Overlooked Songs From Each AC/DC Album
AC/DC's "Let There Be Rock" Music video - AC/DC / Youtube
For almost five decades worth of work in the rock scene, big riff machine AC/DC hasn’t stopped making good ole’ rock n’ roll. From being a fledgling band back in Australia centered around the Young siblings until they found the perfect match with Bon Scott, to the passing of the torch to Brian Johnson, AC/DC’s approach to rock has been the same all throughout the years: blasting eardrums with textured and well-placed riffing.
With that, here are some of the most underrated cuts from every AC/DC studio album released.
“Can I Sit Next To You, Girl” – High Voltage (1976)
The band’s debut single, “Can I Sit Next To Your Girl” was originally recorded by vocalist Dave Evans before Scott was hired, along with the help of Colin Burgess on drums, and bass by former Easybeats member George Young. This was AC/DC’s first original song and was written by Malcolm and Angus Young, and featured an entirely different arrangement than when they redid it with Bon Scott.
“Ride On” – Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (1976)
“Ride On” stands out from the rest of this AC/DC catalog due to the melancholic bluesy quality it has, not to mention that it was entirely slower than most of their songs. AC/DC has only played this song live once as well, on a June 22, 2001 show at Stade de France, Saint-Denis.
“Dog Eat Dog” – Let There Be Rock (1977)
“Dog Eat Dog” was written by the Malcolm Brothers with the help of Bon Scott for their 1977 album, Let There Be Rock. The lively chugging rhythm of the song drives it forward while the blaring breakdown after every chorus adds an interesting dimension to the track.
“Rock n’ Roll Damnation” – Powerage (1978)
Powerage album opener “Rock n’ Roll Damnation” wasn’t a failure in any sense but it didn’t just get the attention it deserved even if it greeted listeners first. This was AC/DC’s attempt to add some pop influences in their songs for better radio performance, where “Rock N’ Roll Damnation” was a fine result of.
“Touch Too Much” – Highway To Hell (1979)
“Touch Too Much” was one of the last songs AC/DC wrote together with frontman Bon Scott, who died in 1980. The menacing progression sets the mood thanks to chugging riffs and a tight rhythm section that complement Scott’s piercing vocals.
“Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution” – Back in Black (1980)
Now that they had a new vocalist in the fold, AC/DC did their best to recover from the slump brought on by Bon Scott’s passing. “Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution” was a last-minute addition to the album as they were required to do one more song by the label, to which Angus and Malcolm complied by writing it in under 15 minutes.
“Let’s Get It Up” – For Those About To Rock We Salute You (1981)
Another track that’s been slept on for far too long is “Let’s Get It Up” from 1981’s For Those About To Rock We Salute You. The song’s gritty, decadent message was described by Brian Johnson as “Filth, pure filth. We’re a filthy band.” Angus shines in the song’s middle-eight with his weaving solo that showed unmistakable blues influences.
“Guns For Hire” – Flick of The Switch (1983)
The pure power rolling off of every riff and shriek in “Guns For Hire” makes it an underrated gem on the Flick of The Switch album. It starts with big swings on the rhythm section, which was used as the opener for the album’s supporting tour, but was never performed on other AC/DC tours since then.
“Shake Your Foundations” – Fly on The Wall (1986)
Booming drums and bright guitars welcome the listener on the Fly on The Wall cut, “Shake Your Foundations”. The song made it to the soundtrack of the Stephen King film, Maximum Overdrive, and was remixed by Harry Vanda and George Young to polish it for the movie.
“That’s The Way I Wanna Rock and Roll” – Blow Up Your Video (1988)
A fun and engaging riff that is followed by a frenzied backbeat “That’s The Way I Wanna Rock and Roll” on 1988’s Blow Up Your Video”. The song’s music video was released in 2005 and saw the participation of fans who carried red cardboard Gibson SG guitars.
“Are You Ready” – The Razors Edge (1991)
“Are You Ready” performed admirably in the charts thanks to its gritty message and accompanying music video where the band conducts a small show at a prison. Plus points for the prisoner being prepped up by shaving his head to baldness, but leaving patch of hairs that make up AC/DC’s logo.
“Hail Caesar” – Ballbreaker (1996)
Intended as an homage to the Roman General Julius Caesar, Ballbreaker’s “Hail Caesar” is another attempt in preserving the band’s tradition to uphold the banner of riff-driven hard rock, and they succeeded. The music video’s interesting yet historically-inaccurate backdrop makes for entertainment value nonetheless.
“Satellite Blues” – Stiff Upper Lip (2000)
A timely reference to the race to space, AC/DC fires up the rocket boosters with the banger of a track, Satellite Blues, on their Stiff Upper Lip record. Of course, the song wouldn’t be complete without the band performing in a space station in orbit.
“Money Made” – Black Ice (2008)
Angus Young takes a jab at American Culture and its obsession for money with Black Ice’s “Money Made”. He said, “The focus seems to be, ‘How do we get money out of this? Do we keep that school? Is there a profit in it? Do we really need that new hospital? Can you not die quicker? Do we really have to spend money on that medicine? How old are you now?’ Sometimes you think, ‘Can we all take one deep breath?’ The basics have got to be in place. Thirty years ago, a fuckin’ school never made money. Filling in a road or putting up a traffic light didn’t make money. Hospitals were there to keep people well, not make money.”
“Play Ball” – Rock or Bust (2014)
2014’s Rock Or Bust was proof that AC/DC could still punch with the same level of intensity as their earlier years. “Play Ball” and its unmistakable sports hype, paired with a music video that showed the band performing alongside cuts of various ball games says AC/DC doesn’t really take itself too seriously.
“Wild Reputation” – Power Up (2020)
AC/DC’s latest endeavor in the track “Wild Reputation”, from their 2020 album, Power Up, shows that there can be no other AC/DC – ever. Even if physicality has made it challenging to recreate some of their signature styles, AC/DC adapted to the times by focusing on what they did best – making music that was driven by pure fun.