AC/DC Plays a Short Gig at CBGB in 1977: Hear Metal Being Played on Punk’s Hallowed Grounds

Punk rock and heavy met­al were two gen­res that evolved over the ‘70s, but seemed to run par­al­lel to each oth­er, despite shar­ing com­mon fash­ion, sounds, and atti­tudes. But then there are moments in his­to­ry, where every­body plays togeth­er in the same sand­box. For exam­ple, the above audio, which cap­tures the Aus­tralian band AC/DC on their first Amer­i­can tour, play­ing New York’s CBGB, syn­ony­mous now with punk and new wave music.

The date is August 24, 1977, and AC/DC were on a cross-coun­try trip that had tak­en in both club dates and are­nas, where they supported—yes, hard to believe, I know—REO Speed­wag­on. Their album Let There Be Rock had just dropped in June. The band would be in the States until the win­ter.

This CBGB gig finds them on the same bill as Talk­ing Heads and the Dead Boys, accord­ing to a poster from the time. And while there’s no video for this show, there are plen­ty of tasty pho­tos over at Dan­ger­ous Minds, show­ing lead singer Bon Scott work­ing the crowd and Angus Young—at the sprite­ly age of 22—being car­ried through the crowd on the shoul­ders of Scott him­self. You can feel the mug­gy New York sum­mer in these pho­tos, but also the excite­ment of an unfor­get­table gig.

At 15 min­utes, the set is short, but still three min­utes longer than the Ramones’ first set at the same club three years ear­li­er. That’s pret­ty met­al, man.

via Dan­ger­ous Minds

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Relat­ed Con­tent:

1980s Met­al­head Kids Are All Right: New Study Sug­gests They Became Well-Adjust­ed Adults

Punk & Heavy Met­al Music Makes Lis­ten­ers Hap­py and Calm, Not Aggres­sive, Accord­ing to New Aus­tralian Study

Heavy Met­al: BBC Film Explores the Music, Per­son­al­i­ties & Great Cloth­ing That Hit the Stage in the 1980s

Ted Mills is a free­lance writer on the arts who cur­rent­ly hosts the FunkZone Pod­cast. You can also fol­low him on Twit­ter at @tedmills, read his oth­er arts writ­ing at and/or watch his films here.

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Comments (6)
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  • tim says:

    I must admit I have nev­er con­sid­ered AC/DC to be met­al. They played good old-fash­ioned hard rock with­out the Deep pow­er chords of Black Sab­bath or the Glit­ter of Judas Priest. When AC/DC arrived in Seat­tle it was played along­side Jimi Hen­drix not the Met­al types. Still it is nice to hear it again.

  • jeremy says:

    For the ulti­mate book on the Punk/Metal con­nec­tion, check out Steve Waks­man­’s “This Ain’t the Sum­mer of Love: Con­flict and Crossover in Heavy Met­al and Punk” (Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia Press, 2009)

  • mike says:

    AC/DC was­n’t met­al, they were just that good.

  • Gino Zahnd says:

    AC/DC has nev­er been con­sid­ered a met­al band. But! Thanks for uncov­er­ing this record­ing.

  • Tim Broun says:

    I end­ed up here via today’s CBGB post. Not to be pedan­tic, but the poster you refer does­n’t say the bill includ­ed Talk­ing Heads & the Dead Boys. All 3 bands are list­ing under the “Com­ing” sec­tion — no date or bill for this night is spec­i­fied. Imag­ine see­ing AC/DC at CBGB? Wow!

  • Jeff Green says:

    AC/DC is straight ahead rock ‘n roll not heavy met­al.

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