Angus Young Reveals The One AC/DC Song He Regrets
Angus Young - official AC/DC YouTube
It is often assumed that musicians take pride in their creations, considering them as extensions of their artistic identity. However, this sentiment doesn’t universally apply, and some artists find themselves in a paradoxical situation.
Occasionally, a song ascends to colossal heights, saturating the airwaves and becoming a staple in the hearts of fans who clamor for repeated performances. Inversely, the artist, overwhelmed by the ubiquity of their creation, begins to harbor fatigue and disillusionment.
In certain instances, the artist grapples with the realization that the once-beloved song no longer embodies their evolving artistic essence. Alternatively, external pressures, such as record label expectations, may drive artists to produce music solely for its commercial viability, based on the success of their previous works.
Angus Young, the famed guitarist of AC/DC, found himself navigating this complex feeling, harboring regrets about a special song: the five-minute “soft” track “Love Song” from their 1976 album High Voltage.
A love song in High Voltage
In the transformative year of 1974, AC/DC underwent a major change as the iconic Bon Scott took the helm, stepping into the shoes of Dave Evans. This marked the inception of a new era for the band, leading to the creation of their maiden studio album, High Voltage.
Released with much anticipation on February 17, 1975, in Australia (released internationally the following year), this album bore witness to the birth of a hard rock titan that would etch its own immovable place in rock history.
Accompanying High Voltage was a single that would inadvertently become a tale of contrasts within the band’s discography – “Baby, Please Don’t Go” / “Love Song”. Albert Productions, the driving force behind the release, designated “Baby, Please Don’t Go” as the B-side, envisioning a supporting role for the track.
However, the unpredictable dynamics of the music industry took hold, and the B-side quickly eclipsed its A-side counterpart in terms of popularity and radio airplay.
“That was very different for us”
The background of “Love Song” can be traced back to an unreleased composition titled “Fell In Love”, a collaborative effort between Malcolm and Evans.
This older version possessed distinct lyrics, but the transformative touch of Bon Scott during the recording process molded it into the song that would elicit regret from Angus Young years later.
In a candid revelation to Vulture in 2020, Angus revealed the vulnerability beneath the band’s robust exterior, a chink in the hard armor if you may. The guitarist cited the transformed “Love Song” as his most profound regret within AC/DC’s extensive catalog.
“That was very different for us. I didn’t know if we were trying to parody love songs of the time because Bon Scott wrote the lyrics.” Angus recalled.
The only saving grace of the song
Adding to the mystique, Young confessed that the lyrics of “Love Song” had become so estranged from his memory that he couldn’t recollect them.
“I don’t even remember what the words are. I remember that song because the guy who worked for us at our record label told us that’s what was on the local radio at the time – very soft music,” Angus went on.
The suggestion was to release the said song, anticipating airplay. The guitarist distinctly recalled questioning the decision, thinking, “Who in their right mind would want this to go out?”. However, radio stations familiar with their live performances recognized that the song didn’t align with AC/DC’s true musical identity.
“So these stations started to flip the record over and play the other song, which was a cover of a blues standard called “Baby, Please Don’t Go”. We actually scored a hit from the B-side! That was the one saving grace of the song,” the AC/DC guitarist shared.