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Thunderstruck by AC/DC

Album: The Razor's EdgeReleased: 1990Charted:
  • AC/DC's Young brothers - guitarists Angus and Malcolm - wrote this song. They would often tell a story about how the song came about when Angus was flying in a plane that was struck by lightning and nearly crashed, but in the 2003 re-release of The Razor's Edge, Angus explained in the liner notes: "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."
  • 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. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Mike - Oliver, Canada
  • 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. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Ben G - Sydney, Australia
  • 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.
  • 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."
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Comments: 75

Love this song in "Battleship" as Taylor Kitsch's crew reactivates the decommissioned USS Missouri to fight the ultimate battle with the alien mothership.Gary - Eagan, Mn
If there is a better rock anthem out there, I've yet to hear it. Thunderstruck is the definitive kick ass rock tune for the ages. When I first heard it when it was released (I worked in a record store....RECORD store) I very much disliked ACDC, but I remember saying to my co-workers when we played this song for the first time, "I think that's the best rock n roll song that's ever been written." I don't need anyone else's opinion - I was right.Milford - Cooltown, Ny
HILARIOUS mashup of this and the Ghostbusters theme on Youtube.David - Woburn, Ma
I love when they play this song before football games and the whole crowd is screaming at the top of their lungs, "THUNDER!, THUNDER!" xDMegan - Stevenson, Al
The Razor's Edge was released 10 years after Back In Black. It's great that a hard rock band can survive with constant hits in the 70's (Highway To Hell), 80's (Back In Black), 90's (Thunderstruck), and now with Black Ice and the Iron Man 2 Soundtrack!Daniel Adams - Northumberland, Pa
Thunderstruck culd just be about being "thunderstruck" by ac/dc..just being so amazed by ac/dc you can never go backLily - Los Angeles, Ca
the intro of the song is sooooooo amazing....... lol yeah the song is amazing too..... one of ac/dc's best definitely....Rahul - Chennai, India
Oh my Word is there a better riff than Thunderstruck? I think not! Long Live AC/DC!!!Aaron - Hope, Me
This is AC/DC's greatest song ever. Angus Young's guitar solo is one for the books.Mike - Santa Barbara, Ca
This is a GREAT song, at my university we play it at the beginning of every basketball game, right after welcome to the jungle, which is right after enter sandman. yes i have it memorized, i'm in the spirit club, i go to every game.Marissa - Stow, Oh
I love this song. Fav song of AC/DC's. Is that really the story? Angus' plane got hit with lightning. I scream this song when noone is home lol.Nathan - Bonney Lake, Columbia
They play this song at Nationals Park for the Nations player introductions.Chad - Los Angeles, Ca
I like the version that appears on the Plug Me In DVD set better than the original studio version. It sounds better with Phil Rudd on drums.Austin - Bristow, Va
This is the best song ever. AC/DC has always been a powerful force in the Rock scene, their songs never get old, and Angus Young is definitely the greatest guitarist of this era. Unless you are a trained musician, you can not truly appreciate the talent and coordination required to maintain Angus's "pick speed" for a song this long. Every time I watch Angus on the Thunderstruck video I am totally mesmerized. The only word here is "awesome"!Bob - Hallanedale, Fl
This is on an ad for the Holden Thunder ute....beautifulNady - Adelaide, Australia
Thunderstruck is about a c-m shot... think about it.Andrew - Herndon, Va
The start to the song TNT is just as addictive to me as the na nana in Thunderstruck. Gives me chills and I love it so much! I don't care if they are old, they still sound just as good and I heard a rumour there's a new album out this year, which mean a new tour, of which I will be attending at front section!Vicky - Melbourne, Australia
AC/DC is one of a kind, all right. There's just no other band like 'em. Once, me and my buddy had a contest to see who could name the most AC/DC songs. I barely won thanks to "She's Got Balls". Thunderstruck is incredible. Rock on!Andy - Columbus, Oh
When I first heard this song I thought the na na na nana thing at the front sounded like highway to hellJim - Vancouver, Mi
Of course it's a double meaning- it's AC/DC- you can take the electrical power from it or you can take the sex side of it. All in all, either way, it is about both- and it's not like they try to hide anything about sex- so it's about both- it's fun, and that's what they are, they don't take everything so seriously. Great riff- and the name came from when he was flying on a plane, the air-hostess said that they were struck by lightning, but Ang said they were hit by thunder because it boomed- hence the name ThunderstruckSelina - Perth, Australia
Contrary to popular belief, Young does not play Thunderstruck's main riff with one hand alot. Instead, he picks every note; one can hear the scraping sound that the plastic of his plectrum makes as it hits each note; additionally in most AC/DC live videos, Angus can clearly be viewed picking every note.But when he does play one-handed he play's it using a one-handed tapping technique.Beau, Lockwood - Coffs Harbour, Australia
Rumor has it that "Thunderstruck" might make the list in the video game Guitar Hero III: Legends Of Rock in October. This is still in debate along with Zeppelin's "Stairway To Heaven".

P.S. I'm not in any relation to the other robert from chicago...I love Brian Johnson in this song. KICK-ASS, ANGUS!!!
Robert - Chicago, Il
Replying Scott, Gold River, CA as well, he also says "Could I come again please" which I believe is referring to something more sexual rather than the electric chair, shaking at the knees can also fit in with that theory, this is just my opinion thoughLauretta - Montreal, Canada
Replying Scott, Gold River, CA.

Texas got rid of the electric chair, Nebraska is the only state to still only have that as an option for death. yout confusing with ride the lightning by metallica.
Rafael - Austin, Tx
Ok, you know that kinda chanting thing Brian does between the "Thunder!" shouts at the beginning of the sone (na na na naa na na naaa naaa)? Is it just me, or does that sound an awful lot like the opening guitar riff from Steppenwolf's 'Screamin Night Hog'?Chris - Meridian, Id
AC/DC will live on forever as the band that kids think they are sneaking from their parents but it is the music their parents secretly love anf Thunderstruck is one of those songs...Kc - Kansas City, Mo
I thunderstruck made rock history, it is the most played AC/DC song, the studio part is ok, but when Brian sings live, it's not the right thing.. and yes, it's easy to play but it's too fast for amateurs ;)Kristijan - Ogulin, Croatia
you guys should stop discussing this song ACDC did music first and then just wrote lyrics that they thought were funny they werent trying to send a message at all thats all they didKevin - Quebec, Canada
John, maybe you need to wear a helmet. Although I am a huge Bon Scott fan, Brian Johnson has done great things for AC/DC, and this is a great song, especially the beginning and end.Ev - Tuscaloosa, Al
This song really sucks- and i am a diehard AC/DC fan. But personally they need to give it up. Their so old and they should just stop. Especially Brian Johson. He had only on good album, Back in Black and after that thye all sucked. AC/DC was so amazingly awesomely better with Bon Scott and they shoudl've stopped when he died because Brian Johnson gave AC/DC a bad rep.John - Chester , Nj
This is one of AC/DC's greatest songs,Unfortunatly its probably one of the most overplayed songs thoe.

It sort of saddens me when people are talking about how great AC/DC is yet they have only heard 1 or 2 songs (im not talking about any of you guys) They have no idea about other great AC/DC songs that just dont get played as much like Its A Long Way To The Top or Jailbreak.
In all This deserves a spot as one of the greatest songs ever.
Jordan - Edmonton, Canada
you cant play thunderstruck as fast as angus?
it is simple i can play 41 acdc songs
rock on man!
acdc rules
Brandon - Minden,on, Canada
this is an exteremly easy riff on the guitar...but its insanly impossible to get it to the speed angus young does..my freind and i have been trying for 2 years to get it to his speed and were not even closeJeff - Sothington, Ct
Oh, and Will, down at the bottom Back In Black is the #1 AC/DC song ever, the You Shook Me All Night LongThe Last True Rocker - Phoenix, Ar
hey Eli, I agree with you that Brian Johnson is one of the best singers ever....but I say that Bon Scott was way betterThe Last True Rocker - Phoenix, Ar
Has anyone heard the "Chunderstruck" version? It's no actual recording, it's just a way a lot of people in Australia sing it at parties and the like...during the intro, rather then saying "Thunder!", you replace it with "Chunder"...there's more changed lyrics to do with drinking, but I';ll leavei t at that for now.Evilio - Melbourne, Australia
What are you talking about, Robert of Illinois? Brian Johnson is one of the best singers around. I'd like to see you try and sound as good as he does.

I don't know about how he recorded it in the studio, but the video on Family Jewels is overdubbed, and live he plays 2 handed. Personally, I find it easiest to pick the open note and hammer on the fretted notes. Angus rules!
Eli - New York, Ny
watch the family jewels dvd, it has a shot down the neck of the guitar, all 6 strings are on, (they have to be, he does chords later watch and youl see, the hammer on pull of part for the intro i believe is recorded and played through the parts he is doing something else) and he is doing hammer ons and pull offs 1 handed, no bs bout takin strings off or always picking, he is a guitar god, 1 handed all six strings, watch the vid, ul see,Anonymous
Thunderstruck means amazed. SAo this has no connection to electric chair or anything to do with lightning.Ac/dc_misfit - Millmerran, Australia
This is for Jason whos from Austin Texas.
Ive read on guitar 1 magizine that while in the studio he took off all the strings except the B string, and played the thunderstruck with one hand. yes i do believe it is possible to get a clear note with one hand, you just have to take off all the strings as Angus Young did.
Chase - Sedona, Az
This song is played before every Sox game when they're home at U.S. Cellular Field. The line "Went through to Texas, yeah Texas" has new meaning for the Sox, since they won the World Series in Houston in 2005.
Go White Sox.
Sam - Chicago, Il
This was on the Longest yard trailer along with Paradise City by Guns N' Roses.Billy - Boston, Ma
Ok here is my theory about the song. I beilive it is about the electric chair. The title refers to the electricity. secondly brian johnson says "-at texas, ya texas". This refers to texas, the only state that still uses the electric chair. "I was caught in the middle of a railroad track" refers to dying. "I was thinking, what can I do" refers to thinks how to live...somehow" "I was shakin' at the knees " refers to being very nervous. I did not get this off of a site, or anywhere else. This is my theory, what do you think?Scott - Gold River, Ca
Lol, have any of you bothered to actually read how Angus said he does the intro? :-p Not trying to flame, just sayin.

He says that in the studio he did indeed mute the other strings with something so only the B would sound, and picked each note, no hammer ons and pull offs. However, live he prefers to do it one handed so he can cut up with the audience. God's honest truth folks.
Jason - Austin, Tx
family jewels is 2 dvd's of PROMO videos so all he songs there were not played at that point in time but were ated over
angus does not ALWAYS play this one handed
i have seen videos of him playin it one handed though
also he plays alot of things one handed
eg. watch the dirty deeds video on the live at donington dvd and when he has his solo he plays one handed and raisess his right hand
this is a great song
he also has played parts of "who made who" one handed
Jimmy - Margs
No no. Angus DOESN'T play Thunderstruck one handed. It's just a music video where he's playing it only with his left hand. He picks every note in both, studio and live versions (it sounds more powerful).Samuli - Hyvinkää
angus young definately plays the intro one handed. his right arm is clearly raised above his head.Wes - Melbourne
Ok, I have the new Family Jewles DVD and he DOES play it with one had 90% of the time and I give props to the people that can pick fast enough to play it with two hands. I is easy i have been playing guitar for only 1.5 months and can play the begining just fine, anyway the song ROCKS!. rock on AC/DC!Chase - Idaho Falls, Id
First off, AC/DC is BY FAR the best band to ever grace the earth. Secondly, their song Thunderstruck is the best song I have ever heard in my life. The one handed Angus Young intro is a beautiful thing to see, it makes me speechless and makes me wonder how a person can play guitar so well. I happen to be a diehard Philadelphia Eagles fan, and I must say that the introduction of the players is awesome, especially because they play Thunderstruck while they run onto the field. Everyone out there knows that Philly fans are the loudest and most loyal fans to their team. As soon as we all hear the famous Angus into to Thunderstruck we know its time for the game to begin, and we go absolutly NUTS. A version of Thunderstruck aired on the radio last year with some of the Eagles most famous plays tied in with it, and everytime I hear it, everytime i THINK about it, it brings a tear to my eye to hear a beautiful song with my favorite team's best radio plays tied into it because Thunderstruck makes me go nuts without the Eagles, with them, its glorious. I'm such a fan of the Eagles and AC/DC, and putting them together seems like its only right.Matt - Nazareth, Pa
THIS SONG RULES!!!!!!!!!!!!
im a guitarist my self and i no how to play thunderstruck
it is the hardest song i no how to play and i can play stairway to heaven
how he does it for 2 and a 1/2 minutes i have no idea
Aaron_guitarist - Mulwala, Australia
Thunderstruck is awesome! AC/DC has always been critisized for having all their songs sound the same, but why try to improve or change something thats awesome to begin?Mleissa - Wasaga Beach, Canada
Ok, here's the skinny on the guitar playing in this song...
He plays the intro with one hand. The bottom note is the open B string, and he alternates between two frets, continuously hammering-on (hitting the string hard with his finger) and pulling off (rolling your finger off the string slightly while releasing the fret) to keep the string vibrating.
Randall - Dallas, Tx
AC/DC is the best band ever there guitar solos arent the best by any means but the riffs they make are definatly number one angus young kicks buttRyan - Innisfail, Canada
Angus really does play this with one hand and it isn't that hard to play, I think if you would like to learn lead you should start with Thunderstruck. It's really easy to learn and it is a great way to get used to hammeron and pulloffs. There isn't any picking involved in the intro/riff1, the only reason you would have to pick is if your not H&P ing right.Brad - Brisbane, Australia
Actually, the reason many people think that he plays this with only one hand is because he does, or at least has. At a German concert I saw with my own eyes, he played this intro with his left hand, with his right raised in the air.Conor - San Luis Obispo, Ca
im pretty sure the New England Patriots came out onto the field playing this song, i think it was the latest one vs the Eagles......i got goosebumps cuz the players were comin out, the fans were going crazy and AC/DC WAS CRANKIN!!!!Mike - Harrison, Ny
Logan made up a mistake here, I've never seen Angus playing this live without picking and the pickin/hammer on/ pull off is what makes it sound so quick, it isn't really that hard to play if you can pick fast, he only plays without picking at the end of the song, but he also did that on the studio-recording.Dennis - Cologne, Germany
This song is actually based on a true story. It is about a time when Angus was on an airplane to texas and it was struck by lightning get it thunderstruck.Colby - Fort Collins, Co
Jimmu, is it a typo? supposed to be jimmy? well anyways, your right they were ranked a very well deserved #4 on Vh1's Best Rock Bands ever. and Led Zeppelin was ranked #1 right where they should be! It was perfect.Danielle - Swanton, Oh
I can play this! 10x slower tho...Phil - Niagara Falls, Canada
He does play it one handed live. When i saw them on the 100 greatest bands of hard rock (they were ranked at a very well deserved #4) it shows him playing it one handed while waving to the crowd.Jimmu - Vineland, Nj
This played at arco arena all the time during kings games.Josh - Sacramento, Ca
AC/DC kicks more ass than anyone. ANYONE. Listen to this on the Live album at Donington. The intro is so much betterJosh - Las Vegas, Nv
This is a good song and has great beats. i thought it would be so much harder to play than it was. they needed to have a better singer with such great potential thoughRobert - Chicago, Il
Angus actually does not play this one handed as many people might think for some reason. He picks it live in all concerts and on the recording. The rythm is just amazing on this song and it is the best I've heard from them.J4hn - Dallas, Tx
This song is played in the movie "Varsity Blues" during one of the games. We the players are hung over.Jammie - Deckerville, Mi
I really like this song, malcom youngs breathtaking power after the amazing intro blew me away, this songs just hits you over and over with smashing...er stuffJack - Birmingham, England
First off all I want to say is this song is the greatest song EVER!

One day during Computer class for 7th grade(I'm 13 in 8th right now) I was listening to music when I say a song titled Thunderstruck, I decided to listen to it. It was the best song I have ever heard. After that I searched up AC/DC and learned all about them. My first AC/DC Album was Highway to Hell, then Back in black, Fly on the wall, Blow up your video and Razor's edge. AC/DC has inspired my in so many different ways and I really think they should be recognized for that. They are truly a one of a kind band.
Poosniper - Calgary, Canada
aj's malbourne friends are right, a small lane in the centre of town was recently named ac/dc lane. i think this is the best ac/dc songSam - Sydney, Australia
o man i love this song, the intro for me is really really hardAndy T. - Naperville, Il
Angus Young has said that the famous intro/main theme came from a warmup guitar exercise he learned for stretching his fingers. When recording that part of the song, all of the other strings were taken off his guitar except for the B string (second thinnest) so that no accidental notes would be hit (it's all played with alternating fretted and open notes on one string). Uses a hammer on/pull off technique which doesn't require him to pick the notes, so he frequently plays this one handed live.Logan - Abilene, Tx
I just heard from my Aussie friends that there is a road in Melbourne (I hope I spelt that right) that has recently been named AC/DC Lane. I thought that was intresting.Aj - Ontario, Canada
Yes it is, Will! The second best AC/Dc song after 'Whole Lotta Rosie'.Tom - Trowbridge, England
I always thought it was about getting a lap dance. Listen to the words from that perspective.Brian - Gregory, Mi
This song has the coolest intro of any AC/DC song. Its better than Back in Black!Will - Portland, Or
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