This song is about the malicious phenomenon, well attested in much of European folklore, of an atmospheric ghostly light seen by travelers at night. The light recedes when approached, drawing the travelers from their safe paths.
Frontman Mikael Åkerfeldt told Metal Hammer: "I wanted to do a song with my capo really high, so it's up on the fifth fret. It makes the guitar sound really glittery. I just wanted to go for a simple, catchy vocal melody. It has a slightly positive vibe to it, but the lyrics are really, really dark. It's a beautiful song, I think. I'm really happy with that one."
This was inspired by the Jethro Tull song "Dun Ringill" from their 1979 album Stormwatch.
Angus Young created the distinctive opening guitar part for "Thuderstruck" by playing with all the strings taped up, except the B. He learned the studio trick from his older brother George Young, who was the rhythm guitarist for The Easybeats.