100 Greatest Songs of the 70’s #79 AC/DC – Whole Lotta Rosie

Released: 1977

However you look at it, there was no way to argue rock’s primacy as the dominant music of the 1970’s. There was glam, there was reggae, there was disco and there was ultimately punk, but none of these had the all-conquering appeal or simplicity of it’s basic template, one which in certain hands seemed impervious to what went on around it.

AC/DC, fronted by the witchy hellraiser Bon Scott, were by 1977 along with Motorhead a metal band who straddled the divide between factions old and new, despite making only basic refinements to their songwriting technique since debuting with High Voltage two years earlier.

Let There Be Rock however was recorded with the band at their pugnacious best, operating in a siege mode prompted by criticism from their underwhelmed American label. On it Scott and guitarist Angus Young drew on that sense of Aussie wickedness, a process that would make them suitably infamous. There was still time for the puerile stuff – Crabsody in Blue’s ‘and you start to scratch/when they start to hatch’ but this was the chassis at full power for the first time and didn’t they just know it.

Rock n’ Roll was of course a metaphor for the dirtiest deeds done dirt cheap – and Whole Lotta Rosie was a song about it, turbo charged by Young’s nagging riff and Scott’s confessional, lairy boysroom storytelling. It was an uncompromising, provocative ditty, but regrets were for fools, a motto it’s singer would take with him to Valhalla or somewhere else not long later.

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