AC/DC Angus Young’s Disappointment With Neil Young Cloning The Beatles

The 60s was surely a time to be a young rocker since it was one of the latest trends for young musicians to find other gifted artists and try starting a blues rock band. The Beatles’ global success from the moment they set foot in a recording studio surely played a role in that, as it got other rockers thinking, ‘Why can’t we do the same?’

The British act had been a guidebook for any rocker starting their musical careers, as countless bands took a lesson or two from McCartney and Lennon’s simplistic lyrics, Harrison’s signature riffs, and Starr’s drumming… however, it seemed that the only aspects others got from the Beatles weren’t only their melodies.

It’s hard not to remember what the Brits looked like early on in their careers, wearing matched suits and identical haircuts, looking as harmonious as their tunes on stage. Their professional attires surely fascinated and drew audiences, igniting Beatlemania and getting others thinking, again, about why they couldn’t do the same.

So, as other bands began taking a fashion lesson from the Beatles, starting dressing like them by taking the stage in well-pressed and matched suits, others who disobeyed the conventional ways of the scene and dared to be different in a pool of Beatles-look-alikes started to stand out.

AC/DC was surely one of the acts that never made it an exact secret their wish to go against the oppressing authorities and do their best to rock in the good old fashion way. Although they were no punk rockers, as Angus Young had once made clear, their music and take on rock surely helped shape the genre and define new boundaries or help abolish them.

However, if we’re talking about being anti-establishment, it also should be honorary to name another Young, Neil Young, since the Canadian rocker cares little when challenging what’s conventional. Still… Neil, a non-conformist whose works had influenced numerous anti-establishment acts, including Sid Vicious and Nirvana, made a questionable decision in the 70s.

That decision sparked the interest of Angus, who was in disbelief at Neil’s choice to clone the Beatles by wearing a suit. While being interviewed by Guitar World in 1998, the guitarist discussed being anti-establishment and Bon Scott’s past fronting a pop band; Young couldn’t help but discuss how The Beatles influenced mainstream music and turned everyone into a mirror image of themselves.

For the AC/DC rocker, Neil was one of those who cloned them, as he recalled seeing the Canadian once taking the stage in a Beatles clone suit. Angus was in disbelief at that, remembering how challenging it was for Bon Scott even to scream early on in their careers since the Beatles had set the rules of what mainstream music should sound like. So, there was no doubt that the Fab Four’s influence on the rock scene forced everyone to copy them to success.

Angus on Scott being in pop bands, disbelief over Neil wearing a suit and being anti-establishment:

“You can hear that [pop tunes], it’s his [Scott’s] voice, but he always said that those bands wanted him to be not what he was and that we were the first people who ever said, ‘Bon, sing how you want to sing. If you want to scream, scream.’ There was a tendency at the time for people to want to homogenize bands and make things fit into the bag of whatever was hot at that time.

And when Bon was starting, in the sixties, during the time of the Beatles, that practice was rampant. Those guys wore suits, and the next day, everybody was wearing one. I even think that I’ve seen Neil Young in a Beatle clone suit. It spread all over the world. Bon always called the stuff that he was doing back then ‘bubble gum’ music.

In the Valentines [the pop band Bon once fronted], he was put there because he had a good voice, as opposed to the guy who was the actual frontman, who was there for the image. Bon used to say, ‘In that band; I was a rhythm singer.”

So, it’s important to note that when everyone tried cloning the Beatles, AC/DC tried setting different levels and reestablishing all the conventional limits. Still, there was a time even an anti-establishment artist, Neil Young, tried out his chance with a suit; so, it was surely bold of AC/DC to try new things and impress the audiences with their unique styles.