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Five Essential AC/DC Riffs

Riff Raff

If there's one thing AC/DC can do better than anyone else, it's write a fucking riff. Over their career they've had a megaton of headbanging, footstomping, chant-along guitar belters but here are the five essentials you should know and love.

DIRTY DEEDS DONE DIRT CHEAP (DIRTY DEEDS DONE DIRT CHEAP, 1976)

A brooding, muscular number that proved to be one of the Aussie giants’ biggest hits, Dirty Deeds... boasts a riff made for drinking whisky and cracking skulls to.

WHOLE LOTTA ROSIE (LET THERE BE ROCK, 1977)

A burst. A sniff of hi-hat. Another burst. Another sniff. So introduced, unquestionably, the best song about a one-night stand with an obese woman ever committed to tape. No honestly, we checked. 

HIGHWAY TO HELL (HIGHWAY TO HELL, 1979)

While the album that followed would be their biggest, for many, it’s Highway To Hell that captures the real spirit and essence of AC/DC - summed up best in its monstrous riff-beast of a title track.

BACK IN BLACK (BACK IN BLACK, 1980)

Have three chords ever sounded so good? What would have finished off any lesser band brought the rock giants their defining moment – and one of the biggest, most iconic songs ever recorded. 

THUNDERSTRUCK (THE RAZORS EDGE, 1990)

Arguably the finest song the ‘DC crafted post-Back In Black, everything about this bad boy rules – from its simmering intro to its pounding midsection, it remains a consummate live favourite.

Read all about AC/DC's riff mastery in the latest issue of Metal Hammer.

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