The Australian band AC/DC became a popular name after the release of their commercially successful 1979 album Highway to Hell. Unfortunately, they weren’t able to bask in the glory for long as member Bon Scott tragically died of alcohol poisoning shortly after. With the lead singer gone, the band was back to square one, searching for the missing piece of the puzzle that would complete the team. Luckily, they found Brian Johnson within a few months of their scout.
The band’s first single with Johnson was ‘You Shook Me All Night Long’, an effort that featured in the album Back in Black in 1980. The intense material instantly captured the public imagination and ranked number 35 in the pop single’s chart of USA’s Hot 100. Its international re-release fetched millions of new fans, making the song a must in the band’s live performances all over the world.
Johnson allegedly gained the inspiration for the song after seeing images of American girls while recording in the Bahamas for the album. He came up with the line “she was a fast machine, she kept her motor clean” apparently after realising that women were like cars in many ways: “They go fast, let you down, but then make you happy again when you see the new model”. Though it screams objectification, the audience probably didn’t pay any heed as AC/DC is not particularly known for having deep, thoughtful lyrics.
The song, however, was fraught with controversy as many claimed it to be written by the late Bon Scott. Malcolm Dome wrote in Classic Rock, “Bon proudly showed me some of the scribbles he’d put down in preparation for an album he felt would define AC/DC – and open up new possibilities as well. It’s hard to be absolutely accurate from a distance of a quarter of a century, and through the haze of alcohol which enveloped the night, but one-line sticks in my mind as being on one of those sheets: ‘She told me to come, but I was already there.’ A renowned lyric from the song You Shook Me All Night Long, it has Bon’s trademark all over it – a neatly worked double entendre that fits in with the track record of a man who wrote Big Balls, The Jack and other similarly styled songs.”
The song won hearts despite all the credit-related controversy, and Malcolm Young’s guitar is the reason why. Though known as one of the most skilled rhythm guitarists with a neat yet aggressive style, it was Young’s guitar solo in the song that made jaws drop. Beginning with one of his famous guitar riffs, Young glides into the solo past the mid-section of the song. Supported by his brother Angus, the guitar track won critical acclaim apart from general praise.
If you’re feeling the post-Christmas blues, this track from Young will definitely amp you up… pun intended.