Rock and Roll music evolved in the 60s and in the 70s became more heavier with groups that decided to take that song one level up, making louder and more agressive. One of those bands was AC/DC, that was formed in Australia in 1973 by the brothers Angus and Malcolm Young that inspired countless generations of artists. Curiously, in that same year in the United States, Van Halen, which would also become one of the biggest Hard Rock bands of all time was also being formed by two brothers: Eddie Van Halen and Alex Van Halen.
Although both groups were formed in the same year, the American group only had the chance to release their first album in 1978, when AC/DC already was a known band. It quickly became one of Eddie Van Halen’s favorite bands and he even revealed once which was his favorite album from their discography.
The AC/DC album that Eddie Van Halen said was his favorite
By the time Van Halen got a record deal and released their groundbreaking self-titled debut album in 1978, AC/DC already had 3 global studio albums out. They were: “High Voltage” (1976), “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” (1976) and “Let There Be Rock” (1977).
But in that same year, only two months after Van Halen’s debut, AC/DC would release “Powerage”, the record that Eddie Van Halen revealed that was his favorite one of them. The musician praised the album in an interview with Spinner back in 2009. “My favorite record by AC/DC is ‘Powerage’. ‘Down The Payment Blues’ off that record is my favorite song by them.”
“They never played it live. We did a co-headlining tour with them back in 1983 or 1984. So I kept asking ‘Angus, you plan on playing ‘Down Payment Blues’? and ‘Riff Raff’? All that stuff is great on that record,” Eddie Van Halen said.
The love of the Dutch-American guitarist for that record remained strong over the decades and he even showed his son, Wolfgang, the album. According to him, it was one of his father’s favorite albums of all time. Also that it was how he got introduced to AC/DC when he was a kid.
He once said that “Down The Payment Blues” was one of his favorite guitar riffs
Since their first albums, Eddie Van Halen is considered one of the greatest guitar players of all time and he is responsible some of the most classic guitar riffs of Rock and Roll. He was asked by Billboard in 2015 t0 explain what makes a good guitar riff and to list some of his favorite ones. One of his choices was “Down The Payment Blues” from AC/DC’s “Powerage”.
“(It is) one of my all-time favorite AC/DC songs of an album called ‘Powerage’. (What makes a good riff is) just the power, the sheer… it’s just engulf you. You just feel it. It makes you vibrate,” Eddie Van Halen said.
He was such a big fan of that song that the AC/DC guitarist Angus Young recalled in an interview Forbes in 2020 that when they toured he kept asking his late brother Malcolm if they would perform the track.
“I remember that time because Eddie liked hanging out with Mal and Brian and Cliff. They liked going out and having a drink in the bar and stuff. But Malcolm used to say, ‘Eddie keeps going to me all the time, ‘You gonna do ‘Down Payment Blues’? He loved that song.”
Angus Young continued:
“In fact the last time I saw him was when we were touring. Brian said, ‘Come down to the shows.’ And that is the first thing he said, ‘You gotta do ‘Down Payment Blues?” He liked a lot of, ‘Riff Raff’ and tracks like that,” Angus Young said.
As the guitarist recalled in a conversation with Talk Is Jericho in 2020, Eddie continued to go see them live over the decades. The last time according to Young was during the Black Ice tour when they performed in Los Angeles.
“He was always funny. The last time he came when we were in L.A. (It was) when we came out to do the ‘Black Ice’ tour. He actually came down to the show. There he was, the same as ever. A big hug and a big smile. As a person, he was just warm and he was funny.”
“He liked Mal (Malcolm Young) because on that tour they’d go out to a couple of clubs. Have a few drinks and stuff. (They would also) go with Brian, hook up, have a game of darts. He loved all that stuff,” Angus Young said. Eddie Van Halen passed away in 2020 at the age of 65 after years battling cancer.