Highway to Hell
is an album by Australian hard rock band AC/DC
, released in 1979
It was the band's fifth internationally released studio album. It was the last album featuring lead singer Bon Scott, who died early the following year on February 19, 1980.
AC/DC manager Michael Browning turned to producer Robert John "Mutt" Lange to step in. Lange was best known for producing the Boomtown Rats #1 hit "Rat Trap". Sessions for the album - 15 hours a day, day-in day-out, for over two months - were grueling. Songs were worked and reworked." Lange's no-nonsense approach was appreciated by the band, whose own work ethic had always been solid.
Angus Young said, "He was meticulous about sound, getting right guitars and drums. He would zero in - and he was good too on the vocal side. Even Bon was impressed with how he could get his voice to sound." Lange, a trained singer, showed Scott how to breathe so he could be a technically better singer and would join in on background vocals himself, having to stand on the other side of the studio because his own voice was so distinctive. The melodic backing vocals was a new element to the band's sound, but the polish that Lange added did not detract from the band's characteristic crunch.
On Wednesday, February 20, 1980, 33 year old Bon Scott was found dead. He had spent the previous evening drinking heavily in a club in Camden Town. Scott, who had passed out, was driven home by a man named Alistair Kinnear. Kinnear explained that he drove Scott to his own home but, finding the singer too heavy to lift, placed a blanket over him and staggered up to bed. Scott's body was discovered at 11 am the next morning. During the night, Scott had apparently vomited in his sleep and choked to death.
Rolling Stone: "Bon Scott was a bourbon-swilling force of nature, and by AC/DC's fourth LP, he and guitarist Angus Young had become a one-two punch with killer songs (like the bulldozing title track) to match. Scott's wicked ways caught up with him, however: He was dead six months after Highway hit shelves."
The album is number 200 on Rolling Stone
magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time