Down Payment Blues

Album: Powerage (1978)
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Songfacts®:

  • This song is described in Paul Stenning's biography of the band as "a tale of struggle as a rock 'n' roller on welfare". Although the Young brothers came from a solid if not prosperous family, vocalist and lyricist Bon Scott had seen some hard times.
  • A detailed account of Bon's early career is given in Clinton Walker's dedicated biography, the aptly named Highway To Hell. Like most true Rock stars, Bon was not an overnight success. His first band, The Spektors, played the Perth circuit in 1965 merging with The Winztons the following year to form The Valentines. When the band moved to Melbourne they fell on hard times; in Sydney they were "strapped for cash, pooling funds to eat fish 'n' chips." The Valentines broke up in August 1970, and Bon was asked by Bruce Howe, the leader of Fraternity, to join his group, but even though the band had a wealthy backer, an Adelaide entrepreneur named Hamish Henry, they were to spend a disastrous 18 months in the UK before splitting up. On his return to Adelaide, Bon was involved in a horrific road crash that nearly cost him his life, and when he auditioned for AC/DC he was in the process of separating from his wife. For him if not for the Youngs, "Down Payment Blues" was a song that was clearly written from the heart. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England, for above 2

Comments: 8

  • Richie Rich from Portland OregonThe entire Powerage album has always been extremely underrated.

    The song down payment blues is a song each of us can relate to. The way the song quietly simmers on the back burner and then frantically boils over is a metaphore of the frantic desperation of poverty. Most of us only a paycheck away from oblivion. I have a rather fond memory of my wife years ago in our youth listening to it with me, both of us laughting at Bon's hopeless, sardonic lyrics,

    "Sheriff knocking on my door, Ain't it funny how the time flies."
  • John Delmos from Lebec CaliforniaOne of the very best songs they ever did, bought this album in whatever 76 77 when it came out, was in the navy. they are always best.
  • Paul from UkMy favourite song ever - the guitars, bass and drums keep building and releasing intensity with Bon's wonderful melody and lyrics over the top. I love it.
  • Martin from EnglandShows Bon’s brilliance as a lyricist/poet and a great tune too.
  • Zero from Nowhere, NjGreat song from an underrated album
  • Randy from New Hartford, NyThis was one of those songs that I knew I was gonna love right from the first few notes- even though at the time I had no clue who did it. It remains as one of my top 5 AC/DC songs.
  • Austin from Bristow, VaVery sad song. It shows that the boys from AC/DC went through some tough times before sucess was theirs.
  • Selina from Perth, AustraliaThis is a great song from Bon n the boys- someone comment!!!...
    Explains alot about the early life of the band who were ready to get their kick-start but livin off the strerets n sharin beds with rats. Rock On AC/DC ! :)
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