AC/DC’s songs have always championed simplicity, adhering to the principle of “straight to the chorus.” This is evident in iconic tracks like ‘TNT’ and ‘You Shook Me All Night Long’, where every riff from the Young brothers’ guitars cuts straight to the point. And while Angus Young is renowned for his straightforward solos, there’s one song that occasionally tests him.
The 1980s marked a challenging period for the band, having lost their lead singer, Bon Scott, to alcohol poisoning. Despite the devastating blow, Malcolm Young believed in moving forward. They recruited Brian Johnson from the band Geordie and produced the triumphant album “Back in Black.”
The public embraced AC/DC’s touching homage to Bon Scott. Over the subsequent years, the band saw a mix of monumental hits and albums that kept their signature style. After their acclaimed “For Those About to Rock”, it was “The Razor’s Edge” in the early 1990s, featuring the hit ‘Thunderstruck’, that shot them back to global stardom.
‘Thunderstruck’ is a testament to Angus’s incredible guitar prowess. A rapid riff runs throughout the song, challenging even its creator. Interestingly, the iconic guitar lick began as Angus’s warm-up routine. It was Malcolm who saw its potential, transforming it into the exhilarating riff that has electrified stadiums.
Angus acknowledges the technicality of ‘Thunderstruck’. In an interview, he admitted needing an hour of warm-up to ensure flawless execution. The melody, when stripped down, appears simple but demands precision, particularly with the pull-offs.
While Angus is known for his stage presence, he opted for a more restrained approach during the song’s recording, focusing on the riff’s clarity. ‘Thunderstruck’ stands as a rare example in AC/DC’s repertoire where a dash of flamboyance is not only accepted but celebrated.