AC/DC’s Angus Young: I came up with Highway To Hell during a bathroom break
In a new interview delving into some of AC/DC’s most iconic singles with Zane Lowe for Essentials Radio on Apple Music 1, Angus Young has revealed that he came up with the premise of legendary track Highway To Hell (from the 1979 album of the same name) while on the toilet.
Discussing the making of the record, the rock legend explains, “We’d been in Miami, and we’d been in a rehearsal room and that’s what we were doing. We were putting together new tracks. And we’d been there a couple of weeks and we were going a bit slow. And then I had come in one day with [Malcolm Young, late AC/DC co-founder and guitarist] and just before we got in, I said, ‘I’ve got a good idea in my head.’
“So I got in and he came in, and I started playing the beginning, the intro. And so I was doing the da-da-da, da-da-da. And then I said to Malcolm… I had this thing about the drums. And I said, ‘I just want it to come in in the right spot.’ And he said, ‘Okay.’ Malcolm got behind the drums and he said, ‘Right, you let me know when you hear the downbeat, the first downbeat of what you want.’ So that’s what I did. I said, ‘I’ll do my drop,’ and he said, ‘And I’ll follow your foot.’ So he came in with the beat. That’s how we set it up.”
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Noting that the music was there but the lyrics weren’t, Angus continues that Malcolm then asked, ‘Well, have you got something you can come up with?’
“And I said, ‘Okay, give me a few minutes,’ ” he recalls. “And I went to the toilet, and then I was in the toilet and I was there and I’m sitting and thinking. And I’m just sitting on the throne more or less. And then I go, ‘I think I’ve got it. I’ve got it. I’ve got it. I’ve got the idea in my head.’
“And then I came in there and I said, ‘I’ve got it. Highway to hell.’ And I was over the chords that we had tried out through a chorus. And he went, ‘Yeah, that’ll work.’ And he said, ‘If we spread it out a bit into full singing thing.’ So he came up with a spread of it, ‘(Singing) Highway to hell.’ ”
Amazing. See Angus and frontman Brian Johnson chatting about Highway To Hell, Thunderstruck, Back In Black and more in the video below, and hear the full episode on demand over at apple.co/_EssentialsRadio.
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