The Band Angus Young Called ‘The Poor Man’s Led Zeppelin’
One of the most famous and successful rock bands globally, AC/DC was founded by brothers Angus and Malcolm Young in 1973. The band has explored several subgenres such as hard and blues-rock and heavy metal but often refer to their sound as simply rock and roll. On the other hand, Led Zeppelin was formed in 1968 and has been credited as one of the pioneering figures of album-oriented and stadium rock.
Since they belong to more or less the same era of rock music, their fans often compared Led Zeppelin to AC/DC while trying to figure out their common points and differences. While some have argued that one of the bands surpassed the other in terms of originality and stage performances, others stressed that they are utterly different in terms of sound, style, and stage shows.
However, these comparisons and contrasts didn’t prevent the band’s lead guitarist Angus Young from highlighting that Led Zeppelin greatly influenced him. However, his love for the band also made him pickier regarding others formed around the same time, who had adopted a similar sound. In fact, Young despised one band in particular and even called ‘poor man’s Led Zeppelin.’
Which Was The Band That Angus Young Considered Less Talented Led Zeppelin?
Led Zeppelin was formed five years earlier than AC/DC, and they are considered the pioneers of hard rock and heavy metal. It was one of the bands that Angus Young listened to on the radio along with Jimi Hendrix and Cream when he was very young, which astonished him. Therefore it can be said that it became hard for him to appreciate another band that emerged around the same time.
Deep Purple started to hit the rock stage as a psychedelic rock and progressive rock band, but they changed their style by using heavier sounds. Moreover, the band was defined as a member of the ‘unholy trinity of British hard rock and heavy metal in the early to mid- seventies’ alongside Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. However, AC/DC met one of the members of this ‘unholy trinity,’ Deep Purple, when their paths crossed at the Sunbury Pop Festival, which took place in January 1975.
The lineup included AC/DC, Ariel, Ayers Rock, Billy Thorpe & the Aztecs, and Deep Purple, but it turned into a fistfight between the Deep Purple and AC/DC crews. Things got intense when Deep Purple’s tour guy punched AC/DC’s manager. According to Angus Young, they were invited to the stage because the festival organizers thought that Deep Purple couldn’t perform, but then they decided to do it. Ultimately, AC/DC didn’t play at the festival because of the infamous fight.
David Coverdale recalled those moments, saying that AC/DC ignited the fire after they used Deep Purple’s gear while preparing for their live performance. Even though there were two versions of the story, there’s no doubt that Angus Young had negative thoughts on the band.
Years after their first meeting, AC/DC’s lead guitarist Angus Young heavily targeted Deep Purple in one of his interviews and called the band ‘a poor man’s Led Zeppelin.’ He recalled realizing that Deep Purple is a cheap version of the famous rock band when he watched and hated Deep Purple’s ‘ridiculous’ live performance.
In Angus Young’s words, he said:
“I saw Deep Purple live once, and I paid money for it, and I thought, ‘Geez, this is ridiculous.’ You just see through all that sort of stuff. I never liked those Deep Purples or those sort of things. I always hated it. I always thought it was a poor man’s, Led Zeppelin.“
It seems like, for Angus Young, Deep Purple could never be as successful as Led Zeppelin, even though they were both regarded as milestone bands of hard rock and rock and roll. Young didn’t say anything about this comment later on, so the fans cannot be sure about whether he changed his mind or not.