AC/DC Lane – Another Hidden Melbourne Gem

Filed in Archive, Blog by on June 21, 2015 0 Comments

AC-DC Lane in Melbourne

The key members of AC/DC didn’t come from Melbourne, but they made this city the band’s launch pad to the world. Melbourne was the home of Countdown, the top-rating national TV music show of the mid to late 1970s. At the same time, the city’s pub circuit for rock bands was booming.

Bands like AC/DC could play three shows a night: a school dance, a pub, a city basement club. There is no shortage of Melbourne people now in their fifties and sixties who can tell you about the time AccaDacca played their school dance or local watering hole.

This is why in 2004 the City of Melbourne renamed one of its laneways in honour of AC/DC. The lane’s walls are brilliantly painted with artworks – only a fraction is shown above. Come and see the rest for yourself, just off Flinders Lane between Russell and Exhibition Streets.

But no connection between AC/DC and Melbourne is complete without mention of the original video clip of arguably the greatest rock anthem of all time: It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock ’n’ Roll). In February 1976, Countdown filmed the clip of AC/DC pumping out this song from the back of a flatbed truck parading down Melbourne’s main street, Swanston Street.

There are so many bagpipes to be seen in the clip you’d think they are the natural partners of guitar-driven hard rock. How AC/DC made these sounds work together is not only a statement by Bon Scott, Angus and Malcolm Young about their Scottish roots, but a testament to the band’s musical daring and technical brilliance.

If you look at the clip carefully – once you are able to shift your eyes from the fabulous fashions of the time – you might be able to make out that Swanston Street points directly towards a large stone Shrine of Remembrance that honours fallen soldiers.

At the other end of Swanston Street was a brewery, which unfortunately can’t be seen in the clip and has since been demolished. Although Melbourne looks like a quaint country town in 1976, compared to the current skyline and traffic, there was something poetic about a shrine and a brewery bookending AC/DC’s parade.

You can click here to watch the original clip of It’s a Long Way to the Top.

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