Five decades ago AC/DC was formed in Sydney, Australia by the brothers Malcolm and Angus Young. The band evolved to become one of the the most influential and best-selling of all time. With 18 studio albums released, they have sold an estimated amount of more than 200 million records worldwide.
Back in the 70s they were one of the heaviest bands around and were an inspiration for countless musicians who would later become famous in the music business. Angus, the band’s guitarist had the opportunity during that decade to see many incredible groups live and he once revealed that he didn’t really liked to see a famous British group in concert.
The famous band that Angus Young didn’t like to see live in the 70s
In 1977, AC/DC already was around for four years and had released praised albums like “High Voltage” (1975), “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” (1976) and “Let There Be Rock” (1977). He gave an interview to Classic Rock at the time and talked about other famous Hard Rock groups and one of them was Led Zeppelin.
During that period the British band already was one of the most successful and established bands in the world. They had already released all their most praised records at the time. Were also touring successfully all around the world to thousands of fans in stadiums.
But Angus didn’t really liked their show, saying that they weren’t playing the “old Rock and Roll numbers”. “I’ve seen that band live. They were on for three hours. For two-and-a-half hours, they bored the audience. Then at the end they pull out old rock’n’roll numbers to get the crowd movin’. That’s sick. They’re supposed to be the most excitin’ rock’n’roll band in the world,” Angus Young said.
He prefered the early days of Zeppelin and said that later on they became “poor imitators of bands like The Who”
In the same conversation with Classic Rock back in 1977, Angus made clear he wasn’t happy with the musical direction that bands like Led Zeppelin had at that time. He used them and the Rolling Stones as an example of groups that were “progressing the wrong way”.
“I’ll tell you when it stopped getting’ good. When the Rolling Stones put out ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’ and ‘Street Fightin’ Man’. Past that, there’s nuthin’. Led Zeppelin and all that have just been poor imitators of The Who and bands like that. That’s when I reckon it stopped. The rest I wouldn’t even call progressive,” Angus Young said.
Curiously, that opinion that Angus had of the groups evolving their sound in the wrong way can be seen on AC/DC’s discography. The group never tried to change or add a lot of different things to their sound in their whole career. They always kept their instant recognizable sound and songwriting.
Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix and Cream were inspirations for him
In an interview with Tiny TV back in 2020, Angus Young recalled that he used to listen to the radio all night when he was a teenager. During that time he was inspired by hearing groups like Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix and Cream.
“I would be there all night. Then at about two o’clock in the morning, there was a man on the radio. He would play rock music of this time.”
“He was an American man. I had a little radio, and I would sit there in my bed and wake up just for this guy. He would bang out the latest stuff. I heard Hendrix on there, I heard Cream — people like this.”
“And later on, you started to get your Zeppelins and bands like this. Especially when Jimi Hendrix, when I heard ‘Purple Haze’, boy, that was it,” Angus Young said.
Led Zeppelin came to an end in 1980 after the tragic death of the drummer John Bonham at the age of 32. Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones decide at the time that the band couldn’t go on with the driving force that Bonham was to their sound and musicianship.