For Those About To Rock We Salute You
Atlantic Records, 1981
REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 12/27/2000
I've been feeling a bit nostalgic about turning 30, and sitting around the Pierce Memorial Archives, I decided to pull a real antique off the shelves.
For Those About To Rock We Salute You, the 1981 release from AC/DC, has a special place in my heart... for this was the first CD I ever owned. I still have that CD, in its original jewel case (which is yellowing, but still miraculously not broken - an amazing feat when I think how many times this CD has been schlepped from dorm room to radio station, and from apartment to apartment to house). It's a relic from the days when I dreamed of becoming somehow involved in the music industry, and even though this disc is now 14 years old and has been remastered at least once, I'd never think about replacing it as long as it plays.
Okay, enough reminiscing. Let's get to the review. Angus Young and crew knew they were facing an impossible task when it came to writing and recording this album: How would they top Back In Black? The answer: they couldn't, and they didn't try to. Instead, the band headed into the studio and made the best album they were capable of at the time. And while time has proven that this album was better than many of us thought way back then, there still are some signs that the juggernaut that started back with Highway To Hell was slowing down.
Teaming up again with Robert John "Mutt" Lange, AC/DC cranked out in just under 40 minutes a song that would become a classic, some songs which should have been classics... and a few which are just plain forgettable.
The title track is probably the best-known of the bunch, and has become synonymous with the closing of the AC/DC experience in concert. It takes a little time for the energy to build on this one, though Angus Young's opening guitar licks have become almost legendary.
Surprisingly, this is the only track off For Those About To Rock We Salute You which gets any attention in concert (and, for the most part, on the radio). You see, there are many other killer tracks on this album which are worthy of people's attention. Take "Let's Get It Up," which actually was released as a single back then. It has all the makings of a great AC/DC song: double entendres everywhere, a powerful vocal line and tremendous riffage.
The same case could be made for such tracks as "Put The Finger On You," "Evil Walks" and "Inject The Venom". In fact, for nearly three-fourths of the album, AC/DC can do little wrong. Admittedly, the songs don't have the same snap as Back In Black, but they hold their own pretty well. Even "Breaking The Rules," which features a slower tempo but a more powerful groove, clicks.
Then, there is the mistake: "Night Of The Long Knives". Poor concept, poor song - and it goes downhill from there. "Spellbound" tries to save some face, but it too doesn't click the way it should. It's almost as if things were fine until AC/DC hit a musical patch of ice - and then, it was straight into a tree.
For Those About To Rock We Salute You is still a solid album otherwise, and it's a shame that it gets pooh-poohed by people in favor of Back In Black. Both albums deserve equal shelf time, as well as equal time in the CD player. I've been grooving to this album since I bought a cut-out vinyl copy at Venture in 1985, and I'm still grooving to it on CD today. It's a shade weaker, true... but it's also very underrated.