If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It) was the first official live album by Australian rock legends AC/DC. It was recorded on 30 April 1978 at the Apollo Theatre in Glasgow, Scotland, produced by Harry Vanda & George Young, and released on 13 October 1978 (UK & Europe) under Atlantic Records.
The album includes ten classic songs from AC/DC’s first four international album releases, High Voltage, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, Let There Be Rock, and Powerage, and provides a live performance of 52 minutes and 42 seconds. It peaked at #37 in Australia, #10 in France, #13 in the UK, and #113 in the USA.
The album was listed at #2 on Classic Rock magazine’s readers’ poll of “50 Greatest Live Albums Ever”[source 1; source 2], and I can definitely see the argument. Personally, I love the recording of the sound. Listening to it on a pair of hi-fi headphones, while the sound comes from a war vinyl or tape, it makes you feel as if you’re standing in the venue, being right in the middle of the action. Bon Scott sings his heart out on stage with the band rockin’ every beat of the set.
Riff Raff, from Powerage, is a great choice to kickstarts the show, because of its uptempo and great energy. Also, back then, it was from their most recent album. Hell Ain’t A Bad Place To Be, from Let There Be Rock, brings down the tempo a notch and makes the obliged head-nodding a bit easier. Bad Boy Boogie, also from Let There Be Rock, is a good continuation. Especially the stomping bass-drum makes it a good danceable rock song, and the 2-minute guitar intermezzo gives some air to breath to all of those who’ve been rockin’ out physically or mentally since the first beat of the record.
The Jack, from High Voltage, takes down the pace, which is refreshing after so much energy. Plus, the song has become an instant-classic because of its sing-along character and excellent lyrics. Problem Child, from Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, is the perfect continuation, a straight and danceable rock song, before hitting it very hard with the already-back-then classic Whole Lotta Rosie, from Let There Be Rock. Always when this one comes on, I can’t help but seeing Malcolm stomping away at the same spot, hitting those strings very hard, in front of my inner eye. And Angus’ guitar solo at 2:17 is one of the most legendary hard rock solos in history, at least in my history book. Rock ’N’ Roll Damnation is then a good way to calm down the pulses with an agreeable pace.
High Voltage can then bring on the smiley faces with a more melodic hook, before Let There Be Rock kicks in with a brutal hard rock riff that shakes every imaginative wall in the listener’s head; 8 minutes and 34 seconds of the purest hard rock that was ever banned on tape. Even the bass-and-drum-only verse part sounds brachial but at the same time revitalising. For sure, my favourite song on the album and maybe my most favourite version of this track ever recorded. Simply legendary! The album then closes with Rocker, from Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap. A good song and a good live version, but I would have interchanged the last two songs, just because Let There Be Rock is the strongest track on here. But hey, it’s subjective and the set list works like this anyways.
“My story” behind this album
What can I say? I love this live album. I have an emotional connection to it, because If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It) was actually the first ever original album I owned from AC/DC. My dad bought it for me on cassette when I was a little boy – not even 10 years old – in a small music shop that was specialised on classical music, but also had a small pop music section. I loved the fact that it was a live concert, because I knew I was too young to go to a rock show, but the tape brought the rock show to me. I listened to it on my walkman and shut out the world. Those were the moments when I was in my personal AC/DC concert. Wonderful.