AC/DC's Fraternal Connection to "Friday on My Mind," a Mid-Sixties Power Pop Masterpiece

The Easybeats perform at the Daily Express Record Star Show March 26, 1968; that's George Young with the 12-string and Harry Vanda on the far right (Image credit: C. Maher/Daily Express/Getty Images)

Last year, I had to learn (or brush up on) the lead-guitar parts and solos for about 83 songs — everything from classic Merle Haggard and Kinks tunes to the Cars’ “Bye Bye Love” to two entire Beatles albums — all of which I eventually performed at clubs, theaters and outdoor festivals that spring and summer. Buried on this two-ton list of tunes was “Friday on My Mind,” a late-1966 single by the Easybeats, a high-energy Aussie band that churned out some seriously catchy power pop. The song was huge by the spring of ’67; 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 back in 2001.

The most striking thing about the tune — from a guitarist’s point of view — is the deftly and relentlessly alternate-picked root-fifth and root-octave figures that outline an implied chord progression during the intro and verses. And then there’s the Eastern-flavored use of the harmonic minor scale and its fifth mode, Phrygian-dominant, in the single-note fills! And how can we ignore the contrapuntal interplay between the primary and secondary guitar parts, featuring contrary melodic motion?

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Damian Fanelli
Editor-in-Chief, Guitar World

Damian is Editor-in-Chief of Guitar World magazine. In past lives, he was GW’s managing editor and online managing editor. He's written liner notes for major-label releases, including Stevie Ray Vaughan's 'The Complete Epic Recordings Collection' (Sony Legacy) and has interviewed everyone from Yngwie Malmsteen to Kevin Bacon (with a few memorable Eric Clapton chats thrown into the mix). Damian, a former member of Brooklyn's The Gas House Gorillas, was the sole guitarist in Mister Neutron, a trio that toured the U.S. and released three albums. He now plays in two NYC-area bands.