With a hard-edged music that features bludgeoning guitar riffs, forceful vocals, and layered power chords, AC/DC remains one of the most popular rock and roll bands ever to come from the Land Down Under.
The Aussie group remains one of the idols of many heavy metal bands aspiring to make it to the world stage; although, they are no longer as active as they once were when they took the world by storm in the 70s and 80s.
As we mark the 40th year of one of AC/DC’s most iconic musical pieces this 2020, we thought it fitting and proper to rank the band’s top 10 tracks through the years.
It’s a Long Way to the Top (T.N.T., 1975)
The title says it all. The road to international rock and roll stardom is full of obstacles, risks, and unknowns that can test even the most determined bands.
It sends a clear message to any group who wants to make a name for themselves in the name of the God of rock and roll. Never give up!
With its hard rock instrumentation and an unusual bagpipe call-and-response riff with the guitar, It’s a Long Way to the Top is one of AC/DC’s best pieces ever to date.
Jailbreak (Backsracks, 1976)
It took a few years before the rest of the world began to appreciate one of the group’s earliest works. Jailbreak has been entertaining Aussies since 1975.
It was only in 1980 when North American audiophiles and rock and roll fanatics got an earful of the band’s powerful licks and heart-thumping rhythm.
When the band performed the song live at Donington in 1991, it got everyone on his or her feet. It is an underdog story that anyone who cries for liberty and freedom can easily relate to.
Ride On (Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, 1976)
Purists may decry the obvious deviation of AC/DC from what they do best. However, many fans consider Ride On to be one of the Aussie band’s best because it just shows that they are humans, too.
It is a mournful blues, complete with a ballad-like persona that first-time listeners may have the impression that AC/DC is not a rock and roll band after all.
Many of us can easily relate to its message: using booze to drown our sorrows until we find enough courage to face our devils.
Whole Lotta Rosie (Let there be rock, 1977)
Even before the world considered Back in Black as the song that has the most electrifying guitar riffs ever, that accolade went to Whole Lotta Rosie. There is this unmistakable power in the riff. It made other metal songs at the time sound like sissies. While Bon Scott provided very graphic details about his once-in-a-lifetime encounter with a heavyweight Tasmanian woman, the message is clear. Raw talent knows no physical limitations. It is a message that all of us should consider in our respective relationships.
Hells Bells (Back in Black, 1980)
This has got to be one of the most surreal songs AC/DC has ever created. It ditches the traditional intro with a spine-chilling tolling of a bronze bell.
If you expect the band will start playing their lines, you are in for a surprise. A simple drumbeat follows a desolate guitar riff to herald the entry of the rest of AC/DC into the scene.
Eighty seconds later and you now have the main riff. Hells Bells may not be your typical rock and roll piece. It sure is bombastic enough to capture your imagination.
Thunderstruck (The Razors Edge, 1990)
It is easy to appreciate Angus Young’s songwriting prowess with Thunderstruck. What started off as a fancy little guitar riff trick that Angus developed, while the band was musing how they can come up with another monstrous hit since Back in Black, turned into an international sensation.
Thunderstruck was a vicious thunderstorm that reminded people AC/DC is not going anywhere, even after 10 years after Back in Black. The song was an instant hit in different countries. It also continues to be a favorite digital download.
Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (1976)
It took about five years before Americans got to enjoy this cracking track from Down Under. It would seem American record executives found the subject matter too distasteful and ghastly for American ears.
The song has violent lyrics. However, performing the song live on stage gives you a sensation that the 1976 musical piece is more jovial than menacing.
Proof to this is the 6x Platinum that the track got in the US when it was finally released more than a year after Bon Scott’s death.
You Shook Me All Night Long (Back in Black, 1980)
A milder version to Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, You Shook Me All Night Long is a very cheeky tune that comes complete with very saucy lyrics. It is a heavy rock piece with a mellowed vibe, yet still capable of electrifying the crowd.
It is one of AC/DC’s best works and one that can have you on the dance floor until the wee hours of the night.
This is a drum-hooked shag song that easily worked its way to the Top 10 on VH1’s greatest songs of the 1980s.
Highway to Hell (Highway to Hell,1979)
Nobody on AC/DC nor the band’s growing fan base knew that Highway to Hell would be one of the last songs that Bon Scott would ever sing.
No one in the group could have imagined the song to become the key to their international stardom.
Highway to Hell has always been acknowledged by many as the piece that brought the Aussie band to the rest of the world.
The title, the brilliant riffs, and the punchy lyrics all meant to describe the path to international stardom as anything but easy.
Back in Black (Back in Black, 1980)
Very few hard rock hits can be as captivating as Back in Black in terms of its uncanny ability to capture all the arrogance, blood, and sweat of heavy metal.
This is AC/DC’s master composition. The apex of the often-misunderstood art form of heavy metal. It is a piece that hardcore punks can love because of the song’s balls-out arena rock style.
Its savage crafting belies its unrepentantly simple composition. The song’s guitar riffs and driving bass and drum lines remain a blueprint for aspiring heavy metal and rock bands all over the world.