Thunderstruck (song)

Last updated

"Thunderstruck"
ACDC-Thunderstruck.png
Single by AC/DC
from the album The Razors Edge
B-side "Fire Your Guns"
Released10 September 1990
RecordedJanuary 1990
Genre Hard rock [1] [2]
Length4:52
Label ATCO
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s) Bruce Fairbairn
AC/DC singles chronology
"That's the Way I Wanna Rock 'n' Roll"
(1988)
"Thunderstruck"
(1990)
"Moneytalks"
(1990)
Music video
"Thunderstruck" on YouTube

"Thunderstruck" is the lead single from the 1990 album The Razors Edge by Australian hard rock band AC/DC. It peaked at No. 5 on the US Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks. In 2010, "Thunderstruck" topped Triple M Melbourne's Ultimate 500 Rock Countdown in Australia. The top five were all AC/DC songs. [3]

Contents

Background

Angus Young stated in the liner notes of the 2003 re-release of The Razors Edge:

It started off from a little trick I had on guitar. I played it to Mal and he said 'Oh, I've got a good rhythm idea that will sit well in the back.' We built the song up from that. We fiddled about with it for a few months before everything fell into place. Lyrically, it was really just a case of finding a good title ... We came up with this thunder thing, based on our favourite childhood toy ThunderStreak, and it seemed to have a good ring to it. AC/DC = Power. That's the basic idea. [4]

The song has sold over a million digital copies since it became available for digital download. [5]

In January 2018, as part of Triple M's "Ozzest 100", the 'most Australian' songs of all time, "Thunderstruck" was ranked No. 8. [6]

The song is one of the most recognisable in the bands' entire catalog and it is a setlist staple having been performed at nearly all shows since its release. [7] With the exception of new material from albums they are touring behind, it is one of only three songs released after Back in Black that are still performed live by the band, the others being 1981's "For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)" and 2008's "Rock and Roll Train". [8]

Music video

The video directed by David Mallet, which accompanied the single was filmed at London's Brixton Academy on 17 August 1990. The audience members were given free T-shirts with the words "AC/DC – I was Thunderstruck" on the front and the date on the back, and these T-shirts were worn by the entire audience throughout the filming of the video. [9]

On 29 October 2021, the video hit one billion views on YouTube, the first AC/DC music video to do so.

Critical reception

"Thunderstruck" is widely considered one of the band's best songs. The Guardian ranked the song number eight on its list of the 40 greatest AC/DC songs, [10] and the British rock magazine Kerrang! ranked the song number six on its list of the 20 greatest AC/DC songs. [11]

Use in media

The song has been featured in the following movies:

It has also been played in episodes of My Name Is Earl , Hawaii Five-0 , Top Gear , New Girl , Training Day , Supernatural, Titans and SAS: Rogue Heroes.The song is also used at many sporting events including every Marshall Thundering Herd football game, and the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders dance to this song at the preshow before the Dallas Cowboys games. [12]

In 2021, the song was played during the pre-race show when Texas Motor Speedway hosted the NASCAR All-Star Race for the first time.

Sampled in Name Drop by Excision and Wooli.

Charts

Certifications

RegionCertification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA) [47] 10× Platinum700,000Double-dagger-14-plain.png
Denmark (IFPI Danmark) [48] Platinum90,000Double-dagger-14-plain.png
Germany (BVMI) [49] Platinum500,000Double-dagger-14-plain.png
Italy (FIMI) [50] 2× Platinum100,000Double-dagger-14-plain.png
Mexico (AMPROFON) [51] 3× Platinum+Gold210,000Double-dagger-14-plain.png
Portugal (AFP) [52] Platinum40,000Double-dagger-14-plain.png
United Kingdom (BPI) [53] 2× Platinum1,200,000Double-dagger-14-plain.png
Ringtones
Canada (Music Canada) [54] Platinum40,000*
United States (RIAA) [55] Platinum1,798,000 [56]

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
Double-dagger-14-plain.png Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Personnel

Cyber attack of the Iranian nuclear program

The song was used as part of the payload of a computer virus which attacked the Iranian nuclear program between 2009 and 2010. Reportedly developed by the US and Israeli governments, Stuxnet took control of centrifuge controls in nuclear facilities across the country causing extensive damage to machinery. Additionally, various workstations were hijacked with the song playing randomly at high volume late at night. [57] In an email sent to Finnish computer security expert, Mikko Hypponen of F-Secure, one of the scientists involved in the program was quoted as saying:

...There was also some music playing randomly on several of the workstations during the middle of the night with the volume maxed out. I believe it was playing "Thunderstruck" by AC/DC. [58]

See also

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