I was attending a Christian college which didn't go over very well when cranked up at high volume in my dorm... Oh well, I made it through and so did they...guitar
#3 | jeffrey343 on January 05 2010 15:59:42
Classic. Great songs all around. 'Touch Too Much' has always been a favorite of mine.
#4 | englandashes on January 05 2010 20:27:59
My favourite AC/DC album by far. Was one of the first albums I ever brought, and one I still play even now!
#5 | jefflynnefan on January 07 2010 01:45:38
Yep, classic album. It reminds me of my old 1978 Black T-Top Monte Carlo I had back then! 'Night Prowler' always sounds great!
#6 | sabace on April 21 2010 13:35:24
the last last truly great ac/dc lp .
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