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AC/DC - Highway to Hell: Album Review

Updated on October 30, 2018
The Early Days.
The Early Days. | Source

It All Began With One Song

I was about nine or ten years old when I first heard the song Highway to Hell playing on the radio. I heard those few opening guitar chords and I was hooked. I had no idea who I was listening to, my parents had raised me on 60's and 70's pop, with a touch of country mixed in for good measure. I did not even know what the song was about, but I knew that I liked it.

Highway to Hell - AC/DC

Released in 1979, Highway to Hell was the fifth studio album by the Australian rock group AC/DC. They were nicknamed the thunder from down under and it does not take long to understand where that name came from. Featuring the vocals of Bon Scott, Angus Young on lead guitar, Malcolm Young on rhythm guitar, Cliff Williams on bass and Phil Rudd on drums, this album is pure adrenaline right from the beginning.

Highway to Hell

The album opens with the title track, which also became the album's first single. A sort of tongue in cheek jab at those who put down their music and lifestyle. In spite of what some have claimed, the song is not satanic in nature. It is simply a classic, high energy rebellious song. Who does not find themselves reaching for an air guitar when they hear those first couple chords?

Highway to Hell

Girls Got Rhythm and Touch Too Much

The Highway to Hell single was followed by two more singles from the album, Girls Got Rhythm and lastly, Touch Too Much. Both strong songs in their own regard, although they failed to reach the level of success attained by the album's title track.

Highway to Hell was the first album that AC/DC worked with producer Robert John "Mutt" Lange, replacing the team of Harry Vanda and George Young. Sadly, Highway to Hell was also the last AC/DC album to feature the vocals of Bon Scott, who passed away the following year, on February 19, 1980.

Success in America

Highway to Hell was the first album from AC/DC to break into the US Billboard Top 100 chart. Featuring such classics as "Highway to Hell", "If You Want Blood [You Got It]" and "Shot Down In Flames", the Highway to Hell album is one that is worthy of its spot in your music collection. The album is what rock-n-roll should be, raw, unpolished and full of high energy intensity.

The release of Highway to Hell in the United States recruited an entire new crop of fans for AC/DC and I was one of them. Still, it went much deeper for me, as Highway to Hell began what would become a lifelong love of hard rock music. My ears were opened to a whole new world and I have never looked back. Even after all these years, I still find myself listening to this classic with a sense of excitement.

© 2012 Christopher J Wood


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