High Voltage (1975 album)
|Studio album by AC/DC|
|Released||17 February 1975 (Australia only)|
|Recorded||November 1974 at Albert Studios, Sydney, Australia|
|Genre||Hard rock, blues rock, rock and roll|
|Producer||Harry Vanda, George Young|
|Singles from High Voltage|
High Voltage is the debut studio album by Australian hard rock band AC/DC, released on 17 February 1975. Six of its eight songs were written by Angus Young, Malcolm Young and Bon Scott. "Soul Stripper" was written by the Young brothers and "Baby, Please Don't Go" is a cover version of a Big Joe Williams song. The album was produced by Vanda & Young at Albert Studios in Sydney, Australia. George Young is the older brother of Angus and Malcolm, who also played bass guitar on a number of the album's songs, and played bass guitar at some of AC/DC's live shows. Harry Vanda was a bandmate of George's in The Easybeats. George and Harry were the main songwriters of The Easybeats' later hits, including their international hit "Friday on My Mind".
High Voltage was originally released on Albert Productions only in Australia, and has never been reissued by another label in this format. The international version of High Voltage, that was issued on Atlantic Records in 1976, has a different cover art and track listing, with only "She's Got Balls" and "Little Lover" appearing overseas. "Baby Please Don't Go", "Soul Stripper", "You Ain't Got a Hold On Me" and "Show Business" were later released on '74 Jailbreak in 1984. "Stick Around" and "Love Song" have been released on Backtracks in 2009.
AC/DC was still developing its sound when High Voltage was recorded in November 1974, and Bon Scott and the Young brothers (Angus and Malcolm) were backed by a different rhythm section than the Mark Evans/Phil Rudd combination featured on their next three full-length studio recordings. Rob Bailey and Peter Clack were the band's bassist and drummer, respectively, at the time. According to Murray Engleheart's book AC/DC: Maximum Rock N Roll, bass duties were shared by Malcolm and older brother George, who also played live with the band infrequently, as well as Bailey. Clack played drums on "Baby, Please Don't Go" and the rest of the tracks were recorded by Tony Currenti, although John Proud also did some session work. Malcolm and Angus traded-off lead guitar parts on "Soul Stripper" and "Show Business", and Malcolm played the solo on "Little Lover". George Young and Harry Vanda produced the album, which was recorded in 10 days in between gigs at Albert Studios in Sydney. The title and artwork were the suggestion of Chris Gilbey of Albert Productions.
High Voltage led to the first of many AC/DC appearances on Australia's Countdown music program. The band's earliest appearances included a now-legendary live performance of "Baby, Please Don't Go" (featuring Scott dressed as a blonde schoolgirl) and a filmed performance of "Show Business."
Released in May 1976, and featuring a different cover, the international version of High Voltage was a compilation of the original Australian edition and its follow-up, the Australia-only T.N.T. album. Despite its title, the second High Voltage features only two tracks from the original: "She's Got Balls" and "Little Lover", with the other seven songs coming from T.N.T.
- "Baby, Please Don't Go" (Big Joe Williams) – 4:50
- "She's Got Balls" – 4:51
- "Little Lover" – 5:37
- "Stick Around" – 4:40
- "Soul Stripper" (A. Young, M. Young) – 6:25
- "You Ain't Got a Hold on Me" – 3:31
- "Love Song" – 5:15
- "Show Business" – 4:46
Most of the songs on this version of High Voltage were not released outside Australia until 1984, when "Baby, Please Don't Go", "You Ain't Got a Hold on Me", "Soul Stripper", and "Show Business" were included on the '74 Jailbreak EP, released in the US, Canada and Japan in October 1984. "Stick Around" and "Love Song" were later released on the compilation Backtracks on 10 November 2009. "Show Business" also appeared as the B-side on the American promo-only "Jailbreak" single. It has evolved from an older song called "Sunset Strip", written by Malcolm and the band's original singer Dave Evans, revamped for the album with new lyrics by Scott.
"Love Song" evolved from an unrecorded song called "Fell in Love", also written by Malcolm and Evans. This earlier version of the song had different lyrics, and the finished lyrics as heard on the album were added by Scott. "Love Song" was released as the album's first single (under the title "Love Song (Oh Jene)") and was backed with "Baby, Please Don't Go", but radio preferred the flip. "Stick Around" was about Scott's inability to hold onto a lover for more than one night.
"She's Got Balls" was written about Scott's ex-wife Irene. It was the first AC/DC song for which he wrote lyrics, originally ad-libbed during his first live performance with them. "Little Lover" came from an older song that Malcolm had first composed when he was 14. Scott's lyrics are ambiguous, but he later claimed they were about Angus.
Charts and certifications
- Bon Scott – lead vocals
- Angus Young – lead guitar
- Malcolm Young – rhythm guitar, backing vocals, bass guitar, lead guitar on tracks 3, 5, 6 and 8
- George Young – production, bass guitar, rhythm guitar, backing vocals
- Rob Bailey – bass guitar
- Peter Clack – drums on track 1
- Tony Currenti – drums on tracks 2-8
- Harry Vanda – production, backing vocals
- Fink, Jesse (1 November 2013). The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC. Ebury Australia. ISBN 9781742759791.
- Engleheart, Murray & Arnaud Durieux (2006). AC/DC: Maximum Rock N Roll. pp. 92–93. ISBN 0-7322-8383-3.
- Video Footage and Liner Notes, Family Jewels 2-Disc DVD Set 2005
- "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2013 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association.
- Saulnier, Jason (30 September 2011). "Mark Evans Interview". Music Legends. Retrieved 6 May 2013.
- Lyrics on AC/DC's official website