“BEDLAM IN BELGIUM" (1983)
This is a massively underrated barnstormer off the much-maligned (unfairly, I think) Flick Of The Switch. The album was missing Mutt Lange, but the Youngs did have his very capable engineer, Tony Platt, as co-producer in the studio at Compass Point in the Bahamas. Tony’s a real pro. Flick also features the slamming “Nervous Shakedown”, as heavy as a George Foreman uppercut, echoes of which can be heard on “Rock or Bust” off AC/DC’s most recent album of the same name.
But what I find most interesting about “Bedlam In Belgium” is that it’s based on a fracas that broke out on stage in Kontich, Belgium, in 1977, involving Bon Scott, the rest of the band, and the local authorities. AC/DC had violated a noise curfew and things got hairy. An excellent account of it can be read here: http://acdcbelgium.blogspot.com.au/2013/02/bedlam-in-kontich-1977-story-behind.html and here: http://acdcbelgium.blogspot.com.au/2008/11/bedlam-in-belgium-from-eye-witness.html.
Brian Johnson, more than half a decade later, wrote the lyrics with such tactility (the song carries a Young/Young/Johnson credit); almost as if he was the one getting walloped by the Belgian police:
He gave me a crack in the back with his gun
Hurt me so bad I could feel the blood run
Bon-esque! Unfortunately for Brian, he was removed from lyric-writing duties from The Razors Edge (1990) onwards. All songs up to and including 2008’s Black Ice are Young/Young compositions. Rock Or Bust (2014), missing Malcolm, who died in 2017, was also credited as Young/Young.
BON: THE LAST HIGHWAY: THE UNTOLD STORY OF BON SCOTT AND AC/DC'S BACK IN BLACK is available now through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Booktopia, FNAC and hundreds of other retailers around the world.
Jesse Fink is the author of Bon: The Last Highway: The Untold Story of Bon Scott and AC/DC's Back In Black and The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC. For more information about Bon, click HERE or click the book covers below to be directed to editions in your preferred territory and language.