Shot In The Dark

Album: Power Up (2020)
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Songfacts®:

  • "Shot In The Dark" is the lead single from AC/DC's 17th studio album, Power Up. It's not the most original title (Ozzy Osbourne released his "Shot In The Dark" in 1986), but it's a welcome return for the band, their first new song since losing original guitarist Malcolm Young to dementia in 2017. This shot in the dark certainly made AC/DC fans feel alright.
  • The album is a reunion of sorts for AC/DC as it marks the return of Brian Johnson (vocals), Phil Rudd (drums) and Cliff Williams (bass); all three previously exited the group as the result of hearing loss, legal issues and retirement, respectively, in the mid-2010s. They join founding member Angus Young (guitar) and his nephew Stevie Young (rhythm guitar) on the record – the same lineup that recorded the band's previous long player, 2014's Rock Or Bust.
  • When Angus Young's record company asked the guitarist if the band fancied making a record, he said he'd ask his bandmates. They all immediately agreed, so the five met up in a Vancouver studio in August 2018 and bonded as if they'd never been away. Johnson recalled to the Rock 100.5 Atlanta radio station: "When the boys plugged in, or powered up, if you'll excuse the pun, and they started playing, that was it."
  • AC/DC first previewed the song and the album on October 1, 2020 in a 30-second video. During the clip they appear to power up (PWR/UP) the amp with its iconic lightning bolt logo while playing "Shot In The Dark."
  • Days after the band teased the track, it appeared in a commercial from the US automaker Dodge. The Family Motto ad stars Gary Cole reprising his role as Reese Bobby from the 2006 Sony Pictures film Talladega Nights: The Ballad Of Ricky Bobby (which featured AC/DC's tune "T.N.T.").
  • Power Up was AC/DC's third album in a row with producer Brendan O'Brien, following Black Ice and Rock Or Bust. This was the first time the band had used the same producer on three consecutive long players since their early days when Harry Vanda and George Young helmed their first seven records.
  • AC/DC laid down Power Up during August and September 2018 at Warehouse Studio, Vancouver, British Columbia. The band's longtime engineer, Mike Fraser, revealed in an interview with The AC/DCFans.Net podcast that the songwriting and recording process for the album echoed the approach that was adopted on Rock Or Bust. He added that their music includes unused guitar parts from the late Malcolm Young posthumously assembled by his brother Angus.

    "I think Angus kind of came into this with a lot of ideas and riffs and not too many completed songs," he said. "But that was similar on Rock Or Bust. 'Cause him and Malcolm had written tons of songs before Mal got sick and eventually passed away. So he's got a whole treasure trove of ideas and riffs and all that. So he's probably spent a few years before we came in to do this record pooling ideas together and all that, and then when he came into the studio here, he just sat down with a whole suitcase full of little demo things he had done. And him and Brendan O'Brien, who produced the record, would sift through all the ideas and say, 'Hey, that's great. That's a really good song. Let's put that riff here.'"
  • A shot in the dark
    Make it feel alright
    A shot in the dark
    All through the whole night


    The phrase "a shot in the dark" generally refers to a wild guess or an act whose outcome cannot be foreseen (the metaphorical use of "in the dark" to mean "in a state of ignorance" dates from the late 17th century). However, on this fist-pumping song AC/DC give it a different meaning of a shot of a night-time shot of alcohol. Said Angus Young to Rolling Stone. "The title is a little bit cheeky because we all like a little nip [of alcohol] in the night or a few shots in the dark."
  • Malcolm Young is a credited writer on all 12 Power Up tracks and the album is a tribute to the late founding member. "I think he would be proud of the job we've done for him," Angus Young told USA Today. "Even the title we give it, 'Power Up,' pretty much sums him up, too. When he put on that guitar, he was one big guitar. To put it this way: When he played guitar, it sounded like there were two people playing."
  • The official music clip was shot by the band's longtime video director, David Mallet. The visual finds AC/DC performing on a dark soundstage with a polished floor, the band's famous logo glowing in the background. According to Brian Johnson, the band couldn't see a thing because everything was black. "It was like black water," he said. "I felt sorry for the guys who had to brush it down after every take."
  • Mallett attached two small cameras to Angus Young's guitar for the video. The director and guitarist tried a similar shot for the "Thunderstruck" clip, but they used only one much heavier camera.
  • The song climbed to #1 on the Mainstream Rock Songs chart dated November 14, 2020. It was AC/DC's first leader on the rally since "Rock 'N Roll Train" spent three weeks on the summit in late 2008.
  • Releasing Power Up on Friday, November 13 wasn't unlucky for AC/DC. The album debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 chart, becoming the band's third record to top the tally, following For Those About to Rock We Salute You (1981) and Black Ice (2008). It also debuted on top of their homeland ARIA chart, resulting in AC/DC becoming the first act to score an Australian #1 album in five consecutive decades: the '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s and '20s.

    Other countries where Power Up reached the summit include the UK, Canada, Germany, France, Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Norway and Sweden.

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