Highway to Hell

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Highway to Hell
Studio album by AC/DC
Released 27 July 1979 (INT)
3 August 1979 (US)
8 November 1979 (AUS)
Recorded February 1979 at Criteria Studios in Miami, Florida, March–April 1979 at Roundhouse Studios in London, England
Genre Hard rock, blues rock[1]
Length 41:42
Label Albert, Atlantic
Producer Robert John "Mutt" Lange
AC/DC chronology
Powerage
(1978)
Highway to Hell
(1979)
Back in Black
(1980)
Australian edition
Singles from Highway to Hell
  1. "Highway to Hell"
    Released: July 1979
  2. "Girls Got Rhythm"
    Released: 1979
  3. "Touch Too Much"
    Released: 1980
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars[2]
Blender 5/5 stars[3]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[1]

Highway to Hell is the sixth studio album by Australian hard rock band AC/DC, released on 2 August 1979. It is also AC/DC's fifth international studio album. It was the last album featuring lead singer Bon Scott, who died early the following year from over-consumption of alcohol.

It was originally released by Albert Productions, who licensed the album to Atlantic Records for release outside of Australia, and was then re-released by Epic Records in 2003 as part of the AC/DC Remasters series. On 25 May 2006, Highway to Hell was certified 7x Platinum by the RIAA.[4] In 2003, the album was ranked number 200 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[5]

Overview[edit]

Highway to Hell is the last AC/DC album recorded with Bon Scott before his death on 19 February 1980. The album featured such songs as "Highway to Hell", "Touch Too Much", "If You Want Blood (You've Got It)", and "Shot Down in Flames" which have become fan favourites and regular songs in their setlist during their live shows. The album became AC/DC's first to break the US Top 100, eventually reaching #17, and it propelled the band into the top ranks of hard rock acts.

The final words spoken by Scott on the album are "Shazbot, na-nu na-nu", phrases used on the then-popular American sitcom, Mork and Mindy, by lead character Mork (a visiting extraterrestrial played by Robin Williams). The phrase ended the song "Night Prowler" and closed the album.

Highway to Hell was the first AC/DC album not produced by Harry Vanda and George Young. Pre-production of the album began in January 1979 with demos cut at Albert Studios in Sydney, Australia, where they met the intended producer, Eddie Kramer. Kramer was fired before a single track had been completed, and Robert John "Mutt" Lange was brought in to replace him. The change proved to be fortuitous, and the album was the band's biggest yet. Lange would go on to produce the band's next two albums, Back in Black and For Those About to Rock We Salute You. The album was recorded during sessions in February 1979 at Criteria Studios in Miami, Florida, and March–April 1979 at Roundhouse Studios in London, England.

In Australia, Highway to Hell was released with a slightly different album cover, featuring flames and a drawing of a bass guitar neck superimposed over the same group photo used on the international cover. Also, the AC/DC logo is a darker shade of maroon, but the accents are a bit lighter. Additionally, the East German release had different and much plainer designs on the front and back, apparently because the authorities were not happy with the sleeve as released elsewhere.

Two songs from the album, "Highway to Hell" and "If You Want Blood (You've Got It)" are included on the soundtrack album for Iron Man 2, with the former also being played during the final scenes of the movie. The song "If You Want Blood (You've Got It)" is also featured in five films; Empire Records, The Longest Yard, Shoot Em Up, Final Destination 5 and finally, The Dukes of Hazzard (film). The song "Walk All Over You" is featured in the movie Grown Ups. In October 2010, Highway to Hell was listed in the top 50 in the book, 100 Best Australian Albums with Back in Black at No. 2.[6] The guitars and bass in this album are tuned down 1/4 step except for "Night Prowler", "Love Hungry Man" and "Get It Hot" which are tuned down whole half step or ½ step.

A tiny picture of the album cover is also featured on the front cover of the 1994 album Trashed by punk rock group Lagwagon.

In 2013, AC/DC fan Steevi Diamond spearheaded a Facebook campaign to get the title track to become a UK Christmas #1 in the UK Singles Chart, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of AC/DC, and to prevent The X Factor from achieving another #1 hit single[7] Jon Morter, who was behind the Rage Against the Machine Facebook campaign in 2009, raised proceeds, through the campaign, to Feel Yourself, a cancer awareness charity. [8] The single peaked at #4 in the Official UK Charts, scoring AC/DC's first ever UK Top 10 single. [9]

Controversy[edit]

In June 1985, a highly publicised murder case began revolving around Richard Ramírez, who was responsible for several brutal killings in Los Angeles. Nicknamed the "Night Stalker", Ramírez was a fan of AC/DC, particularly the song "Night Prowler". Police also claimed that Ramirez was wearing an AC/DC shirt and left an AC/DC hat at one of the crime scenes. During the trial, Ramírez often muttered "Hail Satan" and showed off the pentagram carved into his palm. This brought extremely bad publicity to AC/DC, whose concerts and albums faced protests by parents in Los Angeles.[10] On VH1's Behind the Music on AC/DC, the band maintained that the song had been given a murderous connotation by Ramírez, but is actually about a boy sneaking into his girlfriend's bedroom at night while her parents are asleep.[11]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Angus Young, Malcolm Young and Bon Scott. Published by Edward B. Marks Music Corporation, BMI. 

Side One
No. Title Length
1. "Highway to Hell"   3:29
2. "Girls Got Rhythm"   3:24
3. "Walk All Over You"   5:11
4. "Touch Too Much"   4:28
5. "Beating Around the Bush"   3:57
Side Two
No. Title Length
1. "Shot Down in Flames"   3:23
2. "Get It Hot"   2:35
3. "If You Want Blood (You've Got It)"   4:38
4. "Love Hungry Man"   4:18
5. "Night Prowler"   6:18

Personnel[edit]

Production[edit]

Charts and certifications[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Kot, Greg (25 February 2003). "Highway to Hell". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 20 June 2012. 
  2. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Highway to Hell – Allmusic". Allmusic. Retrieved 29 November 2009. 
  3. ^ Twist, Carlo. "Highway to Hell". Blender. Retrieved 29 November 2009. [dead link]
  4. ^ "Gold & Platinum – March 20, 2010". RIAA. Retrieved 20 March 2010. 
  5. ^ "199 Highway to Hell". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 25 May 2010. 
  6. ^ O'Donnell, John; Creswell, Toby; Mathieson, Craig (October 2010). 100 Best Australian Albums. Prahran, Vic: Hardie Grant Books. ISBN 978-1-74066-955-9. 
  7. ^ http://www.officialcharts.com/chart-news/why-acdc-should-be-the-2013-christmas-number-1-by-the-highway-to-hell-campaign-2667/
  8. ^ http://www.justgiving.com/acdcxmas
  9. ^ http://www.officialcharts.com/chart-news/x-factors-sam-bailey-crowned-2013-official-christmas-number-1-2693/
  10. ^ "AC/DC The Case of the Night Stalker". Crabsody in Blue. Retrieved 25 May 2010. 
  11. ^ "Metal made me do it". Revolver. 1 September 2007. Retrieved 25 May 2010. 
  12. ^ Suomen virallinen lista
  13. ^ "Discos de oro y platino" (in Spanish). Cámara Argentina de Productores de Fonogramas y Videogramas. Archived from the original on 2011-07-06. Retrieved 2013-02-21. 
  14. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2013 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association. 
  15. ^ "Austrian album certifications – AC/DC – Highway to Hell" (in German). IFPI Austria.  Enter AC/DC in the field Interpret. Enter Highway to Hell in the field Titel. Select album in the field Format. Click Suchen
  16. ^ "Canadian album certifications – AC/DC – Highway to Hell". Music Canada. 
  17. ^ "French album certifications – AC/DC – Highway to Hell" (in French). InfoDisc.  Select AC/DC and click OK
  18. ^ "Les Albums Platine :" (in French). Infodisc.fr. Retrieved 2013-02-21. 
  19. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (AC/DC; 'Highway to Hell')". Hung Medien. 
  20. ^ "British album certifications – AC/DC – Highway to Hell". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Highway to Hell in the field Search. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Click Go
  21. ^ "American album certifications – AC/DC – Highway to Hell". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH