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46 Years of Dirty Deeds

Updated: Feb 3, 2023

December 17, 2022 - AC/DC is INarguably one of the greatest Rock 'n Roll bands of all time. What's amazing from these Aussie rockers is the fact that their 2 lead singers (original vocalist Bon Scott, and current vocalist Brian Johnson) were (are) both powerhouses behind the mic. I personally can't think of any other bands that have this on their resume. Prior to his passing in 1980, Scott and AC/DC released 5 powerful LPs, 1 EP and 1 live album. Among the 5 studio recordings was the band's 3rd release Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap. While the album was originally released in Australia and New Zealand on September 20, 1976, it saw its first international release (in the UK) on December 17, 1976.

This international release saw 2 different tracks than the original down under version. "Rocker" and "Love at First Feel" replaced "R.I.P (Rock in Peace)" and "Jailbreak". What's odd with the international release of this album is that the US did not see a release of Dirty Deeds until 1981, the year after Bon Scott's death. In fact, the release of Dirty Deeds in the US in 1981 had conflicted with the release of the 2nd Brian Johnson offering For Those About to Rock... We Salute You, actually outselling the latter. Personally, I have a hard time ranking all of AC/DC's album. At least, their earlier offerings through the 1980s and early 1990s. So I'm not certain which of the 2 US releases in 1981 outdoes the other, and I'll call them equally great. But it's the UK release of Dirty Deeds that shall be the focus herein.

In addition to the 2 different tracks, the International release also featured a different album cover. I think it's likely the one most of us know. The cover featured a cast of characters standing in the parking lot of a Motel. Black bars hiding their eyes. The original release, however featured a cartoon drawing of Bon Scott and Angus Young in a pool hall. Scott is in the foreground with his forearm front and centre, a large tattoo of a colourful bird, adorned with the words "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap".

Finally, the tracklist sequence is completely different with the International release. The album kicks into gear with the album title track "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap". Word has it that the song is an homage to a cartoon that Angus Young used to watch called Beany and Cecil in which one of the characters carried a business card that stated the same phrase. The message in the song is quite simple... you got something you need done? I'll take care of it for you, on the cheap. With it's chunk, chunk chunk, chunk chunk guitar intro, it's a sound that became synonymous with the band. Angus and the rest of the band wailing "Done dirt cheap" during the chorus is also another symbolic sound for the band. Think of the "Oi, Oi, Oi" of "TNT"... pure gold!!!!

"Love at First Feel" comes as the second track, and the first of the 2 replacements as compared to the original Australian release, and then the hilarious, tongue in cheek, double entendre of "Big Balls" comes in as the 3rd track. Scott's sultry vocals completely suck you into his class and charisma as he tells you about the parties he holds. Apparently, they're the biggest balls of all!

The 4th track is the second and final replacement track for the International release. The song is called "Rocker" and it's actually one of my favourite's from the album. I couldn't imagine a release that does not have this recording. With it's 50s type feel of Rock 'n Roll, it's a complete jive fest that makes you want to get up and dance, but it's the last track on side 1 that really showcases the band's musical strength. "Problem Child", with it's rhythm, groove and drum beat, is one of the band's best songs, at least from the Bon Scott era. A song full of teenage angst, it was the mantra for many during the time. "Just watch your step". This song actually appeared again on the band's next album Let There Be Rock, released the year after Dirty Deeds in 1977.

The 4 track Side 2 starts with "There's Gonna Be Some Rockin'", followed by "Ain't No Fun (Waiting 'Round To Be A Millionaire)". And then, one of the best vocal performances from the lead singer in his whole catalogue. The band really slows it down with "Ride On". With it's bluesy strumming, you can feel yourself sitting in a smokey barroom as Bon sings about his loneliness. I recall back to my youth, placing this record on the turntable on Side 2, as I turned in for the night. I'd lay in bed through the first 2 tracks then sleep would begin to envelope me as this number came on. Almost like a lullaby, it would bring me to such a calm, relaxed place. I would be completely immersed.

Oh, and then the final track on the album. The risqué "Squealer". Red light district atmosphere, or Gentleman's Club. It's likely exactly what you think it is, and is completely in line with many of the Bon Scott era songs about sex, and love. It's the perfect end to one of my favourite AC/DC albums.

I'm amazed at the age of this one. It still stands on its own after nearly half a century and is still completely relevant. Oh, the era of guitar solos, and straight up rock and roll! Perhaps it's been a while since you spun this one. Tack a trip back and give 'er a spin. You will likely pull up some memories with this one. And I'm certain the memories will make you smile, and maybe even make you long for yesterday.

Do you have a favourite track on this album? Why not share your thoughts in the comments below? And while you're heading down there, give us some love by subscribing to our mailing list. This way, you'll ensure that you don't miss another update.



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