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Monday, January 3, 2011

AC/DC - the deluxe edition

As Acca Dacca fans geared up for Australia's Black Ice tour in 2010 – the first time rockers AC/DC had toured Australia in eight years – they entertained themselves reading the band’s re-released in-depth biography, AC/DC Maximum Rock & Roll.

Unlike tickets to the Australian concerts - which reportedly sold out in a record three hours – the good folk at HarperCollins ensured the attractive black AC/DC Maximum Rock & Roll Deluxe Edition was in plentiful supply as Christmas approached.

And there’s lots to recommend this new edition, authored by respected rock journalists Murray Engleheart and Arnaud Durieux. The book, originally released in 2006, chronicles the band’s fortunes across a lifetime of memorable songs and the overwhelming tragedy of lead singer Bon Scott’s death that could have destroyed the band.

Brothers Angus and Malcolm Young started the pioneering metal band in 1973 while brother George found fame with ‘60s poppers The Easybeats (of ‘Friday on the mind’ fame). Bon joined in 1974 and the band took off, finally achieving international success in the late 1970s just before his death.

After Bon died, as a result of a heavy drinking session in 1980, Brian Johnson stepped up as lead singer, and has remained with the band ever since. Bon still has many fans, and his grave in Western Australia is considered a mandatory destination for those on the AC/DC pilgrimage trail.

However I digress – despite all the fascinating detail in the book, it’s the pictures that keep grabbing your eye.

Little gems abound, like the photos of the band with Angry Anderson – with hair!;  Bon in bib and brace overalls when they were trendy (we’re sure they haven’t been back in circulation since); and Angus wearing a Zorro costume (he went through quite a few, even dressing as a gorilla, before eventually settling on the iconic schoolboy uniform).

And to think many of the photographs were taken 200 million albums ago. Wow!

Even if you’re not a fan of the band, there’s still plenty to keep readers occupied in this highly detailed account of AC/DC’s highs and lows, and the band’s incredible staying power.

AC/DC Maximum Rock & Roll by Murray Engleheart and Arnaud Durieux (HarperCollins, RRP$49.99) is available from all good bookstores.

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