AD/DC – “Jailbreak”


If you want proof that rock and roll is just the electric blues, listen to AC/DC’s “Jailbreak” and imagine the verses being delivered in John Lee Hooker’s low growl. The murder over a woman here is heir to blues story-songs like Hooker’s menacing “Bad Like Jesse James”. At the same time, the chorus just begs to be roared by James Hetfield in some future sequel to Garage Days: “Jaaaaiiiilbreak-kah!” Hooker’s and Metallica’s versions of “Jailbreak” may be my favorite cover-songs-that-never-were since David Lee Roth didn’t sing Golden Earring’s “Radar Love”.

But Dallas O’Brien has an interesting cover here, mashing it up with Van Morrison’s “Gloria”, to which it bears rather strong musical similarities, which might just be related to the fact that AC/DC frequently covered Gloria in their early live act. Also bearing a rather heavy debt to “Gloria” is the Uniques’ “You Ain’t Tuff”, and I’ve long thought that a medley of “Gloria”, “You Ain’t Tuff”, and “Jailbreak” would make a nice saga of wild infatuation, bitter breakup, and jealous crime of passion. (You could probably make a case for throwing in bits of the Velvet Underground’s “Here She Comes Now” and “Sister Ray” too.) I can’t play guitar, but my nephew can. So, in return for making him a definitive Bon Scott compilation, I’m assigning him to get on this.

One Response to “AD/DC – “Jailbreak””

  1. “Gloria” and “Jailbreak” both have roots in the blues, and that chord progression (D-A-E) sure isn’t unique to those two songs. Still, you gotta admit, they’re pretty similar.

    I was in Bathurst station last night a little after 1:30 and a guy on one platform was shouting to people on the other one that he’d seen AC/DC earlier that night. Apparently they were quite excellent.

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