Matt Nathanson Shook Me All Night Long

Matt Nathanson Aug 22, 2014: 15 – You Shook Me All Night Long [AC/DC] Impromptu-Clifton Park,NY Full

It’s all about the riff.

I bought “Back In Black” after hearing “You Shook Me All Night Long” on the radio. I knew “Highway To Hell,” “It’s A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll),” but I’d never bought an LP. I knew Bon Scott had died, that they’d replaced him with this godforsaken guy with a similar voice from the unheralded Geordie…

But I was not prepared for this mellifluous sound, as if the Beach Boys had been crossed with heavy metal, via Australia and South Africa. That’s right, the band was from Down Under. And Mutt Lange emigrated to the U.K. from the land of apartheid.

And I knew who Lange was too. He produced those Graham Parker LPs, and the City Boy ones I bought even though they did not live up to the reviews.

And at this point, AC/DC was the Black Sabbath of its day, hated on principle.

But that was all about to change.

I dropped the needle on the album and…

I heard those ringing bells, like the Hunchback of Notre Dame was inside my speakers, a harbinger of something…


Immediately hypnotic, Angus’s playing entranced you, the drums started to pound, the freight train was hurtling down the track and then the new vocalist, Brian Johnson, started to sing…

I’m a rolling thunder, a pouring rain
I’m comin’ on like a hurricane

Some cuts you only have to hear once, you get on board and when they’re done playing you’re deposited at a different location.

I was ensconced in my new house in Santa Monica after breaking up with my live-in girlfriend, I went to the store and bought eight albums to break in my new abode, smooth the transition, but the one that squeezed out all the old thoughts, that made me think things would be all right, was…

“Back In Black.”

And at this time, I was still drinking. It wasn’t long before John Lennon would be assassinated and I’d be pulled over for having too many drinks and I loved “Have A Drink On Me.”

Whiskey, gin and brandy
With a glass I’m pretty handy

Call me if you want to have five or six, maybe ten, one or two didn’t interest me, I wanted to have the best night of my life. Flaming Drambuies, Tequila Sunrises, Jack Daniel’s and Dewars, made no difference, I’d drink it all, marijuana was passe, the law had changed and you could legally drink at eighteen and I did. I remember living in Utah and waking up to see if my car was in one piece, after driving the mountain road down from the Tram Bar at Snowbird.

Those were fun times, but when that woman sexually abused me and I couldn’t leave because I was on summary probation, I gave up. Forever, even though I didn’t know that then.

And it’s amazing how “You Shook Me All Night Long” segues into “Have A Drink On Me,” you could play “Back In Black” from front to back, as you could the Def Leppard albums that followed, created by the same Mutt Lange.

But AC/DC could never equal their masterpiece. I ran out and purchased “For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)” the day of its release. You anticipated the greatness, you had to drop the needle and hear it right away when there was no other way. And I loved the title track, but after that… Kind of like Bon Jovi’s “New Jersey” after “Slippery When Wet.”

But “Back In Black”…

It’s become a cultural institution. The band went from dangerous to warm and cuddly. It’s been blown to bits recently but the funny thing is we now own these songs, we pay fealty to Angus, but we don’t care who sings them because they’re ours.

So I write about a Matt Nathanson song today and my inbox starts to fill up. I’m gonna give you a tip on music recommendations, it’s not whether you like it but whether I will. Deejays wouldn’t survive if no one liked what they played, it’s a skill. And most of what’s forwarded to me doesn’t float my boat, but today…

This guy Brad Parmerter sends me a clip of Matt Nathanson he says has 1.6 million views on YouTube.

This I’m interested in. I’m a data nerd. Most live clips are in the single digit thousands, double at most. If you break seven figures, there must be something there.

And Matt’s wearing his own t-shirt. Which is kind of ironic, he’s a jokester, hyping your own self is the lowest form of publicity. And he’s talking to the crowd, and I’m just waiting to hear…how close to the original he gets it, because people rarely do.

But the sound emanating from his guitar…IT’S THE RIFF!

And the drummer’s on the beat and when they get to the verse…



The walls start shaking
The earth was quaking
My mind was aching
And we were making it

We’ve got a Presidential candidate who hasn’t heard of Aleppo.

People think the President is a Muslim.

But we all know every word to “You Shook Me All Night Long,” it bonds us.

This is not a metal show. You wouldn’t expect these people to know this song. BUT EVERYBODY DOES!

Matt never gets to sing, they carry the whole number.


Memories are made of this, this is why you go to the show, to feel this good at a one of a kind event. It made me tingle, gave me goosebumps, made life worth living for.

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