AC/DC – Highway To Hell

AC/DC - Highway To Hell


Release date: July 27, 1979

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The boys from down under have done it again. Their seventh release, Highway To Hell, following up their Live masterpiece If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It), did not flop. Many bands have a habit of following up a great album with a flounderer. AC/DC did not disappoint their fans one bit with this one.

Officially released on July 30, 1979, the album was recorded at Roundhouse Studios in London, and produced by Robert John “Mutt” Lange. The key players remained the same: Angus Young – guitar, Malcolm Young – guitar, Bon Scott – vocals, Phil Rudd – drums, and Cliff Williams – bass. On this seventh release, you’ll find 10 songs, not one better than the next. Finding a best song from the bunch is indeed a monumental feat this time around. Even a top 3 would require some long thought. Here are a few insights into each song in the order they appear on the album.

“Highway To Hell” — What can be said for a song with lyrics like “No stop signs, speed limit, nobody’s gonna slow me down.” That is not only the way Bon liked to live his every day life, but that demeanor had taken hold of the band as well, and it becomes obvious as one listens to the music on this album. “I’m on a highway to hell” certainly seems to speak volumes in more ways than one. This opening song opens your ears and gets you ready for what is about to follow. Not overpowering, but it certainly gets its message across … even on a subtle level. Bon’s little grunts and groans are noticeable once again, and still somehow add something special to the song. Other vocalists just couldn’t pull this off.

“Girls Got Rhythm” — A fast-paced, Bluesy tune with an aggressive bass line and drumming that parallels. Angus and Malcolm do what they do best, tag-team back and forth with Angus adding his well known “short, and to the point, guitar solos” at strategically placed locations. Bon brags about all the women that have crossed his path and how “his” woman has the so-called goods on all of them. However, in his description, “Enough to stop a freight train, or start the third world war” is really saying something. This has to be some woman!

“Walk All Over You” — Starts with a slow and purposeful intro that kind of lulls you to sleep, almost before the onslaught hits you right in the face. WOW is all that can be said here. This is by far one of their best intro’s or lead-ins found in any of their tunes. Bon seems as though he is screaming the lyrics at you in this one. The guitar work is superb on both ends … some of Angus’s finest playing to date. Not to be left behind, his brother turns it up a bit as well. Just a great song on all levels. In the top 3 without any doubt.

“Touch Too Much” — What stands out here is Bon’s singing and both guitarists playing more in the foreground than the bass and drums for some reason. After the last song, one is spoiled and expects the same. Instead, what is delivered is your average AC/DC tune … “not that there’s anything wrong with that.” A very tight song, instrumentally speaking. Again, Bon sings about his favorite topic (women) — in this case one in particular. Where does he find them?

“Beating Around The Bush” — Ahh … women and relationships. That was sooner or later bound to show up somewhere. Bon gives his spin on things and tries to put it into perspective. A very interesting riff is deployed in this tune after a few notes are played by Angus. He leaves you guessing as to what is about to follow. You aren’t sure what to expect, and are almost sad that its not what you thought was coming. Nothing too heavy, hard, or fast for that matter. When the solo, bass, and drums kick in, it you have to say to yourself … “you know what, not too bad after all.” It’s almost too good to be true — one good tune after another after another!

“Shot Down In Flames” — Definitely in the top 3. This song is that good. After a typical Angus lead with some Bon ramblings, the song kicks into high gear and doesn’t stop until Bon’s last animalistic sound comes out of his throat. The bass line is louder and more pronounced throughout the song’s entirety — very appealing and has you playing along in your mind. There’s several guitar licks being traded on and off, back and forth, between the Young brothers. Angus’s solo comes in perfectly and he even adds a little spice right at the end for more effect. The song tries to articulate how it feels to fall flat on your face and succumb to failure when out on the town and trying to pick up women. Poor bastards.

“Get It Hot” — A short, quick tune with a loud and tight bass line that pokes through the other things that happen to be going on at the same time in this song. Bon is quite adamant about how hot he and his gal pal are together in this one.

“If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It)” — It just so happens to be the name of their previous and sixth release, coming out about 9 months prior to this. Another typical Angus intro and then blast off! A loud mixture of guitars and some intricate work by both brothers throughout this track. There is no let up from beginning to end. A lot is thrown at you to take in, which makes it difficult to sway an opinion about the song.

“Love Hungry Man” — You’ve gotta love this song from the first bass note that comes out of the amp. A different, very intriguing bass lines, good tempo (not too fast nor too slow), Bluesy tune that was new to AC/DC fans without a doubt. If your passion is Rock, Blues, Classic Rock, nothing too fast, hard, or heavy, then this song (along with the next one) will get you excited. The boys do a very nice job on showing off another type of playing here. The one downfall perhaps that takes away from this being a masterpiece is the repetitive usage of the line “Love Hungry Man.”

“Night Prowler” — The longest song on the album with more lyrics for any one song than what is typical for this band. The slowest and Bluesiest tune by far, and a very nice follow-up to “Love Hungry Man.”

Overall, this album is top notch from beginning to end. It has a little of everything for an AC/DC album. It’s difficult to select one genre type to put it in since it has Blues, Rock, Classic Rock, and even Hard Rock all accounted for at various points. As far as talent goes, the boys from down under show here that as musicians they had gotten better. After listening to the album compared to earlier works, this will become apparent. Without hesitation, this was their best studio album to date, and helped gain the band further respect and notoriety in the music industry, paving the way for the colossal level of success yet to be earned upon the untimely death of Bon Scott.


  • George Fustos

    George was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. He has engineering degrees in Chemical and Electrical Engineering. He favors Metal, Rock, Hard Rock, Classic Rock, Blues, and even some Jazz and Motown (depending on the tune). He used to dabble with the bass quite some time ago. His most influential bassists are Jaco, Billy Sheehan, Stu Hamm, Geddy Lee, and John Entwistle (RIP Ox). Band-wise he's really into Rush, Tool, early Metallica, Pink Floyd (including Waters and Gilmour as solo artists), The Who, Iced Earth, Iron Maiden, Halford, Joe Satriani, certain Judas Priest, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Albert Collins (Blues guitarist), Motörhead, and a German band called Skew Siskin that Lemmy says in an interview as being "the best band out there today."

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