Powerage

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Powerage
Studio album by AC/DC
Released 5 May 1978 (UK/EUR)
25 May 1978 (INT)
Recorded January–March 1978 at Albert Studios in Sydney, Australia
Genre Hard rock, blues rock, rock and roll
Length 39:43
Label Atlantic
Producer Harry Vanda, George Young
AC/DC chronology
Let There Be Rock
(1977)
Powerage
(1978)
If You Want Blood You've Got It
(1978)
Singles from Powerage
  1. "Rock 'n' Roll Damnation"
    Released: June 1978

Powerage is the fifth studio album by Australian hard rock band AC/DC, released on 5 May 1978. It is also AC/DC's fourth international studio album. All songs were written by Angus Young, Malcolm Young and Bon Scott.

It was originally released on Atlantic Records, and reached No. 133 on Billboard's Pop Albums chart in the US, eventually going platinum. Powerage was re-released in 2003 as part of the AC/DC Remasters series.

Overview[edit]

Powerage is the first AC/DC album to be released nearly simultaneously in both Australian and international markets, and the first to use just one cover image for both. It was also the first to feature the same track listing on all versions, with the exception of the European vinyl edition (specifically, the first UK pressing of the LP). This version included "Cold Hearted Man", a song that was not previously released, and would not be released on any other AC/DC album until 2009's AC/DC Backtracks boxed set. The song became more widely available through the boxed set of Bon Scott-era vinyl LP albums in 1981. The song was packaged on a single-sided 12-inch single in the 1987 boxed set. The first UK pressing also includes different mixes than all later versions, most noticeably on "Down Payment Blues" (which excludes the bluesy coda heard on later pressings), "Kicked In The Teeth" (the opening chord was omitted on all other pressings but is present on the UK vinyl version) and "What's Next to the Moon," (which omits solos and backing vocals heard on later pressings.) In some territories, Powerage omitted "Rock 'n' Roll Damnation". This was due to a rushed job in getting the LP to pressing plants in time for the release date, hence "Rock 'n' Roll Damnation" (which was not yet completed) was omitted, "Cold Hearted Man" was added, and the rushed mixes are different from the 'finished' mixes that were thereafter used.

It was the band's last Bon Scott-era studio release to feature production work by Harry Vanda and George Young.

Powerage marked the studio debut of bassist Cliff Williams. Former bassist Mark Evans says that the album also has bass by him, as the Powerage songs started being done during the recording of his last album Let There Be Rock, and producer George Young, while Williams was having trouble on getting his work visa.[1]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[2]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 2.5/5 stars[3]
Stylus Magazine favorable[4]

Allmusic gave Powerage a rating of three and a half out of five stars, and said that while "it is the most uneven of" AC/DC's 1970s material, the album still contained a "few genuine classics", specifically mentioning "Down Payment Blues" and "Up to My Neck in You".[2] Edwin Faust of Stylus Magazine considers Powerage "AC/DC’s best album, (...) because it isn’t simply about sex, drinking and tongue-in-cheek Satanism", but shows a band "growing up".[4]

In 2005, Powerage was ranked number 325 in Rock Hard magazine's book of The 500 Greatest Rock & Metal Albums of All Time.[5] Kerrang! magazine listed the album at No. 26 among the "100 Greatest Heavy Metal Albums of All Time".[6]

Cover versions & Legacy[edit]

The Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards has also stated that Powerage is his favorite AC/DC record. "Up to My Neck in You", "Riff Raff" and "What's Next to the Moon" was covered by Mark Kozelek on his solo album What's Next to the Moon.

"Riff Raff" is frequently played on Guns N' Roses/Velvet Revolver guitarist Slash's iheartradio channel, "Slash FM", citing it as one of his favorite AC/DC songs. "Riff Raff" is covered by Guns N' Roses on their current Chinese Democracy World Tour. This song was also covered by the Canadian heavy metal band Annihilator on their 1996 album Refresh the Demon. The main riff for "Riff Raff" is often used as a soundcheck for Melvins guitar player Buzz Osbourne before live Melvins' performances, as heard on the DVD Salad of a Thousand Delights.

"Sin City" was covered by the '80s heavy metal band Twisted Sister, on their album Twisted Forever, in which Dee Snider changes a lyric: "Ain't got a hope in hell, that's Bon Scott's belief". The song has also been covered by the punk rock band The Offspring, Great White, Ugly Kid Joe and Bruce Dickinson. "Down Payment Blues" was covered in 2001 by Warrant on their album "Under the Influence" and also served as the theme song for comedian Marc Maron's 'WTF' podcast in 2009. "Sin City" is Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry's favorite AC/DC song.[7]

"Gone Shootin'" was featured in the movie Beavis and Butt-head Do America. In the audio commentary featured on the Beavis and Butt-head Do America Special Collector's Edition DVD, series creator Mike Judge stated that the main guitar riff from "Gone Shootin'" was the basis for the series' theme song. In 2007, a studio version of the song, with Brian Johnson on vocals, was included on the second disc of Plug Me In. The footage was taken from a recording session in 1996 at London's VH1 Studios.

"Kicked in the Teeth" was covered by Nashville Pussy on their album Eat More Pussy and also available on the bonus CD of Let Them Eat Pussy.

Track listing[edit]

Australian/US and all CD releases[edit]

All songs written and composed by Angus Young, Malcolm Young and Bon Scott

No. Title Length
1. "Rock 'n' Roll Damnation"   3:37
2. "Down Payment Blues"   6:03
3. "Gimme a Bullet"   3:21
4. "Riff Raff"   5:11
5. "Sin City"   4:45
6. "What's Next to the Moon"   3:31
7. "Gone Shootin'"   5:05
8. "Up to My Neck in You"   4:13
9. "Kicked in the Teeth"   3:53
  • Some cassette copies, such as the original Canadian issue, had an alternate track listing. For example, "Sin City" was the first song on side 1, while "Rock 'n' Roll Damnation" was the first song on side 2. All other tracks appear in the order of the original Australian/US release.

European LP release[edit]

All songs written and composed by Angus Young, Malcolm Young and Bon Scott

No. Title Length
1. "Rock 'n' Roll Damnation"   3:06
2. "Gimme a Bullet"   3:20
3. "Down Payment Blues"   5:40
4. "Gone Shootin'"   5:22
5. "Riff Raff"   5:14
6. "Sin City"   4:45
7. "Up to My Neck in You"   4:12
8. "What's Next to the Moon"   3:42
9. "Cold Hearted Man"   3:32
10. "Kicked in the Teeth"   3:58
  • Initial editions of the European (UK) LP release featured a different mix of the album. It had a 'harder' sound than the later version, with small variations in vocals, guitar tracks, or both, and occasionally extra sections and longer or shorter fades. Some versions omitted "Rock 'n' Roll Damnation" from the track-list, but all included "Cold Hearted Man", albeit in a different sequence than on subsequent pressings. One of the most marked differences is the exclusion of the bluesy coda on "Down Payment Blues". The first cassette issue of the album also features this mix.
  • The album was later remixed for the American market, with the new mix replacing the original European mix, and becoming the global standard. This mix is still used on all AC/DC Powerage CD releases today.

Personnel[edit]

The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC book claims that George Young played bass on all tracks.[8]

Production[edit]

Charts[edit]

Album

Year Chart Peak Position
1978 Australian Kent Music Report Albums Chart
22
1978 US Billboard The 200 Albums Chart[9]
133

Certification[edit]

Country Sales Certification
United States[10] 1,000,000 Platinum

References[edit]

  1. ^ Janssen, Volker (August–September 1998). "Interview with Mark Evans". Daily Dity. Retrieved 19 February 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Powerage - AC/DC". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2009-11-29. 
  3. ^ "AC/DC: Album Guide". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 24 September 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Faust, Edwin (12 December 2003). "AC/DC Powerage". Stylus Magazine. Retrieved 2011-10-23. 
  5. ^ [...], Rock Hard (Hrsg.). [Red.: Michael Rensen. Mitarb.: Götz Kühnemund] (2005). Best of Rock & Metal die 500 stärksten Scheiben aller Zeiten. Königswinter: Heel. p. 80. ISBN 3-89880-517-4. 
  6. ^ Johnson, Howard (21 January 1989). "AC/DC 'Powerage'". Kerrang! 222. London, UK: Spotlight Publications Ltd. 
  7. ^ My favorite AC/DC song is probably "Sin City".-- Joe Perry, "30 on 30", Guitar World, March 2010, Vol. 31/No. 3
  8. ^ Fink, Jesse ((01/11/2013).). The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC. Ebury Australia. ISBN 9781742759791. 
  9. ^ "Powerage Billboard Albums". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2011-10-23. 
  10. ^ "RIAA Database Search for Powerage". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 2011-10-23. 

External links[edit]