Saturday, 7 November 2015

Let There be Rock by AC/DC (Let There be Rock 1977)

From the Alan Freeman Playlist

AC/DC - Let There be Rock (1977) (Courtesy:

Let There Be Rock is the title track of the fifth album by Australian hard rock band AC/DC, released in 1976. It was written, as were all the songs on the album, by lead guitarist Angus Young, his brother rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young and lead singer Bon Scott. The song is a pastiche of Genesis 1-3, ‘And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.’ In this case, ‘He [Tchaikovsky] said let there be sound/ There was sound.’ AC/DC’s concept is based on the idea that, in 1955, ‘The white man had the schmaltz/ The black man had the blues,’ but there was confusion regarding rock ‘n’ roll. So, when Chuck Berry, in the song Roll Over Beethoven(1), said, ‘. . . Tell Tchaikovsky the news,’ the Russian composer did indeed receive the communique and, furthermore, went on to share it with the populace, resulting in the birth of rock ‘n’ roll.

AC/DC’s lyrics are a complete distortion of Roll Over Beethoven, as the original reflects the view that rhythm & blues and rock ‘n’ roll would replace classical music. The fact that Tchaikovsky was a Romantic composer who died in 1893, is presumably put down to artistic licence. Despite these absurdities, the band typically use them as a narrative, which they add to some effective phrases, and then emphasise them with a repetitive, insistent riff to make a highly memorable track. Although released as a single, which was not a hit, Let There be Rock has become a live favourite and is performed by Bon Scott’s replacement vocalist, Brian Johnson(2), as recently as on Live at River Plate (recorded in 2009, released in 2011).

I was shocked to read this evening that novelist Jackie Collins passed away yesterday, Saturday 19th September, aged 77. She died of breast cancer in Los Angeles. Her last TV appearance was as recent as ITV’s Loose Women on Thursday 10th, and she appeared on BBC 1’s The One Show on Monday 7th. Although known as a writer, Collins began as an actress and appeared in some TV series, including Series 2, Episode 2 of The Saint: Starring the Saint on 26th September 1963. Her advice to aspiring writers was always practical: (i) to write a page every day, and (ii) stop with a sentence half finished.

(1) Roll Over Beethoven is a song written and performed by Chuck Berry (Rock, Rock, Rock 1956). It was originally released as a single on Chess Records in 1956 and became a hit. More importantly, it was influential and much covered, including a version by The Beatles. AC/DC neatly sidestepped a cover and purloined the lyrics for their own use.
(2) Bon Scott tragically died in 1980, after a night of heavy drinking in London. The remaining members of the group recruited Brian Johnson of the fine British glam rock band Geordie.


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