AC/DC's Angus Young Came Up with "Highway to Hell" While He Was on the Toilet
"I'm just sitting on the throne more or less, and then I go, 'I think I've got it'"
Published Feb 23, 2021Whether we like to admit it or not, often the best ideas come while perched atop the porcelain throne. Need proof? Well, AC/DC's Angus Young has revealed that he came up with the band's classic song "Highway to Hell" while he was sitting on the toilet.
The AC/DC guitarist made the TMI reveal while talking to Zane Lowe for Apple Music Radio [via NME] about the 1979 song.
"We'd been in Miami, and we'd been in a rehearsal room and that's what we were doing. We were putting together new tracks," Young began. "And we'd been there a couple of weeks and we were going a bit slow. And then I had come in one day with [late AC/DC co-founder and guitarist Malcolm Young] and just before we got in, I said, 'I've got a good idea in my head.'
"So I got in and he came in, and I started playing the beginning, the intro. And so I was doing the da-da-da, da-da-da. And then I said to Malcolm… I had this thing about the drums. And I said, 'I just want it to come in in the right spot.' And he said, 'Okay.' Malcolm got behind the drums and he said, 'Right, you let me know when you hear the downbeat, the first downbeat of what you want.' So that's what I did. I said, 'I'll do my drop,' and he said, 'And I'll follow your foot.' So he came in with the beat. That's how we set it up."
Apparently, though, the lyrics weren't really there yet, leading Angus to dive deep for some extra inspiration — and that's when the toilet comes in.
"I said, 'Okay, give me a few minutes,'" Young said. "And I went to the toilet, and then I was in the toilet and I was there and I'm sitting and thinking. And I'm just sitting on the throne more or less, and then I go, 'I think I've got it. I've got it. I've got it. I've got the idea in my head.'
"And then I came in there and I said, 'I've got it. Highway to hell.' And I was over the chords that we had tried out through a chorus. And he went, 'Yeah, that'll work.' And he said, 'If we spread it out a bit into full singing thing.' So he came up with a spread of it, '[singing] highway to hell.'"
You can revisit the classic toilet jam below.