Skip to main content

Prince William begins his week by listening to AC/DC's Thunderstruck

[L-R] Prince William and Angus Young
(Image credit: Getty Images)

With such decorum and public composure, it's hard to imagine members of the British royal family listening to hype music. And if such an imagination can be conjured, they're surely listening to some spritely orchestral composition, right? 

Wrong. Prince William, grandson of Queen Elizabeth II, listens to rock music – specifically AC/DC – to get himself ready for his royal duties, as he explains in a new episode of Apple's Time To Walk podcast.

“There's nothing better than, on a Monday morning, when you're a bit bleary-eyed after the weekend and trying to get yourself back into the grind of the week, listening to AC/DC, Thunderstruck,” the Duke of Cambridge says during a stroll round the Queen’s Sandringham estate (transcribed by Blabbermouth).

“I have to say the first time I put it on – and I’ve heard it a million times now – I was kind of, like, ‘Well, this is quite heavy for a Monday morning. But now, when I listen to it, it’s the best tonic for a Monday morning. It absolutely wakes you up, puts your week in the best mood possible, and you feel like you can take on anything and anyone.

“I’d imagine you’re going to walk quite fast listening to it, maybe with a skip in your step, with the headbanging. It’s a difficult song not to dance to or to nod along to.”

Thunderstruck appears on AC/DC's 1990 album, The Razor's Edge, and remains one of the Aussie rock giants' most popular tracks. Despite the track's stratospheric influence on rock music in general, its main riff actually originated as one of guitarist Angus Young's acoustic guitar warmup licks.

“It started off as a practice thing on an acoustic guitar I had at home,” the guitar icon revealed in a conversation with Zane Lowe for Apple Music earlier this year.

“I had a cassette and I was fiddling around with the guitar and I thought, ‘That's interesting’, so I put it down.”

Young explained that it was his brother – late AC/DC founding rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young – who encouraged him to pursue the practice lick and transform it into the Thunderstruck we all know today.

“Angus, go back, go back to that little guitar thing you had on the acoustic – that's a little hooky thing... there's something about that,” Malcolm reportedly told Angus.

Angus also revealed that when he took a one-week break away during the recording of The Razor's Edge, Malcolm tweaked the track's original arrangement.

"When I came back, Malcolm came to me and he said, ‘Listen and hear what we've done to your song,’” Angus recalled. “I put it on, and he had added the big thunder choruses at the beginning, and the chant, which we originally only put in the middle section of the song.”

When Malcolm asked for his opinion, Angus simply replied: “You've made it better, you've improved it. It sounds great.”

Sam Roche

Sam is a Staff Writer at Guitar World, also creating 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.