By Michael Popke
The “Angus spinner” on the cover of “High-Voltage Rock ’n’ Roll” – billed as the first illustrated history of AC/DC – reflects the playful storytelling approach author Phil Sutcliffe takes with one of hard rock’s most-loved bands. While the veteran music journalist adequately augments more than 400 images of backstage and performance photos, handbills, gig posters, picture sleeves, record-label promos and other memorabilia with a chronological narrative, the real treats come in the quirky details. For example, a pastor in Springfield, Ill., so riled up AC/DC’s “Christian Right” foes in the mid-1980s that the band was forced put a “Singers For Christ” sign on their tour bus when it rolled through town.
Sidebars by noted rock writers are hit-or-miss: Extensive album-by-album coverage encourages readers to revisit the band’s back-catalog, but a meandering excursion into the guitar gear used by Angus and Malcolm Young and a scholarly piece on AC/DC’s place in punk short-circuit the narrative.
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