Everyone loves AC/DC, right? Right! It's just that for some people, expressing that love manifests itself in... peculiar ways.
Over the years there have been terrible synth pop covers, renditions performed on bagpipes, traditional Korean instruments and by Bavarian marching bands, and covers by actual babies. Frankly, there are enough weird and wonderful covers of internet favourite Thunderstruck to do a whole separate article on that one song alone. Instead, here, we've complied some of our favourite covers of all manner of AC/DC songs from over the years, for a whole host of versions you’re unlikely to forget – good, bad and ugly.
GayC/DC - Dirty Dudes Done Dirt Cheap
We'll level with you: we love everything about GayC/DC. The LA-based, all gay AC/DC cover band specialise in ultra camp versions of classic DC tunes given a twist: Let There Be Cock, Whole Lotta Jose, If You Want Cum – you get the idea. In this take on Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, the glitter, leather and tiara-clad band perform to a Viper Room packed with, presumably, the Dirty Dudes in question. Enjoy.
Buddhist Monk - Thunderstruck
As mentioned above, Thunderstruck has become something of go-to destination for the web's providers of unusual covers over the years. But they all pale into insignificance when compared to this version by Buddhist monk Kazutaka Yamada, which starts with a reasonably meditative drumbeat before bursting into life as our Buddhist pal attempts to recreate Brian Johnson's original vocal. It climaxes with a gong just before the five-minute mark, and the remaining three minutes of the video are given over to quiet meditation. We hope you join in.
Athletic Bilbao - Highway To Hell
What would you do if you finally won a major football tournament after over half a decade of hurt? You'd form a half-baked tribute band and blast out a cover of Highway To Hell, obviously. Beating European football giants Barcelona is a cause for celebration for any football club, but for the players and staff of Athletic Bilbao – who will only sign players born in the Basque region of Spain – their 3-2 victory over the Catalan superstars early this year was particularly sweet, as it netted the plucky underdogs their first silverware in six years, the Spanish Super Cup. They won't be winning any awards for this cover, but all in the name of fun, eh?
Athletic Bilbao's Supercopa celebrations are getting out of hand – they've formed an AC/DC tribute band.That's Dani García on drums, Óscar de Marcos, Mikel Vesga and Mikel Balenziaga on guitar, Iñigo Lekue on bass and Asier Villalibre on vocals.pic.twitter.com/Le2QgEGbYmJanuary 19, 2021
David Drambyan - Hells Bells
Hells Bells performed on actual church bells? Sure, someone had to do it at some point. Here, Carilloneur David Drambyan bashes out his rendition of the AC/DC classic on the biggest Carillion in Europe. What's a Carillion, we hear you ask? Wikipedia tells it's a "musical instrument that is typically housed in the bell tower (belfry) of a church or municipal building. The instrument consists of at least 23 cast bronze, cup-shaped bells, which are played serially to produce a melody, or sounded together to play a chord." So now you know. Is this cover good? Sure, if you like that sort of thing. Is it impressive? Most definitely.
2Cellos - Thunderstruck
Now this is how you cover Thunderstruck. 2Cellos are two virtuoso Croatian cellists who do weird and wonderful things to pop and rock classics: Elton John is on record as saying that they’re the most exciting live act he’s witnessed since Jimi Hendrix. High praise, but he’s clearly not the only one smitten, as the duo’s take on this ‘DC favourite has now racked up over 216 MILLION views on YouTube since it was released in 2014. Blimey.
Shakira - Back In Black
Ever heard the title track of AC/DC’s biggest album rendered as a cool jazz standard? Neither had we, until we heard the version with which Columbian pop star Shakira opened up her 2002/2003 Tour Of The Mongoose. We’re pretty sure we won’t see Brian Johnson attempting those dance moves onstage anytime soon though.
The King - Whole Lotta Rosie
Belfast-born Jim Brown is one of the world’s most in-demand Elvis impersonators, and novelty value aside, his take on Bon Scott’s most iconic song on his Return To Splendour album is clearly done with love and affection. Probably best we don’t encourage this sort of thing too much though.
Godflesh - For Those About To Rock
There are some terrible, terrible cover versions on Covered In Black, the industrial-metal tribute to “The Kings Of High Voltage”, but Godflesh’s deconstruction of the title track of ‘DC’s 1981 album is both bold and striking, albeit bold and striking in a way that’s guaranteed to piss off some AC/DC purists. Somehow we don’t imagine that the Brummie noiseniks will have a problem with that, though.
Mark Kozelek - Up To My Neck In You
The former frontman of San Franciscan ‘slow-core’ indie rockers Red House Painters, sensitive and soulful singer/singer Mark Kozelek might seem like an unlikely ‘DC fan, but Up To My Neck In You, his 2001 ten track tribute to Bon Scott-era songs is a tasteful and hauntingly beautiful collection. Here’s the title track, a delicate rendition of one of the most under-rated songs from the Powerage album.
Celine Dion - You Shook Me All Night Long
From the sublime to the utterly ridiculous…. Honestly, if you can get past the first 10 seconds of this, you’ve got a stronger stomach than us.