Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (song)
|"Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap"|
|Single by AC/DC|
|from the album Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap|
|B-side||"R.I.P. (Rock in Peace)"|
|Released||5 October 1976|
|AC/DC singles chronology|
"Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" is a hard rock song by the Australian band AC/DC. Written by group members Angus Young, Malcolm Young, and Bon Scott, it was recorded for the title track of their album Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, released in September 1976.
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.
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The song's narrator, a hitman, invites people experiencing problems to either call his phone number 36-24-36 -- a pun, as it was an actual phone number in Australia at the time, but in America this sounds like a woman's Bust/waist/hip measurements -- 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 an 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.
|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 guitar
- Phil Rudd – drums
- Producers: Harry Vanda, George Young
|"Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (live)"|
|Single by AC/DC|
|from the album AC/DC Live|
|B-side||"Shoot to Thrill" (live)|
|Recorded||23 April 1991|
|Venue||NEC, Birmingham, England|
|AC/DC singles chronology|
|Live track listing|
"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.
Recordings by others
- Bob Rivers – as "Dirty Deeds Done with Sheep"
- Hayseed Dixie – A Hillbilly Tribute to AC/DC (2001) and Let There Be Rockgrass (2004); their version replaces Bon Scott's scream with singer John Wheeler's loud belch at the end
- Kerri-anne Kennerley – Andrew Denton's Musical Challenge (2001)
- Joan Jett and the Blackhearts – The Hit List (1991); also released as a single
- The Atomic Bitchwax – Spit Blood EP (2002)
- Pansy Division – as "Dirty Queers Don't Come Cheap" single (2004)
- Exodus – Tempo of the Damned bonus track (2004)
- Night Ranger – Somewhere in California (album)|Somewhere In California (2011), which is offered by I-Tunes as an exclusive download along with the album.
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 seventh installment of the popular Japanese manga JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. In localized versions of the video game JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle, in order to avoid legal troubles, 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.
The song was on the soundtrack in the "revenge-for-hire" movie Dirty Work.
- "VH1 40 Greatest Metal Songs", 1–4 May 2006, VH1 Channel, reported by VH1.com; last accessed 10 September 2006.
- "spreadit.org music". Archived from the original on February 12, 2009. Retrieved February 7, 2009.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-11-17. Retrieved 2015-11-13.
- 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. Archived from the original on 7 November 2012. Retrieved 6 May 2013.