“Friday on My Mind”: AC/DC’s Connection to a 1966 Guitar Masterpiece
By Damian Fanelli
Back in May and June, I had to learn (or brush up on) about 81 songs—everything from country standards to George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord” to two entire Beatles albums—all of which I eventually performed at clubs, theaters or outdoor festivals during the spring.
Featured on this massive list of tunes was “Friday on My Mind,” a classic late-1966 single by the Easybeats, a high-energy Australian band. The song was huge by the spring of 1967; it reached Number 16 in the U.S., Number 1 in Australia and Number 6 in the U.K. It even was voted “Best Australian Song” of all time by the Australasian Performing Rights Association.
I was so fascinated by the song’s intertwining, Eastern-influenced and damn-catchy guitar parts that I actually paused in the middle of all my crazy-ass song-learnin’ to do a bit of research about the band and its guitarists (In other words, I read their Wikipedia page while lying on a couch). That’s when I stumbled upon their interesting connection to AC/DC.
First of all, the band—as heard on this particular tune—featured Stevie Wright (lead vocals), Harry Vanda (lead guitar), George Young (rhythm guitar), Dick Diamonde (bass) and Gordon “Snowy” Fleet (drums), and the song was composed by Vanda and Young. As any self-respecting AC/DC fan knows, Young is the older brother of AC/DC co-founders Malcolm and Angus Young.
When the Easybeats called it quits in 1969, Young and Vanda concentrated on writing and producing songs for other artists—not to mention a few for themselves, using different stage names. One of their studio-based groups, the Marcus Hook Roll Band, featured Malcolm and Angus. George (along with Vanda) went on to co-produce AC/DC’s early albums, including Let There Be Rock, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, T.N.T., Powerage and High Voltage. He played bass for the band very early on and wound up producing their 2000 album, Stiff Upper Lip.
George Young’s famous saying to his younger brothers was, “You can’t call yourself a band until you’ve done at least 200 gigs,” which is actually a solid piece of advice.
There you have it, gang—the interesting connection between the Easybeats’ “Friday on My Mind” and AC/DC. Please continue doing what you were doing before you started reading this.
By the way, the unusual (and beautiful-sounding) guitar at the opening of the video is Vanda’s Maton DC545.