AC/DC was formed in 1973 in Sydney, Australia, by the brothers Malcolm and Angus Young. With the classic formation which had Bon Scott on vocals, the group released groundbreaking albums that made them one of the biggest Hard Rock bands in the world. By the late 70s they were opening for other huge bands like Kiss, for example. That was when the bassist and singer Gene Simmons had the chance to get to know them better and become a bigger fan of their work.
After Scott’s tragic death in 1980, the band invited Brian Johnson to be his replacement and the first album recorded was “Back In Black”, which became their best-selling album. After that the band became one of the most influential of all time, with an estimated amount of more than 200 million records sold worldwide. Over the decades, Simmons talked many times about the group and even revealed which is, in his opinion, the best song they wrote.
The best song AC/DC wrote according to Gene Simmons
AC/DC had two successful eras with two different singers and many incredible albums, so it’s not easy for a fan to pick their favorite song. But as Gene Simmons said in an interview with The Quietus in 2015, the best song AC/DC wrote was “You Shook Me All Night Long”. Written by Malcolm, Angus and Brian Johnson, the track was part of the album “Back in Black” released in 1980.
In the interview, Simmons explained why it is their best but is not an anthem. He mentioned the song when he chose “For Those About To Rock We Salute You” as one of his favorite albums.
“‘For Those About To Rock We Salute You’ is what AC/DC is all about. The graphics and that cannon and the title – and it’s why they always end their set with it – it’s anthemic. ‘You Shook Me All Night Long’ is probably the best song they’ve written in my estimation, but it’s not an anthem.”
“It’s because the lyrics aren’t on that same level. They aren’t big and bold. ‘For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)’ means something, it’s a connection. It’s like nationhood. Put your fist up in the air and say, ‘Yeah! This is what I believe in!’ ‘You Shook Me’ doesn’t have that, it’s just a rockin’ great song,” Gene Simmons said.
Gene Simmons said AC/DC was the best band that opened for Kiss
Besides being one of the most successful and influential bands of all time, Kiss also helped many other fantastic bands in the early days. The list of artists who opened for them is really long and unbelievable. In 1975 they had Rush and in 1976 Blue Öyster Cult and Scorpions touring with them. In 1979 they had Judas Priest, Iron Maiden in 1980 and Mötley Crüe in 1983.
But it was in 1977 and 1978 that AC/DC toured with Kiss as their opening act. In an interview with SiriusXM’s program Ozzy’s Boneyard in 2018, Gene Simmons chose them as the best group that ever opened for them. “Best set? AC/DC on their first tour. A band that didn’t pay attention, shares the same philosophy. No matter what any other band is doing, to thine own self be true.”
“I’ve said it before but it’s more truer now than ever. A lot of the people look the same and act the same and do the same thing. Rap, country — there’s a lot of sameness going on. Every once in a while, you see a band like AC/DC. Nobody’s like them.”
“We’d like to think that we’re unique in that way too. Unique to have your own fingerprint because Mother Nature knows best. There’s no other fingerprint on earth like us and bands should march to the beat of their own drummer. See what I did there [pointing to Eric Singer]?” Gene Simmons said.
That tour was possible after Simmons saw them playing in a small club in Los Angeles a few months before. He watched their show and then had the chance to take Angus Young out for dinner.
He recalled that in an interview with Australian TV back in 2013 (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage): “I saw them in a small club in Los Angeles. I’ve said: ‘Good band’ and the lights would go out and this little guy on stage was still going even when the lights were out. (We went for a dinner after) and I remember Angus smiling, he had no teeth in the front, (he couldn’t afford). He ate hot dogs and beans, which were his favorite things,” Gene Simmons said.
Bon Scott didn’t remembered Simmons’ name
Curiously, in an interview in 1977, Bon Scott said that Kiss was quite spectacular live but couldn’t remember Simmons’ name. He said: “Tell me the bass players’ name from Kiss, he is a popular guy, isn’t he? (laughs). They came along to one of our shows at the Whiskey (A Go-Go) in Hollywood to see us play.”
“He came up to us and said: ‘Look, I (like) your band and we are touring in December. We’d like you to tour with us. They played for 80.000 people. So the shows were quite amazing,” Bon Scott said.