Let There Be Rock


Atco Records, 1977


REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


1977 marked the first time Atlantic Records released one of AC/DC's albums at the same time worldwide. But Let There Be Rock still featured one main difference between what the United States heard and what the "original" version of the album included.

It's difficult reviewing this disc, mainly because I honestly feel I'd be writing the same thing for the American and the Australian versions of Let There Be Rock rate about the same on my scale. But besides the cover art, there's one thing that keeps these two discs to be quite individual - and it revolves around one song, "Crabsody In Blue". (For the record, the Australian cover is a shot of a guitar neck in black and white, and is much plainer than the cover featured here.)

If you're reading this in America, chances are you've never heard of this song. This ode to the, aah, "pets" one could catch from an unwise sexual encounter never has made it to these shores, even on the Bonfire box set. (Don't get me started on how poorly I thought that was put together.) Instead, American audiences were treated to a truncated version of "Problem Child," which was pulled from AC/DC's previous Australian album my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap. (We'll be talking about that one soon enough.)

In one sense, I can understand why "Problem Child" would be included on Let There Be Rock. It's an absolutely incredible song, and held out the promise of being a hit for Angus Young and crew. That, unfortunately, never materialized, but it was enough to get more people interested in who AC/DC were. "Crabsody In Blue" was a little more controversial, and while the PMRC had yet to rear its ugly head, some people might have thought that American audiences weren't goint to respond well to this song - thus assuring people like me would end up buying two versions of this disc down the road.

Let There Be Rock is the same album otherwise, and what an album it is. The fact that half of this album includes songs that became concert staples - "Let There Be Rock," "Bad Boy Boogie" (at least while Bon Scott was alive), "Hell Ain't A Bad Place To Be" and "Whole Lotta Rosie" - speaks volumes for the power this disc has. Even one other song, "Dog Eat Dog," was featured on the Ballbreaker tour a few years back - man, what a nugget to pull out for the diehard fan!

That leaves us with a whopping two songs to talk about - "Go Down" and "Overdose". "Overdose" could well be one of the most overlooked AC/DC classics of all time, a track that gave each band member some leeway to create their own groove. Play this song for yourself, and see if you don't keep going back to it again and again. "Go Down," while not quite as strong, is still an enjoyable number that illustrates how important the synergy between Angus Young and vocalist Scott was.

What I find interesting about Let There Be Rock is that I end up preferring one original version of a concert favorite while finding fault with a second classic. "Let There Be Rock" seems to be a little too slow for me; I prefer the higher-energy frenzy that the live version has become. Meanwhile, there's something to be said for the slower touches on "Hell Ain't A Bad Place To Be," allowing it to become a little more controlled.

So which version of Let There Be Rock should you get? Well, this one might shock you - but I'd recommend the American version. "Crabsody In Blue," for all the years I searched for it, turns out to be a bit half-baked, and is not one of my favorite AC/DC tracks. And while I prefer the unedited version of "Problem Child" (only the reprise is cut), I still love hearing this song in all its forms. If you're a drooling AC/DC freak, you can search out the import version - but good luck finding it. I have seen it only once since I bought my copy about five years ago - and it had been seven years since I had seen it previously.

Rating: B+

User Rating: A-



© 2001 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Atco Records, and is used for informational purposes only.