AC/DC – You Shook Me All Night Long

The album Back In Black was very popular. I think it was a requirement for every teenage boy to own a copy or two all over the world.

The rock band I was in my Sophomore year in high school played this song in our first gig in the school theater. We had the only singer around who could actually sing it. The riff to the song is one of the more memorable ones in rock.

This was the first AC/DC single and album featuring new lead singer Brian Johnson. He replaced Bon Scott, who died February 19, 1980 after a drinking binge. Scott’s father made it clear to the band that they should find a new singer and keep going.

The album peaked at #4 in the Billboard Album Charts, #1 in Canada, #24 in New Zealand, and #1 in the UK in 1980.

You Shook Me All Night Long peaked at #35 in the Billboard 100 and #38 in the UK in 1980.

Brian Johnson said that the inspiration for this song came from seeing images of American girls while recording in the Bahamas for the album.

From Songfacts

Brian Johnson came up with the line “She was a fast machine, she kept her motor clean” when he realized that cars and women were very much alike – they go fast, let you down, but then make you happy again when you see the new model. AC/DC has never been known for deep, meaningful lyrics.

Angus and Malcolm Young have received lots of praise for their guitar work on this track. The song has made many lists of top guitar solos in rock. 

Brian Johnson told UK’s Absolute Radio about the inspiration behind the song. “The boys had a title,” he recalled. “Malcolm and Angus [Young] said, ‘Listen, we’ve got this song. It’s called ‘Shook Me All Night Long.’ That’s what we want the song to be called.’ And if you listen to the chords, [the chorus] just fell into place so I can’t claim any credit on that thing.”

“It was as quick as it had to be, which was that night. I guess I had to try and impress somebody,” he continued. “It was just a thing that came at the time, and I still think it’s one of the greatest rock and roll riffs I’ve ever heard in my life.”

Some copies of the single were pressed incorrectly – they play a song called “Shake A Leg” and are considered collector’s items.

MTV wasn’t on the air when this song was released, but in Australia and England, there were some TV shows that would show videos, so bands popular in those countries would sometimes make them. AC/DC made one for this song, which was directed by David Mallet, who also did some of Blondie’s videos. He based the video on the comic strip character Andy Capp, which was very popular in England. Brian Johnson took on the drunkard persona of the character, and we see him come home to a room of scantily clad women, one of which is riding a mechanical bull. Mallet also directed their video for “Thunderstruck.”

The album has sold over 40 million copies worldwide. 

AC/DC played this when they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003. Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, who inducted them, sang on it with them.

This is a very popular song at strip clubs (or so we’re told…). The lyrics and groove go very well with pole dancing.

This plays over the end credits of the movie A Knight’s Tale. >>

Shania Twain sang this on her Up! Close And Personal TV special (also released as a DVD). Her then-husband, Mutt Lange, produced Back In Black

In 2002 Celine Dion covered this song together with Anastacia at a VH1 Divas Las Vegas concert. The French-Canadian singer came on stage playing air-guitar and proceeded to belt out this track. Though never released as a single, some radio stations played her version of this classic heavy metal track. In a 2008 poll conducted by a panel of experts in the Total Guitar magazine her rendition was awarded the dubious honor of worst cover song of all time. Total Guitar editor Stephen Lawson commented “Celine Dion covering AC/DC is sacrilege.” Two more covers by pop acts of legendary tunes by rock acts followed Dion in the survey. Sugababes and Girls Aloud 2007 version of Aerosmith and Run DMC’s “Walk This Way” came second on the list and Westlife’s 1999 version of “More Than Words” by Extreme, a track on their self-titled debut album, came third.

Johnson told USA Weekend that this song is for him the highlight of the band’s catalog because: “It was the first song I wrote with the guys, and it has a special groovy beat that won’t let you go. It has such a special place in my heart, and I still love to sing it onstage. To me, it might be one of the best rock songs ever written – if I do say so myself.”

You Shook Me All Night Long

She was a fast machine
She kept her motor clean
She was the best damn woman I had ever seen
She had the sightless eyes
Telling me no lies
Knockin’ me out with those American thighs
Taking more than her share
Had me fighting for air
She told me to come but I was already there
‘Cause the walls start shaking
The earth was quaking
My mind was aching
And we were making it and you

Shook me all night long
Yeah you shook me all night long

Working double time
On the seduction line
She was one of a kind, she’s just mine all mine
Wanted no applause
Just another course
Made a meal out of me and came back for more
Had to cool me down
To take another round
Now I’m back in the ring to take another swing
‘Cause the walls were shaking
The earth was quaking
My mind was aching
And we were making it and you

Shook me all night long
Yeah you shook me all night long

And knocked me out and then you
Shook me all night long
You had me shakin’ and you
Shook me all night long
Yeah you shook me
Well you took me

You really took me and you
Shook me all night long
Oh you
Shook me all night long
Yeah, yeah, you
Shook me all night long
You really took me and you
Yeah you shook me, yeah you shook me
All night long

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

36 thoughts on “AC/DC – You Shook Me All Night Long”

  1. I associate this album with my college years. It was extremely popular. I can remember things like a guy sitting on his dorm room loft blasting “Have A Drink on Me.” I wrote a paper about censorship, and some moral majority group said the lyrics to “You Shook Me All Night Long” were really “Should We All Die Young.” Great stuff!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Should We All Die Young.”… Don’t ask Pete Townshend that…
      the eighties I do remember censorship and the stickers on albums.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, I think I’ve mentioned it before, but I had the album and played it to death back in ’80,’81 – my early high school years. Now, it’s on the short list of music I loved 40 years back that I can barely tolerate now. But it is a great rock song & like you say, should be a rite of passage for any young guy! I’d say probably their best song, to my ears anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I was 13 back in 1980 and what an album to learn about the birds and bees!
    Look at those titles and listen to rhe lyrics
    No need for sex education class
    Just crank BIB up!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I never got to see them…lol chasing AC/DC…they are really good.
        Any one that can take those same chords and do it again and again with great results are great.


      2. Back then, I had no idea they had had another lead singer. Brian was my introduction. Classic Rock stations didn’t exist in 1980. There were emerging Oldies stations. My hometown radio station went off the air at midnight. Bon Scott AC/DC didn’t get played in my area.

        Speaking of, the first time I heard Scott, I thought “How old is this guy? He sounds like a little old man.” His voice is/was weird.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. His voice was odd. He was good though…for his style…whatever that was lol. No he was unique anyway.


      4. Oh Supernatural…something strange I found… I only found German versions??? I’m going to look some more…I’ll check this out


      5. It’s possible that the producers are tight with production and release. This thing ran for 15 seasons. That is a LOT of data. Don’t sweat it too much. You have a busy life as a one-legged, one-armed IT guy.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. he realized that cars and women were very much alike – they go fast, let you down, but then make you happy again when you see the new model. AC/DC has never been known for deep, meaningful lyrics.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not many times can a band survive a new leader singer…not only that but do better than before.
      Work has been a pain in the ass. Now I know I’m the only IT guy in the place…very busy this week.
      I had two lines written in your reply and the calls started.


      1. Yep…at the office I’m at. Nathan is still at home. He is about to go to the doctor and get the clearance and get the hell back. I didn’t need him til starting last week.


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