At the end of a long and uneventful commute to work this morning, I had to stay in the car for an extra minute or so. I was in the middle of listening to AC/DC’s Back in Black on the radio, and nothing I could find in the office would be any better than that.
It’s funny what you can remember sometimes. This morning, once I turned the car off and headed into the building I work in, I recalled the very first book I ever read as part of a class. It was 1981, and I was struggling to get through eighth grade. I was a geeky, awkward kid, and I was transitioning into adolescence. It sucked to be me back then.
But I was beginning to get into music a little bit, and AC/DC was a big part of that. Back in Black was, and probably always will be, the album that I could always put on and listen to, start to finish. I wonder if, in the thirty-plus years since the album came out, that there’s ever been a day where a rock station like the Loop in Chicago hasn’t played at least one song from it. It wouldn’t surprise me if the answer to that was “no.”
So back to the geek-boy for a moment. My 8th grade teachers had assigned us all to read “The Good Earth” by Pearl S. Buck. I’m not sure how I learned of the existence of Cliff’s Notes, but I acquired a copy to help me understand the parts of the book I didn’t get. Cliff actually helped me get through high school, now that I think about it.
But on the cover of my Cliff’s Notes for “The Good Earth” were dozens of handwritten AC/DC logos, including the lightning bolt between the letters in the middle. I just thought that looked especially cool, so I made sure to include it. Somewhere on this planet there’s a Cliff’s Notes covered with AC/DC logos, courtesy of a confused and awkward young kid in Springfield, Illinois. I actually smiled at the thought of this, too.
So whenever one of the songs from that album, or any other song that AC/DC ever did, comes on the radio, I make sure to listen to it. And I’m glad that music takes me back, not to a time that I would ever want to re-live, but at least to a time and a place that I can still remember, while appreciating all that’s happened since then.