By Joe Bonomo
Published in 1979, AC/DC's "Highway To Hell" used to be the notorious final album recorded with singer Bon Scott, who died of alcohol poisoning in London in February of 1980. formally chalked as much as "Death through Misadventure," Scott's death has eternally secured the album's attractiveness as a partying primer and a bible for deadly habit, branding the album with the thrill chaos of alcoholic extra and its turn aspect, early dying. the simplest songs on "Highway To Hell" in attaining Sonic Platonism, translating rock &roll's transcendent beliefs in stomping, dual-guitar and eighth-note bass riffing, a Paleolithic drum mattress, and insanely, recklessly peculiar yet enjoyable vocals. Joe Bonomo moves a three-chord essay at the strength of youth, the sturdiness of rock &roll fandom, and the transformative homes of reminiscence. Why does "Highway To Hell" topic to someone past non-ironic young children? mixing interviews, research, and memoir with a fan's viewpoint, "Highway To Hell" dramatizes and celebrates a undying album that one critic acknowledged makes "disaster sound just like the most sensible enjoyable within the world."
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Additional resources for AC/DC's Highway to Hell (33 1/3 Series)
I’m staring at the keyboard looking for the right combination of letters, numbers, signs, or symbols that might translate the sound let loose by Bon Scott at the end of “Shot Down In Flames,” the kickoff to side two of Highway to Hell. It’s tough enough ﬁnding language for the cheerful howl eleven seconds in. The funniest song on the album goes a long way toward self-satirizing the band’s macho posturing. It begins with a two-chord shoulder shrug of acceptance, an off-mike whoa! from someone, then a phlegmy whoop from Bon that sounds like a mental patient’s party invitation.
If you’ve been following the band up to this point, you’ll notice that the snare and hi-hat are much crisper, and mixed higher. The snare virtually rings, and the kick drum, playing off the silences left open in the chords, pounds straight into your chest. You feel that you’re in the room and, man, it sounds almost slick. Almost. Twenty seconds in and the stupidly simple four-on-the-ﬂoor groove is ofﬁcial and irresistible. Now the singer enters. He sounds wasted, he sounds like he’s drooling a bit, he sounds funny, he sounds completely unique, and you know who it is.
Because he believes this stuff, now so do we. The imagery in the second verse is more intimate; we’re in the girl’s bedroom now where she’s preoccupied and scared to turn off the light, fearing noises outside the window and shadows on the blind. Anticipating the second chorus, the verse ends with the singer slipping into her room as she lies nude, as if on a tomb. What’s going on here? Autobiography, or a spec script for a slasher movie? A little of both, likely, given Bon’s personal history and juicy imagination.