BOOK REVIEW: AC/DC AT 50 by Martin Popoff

BOOK REVIEW: AC/DC AT 50 by Martin Popoff
Motorbooks International
May 2023
Hard cover, rrp $85.00
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

Martin Popoff is a rock music book writing machine, pumping out tome after tome as if he never sleeps or sees daylight, which can sometimes detract from his many, many words of content.

He does know his stuff, though, and usually has a unique way of analysing it. Here he reflects on fifty years of AC/DC by tackling “fifty jolts of high-voltage rock n’ roll” – or, in other words, snapshots of fifty pivotal moments in the band’s career in order to present a bigger picture of the Scottish/Australian band’s career.

Presented in gorgeous and glossy colour, crammed full of photos and memorabilia, record covers, ticket stubs, flyers, badges and more, it’s a beautifully designed book with enough rare items to interest collectors before a word is read.

Popoff has selected his fifty touchstones to propel the story wisely, and in a nice touch titles each one after an AC/DC song: Problem Child – AC/DC forms in Sydney; Rock n’ Roll Singer – Bon Scott joins; Waiting Round To Be A Millionaire – The second album, T.N.T.; through to Touch Too Much – Malcolm enters rehab; Shoot To Thrill – AC/DC perform on SNL; and Flick Of The Switch – Seventeenth album, Power Up.

Sure, the chapter titles are all over the place chronologically and often not from the same era as the events they cover, but let’s cut Popoff some slack here.

The AC/DC story has been covered ad infinitum by every music writer with a book deal, pretty much, so it’s hard work to bring something new to the table. Because the band have always been notoriously closed ranks and tight lipped about anything non-music related, everyone knows the lore which surrounds AC/DC, so the key for any writer is being well-informed, meticulously researched, and able to present their information with style and panache.

All of which Popoff does admirably, of course, making this a worthy addition to the extensive AC/DC bookshelf.


Shane Pinnegar
Shane Pinnegar is an author, chef and music/pop culture writer who lives in Western Australia. He has a lovely wife, two rambunctious dogs with no respect for personal space, especially on the sofa or bed, twenty-something koi, a flock of itinerate galahs who visit regularly, and a never-comprehensive-enough rock n' roll record collection.

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