Brian Johnson Says It Took Him Only 20 Minutes To Write AC/DC Classic ‘Shook Me All Night Long’

During a recent appearance on WMMR, AC/DC vocalist Brian Johnson talked about the success of the band’s legendary Back In Black album as well as revealing the first song he wrote.

In the conversation, Brian revealed that Angus and Malcolm came to him in the Bahamas and asked him if he could write the lyrics or not. Even though he didn’t write a song before, Brian wanted to give it a shot because he didn’t have anything to lose.

After listening to the band’s iconic song, You Shook Me All Night Long, Brian started to think about the lyrics and said that he wrote the lyrics in twenty minutes, which is pretty impressive for his first shot.

You Shook Me All Night Long is the debut single of AC/DC’s legendary album Back In Black, and it released in August 1980. Additionally, the song peaked to number 35 on the USA’s Hot 100 pop singles chart in the same year.

Here is what Brian Johnson said:

“When I got to the Bahamas, Malcolm and Angus came to me and said, ‘Hey, by the way, can you write lyrics?’ And I went, ‘Well, I’ll give it a shot.’ And the first night, they brought me a legal pad — yellow legal pad — and a pen, and a little cassette player.

And they said, ‘Well, this song, it’s a very basic track.’ It was ‘Shook Me All Night Long’. They gave me the title — they said, ‘It’s called ‘Shook Me All Night Long’.’ And I said, ‘Bugger, that’s a long one.’ And it was just a basic track of it there.

But to this day, Angus argues it was ‘Back In Black.’ But I remember it being ‘Shook Me All Night Long’. I don’t know… And I remember just sitting there, ‘What have I got to lose? I’ve got a week’s holiday in the Bahamas, at least.’

I wrote it down in about 20 minutes — honestly — and I went, ‘That’s it.’ And I took it to ’em next day, and they said, ‘Sing what you’ve written.’ And what you hear is basically [what I sang] that first day. And as soon as it finished, I went, ‘I like that. That’s a good little song.’”

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