On his 2015 Live Country! DVD, Atkins told the story of this song: "You listen to the radio now and all these songs are party anthems: dropping the tailgate, building a bonfire, she's wearing her daisy dukes, I've got my ball cap on backwards, we're listening to the radio... sometimes you need a heartbreak song. I love a party and a truck as much as the next guy, but come on, she's gone, and tonight I need a heartbreak song."
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.