Solving the problem of evil in the twenty-first century

Highway to Hell

Highway to Hell is the opening track of AC/DC’s 1979 album Highway to Hell. The song was written by Bon Scott, Angus Young and Malcolm Young while the main guitar riff created by Angus Young. The song is ranked number 254 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Including its name Highway to Hell is a song accused of Satanism as many have interpreted as the story of a man leaving a bad life and happily going to hell. The repeated verses of “I’m on the highway to hell” and the line “Hey Satan payin my dues” suggest the character in the song is going to hell and has some connection to the Devil. The reality of the song is far different from being a satanic message. The song and album’s title supposedly came after a reporter asked band members if they could describe what life was like being constantly on tour. Angus replied that it was “a fucking highway to hell”. He stated in the magazine Guitar World that when you are out on the road on a bus sleeping with a guy’s smelly sock in your face, it’s like you’re on the highway to hell. However, rumors circulated that the band members were Satanists and the cover of the album named after the song, depicting Angus with devil horns and tail, added fuel to the fire. The band has denied having anything to do with Satanism, with Malcolm Young commenting: “my mum would kill me for that!” it became the first million-selling album for AC/DC, reaching number 17 on the charts. Brian Johnson has speculated at least twice about the origins of the lyrics. In October 2009, Johnson told British newspaper Metro: “it was written about being on the bus on Mt. Hood Highway in Oregon, USA. When the Sun’s setting in the west and you’re driving across it, it is like a fire ball. There is nothing to do, except have a quick one off the wrist or a game of cards, so that’s where Bon came up with the lyrics. In a 2010 interview in The Sydney Morning Herald on the day of AC/DC’s first Black Ice concert in Sydney, Johnson stated that the lyrics were about the 2,000 miles drive from cities like Sydney and Melbourne to Scott’s home town of Perth. Hence the song was just an allusion comparing the long roads traveled in tours by the band with the highway to hell.


3 responses

  1. ler884

    People from this time probably also saw the the band as being satanists from the common idea that rock music was made by the devil. On a church mission trip we stayed at church in Mississippi in their library. I found a book on demonology from the 60’s which literally stated that demons existed in rock n’ roll music. It was halarious and yet ridiculous that so many people would believe these things or think that an entire band worships the devil because the name of one of the songs is “highway to hell.”

    May 13, 2011 at 3:14 am

  2. nbe88

    With the genre, an album name, and opening number name like those, of course people would think that they were associating with the devil at this time. But with that great main riff, the only thing I believe would encourage something like that is true passion for the instrument… which can also be seen as a sin.

    May 13, 2011 at 2:52 pm

  3. deesdetfc

    Passion is not a sin in itself. It’s not the passion in the instrument, it is passion of the expression through that instrument.

    I don’t think it has anything to do with Satanism, but rather the realisation of the debauchery of the road they’re on.

    May 14, 2011 at 9:09 pm

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