Shoot to Thrill

Album: Back in Black (1980)

Songfacts®:

  • This adrenal rocker is a play on the phrase "shoot to kill," with lead singer Brian Johnson playing the ultimate bad boy, a guy with "too many women with too many pills." It's part of the Back In Black album, Johnson's first with the band; he joined in March 1980 about six weeks after their frontman Bon Scott died after a night of drinking.

    Johnson took a cue from Scott's lyrical approach: The guy in "Shoot To Thrill" is a lot like the man you can call for "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap," one of Scott's most enduring lyrics. Bon Scott also made a munitions metaphor on his last album with AC/DC: "Shot Down In Flames" from Highway To Hell.
  • "Shoot To Thrill" wasn't released as a single and no video was made for it, but many radio stations played it anyway. The song quickly became an AC/DC favorite and a staple at their live shows. It helped propel Back In Black to 25 million in sales in America alone.
  • This plays in the 2010 movie Iron Man 2 when Tony Stark makes a grand entrance. Scenes from the film were combined with AC/DC concert footage to make a video for the song that was released before the movie hit theaters, serving as a preview of sorts. The Iron Man 2 soundtrack was comprised entirely of AC/DC songs, with "Shoot To Thrill" and "Highway to Hell" appearing in the movie.

    The song also plays in the 2012 movie The Avengers when Iron Man appears.
  • A live version from AC/DC's December 4, 2009 concert at River Plate Stadium in Buenos Aires was released as a single in 2011 and included on their album Live at River Plate.

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