In the late 1970s The Beatles were breaking up, psychedelic drugs were taking their toll on the youth, and juke joints were booming. In Australia there was one group that would save rock ‘n roll: AC/DC. With Bon Scott at the helm of a band that took electric thunder to new levels of power and raw energy, they exploded onto an unsuspecting world with “Whole Lotta Rosie” in 1975. They had their first American breakthrough with 1975’s landmark album “High Voltage”. In this article, we’ll be ranking the ten best AC/DC songs with the original singer Bon Scott.
10. “Big Balls”
One of the singles on the 1980 album Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, this song compels listeners to sing along with Scott’s ode to power and “balls”. While its message may be blasphemous if you’re unsure as to what the “biggest balls of all” are, the music certainly sweeps you under its spell. Heavy guitars from Angus Young and Malcolm Young sculpt the song and Scott’s vocals make it their own.
9. “Shot Down In Flames”
“Shot Down In Flames” is one of the most popular songs on AC/DC’s breakout album, Highway to Hell. The opening bass riff and a massive chorus lead to a hard-driving, punk rock first verse and then into Bon Scott’s first of three soaring vocals. Angus Young’s guitar solo is entirely mesmerizing, and the song just keeps going and going.
8. “The Jack”
Off their debut LP High Voltage, this song was written and performed by Bon Scott. With its Slim Jim-esque guitar riff, hard-driving drumming and hailstorm of guitars, this song is absolute punk rock. The lyrics, which at first seem to be about a game of cards, tell a more interesting tale, as explained by Lyric Interpretations. The drums are also so loud that they drown out Bon Scott’s voice for a portion of the song, but the listener can still tell what he is saying.
7. “Let There Be Rock”
“Let There Be Rock” is the title track to AC/DC’s fifth album. It has all of the elements of what made Bon Scott great: power, energy, volume and yes, blasphemous lyrics. It includes a ripping guitar solo from Angus Young and a first verse that features the chanting sounds of “one, two, three, four” that drive the song along until you reach a chorus that will stay with you long after your ears hear it for the first time.
6. “Ride On”
“Ride on” is another one of Bon Scott’s songs. It shows off his vocals and guitar chops, but in typical AC/DC fashion, it is very fast, and the band’s trademark sound of the time is present. The song also includes a rather rare drum solo from Phil Rudd, something that was more common in the early days of AC/DC’s career.
5. “Whole Lotta Rosie”
“Whole Lotta Rosie” was a huge hit that helped make AC/DC a worldwide sensation. It was the band’s first of two U.S. hits, and is still played in almost every rock bar today. It features one of the most well-known guitar riffs of all time, and the song just keeps going with another crushing chorus and extended solo from Angus Young. The song has lasted decades as a classic, catchy tune about Bon Scott’s love for women.
4. “It’s A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘N’ Roll)”
The lead single to their 1976 US-released version of High Voltage, this song includes one of the most quoted lines in rock, “It’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock ‘n’ roll.” Bon Scott bellows over a combination of melodic and very fast guitars courtesy of brothers Angus and Malcolm Young. This is one song that can get everyone singing and yelling along with its catchy chorus, if you want to rock and roll! This song was given a new life in the movie School Of Rock, where it re-entered the charts after that film’s explosive popularity, as noted by ABC.
The first single from their 1975 album, “T.N.T” helped AC/DC gain worldwide fame. It features the most recognizable guitar riff of any AC/DC song, and Bon Scott’s vocals are just as powerful. This was further explained by Ultimate Classic Rock. While the song is very fast, the listener doesn’t have to be in a hurry to rock out on its chorus and thanks to the heavy guitars and drums just screams loud enough for anyone to hear it!
2. “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap”
The title track to this 1976 album, “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” is one of the most fast-paced tracks in AC/DC’s catalog. It includes a bass line that sticks with you for days after listening, and Bon Scott’s vocals keep up with the rhythm. The song also has the most high-pitched (and raspy) guitars from Angus Young and Malcolm Young, making it an essential AC/DC song for all new fans to start with.
1. “Highway To Hell”
Now this is quintessential AC/DC. The title track to their 1979 album, this song is all about living life to the fullest and having a good time. The song sets the listeners’ hearts racing with its fast tempo and hard beat, but the lyrics also convey a sense of freedom. The song’s lyrics were taken from Bon Scott’s writings in his personal notebook. The song also contains one of Angus Young’s most recognizable guitar solos. Overall, it’s a high-energy track that everyone should hear at least once in their lives.
AC/DC are without a doubt the most influential and iconic band of all time, and it is quite likely that they will be around and creating even more amazing music in the future. Their music has a distinct sound that is hard to forget, and it is a common misconception that their songs only feature fast-paced riffs. As their first singer, Bon Scott’s memory and legacy has a great spot in rock and roll history.