Like AC/DC? As in, a whole lotta AC/DC? If so, check out this massive 40-track/2-DVD set. Hardcore Angus-philes will dig that the first disc is devoted to the Bon Scott era, ca. 1975-’80 (Scott was the band’s original vocalist and died after a drinking binge in 1980). Disc two, meanwhile, is devoted to singer Brian Johnson’s platinum-studded reign, from the Back in Black onward.
The early material is fascinating. For starters, guitar god Angus Young had his schoolboy schtick down cold from the beginning, spastic duck walk and all. Back in ’75, his chops were pretty ferocious, too, but he and his underappreciated brother, Malcolm, hadn’t yet the developed the massive wall-of-Marshall tone for which they’d become famous. Key tracks on the Bon Scott disc are “It’s a Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock and Roll)” from 1976, taped on the back of a flatbed truck driving through downtown Melbourne, Australia (with bagpipers, to boot!), and the classic “Whole Lotta Rosie” from a 1978 BBC program. If you’ve never seen Scott in action, it’s a revelation – the man was an incredibly charismatic front man, perhaps even more than Johnson.
Nevertheless, you also get all the famed AC/DC anthems from both eras in promo-clip form: “Hell’s Bells,” “You Shook Me All Night Long,” and one of the great concert tracks of all time, “For Those About To Rock” (replete with cannons). The only track I missed was the barnburner, “Shoot To Thrill.”
Other than that, Family Jewels contains enough SGs, Gretsches, and walls of Marshalls to satisfy your shameless gear lust. Whether you need 40 full-length video clips to quench your AC/DC fever is between you and your eardrums, but no other band in pop history has been able to stretch three simple chords into so many timeless rock and roll classics. Rock on, Angus!
This article originally appeared in VG‘s June ’05 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.