On October 13, 1978, "AC/DC" released their first live album "If You Want Blood You've Got It".
Beyond the fact that this album stars in almost every list of the greatest live albums of all time, it is also probably the album that is responsible for the great breakthrough of "AC/DC" in the world and especially in the US. So let's understand why?
Hard to believe, but this great band, formed in Australia in 1973 by brothers Angus and Malcolm Young, was relatively successful in their country of origin, but for years failed to push the boundaries of their homeland and struggled to gain international recognition, especially in the US.
The disregard for the band was so extreme that the "Atlantic Records" branch of the US, refused to release the band's third album "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" in 1976, as they did not believe in its ability to succeed in sales. The band received the announcement during the tour to promote the same album, but instead of putting the band in depression, it did just the opposite! It spurred the tough guys from Australia to do everything they can to prove to the record company that they were wrong.
The band returned immediately after the tour to Sydney Australia to record their fourth album "Let There Be Rock". The album was recorded within two weeks, during which the band made an effort to recreate their sound on stage right there in the studio. "AC/DC" was a band of gigs, an energetic and sweeping band that gives its all in front of an audience, so it was important for them that this crazy energy would be reflected in the studio as well.
After the release of "Let There Be Rock" in the summer of 1977, "AC/DC" began their first tour in America, and without any help from the radio stations, begins to build her audience, from the bottom up, with a lot of hard work, on the road and in performances. "AC/DC" was a crazy energy bomb on the stage and the hard work on the roads, was definitely profitable. "AC/DC" slowly catch up with more and more young audiences and was also starting to attract the attention of record companies, who could no longer ignore the rumors about the band from Australia burning the stages in America. The highlight of this tour was a performance the band made in December 1977 at "Atlantic Studios" in New York. Yes, yes, the same company that a year earlier refused to release the band's third album in the US, suddenly hosts the band for a show that also aired live on WIOQ radio station in Philadelphia. By the way, this historic show was recorded and documented. It's called "Live from the Atlantic Studios" And it was released twenty years later, as part of the "Bonfire" box released in 1997.
This US tour proved to the audiences and the record companies what this band was worth, and this was also reflected in the sales of their fifth album "Powerage", released in 1978.
Reinforced by these positive results, the band decides it's a good time to release a compilation album that will help the audience and record companies to get to know the band's old material from their first five albums as well. This album was supposed to be called "12 of the Best", but the idea for a compilation album was eventually abandoned in favor of the reviewed live album, and of course, this was the right decision for the band. "AC/DC" understood that the fans and record companies need to know how they are sounds best, live, on stage. So the members agreed that it would be a "hits" album, but unlike the regular compilation albums, it would be recorded at a live show and try to convey in the best way the sound, energy, power, and "electricity" that this band has to give on stage.
And indeed it was. This album is an electric volcano really a "Powerage" as the name of the tour it was recorded in. It presents "AC/DC" in their comfort zone, live, exposed in front of the audience, and best conveys what took place in that tour on stage. The album features the band's best songs from the albums "T.N.T.", "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap", "Let There Be Rock" and "Powerage". It was recorded mostly at the "Apollo Theater" in Glasgow, the birthplace of Angus Young and Malcolm Young.
The long versions of "Bad Boy Boogie" and "Let There Be Rock" proved Angus Young's virtuoso abilities and introduced the world to one of the greatest performers of all time on an electric guitar, which was definitely worthy of the roars of the audience Angus! Angus! In between the riffs at the opening of the song "Whole Lotta Rosie". The technicians of the recording mobile were probably unaware at the time of the treasure captured on their microphones and the history was caught in that recording, as the roars of the audience calling the name of their idol Angus Young would later become the cry of future generations of "AC/DC" fans and a kind of tradition.
The live versions of songs like "Hell Ain't a Bad Place to Be", "Problem Child" and "High Voltage" sounded even more energetic, powerful, and sweeping than the studio versions, and with the song "The Jack" poetic justice was finally done, when Bon Scott gave it different lyrics, "dirty" and more entertaining than the album version.
The band's bet with the release of a live album, instead of a compilation album, turned out to be the right one. "If You Want Blood You've Got It" has become one of the greatest live albums of all time and is undoubtedly at the forefront with albums like "UFO"s "Strangers in the Night", "Live And Dangerous" by "Thin Lizzy", "No Sleep 'Til Hammersmith" by "Motorhead", "Unleashed In The East" by "Judas Priest" or even the masterpiece "Kiss Alive".
Few are the performance albums that convey so well the feelings and energy that exist in a live performance and this album is one of them. The album of course received rave reviews from both the audience and the critics and put "AC/DC" on the map. The song "Whole Lotta Rosie" becomes the band's first song to be played frequently on U.S. radio stations.
This success did not go unnoticed, of course, by Atlantic Records, which began to realize that it had a gold mine in its hands. In 1978 the American branch of "Atlantic Records" already began to believe that the band had the potential to be very successful in the US and they offered the band a recording contract which would eventually lead to its big break with the masterpiece album Highway To Hell released in 1979.
By the way, "(If You Want Blood (You've Got It") is also a song that was included on the album "Highway To Hell" and it also happens to be one of the songs that marked the turning point in the recordings of that masterpiece album. Amazing and fascinating in itself and can be found in the review we wrote about.