Who Made Who


Atlantic, 1986


REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Anyone who knows me knows that I am by no means a fan of horror movies. Oh, I like the old Universal classics such as Dracula and Frankenstein... but those are more thrillers than the meat-grinder films of today.

Only one band could get me, then, to sit down and watch a Stephen King film. That would be AC/DC, who provided (in the loosest manner possible) the soundtrack to King's only directorial effort Maximum Overdrive - a film King did when he was coked out of his gourd. (Ironically, it sometimes seems that's the way you also need to watch the film.) The resulting disc, Who Made Who, is part soundtrack, part "greatest hits" album (something AC/DC has been loathe to create all these years) and part stop-gap measure between proper studio albums. It's not terrible by any means, but it's also far from satisfying.

The title track is the centerpiece of the disc, one of three new songs Angus Young and crew recorded for this album (and the only one featuring Brian Johnson's vocals). I can vaguely remember hearing the debut of this one when I was a lad of 15, and being fairly impressed by it - and, truth be told, it's lost little of the power it had when it first came out over 35 years ago. Yet the teenaged me felt gypped, simply because the first version I had heard was an extended mix of the track, released at the time only as a 12-inch import single. (That version has since been released on the deluxe edition of my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Backtracks.) Honestly, this disc was so short - clocking in at under 40 minutes - that the extended version could have been thrown on somewhere.

The remaining two tracks, "D.T." and "Chase The Ace," are instrumentals that were sparingly used as background music in the film. Of these, "Chase The Ace" is the far superior track, one which gives not only Angus Young plenty of opportunity to shine as a lead guitarist, but allows the rhythm section of guitarist Malcolm Young, bassist Cliff Williams and drummer Simon Wright the chance to stretch out a little bit more than usual. "D.T." in comparison is a bit plodding of a track - not terrible, but not much to write home about.

The remainder of Who Made Who is a collection of standbys from AC/DC's catalog - even dipping into the recent past, as "Shake Your Foundations" and "Sink The Pink" from the previous year's Fly On The Wall make return appearances. The remix of "Shake Your Foundations" brings Johnson's vocals to the forefront - something which was a major issue for people listening to Fly On The Wall. However, rehashing tracks from just one album prior almost has the sense of desperation - even if those were the tracks King really wanted in the film.

The late Bon Scott is featured on only one track, "Ride On". Knowing the long-standing debate of who was the better vocalist for AC/DC, I refuse to get drawn into that whole fiasco... but I'd have liked to have seen more from the Scott era featured on this disc. As for the inclusions of "Hells Bells," "You Shook Me All Night Long" and "For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)"... well, never gonna complain about listening to those again.

The truth of the matter is that Who Made Who, no matter how you slice it, was simply a bridge that allowed AC/DC to work with Harry Vanda and George Young again - and would lead to them producing the next studio disc. It gave them time to shake off what was seen as the commercial disappointment of Fly On The Wall while redoubling their efforts to regain the glory they had just a few years prior. This disc is still a bit of a guilty pleasure for me, but is hardly one that could be called a must-own.

Rating: C+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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