Hits and Memories

album covers

Saturday morning found me in Rozelle, a suburb of Sydney famous for its fleamarket. Lizzie was on the lookout for a mirror for her room. I didn’t really have anything in particular to search for, except a ceramic butter dish, which we’ve been hunting for ages (those things are rare!) So I just nosed around half-heartedly, while Lizzie tried on some jeans.

Since I started the Bon Scott Blog, I have been flipping through records at second hand shops, not in any disciplined way, just “on the off chance something might come up”. It never does. Somehow I get the impression that, like Stevo the collector, AC/DC fans keep a firm grip on their old vinyl.

So at Rozelle, of course, there were a few record stalls, and of course I had a shuffle through the boxes. As expected, no AC/DC. But I did start to turn up some records that were circulating around the time Bon joined the band and they started to have success…

Exhibit A:
stevie wright album
Stevie Wright – Hard Road (1974)
Stevie was in the Easybeats, the famous Aussie rock band from the 1960s who recorded “Friday on My Mind”. George Young and Harry Vanda were also in the Easybeats. George is the older brother of Angus and Malcolm, and the Vanda/Young team produced most of AC/DC’s records. Hard Road was released by Alberts, also AC/DC’s record label. Get the connection?

Stevie’s Hard Road came out in 1974, the year Bon joined AC/DC. It contains a 3 part “rock epic” called Evie which stretches to 11 minutes. It’s famous (as in “Evie, Evie, Evie let your hair hang down”!)

The cover shows a rough and earnest young man with a scruffy beard looking thoughtful in front of the surf. He is equally earnest in this brief interview shortly following the death of Bon Scott (“I know the power of alcohol and drugs, and I know that it can take anybody…”), and somewhat less earnest in this TV gig on Countdown in 1975 (prancing around on stage amongst screaming teenagers… did Bon borrow some of his performance style from Stevie?)

After Bon’s death, some people were betting that Stevie would be called up as a replacement singer for AC/DC, but it never happened:

On “Countdown” Molly Meldrum was sprouting that Stevie Wright would replace Bon in AC/DC. It seemed an obvious conclusion to jump to, but Alberts quickly stood on it. “We don’t know where he got that from,” a spokesperson said, “but there’s absolutely no truth in that rumour. Stevie’s got his own thing to do, and AC/DC have theirs.” Stevie’s “thing” was his heroin addiction, which had effectively seen him frozen out of Alberts altogether. (from page 310 of Clinton’s book…)

Exhibit B:
ted nugent
Ted Nugent – Weekend Warriors (1978)

In 1979, AC/DC played to a sellout crowd at Madison Square Gardens with Ted Nugent (a fact I gleaned from reading Murry Engleheart‘s book). Apparently he was enormously popular, although I must admit I had never heard of him before myself. But I loved this album cover. Ted, clad in his crisp white high-waisted flairs and braces clutches a black electric guitar whose neck transforms into a double barrelled rifle! According to the ever-reliable wikipedia, Ted is well known for his conservative political views, specifically on hunting, so the guitar-gun may not just be a snazzy piece of album art…

Exhibit C:
tom petty album
Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers – Damn the Torpedos (1979)

There’s no real link here. Except that this album came out in 1979, at the peak of the Bon Scott era AC/DC. Actually, when I was a teenager I had a cassette of Damn the Torpedos, which I loved, and somewhere along the line I lost it. If anyone can find any further connections between Petty and Scott, I’d be interested to hear ’em! (They both write rock songs? C’mon, there must be more than that!)

Exhibit D:

whitesnake album
Whitesnake – Ready an’ Willing (1980)

Ready an’ Willing came out in the year Bon died. With Brian Johnson at the helm, AC/DC headlined some gigs with Whitesnake in 1980. Whitesnake was formed by musicians from Deep Purple. There is also a Deep Purple connection:

[at the] 1975 Sunbury festival, held over the Australia Day long weekend at the end of January. Like The Easybeats before them, AC/DC didn’t take crap from anyone, and when overseas headliners Deep Purple refused to let AC/DC follow them, a fist-fight erupted on stage, with AC/DC, George Young and their roadies shaping up against Deep Purple’s entourage. AC/DC eventually left without playing. (thanks to Milesago for the quote.)

There is an amusing debate going on over here about “who writes better lyics, AC/DC or Whitesnake”. My favourite snippet from that discussion (if you can call it that) is this:

Whitesnake is more able to present love and human emotion with that impressive blues-guitar edge, while AC/DC gives you that energy and devil-may-care bravado that some of us identify with in our ids. They also have the blues figured out, but sound like they aren’t ready to sit down and discuss it while the party’s still going.

The guy from the record stall at the Rozelle markets looked at the Whitesnake album. “Hmm, they’re still around, aren’t they?” I seemed to remember hearing something about them coming on tour, although it obviously hadn’t made a big impact on me. Later in the day, I passed the Enmore Theatre with my friend Jessie. The Whitesnake poster was still up. They’d played just the night before.

enmore theatre whitesnake poster

So there you have it! My foray into collecting vinyl begins. Now all I need is a record player…

8 Responses to “Hits and Memories”


  • Gawd.

    I just listened to Is This Love by Whitesnake. “Power Ballad“. Sheesh, maybe it’s a bit dated, but it sounds pretty soft. But a great ’80s video clip (check out the double necked guitars! What were they ever for??)

    But Holy Middle America Batman! Whitesnake’s musical crimes pale into insignificance when compared with the simple-simon conservatism in which Ted Nugent continues to wallow. He’s pretty much the Pauline Hanson of the USA! See for instance this 2007 interview with him on “border security” and illegal immigration:

    ted nugent on tv

  • Luco,
    I thought I had heard the name Nugent before although I had never heard of any of his music .then I remembered he is mentioned in this little gem . listen on the 3rd pig http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNYi6W3v0io

    They have made a movie about Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers saw this on youtube last year http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JEZyL074HOs

    I can’t help with a link between Mr Petty and Mr Scott though
    x Josh

  • Thanks Josh, that three little pigs video is very funny. I like the way the animator makes the pigs’ lips move. Amazing that you remembered “Pig Nugent”! It’s funny, the third pig’s use of architecture to solve a border-security issue is very similar to Ted’s solution presented in the interview I linked to above… And I have no doubts he would approve of using Rambo’s M16 to eliminate the trespassing wolf!

    And – as much as I was a fan of Tom Petty back in the late 1980s, I can’t help thinking, after watching the trailer, that a full-length doco about the guy’s life would be a little dull. There doesn’t seem to be enough “struggle against the odds” to make for an interesting story.

    At least with Acca Dacca you’ve got the great working class myths all laid out – the triumph of the little guys from nowhere hitting the big time, and then the death of their heroic leader, and miraculous comeback (let’s just not mention their subsequent decline)…

  • “So simple it’s stupid!” …indeed. Ai yi yi.

  • L

    I was on the decks at Paul Wakelin’s house in Perth for new year last year (ie 14mths ago) under my moniker ‘pg recordplayer’ (‘cos that’s what I actually do – I don’t mix, scratch or toast). I’d been playing some dancefloor favourite when I threw on my of my personal favourites, Stevie Wright’s ‘Evie Pt 3’. Note that designation. Part 3 is, for me, one of the best goddamn guitar driven dirty funk harmony tunes out of the 70s in Australia. And I’m not alone. I looked across the dancefloor to see one of Perth’s most glamourous artworld gay boy couples throw their arms up in delight at the recognition of the tune. So much for presumed musical stereotypes.

    PS I saw Bon’s ACDC play live twice, once at a 2SM free concert on the swimming pool roof in Victoria (?) Park near Sydney Uni (Bon’s hair still stretched way down his back) and then, would you believe, at our school dance c1976/7. North Sydney Boys for any hard core fanatics who want to check. Dances were BANNED for the next year. Only clear memory. Angus leaping off the speaker stacks, and my French teacher turning to me, saying ‘He’s very energetic, isn’t he?’

    A

  • Great stories Andrew! I have been listening to Evie part 3 almost non stop since you posted this comment. It really is a great track.

    And your school story made me laugh. Hilarious to think how heterogenous the venues were that AC/DC played at (stadiums, parks, pubs, school halls…)

    And especially funny to imagine that Angus was probably the only one there dressed in a uniform at the time! I imagine you were all in your three piece suits with bow ties and cummerbunds etc. Something sacreligious about his ironic wearing of the school uniform in that setting.

  • Now that I am aware of Ted Nugent’s existence (or The Nuge, as he is known to friends) I can’t seem to open a browser window without stumbling across the conservative crooner. Here’s an article which advertises his upcoming performance in a film about the good old fashioned lynching of outlaws and troublemakers…

  • Thanks Josh, that three little pigs video is very funny. I like the way the animator makes the pigs’ lips move. Amazing that you remembered “Pig Nugent”! It’s funny, the third pig’s use of architecture to solve a border-security issue is very similar to Ted’s solution presented in the interview I linked to above… And I have no doubts he would approve of using Rambo’s M16 to eliminate the trespassing wolf!

    And – as much as I was a fan of Tom Petty back in the late 1980s, I can’t help thinking, after watching the trailer, that a full-length doco about the guy’s life would be a little dull. There doesn’t seem to be enough “struggle against the odds” to make for an interesting story.

    At least with Acca Dacca you’ve got the great working class myths all laid out – the triumph of the little guys from nowhere hitting the big time, and then the death of their heroic leader, and miraculous comeback (let’s just not mention their subsequent decline)…

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