Meaning of Highway to Hell by AC/DC & The Story Behind

The album Highway to Hell occupies an important place in the discography of the rock band AC/DC. It provided the Australian rock band with international success, hit the top 100 of the Billboard 200, went seven times platinum and was awarded a line in the list of the 500 greatest albums according to Rolling Stone.

It’s also infamous for being the last AC/DC record with Bon Scott. The most popular song on the record was the title track Highway to Hell.

The story of creation and the meaning of the song Highway to Hell

The composition was composed by the Young brothers with the participation of Bon Scott. The main guitar riff was Malcolm’s brainchild.

The name “Highway to Hell” gave rise to numerous rumors and gossip about the meaning of the song. Accusations of Satanism have been thrown at the band, based on a few lines of text and a photo of Angus Young on the album cover, which depicts him with a tail and horns. AC/DC members strongly disagreed with this interpretation, and Malcolm Young even stated: “My mom would have killed me for that!”

There is another interesting version circulating among Australian fans explaining what the AC/DC song Highway to Hell is about. They believe that it is dedicated to the Canning Highway, on which the Raffles Hotel is located. In the late seventies, a local rock and roll party gathered in the hotel bar, which included musicians from AC / DC. Fatal accidents often occurred on that section of the road, which is why it was nicknamed the “highway to hell.”

But the official version of the interpretation of the meaning of the Highway to Hell text sounds different. The band members claim that we are talking about the difficulties of touring life.. Here’s what they said about it:

I’ve been on tour for thirteen years. Airplanes, hotels, groupies, booze… It all takes something away from you.

Bon Scott

When you’re sleeping on a tour bus with some guy’s stinky sock in front of your face, it’s like going to hell.

Angus Young, Guitar World Magazine

It was written about being on tour in a bus and it takes forever to get from Melbourne or Sydney to Perth across the Nullarbor plain. When the sun sets in the west and you drive towards it, it looks like a ball of fire. And there is absolutely nothing to do, except for a quick handjob or a game of cards. That’s when Bon wrote the lyrics.

Brian Johnson, The Metro

Highway to Hell single release

The song was released as the first single from Highway to Hell (1979). It was later included on the live album AC/DC Live. It became the group’s first track to hit the US charts.

Highway to Hell is included in Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list, as well as many other authoritative rankings. It is an Australian composition, which is most often played outside the country.

Video of Highway to Hell by AC/DC

Check out the music video for “Highway to Hell” by rock band AC/DC.

Highway to Hell cover versions

The song has been performed by Marilyn Manson, Green Day, Pink, Maroon 5 and others.

Interesting Facts

  • Maniac Richard Ramirez claimed that he began to kill under the influence of the Highway to Hell album. True, his favorite song was Night Prowler, for which he was nicknamed “Night Tramp”.
  • The song is featured in many famous feature films: Iron Man 2, School of Rock, Final Destination 2 and others.
  • AC/DC performed Highway to Hell at the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in 2003 when they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Highway to Hell Lyrics by AC/DC

Living easy, living free
Season ticket on a one-way ride
Asking nothing, leave me be
Taking everything in my stride
Don’t need reason, don’t need rhyme
Ain’t nothing I would rather do
Going down, party time
My friends are gonna be there too

I’m on the highway to hell

No stop signs, speed limit
Nobody’s gonna slow me down
Like a wheel, gonna spin it
Nobody’s gonna mess me around
Hey Satan paid my dues
Playing in a rocking band
Hey Momma, look at me
I’m on my way to the promised land

I’m on the highway to hell
(Don’t stop me)

And I’m going down, all the way down
I’m on the highway to hell

Angus Young / Malcolm Young / Ronald Scott
Highway to Hell Lyrics © BMG Rights Management

Highway to Hell Lyrics Alternate

I live without worries, I live freely
One way pass
Don’t ask for anything, let me
Take everything in my path
Don’t need prudence, don’t need poetry
I wouldn’t trade it for anything
Fun and parties
My friends will be there

I’m on the highway to hell

No red light, no speed limit
Nobody can hold me back
Spin like a wheel
Nobody contact me
Hey Satan paid my dues
Playing in a rock band
Hey mama take a look at me
I’m on my way to the promised land

I’m on the highway to hell
(Don’t stop me)

I’m going down, down all the time
I’m on the highway to hell

Song quote

Highway is Scott’s last will and credo. When he yells, “Don’t stop me,” right before Angus Young’s guitar solo, it’s clear no one could. He drank himself and died in 1980.

Rolling stone

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