Thunderstruck: How AC/DC’s Music Inspired More Than Just Fans

AC/DC, the Australian hard rock band, has earned its legendary status for its distinctive sound, memorable guitar riffs, and charismatic stage presence. The band has been delighting rock’n’roll fans around the globe for five decades, cultivating aspiring musicians and galvanizing new generations to carry on the legacy of the one and only Young brothers.

Besides marking milestones in music, the band has inspired a fashion style, a themed beer line, and even a casino slot game named after their ageless hit, Thunderstruck. If you can get some free spins at Australian casinos, you’ll have hours of fun with your favorite pastime. Stick around to learn more about the electrifying Aussie hard-rock heroes.

The Youngs

Malcolm (b.1953 – d.2017) and Angus Young (b.1955) lived in Scotland until the family emigrated to Australia in 1963. They have 6 elder siblings and a family with strong musical roots. All their brothers had a career in music, playing in different bands in Europe and Australia and teaching the youngest ones to play the guitar. 

The Youngs were part of several other bands before forming AC/DC in 1973, with Angus on lead guitar and Malcolm on rhythm guitar. Their sister Margaret’s contribution during this time was not musical but far more consequential as she gave the band their name and Angus’s extraordinary schoolboy outfit. 

Malcolm was the driving force of the band and a key decision-maker, but Angus has always been the focal point of AC/DC with his impressive stage presence, electrifying guitar riffs, and the shows he puts on to entertain the crowd.  

The Line-Up

Singer and songwriter Bon Scott (b.1946 – d.1980) joined AC/DC in 1974, writing lyrics and performing 57 tracks on the first 7 albums. Scott is widely considered one of the greatest metal vocalists of all time, and his lyrics speak to millions of fans worldwide as he draws on his own experiences of loneliness, evil ways, and living on the road trying to become a rock’n’roll star. His words in Ride On take a different tone after his tragic passing of alcohol poisoning, becoming one of the best blues rock ballads ever. 

Brian Johnson (b.1946) joined in 1980 and has been a permanent fixture. Johnson took a break from touring during the Rock or Bust World Tour in 2016 because he risked a total hearing loss at that time. Axl Rose stepped in for the remaining shows, but Brian took advantage of innovative technology and has been back with the band working on new material.

Bassist and backing vocalist Cliff Williams (b.1949) was introduced in 1977 and has since been a steady force, creating a base layer for all the riffs the Youngs add on top. Drummer Phil Rudd (b.1954) has been on and off with the band since 1975, taking a long hiatus from music in the 80s. His drumming style perfectly complements AC/DC’s music, but his rowdy character and angry outbursts have led to many legal problems. Following Malcolm’s retirement from the band in 2014 due to dementia, his nephew Stevie Young (b.1956) filled in on rhythm guitar.

The Musical Legacy

In 2023, AC/DC marked its 50th anniversary, remaining true to themselves, their music style and distinctive sound often described as hard rock and blues rock. They have released 18 albums, achieving unparalleled success, and have sold over 200 million records so far. Back In Black is considered the second highest-selling album, etching their name in the world’s music history. 

In 2003, AC/DC reached a milestone when they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and collected two Grammy Awards for Best Hard Rock Performance in 2010 and the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2013. However, their legacy is not only presented in numbers and awards as many hard rock and heavy metal bands like Van Halen and Guns N’ Roses.   

AC/DC made their first albums as teenagers in the 1970s, introducing driving rhythms, distorted guitars, lyrics about riotous behavior, and even the soulful sound of bagpipes in “It’s a Long Way to the Top.” They have not changed their style over the decades to conform to the trends and strongly rely on the juvenile energy that appeals to their fans. 

Amassing a massive following worldwide, AC/DC have been selling out arenas and huge stadiums, welcoming rivers of fans pouring in to see their favorite rock gods.AC/DC’s live performances and continuous tours signify their high standing and longevity. The crowds enjoy singing along to hit songs like Highway to Hell, Back in Black, You Shook Me All Night Long, and Thunderstruck and the band still loves to play these rock ‘n’ roll anthems worldwide. 

The Legends

AC/DC is undoubtedly one of the world’s greatest rock bands. Whether it’s the electrifying guitar work of the Youngs, the infectious rhythm, or the catchy lyrics, AC/DC’s contribution to rock music is undeniable. Their legacy and influence on the genre establish their place in the history of rock music, but their story is far from over as they show no signs of retiring from the music scene and just keep on rockin’.