May 9, 2023, a year ago


Aaron Small

Rating: 9.0

review ac/dc martin popoff hard rock


“It’s pretty much impossible to find anywhere in rock ‘n’ roll a body of work less pretentious than AC/DC’s,” says highly prolific Canadian author and BraveWords contributor Martin Popoff, in his lavish new book, AC/DC At 50. “What emerges by the end, hopefully, is an appreciation of the enormity these guys accomplished from the utmost humblest of beginnings.”

AC/DC at 50 is a 192-page hardcover coffee table book, containing 300 photos, celebrating the 50th anniversary of Australia’s biggest rock band through the lens of 50 milestone events, making it an ultra-informative and easy read, with plenty of visuals to accompany the text. Popoff has divided his book into four parts: Bonfire, Geordie, Legacy, and Malcolm. Each offers a wealth of knowledge, beginning with guitarist Angus Young’s previous on-stage costume attempts, prior to settling on his iconic schoolboy outfit.

From the familiar (the death of vocalist Bon Scott and induction of his replacement Brian Johnson), to the trivial (the inspiration for the cannons on “For Those About To Rock”), AC/DC At 50 equally satisfies die-hard fans and casual onlookers. Did you know “Mistress For Christmas” was written about Donald Trump? That’s just one example of the plethora of factoids, presented alongside accurate analysis, that make this book an essential purchase for anyone who’s ever been Thunderstruck. While praise for AC/DC is plentiful, Popoff also recounts that not all was splendid: “Flick Of The Switch was poorly received… Ballbreaker lacks giddy electric excitement.” Even the controversial Axl Rose era is covered with Popoff declaring, “Nobody went home unsatisfied.”   

By nature, AC/DC has always been insular and secretive, granting very few interviews. Although AC/DC At 50 is an unofficial publication, not approved by the band, it stands as a gorgeous mini encyclopedia of the unmistakable group who rode the Highway To Hell.

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