Day 27. A song you like to blast on your car stereo when it comes on:
“Back In Black” — AC/DC*
When I made my tongue-in-cheek comment about AC/DC in my post a couple of days ago, it would have been easy to assume I don’t respect the band. But you’d be wrong. They don’t display a lot of breadth, ((like, none) but they know who that are, what they are good at, and who their customer is. (The answer, by the way, is Butthead. Or any adult version of Butthead. Or even people who related to Butthead even a little bit.)
Back In Black (the album) was the first release by the band after original lead singer Bon Scott died. The band replaced him with Brian Johnson (their former driver) and never looked back. The album has sold 22 million copies in the U.S. alone. And “Back In Black” (the song) was a top-40 hit, has been featured on countless “Best Song” lists and has been downloaded as a ringtone over 2 million times. That’ll pay for a lot of stubbies and sausage rolls. And school uniforms.
There were a lot of ways I could have gone with this post. I’ve cranked a lot of tunes in my time (and I have the tinnitus to prove it), but in the end, I found it hard to argue with “Back In Black.” To me it’s about the perfect “cranking” song, in the car or otherwise. Go ahead and listen to it if you don’t believe me. I’ll wait…
Welcome back. The count-in (which to me sounds like a combination of hi-hat and pick-on-guitar-string) gives you enough time to identify the song and raise the volume to ear-shattering levels just as the main riff kicks in. The chorus brings it to yet another level, and then the breakdown at about 2:50 just piles it on. I’ve been known to play it (loud, of course), and then immediately play it again just for grins. It’s that good.
I learned this in 1983. I received my first “quality” blank cassettes for Christmas that year, and immediately badgered my brother to make me a mix tape of selections from his collection. “Back In Black” was on that tape. (Which, again, I still have. I know. It’s a sickness.) Looking at the track list of that tape now, it really was a mish-mash of styles and artists, but somehow, it all gelled. It was the first of many, many, many (did I mention many?) mix tapes to follow.
But anyway, I’ve been cranking “Back In Black” for 30 years now. (Did you feel that? That was me shuddering.) AC/DC is one of those bands that if you have even a single hard-rocking bone in your body, you can’t help but rock along with them. Are they childish? Yes. Are their lyrics sophomoric and sex-obsessed? Yes. Does a single one of the people who purchased any of those 22 million copies of Back In Black care? Hell, no.
And that includes me. I’ll be blasting it until I can’t hear any more. And I don’t even care if the other residents of the old-folks home complain. (Because, y’know, I won’t be able to hear them anyway.)