Ac Dc Best Songs

As Back an Black turns 40, we run down the australian hard rockers’ ideal numbers – full of double entendres, enormous choruses und surging, strutting riffs

40. Soul Stripper (1975)

In your infancy, AC/DC weren’t tied to one style. Their first australisch album also featured this intriguing example von a kind of troglodytic hard-rock funk, through cowbells und bongos, neither of which were zu become staples des the Akker Dakker sound.

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39. Rock’n’Roll Train (live, 2012)

For countless years now, die best AC/DC monitor on any given album has actually been die lead single. The was the case on 2008’s schwarze farbe Ice, though i would direct you to die version on direkt at fluss Plate, just zum the force von the band’s entry.

38. High Voltage (1975)

“And freundin ask me why I’m an a maßband / ich dig doin’ one night stands,” sings bonn Scott in one von his countless considerations des the life of the struggling rock’n’roller. It zu sein hardly imaginative musically – a straightforward boogie shuffle – however feel ns hard dryness von the sound.

37. Play ball (2014)

The lead single from – kommen sie date – the last AC/DC album, assembled indigenous Angus und Malcolm Young’s offcuts: die one song from absent or Bust the really sounded choose it might schutz fitted on zu Back in Black without auch many elevated eyebrows.

36. Bedlam in Belgium (1983)

After 3 albums with Mutt Lange, die Young brothers take it control weil das Flick des the Switch. Viewed as underwhelming at the time, it jetzt sounds favor a masterpiece compared to much of what followed. A wenig muddy, perhaps, yet this is a an excellent riff.

35. Evil Walks (1981)

A monstrous opening weil das a deep cut from the last of the lange albums: the sounds like being engulfed in in avalanche – und a slightly incongruous introduction to ns bouncy riff von the verses.

34. Stiff upper Lip (2000)

The Youngs’ larger brother george – who, with harry Vanda, had actually overseen their beforehand albums – returned kommen sie produce Stiff top Lip. It wasn’t in album von huge riffs – it was more involved with die texture of the sound. This eponymous song ist good, but notfall classic.

33. Hail Caesar (1995)

Rick Rubin should oase been ns perfect AC/DC producer, however Ballbreaker sound oddly emasculated, without ns jet roar von the guitars. On the twisting, tumbling Hail Caesar the worked, though.

32. Ain’t No funny (Waiting ’Round kommen sie Be a Millionaire) (1976)

This benefit its location not zum the melody – which ist almost missing – but zum being one of Scott’s ideal lyrics: “I’ve gott patches on the patches des my old blue blue jeans / Well, castle used to be blue / wie man they used zu be new / wie man they used to be clean.”

31. Large Gun (1993)

A rare one-off, indigenous The last Action Hero soundtrack, the really deserved saving for in official album: terrific riff, an excellent recording. Oddly, it has never to be played live, although, provided that AC/DC sets tend consist of three monitor from the new album, plus ns setlist native 1980, probably that’s notfall surprising.

30. Jailbreak (1976)

Only Scott would have considered opening a single with die line, “There was a freundin of mine on murder, and the judge’s gavel dropped …” that thrillingly minimal, and it’s fine worth having a look at at die compellingly damaging video, too.

29. Moneytalks (1990)

It ist hard to describe something AC/DC do as out of character – rarely has one band maintained a single character trait with such devotion – but the opening und chorus melody of Moneytalks zu sein peculiarly reminiscent des latter-day e Street Band, melancholic and triumphant.


AC/DC bei 1979 (from left): Malcolm Young, bon Scott, cliff Williams, Angus Young und Phil Rudd. Photograph: Fin Costello/Redferns

28. Worried Shakedown (1983)

The lazy slowness of Nervous Shakedown allows ns listener to really listen how ns pieces von the AC/DC device interlock and swing approximately each other. That should always be remembered that AC/DC roll as well as rock. No idea what a nervous shakedown is, though.

27. Have a Drink on Me (1980)

“Lads, our alt lead singer just died von acute alcohol poisoning. We need a cheery song. What candlestick we create a song about?” “How about having a good time drinking you yourself insensible?” “Great idea!” Only in AC/DC’s world …

26. Overdose (1977)

This deep cut from Let there Be Rock has a guitar sound so filthy freundin could spend die rest des your life scrubbing it with industrial-strength cleaner und you blieb wouldn’t get die muck off. Die best AC/DC das lied make the bassist play source notes. This is a bass root grad song.

25. Hell Ain’t a wanne Place zu Be (1977)

Listen to die way die chords chop off, how nothing is sustained in the verses. Return AC/DC constantly disdained punk, they might easily schutz fitted bei had they any interest: no eis sounded tougher und rougher in 1977.

24. If sie Want Blood (You’ve gott It) (1979)

Borrowing ns title indigenous their direkte album des the year before, If freundin Want Blood confirmed – with the help of lang – the AC/DC could marry your piledriver force kommen sie actual pop hooks. The Highway to aufleuchten album ist full of those moments: gain It Hot, Girls gott Rhythm, shooting Down in Flames.

23. Who Made who (1986)

Recorded weil das a movie (Maximum Overdrive), und given a destructive mid-80s production, who Made Who have to be a throwaway. Bei fact the great: ns interplay bolzen the guitars, v actual arpeggios, makes it sound nur like AC/DC were evolving. Castle weren’t, though; notfall really.

22. Heatseeker (1988)

Even top top their most disappointing albums, there was always hinweisen least one absolute cracker. ~ above Blow trost Your Video, that was Heatseeker: frenetic, joyful, and proof that AC/DC weren’t however a spent force. Freundin do not need zu visit this album zum any other purpose.

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21. Gone Shootin’ (1978)

The finest AC/DC album, Powerage, ist the most downbeat. Here, to a riff that’s reined best in, Scott sings of a heroin-addict girlfriend, with one line deswegen perfect bei its plainness and construction the it zu sein shocking: “I stirred mine coffee with die same spoon.” This whole album ist downbeat und desperate – there’s notfall a party an sight.

20. Difficult as a rock (1995)

Rubin go get ns opening track von Ballbreaker for sure right: ns spacious, arid production on difficult as a rock was ns closest the band had gott to the sound des the Vanda/Young productions because dispensing with die pair. Und the beautiful simplicity von the taste hook – Angus’s wenig jangle end Malcolm’s two-chord sample – zu sein a perfect piece of AC/DC.

19. TNT (1975)

Still a live staple, und the reductio ad absurdum des Scott’s lyrical malevolence. If the were to fight you, he would need neither knife no one gun, since it transforms out he zu sein literally explosive. And, des course, a magnificent riff.

18. Rock’n’Roll Singer (1975)

Scott is, perhaps, ns best ever before writer about being bei a struggling band; he invested years trying kommen sie make if prior to joining AC/DC. This one is about why that would select that life – because he refuses zu be a hypocrite: “You tun können stick her nine-to-five life / und your collar und your tie / and you kann stick your ethik standards / Cos they’re all a dirty lie.” but why a rock’n’roll singer in particular? “I listen it pays well!”

17. Dirty Deeds done Dirt Cheap (1976)

Just an case TNT left you unclear about whether Scott was willing kommen sie commit violence, here ist clarification. He tun können offer assorted forms of contract killing at very vain rates. Die backing vocals – which sound prefer they kommen sie from a troupe des disgruntled goblins – always make me laugh.

16. Sin city (1978)

Sin stadt hits like a heavyweight: a spidery guitar line, then four chords, repeated four times, choose a boxer’s beat combinations. Despite AC/DC were never truly a hefty metal band, Sin stadt was as hefty as anything sie might oase heard an 1978, pounding und brutal, und as nihilistic together anything über the Pistols.


Crowd-pleasers: Angus Young and Brian johnson playing bei Toronto in 2003. Photograph: KMazur/WireImage

15. Zum Those About zu Rock (We Salute You) (1981)

The song still finishes their direkte shows, if just because sie can’t yes, really deploy cannons partway through, and it ist magnificently preposterous – taking its location from ns salute to roman gladiators. Even here, johnson managed zu squeeze an a double entendre: “Pick hoch your balls and load her cannon.” Fnarr fnarr.

14. It’s a lang Way to die Top (If freundin Wanna Rock’n’Roll) (1975)

Set aside ns jokey different lyrics about sausage rolls and salute die magnificent lunacy of a maßband who believed nothing des slapping a bagpipe solo right into a single, which fairly undercuts the central message of the song: “Gettin’ old, gettin’ grey / Gettin’ ripped off, underpaid / Gettin’ marketed secondhand / That’s just how it walk playin’ an a band.”

13. Touch Too much (1979)

The changes lange brought zu AC/DC were most obvious on Touch auch Much. The demo version sounds nothing like die eventual recording, and the ultimate recording sounds like wenig else by AC/DC. What it sounds like is Lange: a conjoined construction of hooks, designed for radio.

12. You Shook Me every Night long (1980)

A simple explodieren of sexual happiness (with customarily odd lyrics: “She had sightless eyes / Tellin’ me no lies / and knocking me out / v those American thighs”), set to a magnificent, Stonesy riff that bursts into a large chorus. Back bei Black’s lead single proved that even without Scott, AC/DC had actually something distinct on their hands.

11. Ride On (1976)

Regarded von many fans as the band’s many heartfelt song (and a favourite von Belle and Sebastian’s Stuart Murdoch), this mournful blues has actually no hint von celebration. It’s just a man constantly trying to find what the seeks, constantly having zu ride on kommen sie do so: “One von these days, i’m gonna / readjust my evil methods / Til then I’ll just keep dragging on.”

10. Down Payment Blues (1978)

This is the best of the poverty das lied that popped hoch time and again across the first few AC/DC records, und a superlative power from the whole group: die music builds und builds und builds, und Scott graces it v a wonderful, no hope vocal. The sounds prefer a man clinging to society über his fingernails.

9. Riff Raff (live, 1978)

It burnt on Powerage, but ns version ~ above the direkte album If you Want Blood You’ve gott It doesn’t nur scorch, that spits fire. You tun können hear ns amps humming prior to the band begin the opening, ratcheting up die tension until they pause, letting die sound leichten … then that brilliant and brutal riff breaks prefer a storm.

8. Thunderstruck (1990)

As Brian johnson told me in 2014, concerning this thrillingly fiddly riff: “Angus, wie he goes zurück onstage, he to know he’s gott this thing to do – the start of Thunderstruck. Fucking nightmare! Angus as soon as said zu me: ‘If i don’t do that two or three times a day in my room before i go on, ich can’t fucking do it.’”

7. Highway to hell (1979)

Duh-duh-duh, duh-duh-dah, duh-duh-dah duh-duh-dah duh-dah-dah. Sie know exactly what I’m telling you. An fact, i bet sie were hearing die drums come an once die riff start repeating. Die lyrical concept zu sein hardly original, however who care when die riff zu sein that brilliant?

6. Hell’s Bells (1980)

The Back in Black album opened up with a tolling bell, joined von a desolate guitar line, climate a an easy drumbeat, before the rest des the band came in. Just after 80 seconds was the taste riff revealed, und it took practically a minute und a half zum Johnson kommen sie make his entrance. It’s together famous weil das its accompanying phase prop these days, however this is perfectly created hard rock, appropriate down zu its dramatic, combustible Angus solo.

5. What’s following To die Moon (1978)

Restrained and taut, choose a coiled spring, and given a good lyric byScott: a surreal und violent fantasy the manages zu encompass silent-movie peril scenes, Casey Jones, Superman und film noir. AC/DC seldom sound mysterious; they perform here.


Brian Johnson und Angus Young top top stage in 2000. Photograph: Devon ns Akmon/AP

4. Let there Be rock (1977)

Given a bit von success, Scott stopped bemoaning rock and started celebrate it: this is AC/DC’s version des rock’s creation myth: “In ns beginning, back bei 1955 …” the riff surges und breaks, like an ocean storm forcing waves on to die shore. Live, the traditionally residences Angus Young’s solo spot and stretches on: the studio version zu sein all discipline.

3. Back bei Black (1980)

You could say Highway to mach das licht an was AC/DC’s biggest riff. However then sie hear Back bei Black. Deswegen simple, however there’s deswegen much going on. Die descending spiral at the end of the erste reading of the riff, the little musical hiccups weist the ende of the second. And, together on all ns best AC/DC songs, feel ns space that permits those einzelheiten to be so evident. Great das lied leave sachen out, fairly than adding them.

2. Totality Lotta Rosie (live, 1978)

And freundin might say Back in Black was AC/DC’s biggest riff. But then yes this, voted ns greatest ever before metal song in the first auflage of Kerrang! the version top top If sie Want Blood shaves more than a minute off ns studio version, und it’s better for it, due to the fact that that extra minute ist all soloing, und this song zu sein entirely about ns power von its riff.

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1. Direkte Wire (Live From die Atlantic Studios, 1977)

OK, this zu sein almost certainly not the No 1 that most AC/DC fan would pick. But ns version of this 1975 track that opened a live radio promo album two years danach – since commercially released – ist the purest demo of what AC/DC room about: a performance that ist both thrillingly raw und unerringly precise. It’s also the greatest tribute zu Malcolm Young, who never ever took a lead vocal or play a solo, yet who was ns beating heart des the band. “Most people kann sein do what i do – they kann do guitar solos – however they can’t perform a good, hard rhythm guitar and be dedicated zu it,” Angus Young called me. Nobody go it better than Malcolm Young.