The recent death of Malcolm Young due to dementia has got me reminiscing about AC/DC. They were formed in 1973 and I was born in 1974 so they have always been there in my own personal musical timeline. They are part of the soundtrack to my life and I couldn’t begin to calculate how many hours I’ve spent listening to AC/DC (I’m not very good at Maths, words is what I do).
I heard them long before I saw them live. My mate AC/DC Anna was a big fan (as you might have guessed from her name). Another school friend who lived over the road from me loaned me the Who Made Who LP when we were fourteen. He is also notable for letting me watch him have a nosebleed when we were in junior school (If You Want Blood, You’ve Got It!) we sometimes wave to each other on our respective ways to work and I sometimes remember how grateful I was for the loan of that record.
I first saw AC/DC at Wembley in 2000. I’m not a lover of the venue (too big) but the walkway which extended from the stage so Angus could duck walk and the atmosphere made it great. Seeing the big bells and the inflatable Rosie was a spectacle. I couldn’t help wondering what her bra size was. I bought a scarf outside as a souvenir and it hung on my wall for years.
I next saw AC/DC at Milton Keynes Bowl. It was a warm day and an all ages friendly crowd. The weekend after I saw an AC/DC tribute band at the Red Lion in Abingdon, meaning I spent two weekends in a white school shirt and tie. I never went to a school where you had to wear a uniform so for me this was a novelty.
AC/DC consistently pop up in my life in little ways. I love it when you go into a pub and they have AC/DC on the jukebox. You know you’re musically safe. Or when you’re chatting to a friend in the supermarket and a Back In Black ringtone is heard and both of you go for your phone. You realise you both have the same ringtone because that riff is so perfect.
AC/DC were part of my big day too. I spent the first four minutes of my married life accompanied by Malcolm’s lyrics. The music we chose as the recessional music (the bit after you have got married and you are walking out of the room as a married couple) was “Up To My Neck In You”.
The number of AC/DC tribute bands currently gigging is a testament to how much people want to play and hear their music. The song writing talent of Malcolm Young was phenomenal. A list on Wikipedia has 93 songs penned by him or with him as a co-writer! He was both prolific and poetic.
The music will certainly live on. I saw dirtyACkDC earlier this year and adored their close to the original, enthusiastic performance. I love watching when women dance to “You Shook Me All Night Long”, it’s so primal and is a template for exactly what good hard rock should be.
Thank you Malcolm, you’ve been a constant feature in my ears and your words and music will continue to be so.