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

The song was written by Bon Scott, Angus Young and Malcolm Young while the main guitar riff was created by Malcolm Young. The track has become one of the most famous songs in rock history. AC/DC had made several studio albums before and was constantly supporting them by going on a grueling tour schedule.

The song and album's title supposedly came after a reporter asked band members if they could describe what life was like being constantly on tour. Angus replied that it was "a fucking highway to Hell" . He stated in the magazine Guitar World that when you are out on the road on a bus sleeping with a guy's smelly sock in your face, it's like you're on the highway to hell. Rumours persisted that the band members were satanists, and this comment, and the album cover depicting Angus with devil horns and tail only added fuel to the fire. (The band has denied having anything to do with Satanism, Malcolm having even commented that "me mum would kill me for that!")Nevertheless, this and other songs brought AC/DC its first million-copy-selling album, and sent Highway to Hell to #17 on the charts. Scott would be found dead in the back of a friend's car just over six months later. In October 2009 Brian Johnson, who replaced Scott, explained to The Metro: "It was written about being on the bus on the road where it takes forever to get from Melbourne or Sydney to Perth across the Nullabor Plain. When the Sun's setting in the west and you're driving across it, it is like a fire ball. There is nothing to do, except have a quick one off the wrist or a game of cards, so that's where Bon came up with the lyrics." The success of the Highway to Hell song and album set AC/DC on track to record its most famous album and tribute to Bon, Back In Black, one year later.The master ringtone was certified Gold by the RIAA in June 2007 for sales in excess of 500,000.

The song was originally inspired by Bon Scott driving along the Canning Highway in peak traffic, from his home in Fremantlemarker to his favourite pub in Applecrossmarker.

Live recordings

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

List of accolades

Chart performance

Chart Peak
US Billboard Hot 100 47

Track listing


Released 1992 by ATCO
  1. "Bonny"/"Highway to Hell (Live)"
  2. "Hells Bells (Live)"
  3. "The Jack (Live)"

Germany and France

Released 1992 by ATCO
  1. "Highway to Hell (Live)"
  2. "Hell Ain't a Bad Place to Be (Live)"
  3. "High Voltage (Live)"


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)"

USA and Canada

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)"


Cover versions

References and uses in other media

  • The song was parodied by the Ukrainian rock group Vopli Vidoplyasova in their "Galia, come" ("Галю, приходь") instrumentally and by lyrics styled as Ukrainian folk.
  • French comedy group "Les Robins des Bois" did a parody of the song called "Highway to Tata Yoyo" by mixing AC/DC's music with the lyrics of Annie Cordy's popular hit "Tata Yoyo".
  • The song was the title track for World Wrestling Federation's 1998 Pay-Per-View SummerSlam, as well as being the tag line for the event.
  • Professional wrestling tag team the Dudley Boyz used this song as their entrance theme in Extreme Championship Wrestling.
  • The song was used in the 2000 film Little Nicky during a slideshow, which is seen before the credits.
  • The opening of Highway to Hell was used on House when Doctor House got his new cane, which has flames on it.
  • Part of the song was used during the bar explosion scene in the 2007 movie Wild Hogs.
  • Part of the song was used at the conclusion of The Simpsons episode "Simpsons Bible Stories".
  • In the 2003 Jack Black film School Of Rock, when the class does their concert Black's character is dressed up like Angus Young was when recording this song. He also taught Zack the riff of this song.
  • In One Tree Hill, Peyton Sawyer, Brooke Davis and Haley James Scott are on the way to New York to preview Brookes Fashion lines 'Clothes Ova Bros' and decide to play a game where you ask a question and turn on the radio and the name of the song is your answer. Haley James Scott asks the radio about what's happening with her relationship with her husband Nathan Scott and she mentions "Highway to Hell" is the song that came on.
  • Bonnie Raitt has stated that "Highway to Hell" is one of the greatest examples of the power of vocals and guitars ever recorded.
  • New Zealand sports spoof show Pulp Sport uses "Highway to Hell" as the theme song for their Sporting Hell segment.
  • The song is plays a pivotal foreshadowing part in the 2003 film Final Destination 2.
  • Part of the song was played at the end of the pilot episode (right after Sammy drives the car into the woman in whites house) of Supernatural and also played during Australian advertisements.
  • The song, was the title song for the April 3rd, 2009 Fun Friday in Kalamazoo, MI also was the name of the Fun Friday tournament.
  • There is an Australian AC/DC cover band named Highway to Hell.
  • In the French novel Les Thanatonautes the punks at the Mountain play "Highway to Hell".

See also


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