Highway to Hell (song)

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"Highway to Hell"
Highway to Hell by AC-DC Australian vinyl release A-side.jpg
A-side label of one of Australian vinyl releases
Single by AC/DC
from the album Highway to Hell
B-side "If You Want Blood (You've Got It)"
Released 27 July 1979
Format 7-inch single
Recorded March–April 1979
Genre Hard rock
Length 3:27
Label Albert Productions
Songwriter(s) Bon Scott, Angus Young, Malcolm Young
Producer(s) Mutt Lange
AC/DC singles chronology
"Rock 'n' Roll Damnation"
(1978)
"Highway to Hell"
(1979)
"Girls Got Rhythm"
(1979)
"Rock 'n' Roll Damnation"
(1978)
"Highway to Hell"
(1979)
"Girls Got Rhythm"
(1979)
Highway to Hell track listing
"Highway to Hell"
(1)
"Girls Got Rhythm"
(2)
Music video
"Highway to Hell" on YouTube

"Highway to Hell" is the opening track of AC/DC's 1979 album Highway to Hell. It was initially released as a single in 1979.

The song was written by Angus Young, Malcolm Young and Bon Scott, with Angus Young credited for writing the guitar riff which became an instant classic.[1] AC/DC had made several studio albums before and were constantly promoting them via a grueling tour schedule, referred to by Angus Young as being on a highway to hell.[1]

Background[edit]

The song's title reflects the incredibly arduous nature of touring constantly and life on the road.[1]

The single spent 45 weeks on the German Singles Chart, even though it peaked at only No. 30, in its 19th week on that chart.[2]

Bon Scott, whose talent as a singer and rock frontman was at a peak, was found dead in the back of a friend's car just over six months after the song was released.[1]

"Highway to Hell" won the 'Most Played Australian Work Overseas' category at the 2009 APRA Awards.[3]

Personnel[edit]

Production[edit]

"Highway to Hell" was produced by Mutt Lange as part of the album by the same name, and his work is regarded as a significant factor in delivering one of the classic AC/DC albums, the emergence of the double-guitar sound, which was later perfected on Back in Black, and improved backing vocals with Malcolm Young, joined by Cliff Williams for the first time.[1]

Live recordings[edit]

"Highway to Hell (live)"
Single by AC/DC
from the album AC/DC Live
B-side "Hells Bells (live)"
Released 8 November 1992
Format 7-inch single, CD single
Recorded 1991
Genre Hard rock, blues rock
Length 3:53
Label Atco
Songwriter(s) Bon Scott, Angus Young, Malcolm Young
Producer(s) Bruce Fairbairn
AC/DC singles chronology
"Are You Ready"
(1991)
"Highway to Hell (live)"
(1992)
"Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (live)"
(1992)
"Are You Ready"
(1991)
"Highway to Hell" (live)
(1992)
"Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (live)"
(1992)
Live track listing
"You Shook Me All Night Long"
(11)
"Highway to Hell"
(12)
"T.N.T."
(13)
Music video
"Highway to Hell" (AC/DC Live) on YouTube

"Highway to Hell" has been included on three official live albums:

List of accolades[edit]

Covers[edit]

  • Sam Kinison covered the song in 1990 for his comedy album Leader of the Banned.
  • Tiny Tim covered the song on his 1993 album "Rock".
  • Ukrainian folk-punk band Vopli Vidopliassova used the music as the basis for a bayan-based song, "Galyu, prykhod'!", in 1987. The song was released for the first time on the band's debut album Kraina Mriy in 1994.
  • Marilyn Manson covered it as part of the soundtrack for the 1999 film Detroit Rock City.
  • In 2002, Angry Samoan covered it for the punk tribute album For Those About To Rawk: A Punk Tribute to AC/DC.
  • American band Lazlo Bane recorded the song for their 1970s covers album Guilty Pleasures, though hard rock is not their typical music style.
  • Maroon 5 performed it on their Songs About Jane Tour, with Ryan Dusick (drummer) on vocals and lead guitar. Their version of it is also on their live EP 1.22.03.Acoustic.
  • Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band performed the song several times through their tour of Australia in 2014.
  • Quiet Riot covered the song on their 1999 studio release, Alive & Well.
  • In 2010, the song was covered by Jonathan Groff in the Glee episode, "Hell-O".
  • X Factor UK 2014 contestant Ben Haenow covered at 4th live show.
  • Billy Joel has performed it live regularly throughout the years.
  • Stary Olsa, a medieval folk music band from Belarus included a "Highway to Hell" on an album of classic rock cover songs, done on medieval instruments.

Chart performance[edit]

Track listing[edit]

UK[edit]

Released 1992 by ATCO

  1. "Bonny"/"Highway to Hell (Live)"
  2. "Hells Bells (Live)"
  3. "The Jack (Live)"

Germany and France[edit]

Released 1992 by ATCO

  1. "Highway to Hell (Live)"
  2. "Hell Ain't a Bad Place to Be (Live)"
  3. "High Voltage (Live)"

Australia[edit]

Released 1992 by Albert Productions / Epic Records

  1. "Bonny"/"Highway to Hell (Live)"
  2. "High Voltage (Live)"
  3. "Hell Ain't a Bad Place to Be (Live)"

US and Canada[edit]

Released 1979 by Atlantic Records (Atlantic #3617)

  1. A Side: "Highway To Hell"
  2. B Side: "Night Prowler"

Released 1992 by ATCO (Atco #98491-2)

  1. "Highway to Hell (Live)"
  2. "Hell Ain't a Bad Place to Be (Live)"

Released 1992 by ATCO (Atco #96135-2)

  1. "Highway to Hell (Live)"
  2. "Hell Ain't a Bad Place to Be (Live)"
  3. "The Jack (Live)"
  4. "High Voltage (Live)"

Released 1992 by ATCO

  1. "Highway to Hell (Live)"
  2. "Hell Ain't a Bad Place to Be (Live)"
  3. "The Jack (Live)"
  4. "High Voltage (Live)"
  5. "Back in Black (Live)"

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Wall, Mick (2012). AC/DC: Hell Aint a Bad Place to Be. London: Orion Publishing group. ISBN 9781409115359. 
  2. ^ "Die ganze Musik im Internet: Charts, Neuerscheinungen, Tickets, Genres, Genresuche, Genrelexikon, Künstler-Suche, Musik-Suche, Track-Suche, Ticket-Suche - musicline.de". musicline.de. 
  3. ^ "2009 Winners". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Archived from the original on 12 January 2010. Retrieved 23 April 2010. 
  4. ^ Highway to Hell The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time
  5. ^ "500 Songs That Shaped Rock". Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Retrieved November 15, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Austriancharts.at – AC/DC – Highway To Hell" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  7. ^ "Ultratop.be – AC/DC – Highway To Hell" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  8. ^ "Lescharts.com – AC/DC – Highway To Hell" (in French). Les classement single.
  9. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – AC/DC – Highway To Hell". GfK Entertainment Charts.
  10. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – AC/DC – Highway To Hell" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  11. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – AC/DC – Highway To Hell". Singles Top 100.
  12. ^ a b c "Highway to Hell awards on Allmusic". Allmusic. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  13. ^ "Australian-charts.com – AC/DC – Highway To Hell (Live)". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  14. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – AC/DC – Highway To Hell (Live)" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  15. ^ "Swisscharts.com – AC/DC – Highway To Hell (Live)". Swiss Singles Chart.
  16. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  17. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  18. ^ "Chart Track: Week 51, 2013". Irish Singles Chart.
  19. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  20. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.