One of the best intros ever! We tried a little tenderness with Otis Redding this morning so now lets all insert some ear plugs and turn it up.
Brothers and guitarists Angus and Malcolm Young wrote this song. This led off The Razors Edge album, but in America it wasn’t sold as a single, which helped propel the album sales. The more radio-friendly Moneytalks was the US chart hit from the album, peaking at #23 in the Billboard 100.
Thunderstuck peaked at #13 in the UK and #20 in Canada in 1990. The Razors Edge peaked at #2 in the Billboard Album Charts, #4 in the UK, and #1 in Canada.
A side note to this song. In 2012 a couple of Iranian uranium-enrichment plants were hacked and their computers shut down but not before blasting Thunderstruck at maximum volume like you are probably doing right now or will be soon.
The album was recorded with producer Bruce Fairbairn at his Little Mountain Sound Studios in Vancouver, where he also produced Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet and the Aerosmith albums Permanent Vacation and Pump. It was the group’s first time working with Fairbairn.
Angus Young: “It started off from a little trick that I had on guitar. I played it to Mal and he said, ‘Oh I’ve got a good rhythm idea that will sit well in the back.’ We built the song up from that. We fiddled about with it for a few months before everything fell into place.
Lyrically, it was really just a case of finding a good title, something along the lines of ‘Powerage’ or ‘Highway To Hell.’ We came up with this thunder thing and it seemed to have a good ring to it. AC/DC = Power. That’s the basic idea.”
According to The Story of AC/DC: Let There Be Rock, Angus Young created the distinctive opening guitar part by playing with all the strings taped up, except the B. It was a studio trick he learned from his older brother George Young, who produced some of AC/DC’s albums and was in a band called The Easybeats.
This song marked a return to form for AC/DC, whose previous three albums didn’t generate any blockbusters. It was the song that set the tone for the album, a truly thunderous track that electrified the crowd as the opening number on The Razors Edge tour. The apostrophe-free album title gels with the song: Australians call the dark clouds of an approaching storm “the razor’s edge.”
AC/DC shook Iran all night long when a computer virus infected nuclear establishments there in July 2012. One of the effects of the worm was that the machines were forced to play this track at full volume during the small hours.
David Mallet, who directed the video for “You Shook Me All Night Long,” returned to work with the band on this clip. Mallet wanted to create the “ultimate performance video,” showcasing AC/DC’s live energy. It was shot at Brixton Academy in London with some innovative camera work. Mallet had Angus do his duckwalk over plexiglass to get footage from underneath, and small cameras were placed on the guitar and on one of the drumsticks.
The Croatian cello duo 2Cellos released an instrumental version of the song in February 2014. The pair are best known for their cover of “Smooth Criminal,” which was performed on the Michael Jackson-themed episode of Glee.
The song was featured in the film Varsity Blues during one of the games when the team is hungover from the night before. AC/DC charged a massive $500,000 for its use, the biggest deal that music supervisor Thomas Golubic (Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead) has ever brokered. “I remember being absolutely horrified when I heard that number,” Golubic recalled to Variety. “And we spent a lot of time coming up with what we thought were great alternates, but there was going to be no budget on that, and they had money so they paid for it.”
In 2004, an Australian movie called Thunderstruck was released. It’s a comedy about five guys who go to an AC/DC show in 1991 and agree to bury the first one who dies next to Bon Scott.
In Australia, this was used in commercials for the Holden Commodore SS Ute. The commercials were about an Australian Built Ute making a storm in the outback. >
Thunder, thunder, thunder, thunder
I was caught
In the middle of a railroad track
I looked round
And I knew there was no turning back
My mind raced
And I thought what could I do
And I knew
There was no help, no help from you
Sound of the drums
Beating in my heart
The thunder of guns
Tore me apart
Rode down the highway
Broke the limit, we hit the town
Went through to Texas, yeah Texas, and we had some fun
We met some girls
Some dancers who gave a good time
Broke all the rules
Played all the fools
Yeah yeah they, they, they blew our minds
And I was shaking at the knees
Could I come again please
Yeah them ladies were too kind
I was shaking at the knees
Could I come again please
Thunderstruck, Thunderstruck, Thunderstruck, Thunderstruck
It’s alright, we’re doin’ fine
It’s alright, we’re doin’ fine, fine, fine
Thunderstruck, yeah, yeah, yeah
Thunderstruck, baby, baby
Thunderstruck, you’ve been Thunderstruck
You’ve been Thunderstruck