They Had the Biggest Balls of Them All

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That’s Angus out front, making a spectacle of himself as usual, as the soon-to-be-late Bon Scott peers over his shoulder. At left, Malcolm broods in the background.

Today’s birthday is AC/DC lead guitarist Angus Young, born March 31, 1955. That makes Angus 51, and as far as I know, he’s still touring the world in his school uniform with short pants. Well, more power to him. As it were.

Coincidentally, I’ve been listening this week to Highway to Hell, which is pretty much flawless from the opening chords of the title track to the final fadeout of “Night Prowler,” where Bon Scott mutters “Shazbat. Nanu-nanu.” (Anybody born too late to understand what this means: Google “Mork and Mindy.”) Highway to Hell is the best album of its kind ever made, although it’s hard to say what kind that is exactly. AC/DC is a hard band to classify; they’re undoubtedly a rock band, but what kind of rock band? They’re too rhythmically nimble to be heavy metal, too heavy to be pop. Just calling them “hard rock” seems like a cop-out. It might be more accurate to say that AC/DC is a genre unto themselves. If you have High Voltage, Highway, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, and maybe Back in Black, you have everything you need in the genre.

While Angus gets all the attention for his flamboyant solos, stage antics, and sartorial sense, AC/DC’s real anchor is brother Malcolm’s rhythm guitar. In the band’s heyday Malcolm Young combined with bassist Cliff Williams and drummer Phil Rudd to form a three-headed rhythm monster rivalled only by Richards/Wyman/Watts or the Who. If you doubt me, just listen to the gut-hammering, surprisingly funky call-and-response riff that powers “Girl’s Got Rhythm.”

And then of course there’s Bon Scott himself, an innovator in the field of “macho guy who sings about sex while shirtless and still kind of sounds like a girl.” Scott left this Earth in 1980, drinking himself into an early grave á la Hank Williams, but not before penning the lyrics to such classics as “Big Balls”:

Some balls are held for charity and some for fancy dress
But when they’re held for pleasure they’re the balls that I like best
My balls are always bouncing to the left and to the right
It’s my belief that my big balls should be held every night

Replacement Brian Johnson took over for Back in Black, which became AC/DC’s best-selling album, and while you’ve got to love songs like “Hell’s Bells” and “Rock’n’Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution,” the band’s been in slow decline ever since. (Then again, who hasn’t?)

So go ahead and raise a toast to Angus tonight, slam one down for Malcolm and the boys, have a moment of morbid introspection in Bon’s honor, then annoy the neighbors with a top-volume midnight airing of “It’s a Long Way to the Top If You Wanna Rock’n’Roll.” You’ll be glad you did, especially once the bagpipes kick in.

5 Responses to “They Had the Biggest Balls of Them All”

  1. Austin Valentine Says:

    I like these musical tributes and reviews that you do, even though I am kind of a nerd and may not be familiar with the artist and all their songs.

  2. Tessa Says:

    I FN LOVE ANGUS YOUNG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Myriah Says:

    I LOVE YOU ANGUS YOU’LL NEVR BE FORGOTTIN!!!!!!!!
    angus young for president!!!

  4. mike s. Says:

    Expects me to live on the smell ofan oil rag lately. That little extravagance cooledhim down again.
    It wasnt doubting you made the time so long but justbecause you werent here.
    Ill go out of my mind if I have to putup with his spying much longer. I began tothink I was the original ugly duckling.
    Exigently, shamelessly,she pried into the mystery. He was gone, ripping his cuff on a loose paling, swishing in thelong grass of the lane. Goodness gracious, Douglas, what ARE you saying! Against awhore you could assert yourself by paying up and clearing out. The way his facehad suddenly relaxed frightened her, but made her happy too.
    By the way, I know somebody whos dead nuts on you. He could have keptme there till I dried up like Montaulk.
    For his life,that was just how he thought of it, too.
    I thought your father never thought of anything else, James saidso. Her father is most intimately connectedwith the Felsies and her uncle was a bishop in England.
    When I read it I wished I could find anIngelarius.
    He moved away irresolutely and picked uphis hat, wiped a patch of dust off the nap on his sleeve. The injustice, the cunning of the question, made her frown. He braced himself, then caught her eye andweakened. Harriet passed without speaking and went into the house.
    Ive hated men all my life in this plague spot andyoure the only one Ive ever loved. He went to the window, threw it open, and took a deepbreath. Didnt you seethe other day when he came into the room? But he said toDoug, You be careful what youre doing there. Gardeners dont usually wear hats with satin linings.
    Their kneestouched and a sharp barb of fire ran up his thighs.
    Even at a quarter of that it wasnot saleable now. A decent, modest girl, a nice girl, wouldnt look at a manin that hungry way. Even at a quarter of that it wasnot saleable now. It was Cabell who brushed the proferred exhibit aside. His face was puffed up andred with anger. She pulled it open and fled into the passage, where she stumbled,squealing, over something.
    Mrs Peppiotts eyes bubbled out from under their scaly lids.
    He could have keptme there till I dried up like Montaulk. It was Cabell who brushed the proferred exhibit aside.
    By the way, I know somebody whos dead nuts on you. He did not pause to analyse his emotions so precisely. Nothing so vulgar and sordid could interest aPeppiott woman!

  5. The Philter » Blog Archive » Song of the Week, 11/19/2017 Says:

    […] They Had the Biggest Balls of Them All […]

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