British Dirt

After the success of “T.N.T”, the first thing Browning did was getting the band a contract with the UK branch of Atlantic. Soon the band decided to move to London. But prior to moving, AC/DC got recording work on their third album out of the way. As soon as they landed in UK, AC/DC were under the impression that they would have to fight for their survival because of the punk revolution that was sweeping the nation during that period. On the contrary, AC/DC were well placed to take advantage of this change in the musical environment. They had the attitude, the instinct, and the music to make them instantly appealing to punks. At the same time, traditional metal fans also found much to applaud in the band.

AC/DC finally made their live debut in the UK in mid-1976 with a series of shows at the Red Cow in Hammersmith. The band then set out on a support tour, opening for Back Street Crawlers. This tour allowed AC/DC to perform in bigger venues. The tour was a triumph for the band, considering they stole almost every show.

In mid-May, as the tour reached its conclusion, Atlantic issued a compilation of tracks from the first two AC/DC albums and gave it the title of “High Voltage”, even though most of the songs were from “T.N.T”. The album was a moderate success. It established AC/DC’s reputation as a fast-rising live attraction. Followed by the album’s release was a 20-date tour around the country titled “Lock Up Your Daughters”. By and large it proved to be a great success, although not all of the venues were sold out.

In August of 1976, Atlantic released a single titled “Jailbreak” with an instrumental on the B-side, namely “Fling Thing”. The single helped to cement the band’s rapidly growing stature. Based on their emergent success, AC/DC got to support Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow in Europe during the same month, a three-week trek that took them to Germany, France, and across Scandinavia. For the first time the band were appearing in massive theaters and arenas on a regular basis. Thanks to the popularity they gained during this tour, AC/DC appeared on British TV for the first time on August 27th while opening for Marc Bolan at the Wimbledon Theater. Two days later the band played the biggest show of their lives, appearing on the last day of the three-day Reading Festival. Alongside AC/DC on the bill that day were Ted Nugent, Black Oak Arkansas, Brand X, and pop rockers Sutherland Brothers And Quiver.

With little chance to catch their breaths, the band was booked to headline another British tour during October and November. This time it wasn’t just clubs, but a step up to theaters. The tour proved to be a rather disappointment, considering many venues were less than half full.

In December, “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” was finally released in the UK, three months after it was issued in Australia. Although two tracks, namely “Jailbreak” and “R.I.P (Rock In Peace)”, were missing from the UK release, and were replaced by “Rocker” (originally from “T.N.T”) and the previously unreleased “Love At First Feel”.

Even though some critics were not completely satisfied with the content of this album, it still proved to be AC/DC’s bestseller at the time. The sales numbers proved the fact that AC/DC were now moving ahead in leaps and bounds.