37 Years Ago: AC/DC Release ‘Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap’
In September 1976, AC/DC released their third album in just two years. ‘Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap’ followed the musical paths laid out by ‘High Voltage’ and ‘T.N.T.’ Although the album remained unreleased in the U.S. until after the band struck platinum with 1980′s ‘Back In Black,’ it would become one of AC/DC’s most beloved albums.
And it all starts with the classic title song, which features a machine-like riff driving Bon Scott‘s smart, winking lyrics. Like Chuck Berry before him, Scott was capable of taking everyday topics and turning them into street-smart poetry.
‘Ain’t No Fun (Waiting ‘Round to Be a Millionaire),’ ‘There’s Gonna Be Some Rockin’ and ‘R.I.P. (Rock in Peace)’ aren’t as well known; in fact, ‘R.I.P’ didn’t even make it to the U.S. version of the album that was released in 1981. But they’re each prime AC/DC, taking traditional rock ‘n’ roll and making it as loud as possible.
‘Problem Child,’ which would go on to become a fan favorite, makes its first appearance here (it first showed up on a U.S. LP as part of ‘Let There Be Rock’). The band places the song’s main riff at the center, and everything else revolves around it — even the maracas at the end of the song, which elevate it into another dimension.
And just check out Angus Young here. Backed by the killer rhythm section of bassist Mark Evans, drummer Phil Rudd and rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young, he’s an unstoppable force. As is the entire band throughout ‘Dirty Deeds.’
While the double- (and triple-) entendre ‘Big Balls’ is somewhat obvious lyrically, the song at least shows the band’s massive sense of humor. And ‘Jailbreak’ remains a lost classic. It closes the original version of the album but wouldn’t be released in the U.S. until much later. That’s a shame, because, like the rest of ‘Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap,’ it explodes out of the speakers.
When the album was eventually reconfigured for U.S. ears, it ended up reaching No. 3 and going multiplatinum. Today, it remains one of the band’s most popular albums, with or without Scott.
Listen to ‘Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap’