This is a new feature I’m bringing to the blog which focuses on songs or albums that I feel deserve a bit more attention. I thought AC/DC would be a good starting point, in particular their song ‘Ain’t No Fun (Waiting ‘Round To Be A Millionaire). It’s one of my favourite AC/DC songs but you never hear anything about it. Occasionally I’ll do posts like this and hope to generate a bit of discussion. Feel free to wade in with your opinion. I’ve put time into this so I wouldn’t mind a bit of feedback!
Picture the scene. It’s a hot summer’s day, and instead of being out there enjoying the sunshine, you’re grinding it in the office, warehouse or whichever work abode you find yourself in. When you do get out, you’re gonna try and savour what you can of that sunshine. You look in your bank account, and the coffers are looking dreadfully empty. But rather than head home and figure you’re gonna have to cut back, you instead take out a bit of what’s left and head straight to the pub. Yeah, it’s a bit shit not having the money, and yeah, you’re looking a bit scruffy and those trainers have seen better days. And yes, I’m sure many of you can relate to that here in austerity Britain. But things are looking up, and things are going to get better, if you’ve got anything to say about it. Let’s grab a bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale, head for the beer garden, and aim high.
The subject of this feature, AC/DC, don’t need any introduction, and if you do, what rock have you been hiding under? Arguably the greatest rock ‘n’ roll band to have ever existed, AC/DC struck on their winning formula long before you or I ever walked this planet and haven’t tinkered with it much since. I was lucky enough to finally see them live, at Download Festival 2010. And while I enjoyed the set, and while I didn’t expect any major surprises, I still pined for the likes of ‘It’s A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll)’ and ‘If You Want Blood (You Got It)’. But the one song I knew that I definitely knew I wouldn’t hear was ‘Ain’t No Fun (Waiting ‘Round to Be a Millionaire)’. A damn fine song in its own right, it’s definitely my favourite track from ‘Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap’, even above the title track.
‘Ain’t No Fun’ is essentially ‘It’s A Long Way…’, part 2 – even the riffs sound pretty close – but instead of talking about the hardships of playing the underground circuit, it’s a statement of the band’s ambition. It soon settles into the riff that Angus Young plays over and over again over the course of the song. Bon Scott announces that the names of individuals in the song have been changed to ‘protect the guilty’, and we’re underway.
Regarding that comparison of ‘It’s A Long Way’s’ tales of struggles and ‘Ain’t No Fun’s’ story of aspiration – where ‘It’s A Long Way’ warns of the dangers of getting robbed, stoned, ripped off and underpaid on the way to the top, ‘Ain’t No Fun’ also stories a band making a mission statement, saying they’ve got the songs and all they want to do is perform – for the right price. The confidence of AC/DC was never in any doubt from their beginnings – but ‘Ain’t No Fun’ displays that confidence in spades – ‘Gonna get to the top/nothing’s gonna stop us, no nothing’.
|[AUSTRALIAN EDITION COVER]
That said, there are still lyrical similarities between the two songs, although on ‘Ain’t No Fun’, it’s more about the material and physical degradation, Bon discussing the holes in his clothes and teeth, and lack of sleep. But unlike ‘It’s A Long Way’, ‘Ain’t No Fun’ throws caution to these mere problems, and Bon’s pretty sure that in years to come, he’ll be loaded, driving around seeking attention in his Rolls Royce (though as history details, that dream was tragically cut short).
It then returns to a slight variation of the opening riff, as Bon begins to proclaim ‘It ain’t no fun/waiting round to be a millionaire’. And then it’s the riff to the verse again, sped up, as the song heads for its final part. It’s got that trademark nod about the riff. It’s infectious, and the moment the drums crash back in, it’s party time. Bon refrains the title over, and the enthusiasm is unrestrainable. Oh yeah, and Howard – ‘get your fuckin’ jumbo jet off my airport!’
‘Ain’t No Fun’, as stated before, seems resigned to being eternally under-rated among AC/DC’s back catalogue, though it was lovingly covered by The Screaming Jets in 1991. It deserves so much more. Every time I hear it, no matter where, when or whatever, it raises the mood. There’s a glee about the track that emanates from every riff, every word. Bon Scott would have been 65 on July 9th this year. My suggestion to you is to press play, turn up the volume, and open up a cold one, and show Bon and this song the worship it deserves. Yeah, it ain’t no fun waiting round to be a millionaire, but let’s celebrate while we do.
The Screaming Jets – Ain’t No Fun Waiting Round To Be A Millionaire