Wow! AC/DC covering George Benson is a rare treat. Anyone who knows AC/DC knows that “On Broadway” is an unusual track for the kick-ass Australian rockers to cover, not least because AC/DC has a reputation for sticking to their own repertoire.
George Benson released “On Broadway” as a single in March 1978. It is cover. This rare video clip of AC/DC playing the song showcases Angus Young as both showman and guitarist. It is an impressive performance.
The video starts with Young showing off his signature “stutter stepping while playing”. Without skipping a beat or playing a bum note, Young shimmies down the length of a stage extension until he is deep in the audience. Then he almost runs for a platform that turns out to be a lift that takes him to an elevated platform. All the while, a powerful instrumental cover of On Broadway rings out, complete with shredding. It is an unusually sophisticated solo for the riff loving guitarist.
On Broadway was written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil and first recorded by The Cookies, though The Crystals beat them in the rush to get it out as a single. The song was then thoroughly revised by Mann and Weill in collaboration with the famous songwriting team of Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller before being released by The Drifters in 1963. It is the revised version that was covered by George Benson.
Watching AC/DC's dynamic interpretation of On Broadway, one wonders why the response of the audience isn’t even greater than it is, given the rarity of the performance and the quality and taste of the rendition. Is it all too good to be true?
The video is a fake, albeit a fake that has 2.1m views on YouTube. The remarkable success of the video rest on three factors. Firstly, the clip comes across as a tribute to a beloved band. Secondly, the sound synching is very convincing, to the extent that the guitar playing seems to match Angus Young’s fingering at times. Thirdly, as the comments show, this take of On Broadway can be enjoyed even when one realises that it is not an authentic AC/DC performance.
As Mark Zabel comments in his YouTube tutorial demonstrating how to play the guitar lick like the anonymous overdubber (11K views), the "rare AC/DC" video is more George Benson with overdrive than Angus Young playing “On Broadway”.