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You Shook Me All Night Long by AC/DC

Album: Back In BlackReleased: 1980Charted:
  • This was the first AC/DC single 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.
  • 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.
  • Brian Johnson said that the inspiration for this song came from seeing images of American girls while recording in the Bahamas for the album Back In Black.
  • 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. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Derek - Kingsport, TN, for above 2
  • 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. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Ian - Peterlee, England
  • 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. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Tom - Trowbridge, England
  • 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. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Paul - Sherwood Park, Canada
  • 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 Guitareditor 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."
  • One of the more unusual covers of this song can be found on the 2001 album, A Hillbilly Tribute To AC/DC, by the AC/DC bluegrass tribute band Hayseed Dixie.
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Comments: 77

Why, in the previous post, did I hint at Bon Scott? Because I strongly suspect it was he who wrote the lyrics and vocal melody for this song.
Brian Johnson did a great job on Back in Black, but the album was already in pre-production. The band has since claimed that Bon had only "little bits and pieces" worked out for the album when he died. Considering the fact that nothing else done with Brian has been near as successful, this statement seems all the more implausible.
Jon - Calif.
To these ears,
I think what Bon, err- I mean Brian, wrote was actually:
"sagless eyes tellin' me no lies, knockin' me out with those American thoughts"
After all, the average AC/DC fan is unlikely to have a fetish for blind women. Bright eyes and young skin? Yes!
Then we should consider the fact that "thighs" (besides sounding ridiculous) does not rhyme with its counterpart ("out"). It isn't even close.
Jon - Calif.
Led Zeppelin borrowed (stole) from Muddy Waters--they played it in 1962. LZ after. Same song.

AC/DC's song is totally different, the music, the lyrics--completely different.

Mike, I agree. The opening to You Shook Me All Night Long is wonderful.
Randy - Dallas
AC/DC weren't about complex lyrics or being the most talented band skill wise. They'll be the first admit that. They wanted to rock and roll and their music is the prime example of pure rock and roll. You shook me all night long may be their most cherished by firm followers and even the casual rock listeners. The guitar work of malcolm and Angus was always mind blowing and oozing with real deal rock and roll soul. They constantly hit above their weight in the days this song was released. This is 2 guitar perfection. Much like honey and butter. Malcolm's thick rhythm is as well rounded as any. Angus' licks and leads are dead on and these solos are as great as rock n roll gets. AC/DC have released songs that just never grow old. They still sound fresh even today and that's what make the greatest bands special. The you shook me all night long track as with the album it's on is timeless and priceless among rock and roll history.Brad - United States
Nobody mentioned yet Timo Räisiänen's cover. Surprising, but quite good.Bwilder - Madrid
'She told me to come but I was already there.'

Ages old problem for so many guys! :-)
Esskayess - Dallas, Tx
I know this is moronic, but I still call "Brian Johnson" the new guy. It's only been 32 years. Don't get me wrong, Brian Johnson is the MAN. There will never be another singer like him. His voice is like finding a razor in an apple on Halloween - it's a sweet natural treat but something terrifying lurks within.Milford - Cooltown, Ny
In my eyes the lyrics to this song were definitely taken from Led Zeppelin's "You Shook Me" off of their self titled album. The chorus to the song even goes "You shook me all night long...". Still a good song though, not so much a good band...here's a link to the zep song if any of you are curious http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3-XqLFKQzATim - Wappingers Falls, Ny
One time I went to a stripclub and this song was playing, and I happened to be wearing my AC/DC Back in Black hat and I was just tossin' her bills and then she comes and pulls me in by the rim of her hat and I'm between her breasts. Anyway, later I was wondering why she was so nice to me and I look into my wallet and my $10 bill's missing! I'm like damn it! Well, I guess she went home happy!Zero - Nowhere, Nj
Makes me remember one of my old boyfriends, * fondly*Janice - Amesbury, Ma
funny how a guy named Christian (penfield NY) uses God's name in vain. Jus' sayin'Bobby - Killen, Al
Malcolm originally wanted to hve alot less words in the verses but the recording sounded like folk rock so they changed it back.Andrew - Kilcoy, Australia
AC/DC is all image,most of their songs sound the same.Brian Johnson sound like tortured catMick - Melbourne, Australia
So...I read about Celine Dions cover and I couldn't help myself, I just HAD to see it. (thanks youtube) It is truly horrific! Not only does she play air guitar but she "air humps" her way thru the song as well. I thought it would be funny, but no, it's horrific. Somebody get that girl a sammich STAT! I felt bad for Anastacia (whoever that is - it's a duet) cause she's super hot and if somebody felt the need to dry hump air, why couldn't it be her? Oh, by the way, I think Drop Dead Legs is one of VH's best songs...I'm not seeing how it's a rip off of this one though Bob from NJ. I think I'm gonna have nightmares about skeletal air humping.....Frankotank - Kc , Mo
Nobody but Brian could replace or succeed Bon Scott. It was a great loss for Ac/DC when Bon Scott died.Budoshi - Sandnessjøen, Norway
Quite possibly the best opening riff to a rock song EVER. You cannot hear that and not get a little tingle under your sack. Unless of course, you're of the female persuasion and then maybe you get that down-low tickle.Mike - Matawan, Nj
Brett from Oklahoma, I see that u typed "Cherokee". Didn't u mean "Karaoke"?
I'm not sure if Led Zeppelin made many sex songs, but they're known for stuff more meaningful than that. This is most likely a sex song, knowing the lyrics "all night long". If Led Zepp had this as a hit, I don't count it a major one, for it's up the alley of AC/DC. I don't feel like cheapening Led Zepp like that.
Drew - B'ham, Al
Miso, I also hear faking it! LOL Good to know I am not the only one! :PFariha - Dhaka, --
Tucker from Flwermound - the version you're waffling about is here: http://www.actionext.com/names_w/willie_dixon_lyrics/you_shook_me.html - It has a similar chorus (well, half of it) but that's it - different lyrics, different tuneLuke - Manchester, England
Possibly the best AC/DC song ever. Two thumbs up.Austin - Bristow, Va
I like the Hayseed Dixie cover version better.Joel - Wheeling, Wv
this song rocks. so wat if zeppelin recorded this song. they must have not done a good job on it if alot of people dont know they recorded it. no one talks about hendrix covering along the watchtower.Goku - South City, Pa
This is THE BEST AC/DC song ever. very addictive. AC/DC rules.Austin - Bristow, Va
best acdc song in my opinion,even if bon was better,brian is still good.....well its pretty obvious what this song is about.a true rock anthemNatalie - Dublin, Ireland
i checked many lyrics versions of this song and in every one stands the "correct" words "and we were making it"!!! But am I the only one who hears that he said "and we were FAKING it" followed by the chorus!Miso - Rijeka, Croatia
"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!"

Great lyrics, and a good "stereo" song in which different instruments are clearly limited to one ear or the other, a truly rockin' tune!
Michael - San Diego, Ca
Kyle, Belleville, Canada - go on limewire or youtube or something, it has the words 'you shook me' but isnt really all that much like AC/DC's "You Shook Me All Night Long" .Selina - Perth, Australia
This is one of their best n catchiest songs ey... and th only song Ang actually sat down and wrote out a solo for 2... Awesome!!! :)Selina - Perth, Australia
This song rocks, I hope it'll go on Guitar Hero 4!!!!!V-starr - ?????????, Mi
Awesome! One of those songs that pick you up everytime it comes on - no matter where you may be or what you're doing. Fabulous guitar. Lyrics may be weak but WHO CARES!Justin - Singapore, Singapore
Two versions of the film clip were done. The most famous one, features Page 3 girl Corinne Russell. She was as popular as Sam Fox in the early-mid 80's. She was also on one of the last series of The Benny Hill Show.

Great song, though i am not a big fan of the band. I was at the Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne when the riots hit during the Back in Black tour. I got shoved into a donut van by a police horse. There is famous footage of a cop getting smacked right on the nose by a beer bottle. I was about 15 feet from him!
Craig - Melbourne, Australia
You shook me was written by willie dixon and JB Lenoir. First recorded by earl hooker, then muddy waters overdubbed that recording and released it as a single, but with dixon's, lenoir's, and hooker's credit given.. Then on Led Zeppelin I they covered the song, but on the album, the credit for writing is given to Dixon. This song however only shares one similar line in the chorus as Dixon's song. Its wikipedia people, not that hard to do a little research before you call someone a moron.Tucker - Flower Mound, Ok
Acutally this song was taken from Muddy Waters not Led Zeppelin. Led Zeppelin "took" it from Muddy Waters and then AC/DC took it from either Led Zeppelin or Muddy Waters.Daniel - Hyannis, Ma
so what if AC/DC ripped the song off of Led Zeppelin. Led Zeppelin did that plenty of times. Led Zeppelin did the same thing as AC/DC for Whole Lotta Love which they "stole" from Muddy Waters.Daniel - Hyannis, Ma
THIS SONG PISSES ME OFF this is a zeppelin song and acdc absoulutly robbed it i read all the comments and didnt hear a thing abou zeppelin they changed a few words and sped it up this isntan acdc song and acdc dosnt deserve all the credit it got for this song ACDC absoulutly stoll this song if you havent heard the original vewrsion then listen to it and then coment ya god dam posers!!!!!!Christian - Penfeild Ny, Ny
Maybe im just reading into it to much, but i reckon from verse 2 onwards the song could be metaphor for Bon and all he did for ac/dc and music in general...Kyle - Newborough, United States
I love this song, it's rock 'n' roll at its best...Joaquin - Ciudad Juarez, Mexico
Great song, I love it. If you're looking for an guitarist with lots of feeling, look no further than Alex Lifeson.Eric D. - Bronx, Ny
This video is on the family jewels dvd, and not only is it sexy, it's pretty funny too. Anyone who can should see it.Ev - Tuscaloosa, Al
Great song... But its true that AC/DC songs aint very deep and meaningful. They are really about sex, women, havin a great time, whatever...Chris - Copenhagen, Denmark
its pub not bar, aussie PUB rockMitch - Sydney, Australia
"Live at donington" people. That's where you'll hear the greatest version of this song. Trust me.James - Toronto, Canada
it is a very good song. all these gay punk rock bands don't even come close to AC/DCRyan - New Orleans, La
Geez, everyone at my school thinks AC/DC is stupid oldies rock, but its not, they have some of the best songs in the world, its a no-wonder why Back in Black has sold over 40 million copiesThe Last True Rocker - Phoenix, Ar
Jeff Beck is the most underrated. So is Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Allen Collin. Edie Hazel, Steve Howe, Yngwie Malmsteen, and Ritchie Blackmore. Some of these you might recognize but Angus Young by far more recognized.Tony - Albany, Ny
Great song!I sang to my girlfriend!
I don't see why Angus is considered "Underrated" i like his solos better then Jimmy page's solos and i like Led-Zep.

ROCK HARD AC/DC!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Angelo - Las Vegas, Nv
By The Way... Have anybody listened to Mark Tremonti guitar-playing??? Remember a good guitar player isn't the fastest... A guy like Brian May is personally one of my favorites, cause he provides feelings through an instrument. I think many big rock-guitarists lack that ability.

But Mark Tremonti's new work in the band Alter Bridge is actually of a very high standard, both sound-wise but also skill-wise.

EsbjÃ?rn - Viborg, Denmark
Mr. Young is serious guitar-player... Underrated or not? Can't really discuss that can we? Cause it is a very individual perspective of which one enter such discussions.

In my opinion this is the greatest Rock song of all times...!
EsbjÃ?rn - Viborg, Denmark
Great song, and Angus Young is a good guitar player, but he's not underrated. He's nowhere near as good as Jimmy Page. The most underrated guitar player is probably Robbie Kreiger from the Doors.Jim - Troy, Ny
love this song listening to it right nowCaitlin - Durham, Nc
I read in a magazine that Angus Young is the Number 1, Underated guitar player of All time. Which is sad. I dont know how Led Zepplin can be num 1 but yes...society is screwed up lolChase - Sedona, Az
PS Brandon I've heard of you shook it's form Zeppelin's self titled debut album right. I Aslo like Dazed and Confused, Good Times, Bad Times, and Communication Brakedown from that CD. Babe, I'm gonna leave you is good, too.Billy - Boston, Ma
Back In Black and Hells Bells dominate, in my opinion on the Back In Black CD, but You Shook Me All Night Long is a pretty good song, too.Billy - Boston, Ma
Awesome song, I was just wondering if anyone knew if this song has any relations to the song You Shook Me by Led Zeppelin...Matt - Brandon, Canada
AC/DC perform part of this song at a staged "concert" in Howard Stern's "Private Parts" movie.Ken - Louisville, Ky
love it, great party songIzzie - Lala, Hi
This is an awesome song, i love it lol. AC/DC is awesome because they write the music first and then write lyrics they think are funny after lol
i love that, and i bought a Malcolm Youns Signature Gretsch and i can SO see why he loves it lol
Mleissa - Wasaga Beach, Canada
The black and white footage on the video was filmed in my hometown of Huddersfield,England!Anne - England Uk, United States
Celine Dion and Anastasia should be shot for covering this, its not a song a chick should ever singDave - Brisbane, Australia
This is the one that I think everyone who is anyone knows by AC/DC. I'm not saying it's their best, but it sure is one of the top 10 greatest anthem songs of all times. When the 1st few chords are played at any club or event of any kind, people get into it like they were possesed. It's a song that deserves to be cranked up and sung along to whenever possible. This band sticks to it's roots and doesn't compromise it's sound or image to sell albums, which is very refreshing. There may never be another "Back in Black" but every band has it's one big album that sort of puts them on the map, and this was theirs.Dee - Indianapolis, In
Yep, I agree, Damar. Just like the way Britney Spears mutilated (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction by the Rolling Stones.

By the way, this song ROCKS!! Especially the killer solo.
Alex - P.d., Malaysia
I love the song but I don't like the Celine Dion's version. That made me wanna puke real bad. What have we learned? Never listen to pop singers do classic rock anthems.Damar - Pittsburgh, Pa
This is the best rock song ever from the guitar to the back beat. I love this band, and this song is the best of the best. I am waiting for another tour.Cathy - St. Louis, Mo
Thank god for the incredible music because the lyrics mean absolutely nothing.Matt - Millbrae, Ca
It's a great song, but the video bores me to tears.Haggai - Sydney, Australia
Im 17!but think that AC/DC rock i love getting out all mums oldies and listering they rock!MwahhErin - Maitland, Australia
The most popular song from their most popular album, it has deservedly increased in stature with time. Back in Black combined real raunch rock with pristine production and the result was a genre-defining classic. Along with its contemporaries, Moving Pictures from Rush, The Game from Queen, Don't Say No from Billy Squier, this album represents the moment before a bombast backlash required that all future songs of similar heaviness must also be ironic. This was balls-out rock with no apologies.Rob - Santa Monica, Ca
I remember the AC/DC concert in Adelaide cica 1985 when about 10,000 people busted down the perimiter fence and all ran onto the oval where the concert was. It turned in to a massive "free for all". Bloody funny. A brilliant song but certainly NOT there best, perhaps just their most POPular. Funny, I grew up on Back in Black then regressed to the earlier stuff like For Those About to Rock... Awesome stuff.. Good old Aussie rock..Tom - Adelaide, Australia
I agree with bryan that Powerage is a sweet album and probaly AC/DC's best. I didnt like let there there be rock as much as powerage but it is still a good album. I Hate it when people think that You shock me all nigh long was AC/DC's only good song which don't get me wrong it is a great song but in my oppinion it is not their greatest song.Joe - Toronto, Canada
I am a monster AC/DC fan, i have like 10 books on them, can play almost every song ever written, have a monster sized angus poster over my bed, own all of the albums, and own an Angus Young Signature Sg. Pretty big fan. I do like this song but I hate it when people think like shook me all night long went on the charts this must be their best song. Personally I think Powerage and Let there be Rock Were WAY BETTER albums than Back in Black. Could be because it was Bon not that gravel throated brian johnson. I like the song too and im not puting people down but take a chance and listen to POWERAGE and LET THER BE ROCK!!!Bryan - Campbell, Ca
such a classic song, i get nostalgic hearing this played, of what i don't know, but i love it still the same. i especially like the msuic video: cute girls.Charlie - Thomaston, Ct
This song has the coolest guitar you've ever heard. AC/DC is really the band to rock to! I solute anyone who listens to this band!Gabe - Utica, Ny
Van Halen ripped this song off on the song "Drop Dead Legs" on their 1984 album. I like Van Halen, but their "version" stinks, they should have just covered the song.Bob - Mt. Laurel, Nj
it makes me wonder how many songs are writen on the crapper. hmmmmmJohn - Holland, Mi
I read that Brian Johnson said that the inspiration for this song was "american girls" he was qouted saying "I had always seen them on t.v and I wanted to F*ck one" funny for such a song they're a great band by the wayAustin - St. Louis , Mo
This has got to be my favorite AC/DC song. Just because so many things have happened to me while listening to this song. The first time I made-out with a chick was to this song. The greatest moment was when I got drunk at a bar. Me and a couple of guys went to this bar. First of all, we are all about 16-17. Now I have a lot of facial hair, and I had this wig. This wig looks like the lead singer of Whitesnake's hair. It is really funny. Now I look like I'm atleast 22, so getting in the bar wasn't hard. Once we were in, we gathered up our money, and bought a lot of beer. After a couple of drinks, they started cherokee. We dared our friend to sing You Shook Me All Night Long. Before it got the the words, he passed out on stage. It had to be the funniest thing. So we carried him back to the car, and left. Believe it or not, when we got in the car the song came back on the radio. We started laughing, expecially the driver. Then the car in front of us stopped at a red light, our driver slammed on the brakes. By the way, there were four of us crammed in the back. We were all thrown forward. We stopped about a foot behind the car in front of us. It was awesome. Anyway, this is a great song. God Bless AC/DC!!!Brett - Moore, Ok
In a radio interview Brian told me that he wrote this song while in the bathroom over the course of a few hours while suffering from the worst case of "the runs" he ever had.Lp - Chandler, Az
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