The Jack

Album: High Voltage (1975)
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  • This song is about a venereal disease - "The Jack" is Australian slang for Gonorrhea, which is also known as "The Clap." AC/DC lead singer Bon Scott explained the origin of the song in a 1976 interview with Sounds. Said Scott: "We were living with this houseful of ladies who were all very friendly and everyone in the band had got the jack. So we wrote this song and the first time we did it on stage they were all in the front row with no idea what was goin' to happen. When it came to repeatin' 'She's got the jack' I pointed at them one after another." Added guitarist Angus Young: "After that, wherever we did the song the girls in the audience would run to the back of the hall."
  • Bon Scott was known for his outrageous behavior both on and off stage. He told this story in the same Sounds interview: "One time I had the jack and this girl wanted f--kin' and she was so ugly I figured, s--t! Nobody else would have her so she wouldn't spread it. But when we'd finished she went next door to Phil (Rudd, their drummer) and gave it to him. And a few weeks later she sent him a doctor's bill for 35 dollars for the cure. Well, next time she came to a show I got her up on stage in the middle of 'The Jack' and explained how she'd got it wrong and it was me owed her the money." On mike that was.
  • AC/DC takes the music in their songs much more seriously than their lyrics. They would often finish songs by writing lyrics that amuse them, and this is a good example of that technique.
  • This was released in Australia in 1975 on AC/DC's second album, T.N.T. Their first two Australian releases were combined to form High Voltage in 1976, which was their first album released worldwide.
  • In concert, Bon Scott would sometimes share with the crowd a more direct set of lyrics than the one on the recording. He also did a bit where he would introduce the song by singing (to the tune of "Maria" from West Side Story):

    Gonorrhea, I've just had my first dose of gonorrhea

    Such poetry can be heard on AC/DC's 1978 live album If You Want Blood, You've Got It.
  • AC/DC played this before a crowd of 500,000 at show in Toronto in 2003. The concert, which also featured The Rolling Stones, Rush, and others, was a benefit for the city, which suffered a drop in tourism due to the spread of a rare disease called SARS (Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome). AC/DC had no problem singing about one disease at a benefit for another, and the fans didn't mind either.

Comments: 43

  • Crow from TennesseeThe Jack song, around where I'm from if someone said she or he got the Jack met they had alot of money.
  • Dc from Aus TS from AZ, hahaha sepo
  • Putte from SwedenThe studio version of the song is about a card game. Where "The jack" is ... The knave/Jack
  • Mal from AustraliaThis is a great song off one of the best rock'n'roll albums and bands of all time. Rock'n'roll and Acadaca are a huge part of being an Aussie and The Jack just tells it how it is.
  • Rob from San Antonio, TexasTo: TS

    “Dude, you loose credibility when you can’t even your thoughts coherently (i.e., spelling and grammar)”

    Hahahahaha ... oh, the irony.
  • Tania from Brisbane, AustraliaConsidering "septic" is a toilet waste disposal system, it fits in fine lol

    Absolutely love this song, first heard it in high school while passing a ciggy around at lunch time. Parents wouldn't let us listen to AC/DC at home, so a friend would bring her cassette to school, and play it on my Walkman as it had speakers, although we did have to hit pause quickly if a teacher came close! We all thought it was funny af!
  • Ts from AzTo: Aussie - Fffff, Australia... loose credibility when you can't even articulate your thoughts coherently (i.e., spelling and grammar). I mean really..."ordasity"!! How about "AUDACITY". and then there is "Septics". Did you actually mean "SKEPTICS"??

    Hint: If, as you are typing, a word is underlined in Red, it means it is not spelled correctly.

    Such ORDASITY from a Aussie SEPTIC!! lmfao!!
  • Joe Sbonbo from Lost AnglesOctober 1976 was djing at the local FM --man I spinned this song like hell---amazing debut, I heard immediately what was lost in rock and roll.
  • Jasper from Nieuwe Niedorp, NetherlandsMike,
    Cars Hiss By My Window has got a Blues chord progression, just like Chuck Berry's Johnny B. Goode, Led Zeppelin's Rock and Roll, Ten Years After's I'm Going Home, ZZ Top's Tush and many more songs.

    Cars Hiss By My Window is a great song btw
  • Daniel from Baytown, TxJust was wondering I have both the AC/DC Live ablum and thier Gold Album, how come the lyrics are differnt on each version. the on on Gold is about poker, while the live one is like the true one. why is that? still good song
  • Roy from Granbania, MaAlso, Ten Years After formed in 1965, so it's more likely that technically Angus Young's playing is similar to his.
  • Roy from Granbania, MaMike, I have heard Cars Hiss By My Window by The Doors, and yes I can confirm your point. Also, Barry, Ten Years After's Alvin Lee (Guitarist/Singer) is an excellent player. The band plays very bluesy stuff most of the time with quick, clean guitar work, but their most popular song is more pop-oriented, "I'd Love to Change the World".
  • Austin from Bristow, VaLove the live version. studio one, it's okay.
  • Austin from Bristow, VaThe live version rocks.
  • Rachel from St Albert, AbMalcom was having sex at the time with a woman in Melbourne. He was jamming with the guys one day and received a letter from the woman telling him that he had given her the jack. Malcolm said "well she must've given it to me, because I didn't have it" and he had to go to the clinic to get rid of it.
  • Barry from Bastrop, La, LaSpeaking of "blues" influences on AC/DC, anybody remember the group 10 Years After? They are featured on the "Woodstock" movie doing the song "Going Home". Thier lead guitar player is shredding a ES335 and his style of playing and moving around on stage is like Angus Young. Check out the movie sometime.
  • Mike from Bloomington, IlAnyone here a Doors fan? Well their song Car Hiss by My Window(on L.A. Woman) has the exact same chord progression. Did they rip it off the Doors or is it coincidental? Anyone heard Car Hiss?
  • Jon from Geezerville, FlNot your typical AC/DC song but when Bon sang it live, it was pure genius.
  • Selina from Perth, AustraliaAND AC/DC DONT LIVE IN AMERICA- and yeah, Highway to Hell- the Horror of touring the U.S- I feel safe in New York City, IN A CAGE
  • Selina from Perth, AustraliaSuch a great song!The play on words- AMAZING how they could write two versions of the lyrics and still form one song..!GENIUS- thanx Bon, 4 the entertainment..So Great
  • Steven from Mt Sterling, Lathis song is so cool. i can't belive brian said the B word when he sings the jack. why is his verson diffrent than bon scott's
  • Ely from Lima, PeruI love this AC/DC song,I love the lyrics,"She told me she was a virgin",ooh! I love this!!!
  • Marshall from Bar Harbor, MeCongratulations Ryan, you have completely missed my points... except for the one this whole blog was created for. Perhaps I forget that I have to rely on other people to read with a certain tone that I cannot assure they are reading with. To hell with conservatism and to hell with radical liberals, they are all puppet parties anyway. I'm pretty left-leaning as it is. Inherently with living as an American today, you are doomed and are dooming other nations. And, sadly, it isn't just us. I said in my comment that we don't like our president nor the dictatorship created by "terrorist states" we live under, so thanks for adding on to the record that was already there....... I'm just saying, don't you have anything to say to the Aussie down there? He is as human as I am. At some point, you have to break down the barriers and look at others as people of the same race and not as separated entities of social constructs. I wasn't the first to throw hate, as my first comment 6 columns down shows. What does his type of commenting represent? An overly patriotic from Australia. I don't care where he's from, he's a dumbf*ck. What gives him any more authority then anyone else? If he were to claim he knew a lot about The Doors, I wouldn't say he doesn't have the authority to criticize them simply because he is from "ffffff, Australia" and not from ddddd, America. It's not like I have any way of getting to know any American band better than anyone living overseas does, save the exclusive list of friends and family those bands associate themselves with. So go ahead, label me a conservative and talk trash, I don't care. You're an equally pathetic excuse for flesh and bones yourself, have a good day. And that's a real cute picture you made for me, it goes well with your 8=> (fully erect)
  • Ryan from Cleveland, OhThank you Marshall from Bar Harbor, ME, you have just single handedly andvanced the reason other countries hate the U.S. And for the record most people hate george bush and think our country is going to hell in a handbasket and it is conservative morons like you who neglect that little fact. but however you got one thing right, old school rockers from the 50s did influence the rock bands that we know so well from the 60s and 70s but we can not credit america entirely for that because we were listening to the "bubblegummers" such as Favian, then britain listened to fathers of rock (chuck berry, buddy holly, even elvis) and sent rock n roll back to america. and dont rip on ac/dc for not having and australian singer they still have the young brothers and that is enough australian for anyone. so in short ,,|,, (-_-) ,,|,,
  • Carl from Eugene, OrThis song wasn't originally known as "The Clap". It has always been The Jack, because that's what it's known as in Austrailia.

    I've seen every tour since 1977 in the USA. This song is the only one that they play in each and every show on every tour, without fail.
  • Marshall from Bar Harbor, Meyeah, that's why the band lives in America, and has in the past written songs praising America, and has more recently written songs about,..uh,.. NEW YORK CITY. Not to mention, in their music video they are depicted driving.., what is that gas guzzling atrocity of a vehicle the world hates America for,..? oh yeah, a HUMMER.
    Sounds like AC/DC has jumped at the opportunity to bend down and take that grand American shaft in attempt to boost their image and gain validation from the country and city they, "feel safe in."
    I hate to say it, but were it not for the early delta blues musicians of the early 20th century, which by the way came out of America, then there wouldn't be AC/DC, or Zeppelin, or Clapton, or the Beatles, or the Stones, or any other rock band to date. AC/DC is really one of the few commercial rock claims you Australians really have, and the current singer isn't even Australian. Another claim being Savage Garden,.."oo, chicka Cherry Cola." Can someone say, lyrical genius? Please, if anything, rock is the one thing America has done right and is the birth place of Rock. Then to go on and label Americans like the majority of us are actually proud of the government system we live under, just shows your blatant ignorance and insensibility toward the situation. Quit (deleted) the wallabies and scrape off the (deleted) that is apparently keeping your eyes crusted shut. In America, we call you sort of people...retarded!!!!!
    That's another thing I don't get, do more explanation marks denote more excitement? Man, those wallabies must love you. You can quit your little "I'm from Australia, I'm so prideful," act, because I'm sure a lot of your friends think you're a douchebag. Hey, thanks for giving Australia a glimmering image!!!!!!!

    Cheers mate.
  • Aussie from Fffff, AustraliaTo Tom, East Lyme, CT .

    Listening to Americans talk about AC/DC with some authority What a joke! but then again Americans are famous for sticking their noses into issues that they have no understanding of and then have the ordasity to say they are experts. All I can say is IRAQ IRAQ IRAQ Septics leave AC-DC alone!!!!1 you know nothing !!!!!!!!
  • Big Dick from Hatfied, PaCome on dudes, panther you are correct. I have the original import releases of the song. It was always called "The Jack" and everybody knew it meant the clap. AC/DC has always been straight forward Rock n" Roll band. If you try to figure them out you gotta get a life. It fun hard rocking roc n' roll. No sissy (deleted) here. If you want the Wall Flowers grab the next train to Pansy Land. Can you here the Thunder?
  • Marshall from Bar Harbor, Medude,... AC/DC has a lot of blues influence included in a lot of their songs...I think they have every right to pay it to their origins to do a straight up 12 bar blues song...and its a genious allegory. I think they pull it off well.
  • Tom from East Lyme, CtI really don't like this song...AC/DC should have never tried Blues, I don't why, apparently I'm the only one who thinks so...
  • Voodoocat from Zimbabwe, United StatesThis song rocks!! My fourth favorite AC/DC song (I have a list in order that goes to about 27 of their songs). Have you ever noticed, though, that "Cat Scratch Fever" by Ted Nugent, "(Can't Get No) Satisfaction" by The Rolling Stones, "Long Cool Woman (In a Black Dress" by The Hollies, and "The Jack" by AC/DC all have very similar hooks?? And I know that a lot of songs sound similar, not accusing anybody of theft. Just an observation.
  • Haggai from Hobart, AustraliaBon was the one who came up with the 2 sets of lyrics. there is a JJJ LATW recording of ac/dc from 1977 in which bon sings the alternate lyrics.
  • Collin from Midland, TxHave you guys seen the Australian album cover for Hight Voltage? (It was their first Australian album) Jeez, it was HIDEOUS! It's all neon green and pink and stuff. Bleh! Anyway, this song is extremely clever! How did Bon Scott come up with these metaphors? Quite funny...
  • Billy from Boston, MaThe Jack is a good Blues beat song. Led Zeppelin's Since I've Been Lovin' You and the Lemon Song are also awesome Blues songs.
  • Galina from New London, CtI personally think that their were to many "she's got the jack"'s, but the way he sing's makes it ok.... oh, and I agree with Jonas from Detriot.
  • Jimmy from Margsactually there is not a bon version and a brian version there is a live and a studio version though
    th live one is the lternate lyrics and does not really have any metaphores in it at all
  • Stephen from Steamboat, CoOh my. Well, first off the song is very well written and Andrew is correct about the seriousness of the lyrics, full of metaphores and puns. And to Jonas from Detroit, damn it man, you made me soooo cranky. AC/DC won't allow Brian to play it the original way because of the connnection it has with the band, and becomes empty when anyone else plays it besides Bon. That is why there are two versions. Bons and Brians. This is also why Led Zeppelin would sound bad playing it. And Dylan, please tell me where you got your information on the Quote, so I can look into that. I have heard other stories, but I won't comment on them until I see into it further.
  • Andrew from Marietta, GaFirst of the early days AC/DC did take ther lyrics seriously. Bon had a notebook of poems that he wrote as songs, which sadly were lost when he died. And yes the jack has two sets of lyrics...a live version (unless they're doin a radio show) and a recorded version. And actually Angus coined the venereal disease phrase the jack.
  • Dylan from Tualatin, OrThis song is about one of the AC/DC band members giving a girl an STD. One of the groupies or whatever got it on with a few of the band members and got gonorrhea. She accued Bon Scott of giving her the STD and Bon replied "I didn't give you the jack it was Phil!" (who was AC/DC's drummer at the time). They named the song after this.
  • Tom from Trowbridge, EnglandThis may sound quite odd but I can imagine Led Zeppelin palying this! I mean the solo could've easily been played byJimmy Page and the bass part sounds like it could've been played by John Paul Jones. However, the lyrics aren't very typical of Robert Plant are they!
  • Panther from Houston, Tx"The Jack" has two different sets of lyrics. "She told me she was a virgin" is indeed part of the alternate, less radio-friendly version. This is one time, though, where I prefer the radio version (though the other one has some pretty hilarious lyrics, as well) because the metaphor of playing cards worked so well.

    Another thing, I'm not too sure about this and that's why I'm not sending it in as a correction, but I seem to recall that it was *not* originally called "The Clap", as "the jack" was Australian slang for "the clap" (American slang).
  • Jonas from Detroit, Miat first when i heard the song on "high voltage" i loved the song,but when i heard brian johnson sing it.He messed it up soo bad.he said "she said she was a virgin"he gave the whole mystery of the song away it's supposed to say, "she said she hadn't been delt with before".
  • Ryley from Willow Spring, NcFirst appeared in the US on the album 'High Voltage'.
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