Deep Album Cuts Vol. 81: AC/DC

Tonight, AC/DC is playing Philadelphia, and it's the last of their U.S. shows with Axl Rose, who decided to front a second huge band in between tours with some of the original lineup of Guns N/ Roses. But I'm also wondering if it'll be the last AC/DC concert for a long time, if not ever. In the last two years, AC/DC have wound up shedding 3 longtime members in the course of releasing 2014's Rock Or Bust and touring in support of it. Guitarist Malcolm Young retired from the band due to health problems, drummer Phil Rudd dropped out of the band due to a bizarre arrest for a murder plot, and singer Brian Johnson was unable to complete the tour due to hearing loss. He wanted to postpone the dates, but Angus Young and Cliff Williams plugged ahead, doing the last two of the tour's seven legs with Axl. Maybe it was greed that made them drop Johnson like a bad habit (the tour grossed over 200 million dollars) or maybe cancelling dates on a tour of this scale just has huge financial or legal consequences they were trying to avoid. Either way, tonight marks the end of a pretty rough chapter for the band, and I wouldn't be surprised if we hear little or nothing from these guys in the future. So here's a look back.

AC/DC Deep Album Cuts (Spotify playlist):

1. The Jack
2. Rocker
3. Ride On
4. Bad Boy Boogie
5. Riff Raff
6. What's Next To The Moon
7. Love Hungry Man
8. If You Want Blood (You've Got It)
9. Night Prowler
10. Shoot To Thrill
11. Let Me Put My Love Into You
12. Have A Drink On Me
13. Night Of The Long Knives
14. Landslide
15. Playing With Girls
16. Nick Of Time
17. Mistress For Christmas
18. Goodbye And Good Riddance To Bad Luck

Track 1 from High Voltage (1976)
Tracks 2 and 3 from Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (1976)
Track 4 from Let There Be Rock (1977)
Tracks 5 and 6 from Powerage (1978)
Tracks 7, 8 and 9 from Highway To Hell (1979)
Tracks 10, 11 and 12 from Back In Black (1980)
Track 13 from For Those About To Rock We Salute You (1981)
Track 14 from Flick Of The Switch (1983)
Track 15 from Fly On The Wall (1985)
Track 16 from Blow Up Your Video (1988)
Tracks 17 and 18 from The Razors Edge (1990)

I went by the international editions of the band's early albums, which were originally released in different forms in Australia (for instance, "The Jack" is not on the Australian version of High Voltage, but it is on the album T.N.T. which was never released outside Australia). And of course, I divided the mix pretty cleanly into the two eras: the first 9 tracks feature the band's amazing original frontman Bon Scott, and the last 9 tracks feature Brian Johnson, who may not be his predecessor's equal, but has presided over too many fantastic definitive AC/DC songs to be dismissed as easily as a Sammy Hagar.

Being able to collect songs from different AC/DC albums in one place, or even buy a collection of them, is a relatively recent development. They were always famous holdouts from iTunes, which they finally put their catalog on in 2012, and streaming services like Spotify, which they finally got on just last year. But AC/DC has also never released a proper 'greatest hits' album among their various live records and box sets and whatnot. It's funny to think of such a goofy band with so many great singles being kind of snobby about the sanctity of the album. But it worked out well from a business standpoint: Back In Black sold a staggering 22 million copies in the U.S. alone, and they have 8 other multi-platinum studio albums.

AC/DC has, on two occasions, released compilations of studio tracks as soundtracks for movies -- 1986's Who Made Who for the Stephen King film Maximum Overdrive, and 2010's Iron Man 2. But those weren't proper hits collections, and in fact highlighted some really good deep cuts, including the uncharacteristically slow groove of "Ride On" (on Who Made Who) and "Shoot To Thrill" and "Have A Drink On Me" (on Iron Man 2).

Obviously, AC/DC found their signature sound, the choppy riffs and solid 4/4 beats and wild solos and sleazy wordplay, very early in their run and stuck to their trademark as faithfully and as successfully as any band in history. But I'd like to think that this playlist demonstrates how many different directions they stretched that sound in, with some tracks that are slower and bluesier, or faster and punkier, than about anything you hear in their radio staples.

Previous playlists in the Deep Album Cuts series:
Vol. 1: Brandy
Vol. 2: Whitney Houston
Vol. 3: Madonna
Vol. 4: My Chemical Romance
Vol. 5: Brad Paisley
Vol. 6: George Jones
Vol. 7: The Doors
Vol. 8: Jay-Z
Vol. 9: Robin Thicke
Vol. 10: R. Kelly
Vol. 11: Fall Out Boy
Vol. 12: TLC
Vol. 13: Pink
Vol. 14: Queen
Vol. 15: Steely Dan
Vol. 16: Trick Daddy
Vol. 17: Paramore
Vol. 18: Elton John
Vol. 19: Missy Elliott
Vol. 20: Mariah Carey
Vol. 21: The Pretenders
Vol. 22: "Weird Al" Yankovic
Vol. 23: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Vol. 24: Foo Fighters
Vol. 25: Counting Crows
Vol. 26: T.I.
Vol. 27: Jackson Browne
Vol. 28: Usher
Vol. 29: Mary J. Blige
Vol. 30: The Black Crowes
Vol. 31: Ne-Yo
Vol. 32: Blink-182
Vol. 33: One Direction
Vol. 34: Kelly Clarkson
Vol. 35: The B-52's
Vol. 36: Ludacris
Vol. 37: They Might Be Giants
Vol. 38: T-Pain
Vol. 39: Snoop Dogg
Vol. 40: Ciara
Vol. 41: Creedence Clearwater Revival
Vol. 42: Dwight Yoakam
Vol. 43: Demi Lovato
Vol. 44: Prince
Vol. 45: Duran Duran
Vol. 46: Rihanna
Vol. 47: Janet Jackson
Vol. 48: Sara Bareilles
Vol. 49: Motley Crue
Vol. 50: The Who
Vol. 51: Coldplay
Vol. 52: Alicia Keys
Vol. 53: Stone Temple Pilots
Vol. 54: David Bowie
Vol. 55: The Eagles
Vol. 56: The Beatles
Vol. 57: Beyonce
Vol. 58: Beanie Sigel
Vol. 59: A Tribe Called Quest
Vol. 60: Cheap Trick
Vol. 61: Guns N' Roses
Vol. 62: The Posies
Vol. 63: The Time
Vol. 64: Gucci Mane
Vol. 65: Violent Femmes
Vol. 66: Red Hot Chili Peppers
Vol. 67: Maxwell
Vol. 68: Parliament-Funkadelic
Vol. 69: Chevelle
Vol. 70: Ray Parker Jr. and Raydio
Vol. 71: Fantasia
Vol. 72: Heart
Vol. 73: Pitbull
Vol. 74: Nas
Vol. 75: Monica
Vol. 76: The Cars
Vol. 77: 112
Vol. 78: 2Pac
Vol. 79: Nelly
Vol. 80: Meat Loaf
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