Thunderstruck (song)

Last updated

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

"Thunderstruck" is a song by Australian hard rock band AC/DC, released as the lead single from their 1990 album The Razors Edge . It peaked at No. 4 on the Australian ARIA Singles Chart, No. 1 in Finland, and No. 5 on the US Billboard Album Rock Tracks chart. In 2010, "Thunderstruck" topped Triple M Melbourne's Ultimate 500 Rock Countdown in Australia. The top five were all AC/DC songs. [3] The song is used in movies such as Deadpool 2 , Planes: Fire & Rescue , Varsity Blues , The Longest Yard , Katie and Orbie , Battleship , and Daddy's Home , among others, as well as TV shows.



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 band's entire catalogue 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 which accompanied the single, directed by David Mallet, 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. In 2020, The Guardian ranked the song number eight on its list of the 40 greatest AC/DC songs, [10] and in 2021, the British rock magazine Kerrang! ranked the song number six on its list of the 20 greatest AC/DC songs. [11]



RegionCertification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA) [47] 10× Platinum700,000
Denmark (IFPI Danmark) [48] 2× Platinum180,000
Germany (BVMI) [49] Platinum500,000
Italy (FIMI) [50] 3× Platinum300,000
Mexico (AMPROFON) [51] 3× Platinum+Gold210,000
Portugal (AFP) [52] Platinum40,000
Spain (PROMUSICAE) [53] 2× Platinum120,000
United Kingdom (BPI) [54] 2× Platinum1,200,000
Canada (Music Canada) [55] Platinum40,000*
United States (RIAA) [56] Platinum1,798,000 [57]

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.


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. [58] 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: [59]

...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.


The song was featured in The Longest Yard in 2005, Battleship in 2012, Planes: Fire & Rescue in 2014, Deadpool 2 in 2018 and The Super Mario Bros. Movie in 2023.

See also

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