Noel Gallagher's 10-year-old son taught him how to play AC/DC's Back in Black

Noel Gallagher
(Image credit: Ross Gilmore/Redferns)

Noel Gallagher might be one of the most commercially successful guitarists on the planet, but he's not afraid to admit he has some gaps in his guitar knowledge. For instance, until recently, the former Oasis, current High Flying Birds man didn't know how to play the stratospheric main riff from AC/DC's Back in Black.

That was until his 10-year-old son Sonny – who is relatively fresh to the guitar himself – taught him how to play it. 

In a new conversation on Radio X (opens in new tab) (via MusicRadar (opens in new tab)), Gallagher admits that he “genuinely did not know how to play” the riff, and explains how his son finally helped him crack it.

“He's doing good on the guitar,” Gallagher says. “He showed me [how to play] Back in Black, which is a famous riff. He's a rocker, he likes AC/DC and Queen, it's fucking great.”

“I hope he hasn't started too early so that when he gets to 18 he's bored of it,” he continues. “He's my little protégé. My plan was always not to say, ‘Right, Dad's a musician, you're going to be a musician, because I know loads of kids who have done that and by the time they get to 21 they've given it up. So my plan was just to leave musical instruments around the house.

This isn't the only time since Sonny started playing guitar that Gallagher has felt the heat regarding his riff knowledge.

“He was practicing a few things, [including] Smoke on the Water. And then he came home from school one night and said, ‘Can you play Thunderstruck by AC/DC?’ I sheepishly went, ‘No’.

“He was like, ‘Guy, in our school, can play it and he's grade 2. What grade are you?’ I was like, ‘I'm grade £76 million, son. That's what I am, how about that?’ But big up Sonny. He made me a very, very proud dad.

Gallagher also recalls watching Sonny play in a band as part of a recent school concert, saying he had a “little knot” in his stomach because “he's only 10”.

“He's not been playing that long, he's not even been interest in it that long. There was a projected thing that came up of what they were going to play. And it came up: 20th Century Boy by T. Rex. I was like, 'Get in there, son!'

“He had it down, he had the riff and he played a blinder. He even did a little [raises arm up] at the end. I've never been so proud of anything or anyone in my life. It was amazing.”

Earlier this year, Gibson announced a luxuriously appointed new acoustic guitar for the High Flying Birds leader, the Noel Gallagher J-150.

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Sam Roche

Sam was Staff Writer at from 2019 to 2023, and also created content for Total Guitar, Guitarist and Guitar Player. He has well over 15 years of guitar playing under his belt, as well as a degree in Music Technology (Mixing and Mastering). He's a metalhead through and through, but has a thorough appreciation for all genres of music. In his spare time, Sam creates point-of-view guitar lesson videos on YouTube under the name Sightline Guitar (opens in new tab).