Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (song)
|"Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap"|
|Single by AC/DC|
|B-side||"R.I.P. (Rock in Peace)" (Australia)
"Big Balls", "The Jack" (UK)
"Highway To Hell" (U.S.)
|Released||8 October 1976|
|Writer(s)||Angus Young, Bon Scott, Malcolm Young|
|Producer(s)||Harry Vanda, George Young|
|AC/DC singles chronology|
|"Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (live)"|
|Single by AC/DC|
|from the album Live|
|B-side||"Shoot to Thrill" (live)|
|Format||CD, 12-inch single|
|AC/DC singles chronology|
"Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" is a song by Australian hard rock band AC/DC. It is the title track and first track of their album Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, released in September 1976, and was written by Angus Young, Malcolm Young, and Bon Scott.
It was also released as a single – first in Australia in October 1976 with "R.I.P. (Rock in Peace)" as its B-side, and then in the UK in January 1977 as a maxi-single with "Big Balls" and "The Jack" as its B-sides. Once the Dirty Deeds album was finally released in the US in 1981 the "Dirty Deeds ..." single was released there (backed by "Highway To Hell"), where it reached number four on the then-new Top Tracks chart.
It features a backing vocal consisting of a heavy breathing sound, made on the downbeat during verses. It also features the title in a spoken-word style at the end of the chorus; plus a scream at the end of the song. The full-length recording (approximately 4:11) has the title of the song chanted four times starting at 3:09, but on the more common edited version (approximately 3:51) the chant is heard only twice.
The song's narrator invites people experiencing problems to either call him on 36-24-36, an actual phone number in Australia at the time, or visit him at his home, at which point he will perform assorted unsavoury acts to resolve said problems. Situations in which he offers assistance include those involving lewd high school headmasters and significant others who are either adulterous or who persistently find fault with their partners. As detailed by the song, the "dirty deeds" performed at low cost include:
Two of the services offered share names with AC/DC's first two Australian albums, T.N.T. and High Voltage. They are also the names of songs that appeared on Australia's T.N.T. and the international version of High Voltage. Additionally, the six digits of the telephone number provided by the speaker are the idealized "perfect measurements" of a woman (36"–24"–36" = 90 cm–60 cm–90 cm).
The phrase "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" is a homage to the cartoon Beany and Cecil, which Angus Young watched when he was a child. One of the cartoon's characters was named Dishonest John, who carried a business card that read: "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap. Holidays, Sundays, and Special Rates." In the original, unreleased version of the song, the term "Dunder Chief" was used in place of the lyrics "done dirt cheap."
In 1981, Norman and Marilyn White of Libertyville, Illinois filed a $250,000 lawsuit in Lake County, Illinois Circuit Court against Atlantic Records and its distributors because, they alleged, their telephone number was included in the song, resulting in hundreds of prank phone calls. Their attorney told the Chicago Tribune that the song's 36-24-36 digits were followed by a "hey!", which to his clients sounded like an "8", thus creating the couple's phone number.
"Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" has only been included on one official AC/DC live album, 1992's Live, sung by Scott's replacement Brian Johnson. This live version was released as a single. A video clip for the single was released containing footage from the Live at Donington home video, as well as other old clips mixed in the video. This video clip was later released on the DVD Family Jewels Disc 3, as part of the 2009 box set Backtracks.
An earlier version with Bon Scott, recorded live in Sydney (Haymarket) at the Festival of Sydney on 30 January 1977, was released on an Australian only radio 2JJ compilation album titled Long Live The Evolution. This live version was later released on Backtracks.
Recorded cover versions
- A parody of this song was recorded by Bob Rivers called "Dirty Deeds Done With Sheep".
- Hayseed Dixie recorded a bluegrass-style cover for their albums A Hillbilly Tribute to AC/DC and Let There Be Rockgrass. This version replaces Bon Scott's scream with singer John Wheeler's loud belch at the end.
- Kerri-anne Kennerley covered the song on the album Andrew Denton's Musical Challenge released in 2001.
- Joan Jett and the Blackhearts covered the song on their 1990 album The Hit List, and achieved modest chart success with a single release.
- A cover of this song was recorded by thrash metal band Exodus for the album Tempo of the Damned.
- The queercore band Pansy Division also recorded a parody, called "Dirty Queers Don't Come Cheap".
- Lesley Gore recorded a cover for the album When Pigs Fly.
- Graveyard BBQ also did a cover of this song for their Greatest Hits Volume Two album.
- A parody of this song was featured on The Simpsons, in the episode "Sex, Pies and Idiot Scrapes"; when Homer Simpson suggests to Ned Flanders that they pass the time by singing "Dirty Deeds", Flanders instead offers a supposed Christian rock version, "Kindly Deeds Done For Free", which Flanders credits to a fictional AC/DC Christian rock tribute band called "AD/BC".
- The Atomic Bitchwax covered this song on their EP Spit Blood.
- In the first season of TV series How I Met Your Mother, Barney Stinson appears singing this song in a karaoke.
- Night Ranger covered this song on the 2011 album "Somewhere In California"
Live cover versions
- Local H covered this song live mixed in with their song "Bound for the Floor" during their 2008 tour for their album Twelve Angry Months.
- The Nightwatchman covered this song with revised lyrics concerning the Bush Administration during his 2008 tour.
- Dropkick Murphys covered this song live on their 2012 tour for their album Going Out In Style.
- Ugly Kid Joe covered this song live with Duff McKagan
Uses in popular culture
Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (or D4C) is the Stand name of the President of United States (Funny Valentine) in the popular Japanese manga JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Part 7: Steel Ball Run. In localized versions of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle, all subtitles and text references are changed to "Filthy acts at a reasonable price", and the in-game encyclopedia states that "nobody knows what D4C stands for".
The song was going to appear in the video game Grand Theft Auto III, but it was removed for unknown reasons. It is also unknown what radio station it would have appeared on in the game.
|Chart (1976)||Peak position|
|New Zealand Singles Chart||34|
|UK Singles Chart||47|
- Bon Scott – lead vocals
- Angus Young – lead guitar, backing vocals
- Malcolm Young – rhythm guitar, backing vocals
- Mark Evans – bass
- Phil Rudd – drums
- Producers: Harry Vanda, George Young
- AC/DC Two Sides to Every Glory by Paul Stenning
- "VH1 40 Greatest Metal Songs", 1–4 May 2006, VH1 Channel, reported by VH1.com; last accessed 10 September 2006.
- "spreadit.org music". Retrieved February 7, 2009.
- Walker, Clinton. "Highway to Hell: The Life and Death of AC/DC Legend Bon Scott." Verse Chorus Press, 2007, p 243. ISBN 1891241230
- Hirsley, Michael (October 10, 1981). "'Dirty Deeds' bring suit". Chicago Tribune. p. W3.
- "AC/DC – Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap". australian-charts.com. Retrieved 2010-02-27.
- "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap". chartstats.com. Retrieved 2010-02-27.
- Saulnier, Jason (30 September 2011). "Mark Evans Interview". Music Legends. Retrieved 6 May 2013.