Why “Thunderstruck” Is AC/DC’s Best Song

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Few songs embody the essence of AC/DC as powerfully as “Thunderstruck” does. After a decade in the shadows, the band staged a remarkable comeback with this track, adding another chapter to their history of resurgence. AC/DC, no stranger to comebacks, had previously astounded fans with “Back in Black” in 1980, proving their ability to keep audiences engaged without losing their trademark impatience.

Unleashed in 1990 as part of The Razor’s Edge album, “Thunderstruck” made a grand entrance, opening the album with a thunderous roar. Angus Young’s methodical yet menacing arpeggios echoed through the amps, creating a brooding energy.

The band members’ incoherent yet haunting chants, punctuated by the audience joining in, intensified the atmosphere. The drums added to the anticipation, summoning a rolling rumble that culminated in chaos. Brian Johnson’s screech marked the beginning of an intense musical journey, accompanied by Angus Young’s iconic riff and Malcolm Young’s driving guitar progression, all held together by Cliff Williams’ bass and Chris Slade’s dynamic drumming. “Thunderstruck” proved to be the perfect opening act for The Razor’s Edge, capturing the essence of the album with its polarizing appeal.

The song’s inspiration, originally thought to be an urban legend about Angus Young’s plane being struck by lightning, was clarified by Young himself in the 2003 re-release of The Razor’s Edge. It stemmed from a guitar trick that evolved with input from other band members. According to Young, the thunder theme aligned with AC/DC’s power-packed identity, reinforcing the band’s foundational concept.

AC/DC’s commitment to their theme extended to the music video, which was ahead of its time. Innovative camera perspectives from drumsticks and guitars provided a fresh view of instrument playing by legendary hands. The iconic Angus Young duck-strut was captured from beneath a Plexiglass platform, adding a creative touch to the visual experience. The dystopian atmosphere created by the audience-on-racks ensemble heightened the excitement, and the band’s decision to license the song to the movie Varsity Blues earned them a staggering $500,000 USD, making it one of the most expensive songs in rock history.

Amidst the lyrical entropy laden with subtle sexual innuendos, “Thunderstruck” perfectly embodied the AC/DC formula. While critics may argue that the band stuck to a familiar formula over the years, AC/DC consistently worked their magic. The explosive nature of “Thunderstruck” served as the secret ingredient, breathing new life into the band’s legacy with a shocking jolt of the AC/DC trademark. In the annals of timeless masterpieces destined for greatness, “Thunderstruck” stands as a testament to AC/DC’s enduring prowess.

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