Play Ball

Album: Rock or Bust (2014)

Songfacts®:

  • The first taste of music from AC/DC's Rock or Bust album was heard on September 27, 2014 when this aptly title song was used as part of a promotional trailer for TBS' American League baseball playoff coverage.

    It wasn't the first time that the Australian rockers have been paired with the sport. The practice of using a heavy metal theme song to signal the entrance of a relief pitcher began in 1998, when the San Diego Padres started playing "Hell's Bells" to accompany Trevor Hoffman's taking the mound. Other pro players that have used the band's songs as their walk on music include Chad Billingsley, Adam Castro, Brendan Donnelly and Adam Dunn.
  • Rock Or Bust was the first AC/DC album in the band's history on which Malcolm Young doesn't appear. The band's former guitarist officially departed the band due to serious dementia and Stevie Young – nephew of the Young brothers – plays rhythm guitar on disc. He previously played with AC/DC during their 1988 Blow Up Your Video tour, while Malcolm Young was in rehab.
  • The song's performance-based music video was shot on October 3-4, 2014 with director David Mallet at Black Island Studios in Middlesex, England. Phil Rudd was unable to attend due to murder allegations which were later dropped. Bob Richards of Shogun filled in for him on drums, whilst Stevie Young took his uncle Malcolm's place. Mallet, who's been working with the band since their 1986 "You Shook Me All Night Long" clip said : "They are the same band they were – they have never come out with any pretence to be anything else than the best rock'n'roll band in the world."

    "It's just as thrilling doing stuff with them now as it was all those years ago," he added. "That's because the records are just as good."
  • Rock or Bust was AC/DC's second album in a row with producer Brendan O'Brien, following Black Ice. This was the first time the band had used the same producer on consecutive albums since Mutt Lange helmed 1980's Back in Black and then For Those About to Rock.

    Brian Johnston told Shaun Keaveny and Steve Lamacq of BBC Radio 6 Music about O'Brien's production. "Seven days a week, [Brendan] kept the adrenaline pumped all the time and he calls everybody by both their names. He never says 'Brian' or 'Angus.' He's, like, 'Angus Young. C'mon! I want you in here now. Let me get that magic from you. What do you got for me? Brian Johnson, downstairs now. Sing, baby, sing.' And it turned out wonderful. We were excited, and I think that's great, 'cause it comes through in songs. If you sing a song twelve times to get it right, you can tell. If you sing a song just a couple of times, like I did, you can tell it's fresh and it's new. And it was the same for Ang, and it was the same for everyone. [Brendan is] wonderful to work with."

    Angus Young added: "He keeps everyone moving, so nobody's sitting around, going, 'What am I doing next?' Once we had a track down, he would go, 'Right. I'm gonna take this. I'm going down with Brian.' He'd get Brian up. 'While I am doing that, you guys get this track together and start knocking it out. Know all your bits.' So when he'd come back out, we would more or less [have] the track all in order and ready to go."
  • The video also shows clips of different sports, with an emphasis on female athletes in bikinis. Asked about the visual during an interview on the Australian television program, The Project, Angus Young said: "I've gotta admit. When they watched the Olympics, I'm always the one… I mean, I tuned in for the bikini beach volleyball. That's one of my favorite sports. If that wasn't on, I don't think I'd be watching."
  • This was used to soundtrack two commercials from Beats Electronics that aired in early 2015, promoting the Apple-owned company's Powerbeats2 Wireless and Studio Wireless headphones. AC/DC have rarely licensed its music for advertising, although the band have twice allowed "Back In Black" to be used: In 2011 they gave permission for the song's opening riff to feature during a commercial for Walmart, and a few years later, the track featured in a commercial for the 2015 Chevy Colorado pickup truck.

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