...And The Guitar Man Got Famous

In the beginning of 1977, AC/DC went back to the studios to work on a new album with Young and Vanda producing once again. Although, the album was completed right away, it wasn’t released until the end of 1977. This album was gonna be a crucial one because it was going to decide if AC/DC were gonna make it or not. Up until now they had conquered Australia and made their mark on UK, straddling the punk revolution. But unfortunately they hadn’t been able to sell a whole lot of records. All that was about to change.

The New Year didn’t really start for AC/DC until mid-February, when they started touring across the country on a 26-date trek. The band surprised the audience in Edinburgh by playing “Dog Eat Dog”, which was released only on a single at the time. During that period, AC/DC appeared on Aussie TV show “Countdown” performing the A-side of the new single. The band’s next step was a huge one, when they were confirmed as the opening act on Black Sabbath’s ’77 European tour. The tour introduced AC/DC to a new breed of audience. The kind who perceived Black Sabbath as Gods, and who were known for their abiding loyalty to any band who take their fancy. It was during this tour when Sabbath singer Ozzy Osbourne and Bon became good friends. Ozzy was rumored to be very unhappy with his band, which is probably what affected their live shows a lot. As a consequence of that, as long as AC/DC were on that tour they stole almost every show. Unfortunately, an altercation occurred between bassist Geezer Butler and Malcolm in a hotel bar when he allegedly punched out the unlucky Sabbath bassist. The next day AC/DC were kicked off the tour.

Shortly after their return, AC/DC and Mark Evans parted company because of the personality clash between him and Angus. Within 24 hours after Evans departed, the name of Cliff Williams came up. Manager Browning had heard about him from a mutual acquaintance, and immediately made contact. According to Browning, when Cliff walked in to audition, he had already been tipped off by the manager about what the band was looking for. Williams did what Browning told him to do and before he knew it he was AC/DC’s new bassist.

After Williams had bedded himself in the band, Atlantic finally released the album previously recorded with Evans on bass called “Let There Be Rock”. This was the first AC/DC effort that had a metal edge to it. It was during the recording sessions of this album when Angus’ amp caught on fire during a vicious solo. The album was a big hit in UK, reaching Number 17 in a run of five weeks in the national charts. The last track on the album, “Whole Lotta Rosie”, was the clear standout track. Even after 25 years of its release, it is one the most played AC/DC songs on the radio. The “Rosie” in question was from Tasmania with the measurements of 42-39-56, as Bon intoned in the song itself. While the band were out in Melbourne on an early tour, Bon was assailed by “Rosie”, who apparently strong armed him back to her place, threw him into the bedroom … and the rest is rock ‘n’ roll history.

Accompanied by the album’s release was a quasi-religious video for the title track, in which Bon was dressed up as a reverend, as the whole birth of rock ‘n’ roll was put into a biblical context. The video was, of course, with Williams in the line-up.

By the time “Let There Be Rock” had broken the band to a new level, they had their sights set on America. Now, here was an even bigger challenge.