A Rising Power

Throughout the first three months of 1978, AC/DC were packed in the recording studio working on their new album. Titled “Powerage”, the album was released in the UK on the 28th of April, charting a month later. It reached the Top 30, but sadly peaked at number 26, something of a letdown after the Top 20 success of “Let There Be Rock”.

Plans for AC/DC to set the promotional wheels back into motion with an extensive UK tour to coincide with the release of “Powerage” were slightly affected when Angus picked a bothersome foot injury. The first three dates of this planned 28-day trek were pulled but the rest fit neatly into place, with the band receiving rapturous ovations across the country. The supporting act on this tour was British Lions.

The tour reached its conclusion at the end of May in Scotland, after which AC/DC headed back to America, where they were still struggling to make a commercial impact. The band’s US schedule called for tours at different times with Rainbow, Savoy Brown, Alice Cooper, Journey, and the Scorpions. After most of these tours ended, AC/DC started co-headlining shows with UFO. During these tours, AC/DC’s live reputation throughout the US was growing with almost every gig. But it wasn’t always sweetness and light for them out there. In Detroit, Malcolm got into an altercation with a local promoter when he tried to pull the plug on the band because they’d supposedly exceeded the 98-decibel noise limit.

Another very interesting story came out of that same tour. It was alleged that Bon went to the toilet and found himself standing next to an employee of Atlantic Records. The latter asked Bon whether he was AC or DC, to which he replied: “Neither, I’m the lightning flash in the middle!” Bon then punched out the shocked chap.

All in all, the band played nearly 100 shows during this period in America. Thanks to all this hard work from the band, sales of the “Powerage” album had actually risen to close on the quarter-of-a-million mark. Atlantic now woke up, realizing they were sitting on a potential gold mine.

Back in the UK, previously unreleased “Rock ‘n’ Roll Damnation” was issued in 7” and the newly popular 12” vinyl formats during May 1978. Followed by this single’s success was AC/DC’s live performance on BBC’s “Top of the Pops”, where the band had to pretend to be playing while the recording of the tape was playing in the background. Bon did his best to send the whole ludicrous affair by lip-synching very badly, with intent, it’s been suggested.

By the time that one helluva year came to its conclusion, AC/DC were hot and happening news. They were on the verge of a big breakthrough. And Atlantic wasted no time in under pinning this hard won success. Next on the agenda was a live album: one they felt would take AC/DC to the next level.