(TheBRHM.com) Over on ThyBlackMan, I went into growing up a Black metalhead and finding my love for the genre during college. While my father didn’t push rock on to me, he was the main reason I really dove into rock music.
The family home had a bar with an 8-track player connected to this old, 70s sound system in the den. He was a mechanic and would go to junkyard and bring tossed treasures back. Once, he brought back a bag of 8-track tapes and one of those tapes was 1976’s Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap from AC/DC.
AC/DC: Mixing Blues with Rock Down Under
During this time, heavy metal was building up steam in the world of music. Hard rock always maintained a certain level of popularity regardless of the decade.
It would be really popular during the 1970s and 1980s where it was hard enough to be considered metal-adjacent in the press and among fans—depending on the band.
Australian rock legends AC/DC is one of those hard rock bands that is considered heavy metal depending on the album.
Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap is one of those albums that I’d consider hard rock. It’s a pretty heavy album but it doesn’t have the same weight as 1979’s Highway to Hell and especially 1980’s Back in Black.
This is also the band’s third album, AC/DC managed to break into U.S in 1976 with High Voltage, the international release of their debut album.
The early release history of AC/DC can be confusing early on and it’s mainly because of exporting their albums for an international release.
Appeal of The Band’s Sound
Like many rock artists outside of the U.S who were moving towards a harder sound, AC/DC came in on the blues rock path similar to Led Zeppelin in England or personal favorite, Thin Lizzy out of Ireland.
Unlike Thin Lizzy, the boys from Down Under kept the bluesy element in their music but similar to the Irish hard rock gods, AC/DC really pushed hard rock in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
If you put an AC/DC album on, you knew that it was going to be a good time! By today’s musical standards, some would use the word “pedestrian” or “basic” to describe their sound but they were consistent with it for years.
They didn’t attempt to “explore” new sounds but it just mutated with the rise of heavy metal and a new lead singer in Brian Johnson.
The Birth of a Black Rock Fan
While I prefer those two over this one by a lot, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap was my first rock album and the one that really put on that path.
As I mentioned before, growing up in a mostly traditional Black household in the deep South, the sound of AC/DC—and other harder bands—was considered “devil music”. In AC/DC’s case, there’s really nothing Satanic or demonic there.
Listening to this album as a 9-year-old yute, I was taken in by the sound and Bon Scott’s vocals. This would’ve been 18 years after the release of Dirty Deeds.
Visuals are usually the first thing that attracts people to new things. In the case of music, it’s the album cover. Most of AC/DC’s classic albums had cool and dangerous covers that screamed “This is rock n roll and it is LOUD!”
Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap didn’t have that and it was a gamble to just push the tape into the 8-track player and listen. I’m glad I took that chance because it introduced me to something new that I probably wouldn’t have entertained.
That abrasive, heavy sound is what clicked with me. It not only turned me on to other bands within rock but it’s the same approach I take for hip-hop: aggressive, abrasive, loud music will catch my ear off the bat and while a musician may or may not get a new fan, they will definitely get a listener.
Staff Writer; James Swift, Jr.
This talented writer is also a podcast host, and comic book fan who loves all things old school. One may also find him on Twitter at; metalswift.