AC/DC: The Final Salute – Who Made Who & Blow Up Your Video
In the mid-80s, as glam glittered, preened and prospered, AC/DC looked like a band out of time. Then along came horror writer Stephen King…
It wasn’t easy for a 70s era rock crew to remain vital and relevant in the plastic-fantastic Neverland of the mid-80s. It was even tougher for the sawn-off working men in AC/DC who were settling into crinkly faced middle age in sweat-soaked blue jeans and black T-shirts when the rest of the world had gone full glam.
There was a chance, infinitesimal as it might’ve been, that AC/DC wouldn’t have even survived the hairspray wars; that they would ultimately be dismissed and discarded, as newer, prettier rock’n’roll gods like Sebastian Bach or Brett Michaels were ordained. They were certainly outnumbered and outgunned.
So it was serendipitous indeed when, some time in 1986, America’s most prominent and oddly regular-Joe-ish horror author, Stephen King, came knockin’ on AC/DC’s door. He was directing his first (and only, it turns out) movie, a haunted truck (!) tale called Maximum Overdrive, and he needed a soundtrack that, basically, sounded like the title. And AC/DC was his favourite band. And they were hoping to ride the rest of the glam era out under the radar anyway. So things worked out.
Maximum Overdrive was no masterpiece, but it revitalised AC/DC’s career. Who Made Who is a soundtrack to a dumb horror movie, but it’s also a compilation of classic AC/DC jams, prefect for turning on a whole new breed of teenage heroes and zeroes to their simple riffy pleasures. It is difficult to rate it as anything other than a truncated greatest hits album, since it contains crucial numbers from Back In Black (Hells Bells, Shook...), For Those About to Rock (title track), Dirty Deeds (R_ide On_ – okay, weird choice, but still), and, erm, Fly On The Wall. It does contain a smattering of non-vault numbers, however, including the screeching, storming title track and a few instrumental passages. Who Made Who – the song – worked on many levels. On the surface it’s a just a classic AC/DC riff’n’roller, effortlessly tough and swaggering. But the lyrics reflect not only the man-versus-machine plot of the movie, but also the band’s stature in rock’n’roll at that particular juncture in time.