Friday, July 27, 1979

AC/DC released Highway to Hell

First posted 9/4/2010; updated 9/7/2020.

Highway to Hell

AC/DC


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Released: July 27, 1979


Peak: 17 US, 8 UK, 40 CN, 13 AU


Sales (in millions): 7.0 US, -- UK, 15.0 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: hard rock/heavy metal


Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.)

  1. Highway to Hell (9/1/79, #47 US, #14 UK, #29 AR)
  2. Girls Got Rhythm
  3. Walk All Over You
  4. Touch Too Much (2/2/90, #29 UK)
  5. Beating Around the Bush
  6. Shot Down in Flames
  7. Get It Hot
  8. If You Want Blood, You’ve Got It
  9. Love Hungry Man
  10. Night Prowler


Total Running Time: 41:40


The Players:

  • Bon Scott (vocals)
  • Angus Young (guitar)
  • Malcolm Young (rhythm guitar, backing vocals)
  • Cliff Williams (bass)
  • Phil Rudd (drums)

Rating:

4.167 out of 5.00 (average of 15 ratings)


Awards:

About the Album:

Highway to Hell is the final album recorded with “Bon Scott, AC/DC’s original lead singer who died just months after this album was released. Scott had a rusty, raspy, scream of a voice, like he might break into a coughing fit at any moment.” DC “He had the perfect instrument for such wild-living anthems” DC and “provided the group with a fair share of its signature sleaze;” STE “Scott literally partied himself to death, dying of alcohol poisoning after a night of drinking, a rock & roll fatality that took no imagination to predict.” STE

“In light of his passing, it’s hard not to see Highway to Hell as a last testament of sorts, being that it was his last work and all, and if Scott was going to go out in a blaze of glory” STE this collection of “crunchy, hook-heavy metal classics” DC was “certainly was the way to do it. This is a veritable rogue’s gallery of deviance, from cheerfully clumsy sex talk and drinking anthems to general outlandish behavior. It’s tempting to say that Scott might have been prescient about his end – or to see the title track as ominous in the wake of his death – trying to spill it all out on paper, but it’s more accurate to say that the ride had just gotten very fast and very wild for AC/DC, and he was simply flying high.” STE

“After all, it wasn’t just Scott who reached a new peak on Highway to Hell; so did the Young brothers, crafting their monster riffs into full-fledged, undeniable songs. This is their best set of songs yet, from the incessant, intoxicating boogie of Girls Got Rhythm to If You Want Blood (You've Got It).” STE There’s also “Get It Hot which is more roadhouse rock than metal” DC

“Some of the credit should also go to Robert John ‘Mutt’ Lange, who gives the album a precision and magnitude that…[earlier albums] lacked in their grimy charm.” STEHighway to Hell was the first AC/DC album not produced by Harry Vanda and George Young.” WK “Filtered through Mutt’s mixing board, AC/DC has never sounded so enormous, and they’ve never had such great songs, and they had never delivered an album as singularly bone-crunching or classic as this until now.” STE

“The change proved to be fortuitous, and the album was the band’s biggest yet.” WK “This would be the first solid success that AC/DC would achieve in the U.S.” WK “and it propelled AC/DC into the top ranks of hard rock acts” WK as Highway to Hell became the band’s “first album to break the U.S. top 100, eventually reaching #17.” WK “Lange would go on to produce the band’s next two albums and biggest sellers, Back in Black and For Those About to Rock We Salute You.” WK

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Thursday, July 12, 1979

Disco Demolition Night: July 12, 1979

Originally posted July 12, 2011.


Chicago DJ Steve Dahl, the leader of Disco Demolition Night


When Chicago radio station WDAI shifted from an album rock format to disco, disc jockey Steve Dahl was one of the casualties. WLUP (known as The Loop) still focused on album rock and snatched him up. They knew they could build on the publicity surrounding his firing and the backlash against disco.

In conjunction with the Chicago White Sox, the radio station coordinated a “Disco Demolition Night”. The promotional event was scheduled to take place on July 12, 1979, at a doubleheader with the Detroit Tigers. Fans who brought a disco record to the game were admitted for 98¢. Between the games, Dahl would blow up the discarded records.

White Sox management hoped for a crowd of 12,000. Instead, an estimated 90,000 people turned out. With the numbers exceeding the stadium’s capacity by nearly 40,000, many people were denied admission and took to scaling the walls to get in.

With the crate already full, staff stopped collecting records from fans. Spectators took to throwing LPs around like Frisbees. They also threw beer and firecrackers. When it was time for the event, Dahl emerged wearing a combat helmet and circling the field in a jeep. Chants of “disco sucks” preceded the explosion of the crate.



A small fire started in the outfield and 7000 people stormed the field, vandalized property, lit more fires, and incited a riot. Chicago police had to clear the field in riot gear. 39 people were arrested. The field was so trashed the White Sox had to postpone the second game and later agree to forfeit it. The event has been called “the emblematic moment of the anti-disco crusade”. WK




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Sunday, July 1, 1979

The Sony Walkman was introduced: July 1, 1979

Originally posted July 1, 2012.

the Walkman TPS-L2, image from Wikipedia.org

The blue-and-silver Walkman pictured above was the first model introduced, going on sale in Japan on July 1, 1979. It hit the U.S. in June 1980. Today the idea of a device at least twice the size of an iPod which held 60-90 minutes of music may seem positively quaint, but at the time the Walkman marked a new era for music on the move. The Walkman represented individual portability; listeners no longer had to rely on big bulky ghetto blasters which shared one’s music with the world, whether they wanted to hear it or not. Suddenly a person could pop in a favorite cassette, plug in a pair of lightweight headphones, and the music could travel with them wherever they went and as long as a pair of AA batteries could take them.

Walkman was a brand tradename used by Sony to mark their portable audio cassette players. The company is still around today, marketing portable audio and video players as well as mobile phones. The prototype for the first one was built by Sony engineer Nobutoshi Kihara in 1978. Sony co-chairman Akio Morita reportedly wanted to listen to operas during long plane trips.

the Stereobelt, image from thenutgraph.com

However, the Walkman owes a debt to a predecessor known as Stereobelt which was invented in 1972 by Andreas Pavel, a German-Brazilian. He had the device patented in Italy in 1977. When Sony began selling its Walkman, it agreed to pay Pavel royalties, but only for sales in Germany. Lawsuits followed over the years, finally endingin a multi-million dollar settlement in 2003.

Eventually the Walkman would see the cassette market disintegrate and portable CD players (including Sony’s Discman, introduced in 1984) would take over. Once the digital age hit, there was no need for music to be stored on a device such as a cassette or disc, opening up the possibilities even more. However, every owner of an iPod or other digital music device owes thanks to the original portable music player.


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