In 1980, AC/DC’s frontman died and also the band’s future looked uncertain. Castle responded v the greatest album of their career and a smash solitary about screwing it is the closest point these bad-boy rockers ever before got to creating a love song.
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This Friday, AC/DC release strength Up, their an initial album in six years. For a the majority of us, new AC/DC records are a thing we take for granted — they present up with some regularity, and also they constantly contain the exact same strain of power-chord-laden, sex-crazed absent ‘n’ roll. And also thank god because that that. However Power up shouldn’t have happened — in fact, it looked prefer AC/DC’s previous album, rock or Bust to be going to it is in the end for a tape that acquired started way back in the early 1970s. After all, castle were dealing with several obstacles. Command guitarist Angus Young lost his brothers (and bandmate) Malcolm in 2017 to dementia. Frontman Brian Johnson was experiencing from look at irreparable hear loss. And their drummer, Phil Rudd, pled guilty in 2015 come charges of “threatening to kill” and drug possession. (He gained eight months of residence detention.) once the band had Axl increased step in for Johnson top top a couple of 2016 tour days — Johnson had actually been through AC/DC due to the fact that 1980 — it seemed that the long-running group can finally consider hanging it up. Instead, Johnson rejoined the lineup after undergoing treatment, and the band recorded Power Up together a way to respect Malcolm Young.
“This document is pretty lot a dedication come Malcolm, my brother,” Angus freshly told rolling Stone. “It’s a tribute for him like ago in black was a tribute to Bon Scott.”
It appears unlikely that strength Up will be as titanic as back in Black, AC/DC’s biggest record, and it appears even an ext unlikely that the brand-new album will certainly contain a song as mighty as “You Shook Me every Night Long,” i m sorry was the record’s large hit — and arguably still their most well-known song. “You Shook Me all Night Long” synthesized everything that’s amazing and shameless about this laddish Australian group while presenting their pan to your brand-new singer. It’s among the great songs about getting laid, and yet it’s also been a wedding-reception staple for years. And 40 year later, there’s still controversy over exactly how much your late frontman Bon Scott had actually to do with it.
By the so late 1970s, AC/DC had created a reputation as a no-frills hard-rock band. Punk and brand-new wave and also prog to be transforming absent at the time, however AC/DC didn’t get the memo: They simply wrote loud, anthemic songs about how much they loved to rock. Also, they had a knack for coming up through the most wonderfully juvenile ways to talk around having sex, so lot so the you can teach a food on the different twin entendres and also lewd euphemisms lock crammed right into their songs. (Just one example: “The Jack,” i m sorry rides a poker an allegory but is, in fact, a recommendation to the reality that the narrator’s unique lady friend has “the jack,” i.e. Gonorrhea.) Rock was evolving and also mutating, however AC/DC made certain it stayed terrifically primitive.
But after ~ finding success v albums choose Dirty Deeds done Dirt Cheap and also Highway to Hell, the band’s party-hearty ethos recorded up v them. ~ above February 19, 1980, frontman Bon Scott died at the period of 33 after a night of drinking, choke on his very own vomit. The tape was just about to begin work on the follow-up to Highway come Hell, but Scott’s fatality caused lock to inquiry whether they have to break up. “For us, it was like shedding a member of her family,” Angus Young stated later. “It’s very, very challenging to go through something choose that. Not just is it your friend, it’s also somebody you’ve been working through all that time.” however after the band attended the singer’s funeral, Scott’s father convinced them not to hang it up. Malcolm Young recalled that Charles “Chick” Scott called him, “You’ve gained to find someone else, you know that. Whatever you do, nothing stop.”
Quickly, the band made decision on Brian Johnson, a U.K. Singer who had previously made decision that his musical career was over. He’d been the frontman the a group referred to as Geordie, which had separation up after some success in the beforehand 1970s. When AC/DC come calling, he was focusing on a service that handled automobile repairs. “When i left Geordie, ns was totally broke,” he said. “I had nothing. And also I had two kids and also a mortgage come pay. Ns was control a VW Beetle that was 14 years old. I was fuckin’ skint.” He to be 32 when he teamed up through AC/DC, a band whose earlier catalog the didn’t also know especially well. Yet the Young brothers offered him the music for a tune they’d been functioning on, wonder if he might have part lyric ideas. The only direction they readily available Johnson to be a feasible title: “Shook Me all Night Long.”
Johnson was panicky around passing this first test. And then, according to him, something strange happened:
“I remember sit in my room. I had this blank sheet of record and this title, and also I to be thinking, ‘Oh, what have I started?’ and I’ll tell you something, and I’m not scared that being called a sissy and also I don’t believe in spirits and also that, but something occurred to me the night in that room. Other passed v us, and also I felt good about it. Ns don’t give a posesthe if people believe me or not, yet something washed through me and went, ‘It’s every right, son. It’s every right.’ This sort of calm. I’d favor to think it to be Bon, but I can’t, because I’m too downhearted and ns don’t want civilization getting carried away. Yet something happened, and also I simply started composing the song.”
Being a huge car guy, Johnson first hit upon the opened lines: “She was a fast machine / She kept her motor clean / She was the best damn woman that I ever seen.” however when he flew come the Bahamas to occupational with AC/DC ~ above the new record, the tune that to be to end up being “You Shook Me all Night Long” initially had a an ext bluesy, slowed-down feel. They conveniently realized, however, that sounded better sped up.
Like the 1970s songs the Scott had actually written through his bandmates, “You Shook Me every Night Long” was very straightforward: the a salute come a hot woman who’s an excellent in bed. There’s not lot character development, yes sir no plot twists, there’s no grander message. But there to be groan-worthy jokes, like as soon as Johnson announces in the first verse, “She called me to come / yet I was currently there.” (“I believed I’d unable to do too far with that, I should admit, yet nobody appeared to mind,” the singer stated in 2016.)
What to be different, though, to be the remarkable affection that Johnson mirrors to his object of lust. AC/DC reveled in bad-boy sex songs full of locker-room talk. “We were in Australia, i beg your pardon at that time was still a bit outback,” Malcolm Young defined in 1989. “It was just a means of life, a method of talking, and that’s how we communicated with the audience.” Sure, it can be sexist and also objectifying — judging by the story they bragged about, AC/DC was absolutely a boy’s club in which females were occasionally treated prefer playthings — however the band also evinced a sense of feeling that suggested that, at the very least in the music, it to be all simply a little bit of mischievous fun, for this reason what was the harm? (As music journalist Phil Stucliffe, who spent time with the band in the mid-1970s, put it years later, “They was standing for every little thing I disagree with about our chauvinist check out of the woman’s role, however they’re so totally honest, open and funny around it that i got brought away through liking them.”)
“You Shook Me all Night Long” to be hardly chaste or sappy, yet it feel far much more admiring, almost worshiping this woman. The was together close as AC/DC ever got to composing an really love song, not that that was actually all that close.
AC/DC functioned on the rest of earlier in black color in the Bahamas in the same studio that, one room over, a really different band, talk Heads, were crafting your equally epochal 1980 album, continue to be in Light. The ar was decidedly low-tech, v Johnson saying, “We had actually these rooms prefer breezeblock cells. One time we can hear this strange clacking noise in the speakers. A crab had gotten into the north booth.” but that absence of studio sophistication matched the vulgar, punchy thrust that blunt-force song entitled “Shoot come Thrill,” “What do You perform for Money Honey,” “Given the Dog a Bone” and “Let Me put My Love right into You.” (And it is to to speak nothing the “Have a Drink on Me,” a monitor they’d operated on with Scott prior to his death.) with its jet-black album cover and somber title, back in black was intended as a tribute to their fallen frontman. Yet the unapologetically libidinous topic matter said that they to be truly honoring Scott by not changing a cursed thing.
The irony of Scott’s fatality was the the tragedy elevated the band’s profile across the globe. Therefore when back in black arrived in the summer of 1980, awareness the AC/DC was probably higher than that had ever been. It was their very first No. 1 album in Australia and also the U.K., and also it got in the optimal 10 in the States. “You Shook Me all Night Long” to be the lead single, and it landing in the Billboard optimal 40, the an initial AC/DC monitor to perform so. Johnson’s screechy voice was different than Scott’s — a tiny less demonic, a little much more boisterous — and if older fans missed the previous frontman, the new fans plainly didn’t mind. To date, earlier in black color is the second-highest-selling album of every time, behind just Thriller, proving to it is in the perfect splitting line between AC/DC’s 1970s records and their blockbuster future. Where other rock acts, like Van Halen, face the difficult prospect the switching command singers at the height of your popularity — and also under far-less-terrible circumstances — AC/DC’s hiring of Johnson was beforehand enough in the band’s career that it didn’t feel also jarring to the masses.
“We knew that this new lineup would work, and also that we wouldn’t have to worry around the past any type of more,” Angus Young later on said. “We had found success v a brand-new voice and that to be a large relief.”
Not that everyone was prepared to let walk of the old voice. In fact, part AC/DC fans have actually long theorized that Scott had much more to execute with earlier in Black than he’s been provided credit because that — especially when it comes to “You Shook Me all Night Long.”
In 2017, author Jesse Fink released Bon: The critical Highway: The Untold Story that Bon Scott and AC/DC’s earlier in Black, which, among other things, discover the rumors bordering the so late frontman. (It was actually Fink’s 2nd AC/DC publication after The Youngs: The brother Who developed AC/DC.) In Bon, the spoke with those close come the tape who thought that Scott created at least part of the text for the AC/DC hit, including former girlfriends who claimed that lines like “She said me to come, however I was already there” to be featured in letter he’d written to them.
“I’d constantly had a hunch that ‘You Shook Me every Night Long’ was a Bon song; no evidence other than the convictions of world who knew him,” Fink said while fostering the book. Fink sped up to include that he couldn’t prove anything definitively, “but ns think there’s sufficient information to lend weight to the idea that he possibly did.” To the end, in Bon the writer does a breakdown of the song’s lyrics, saying that, for example, “She maintained her motor clean” can have been a reference to “Bon’s love the clean vaginas.” (As “The Jack” had demonstrated year earlier, Scott had a thing for groupies — and had a habit of choose up venereal conditions from his conquests.) Bon, in addition to other virtual speculation, aided fuel a belief that Scott’s lyrical ideas had to be passed along by the Young brothers come Johnson after Scott’s death.
No matter the truth, “You Shook Me every Night Long” came to be a staple on absent radio and in the band’s shows. Also, maybe oddly, it started arriving at proms and wedding receptions. First, I believed it was just my smalltown, Midwestern childhood wherein this phenomenon occurred, however once I relocated to L.A., i realized “You Shook Me all Night Long” was a go-to solemn event anthem in various other parts of the nation as well. In fact, in 2008 Mobile to win (a magazine the covers the people of entertainment for corporate events and also other windy gatherings) announced that the song was the most-played in ~ U.S. Wedding receptions end the previous 12 months.
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I constantly found this deeply strange. ~ all, doesn’t the track demean the central female figure, reducing she to a sex toy through those outstanding “American thighs”? yes sir nothing specifically romantic around “You Shook Me all Night Long,” so why does it play next to “September” and also “Crazy in Love” together happy guests run alongside the happy bride and also groom?
Same people that think WAP is too raunchy probably had actually guests dance to you Shook Me all Night long at your wedding.