“Let There Be Rock” is a song by Australian hard rock band AC/DC. It is the third and title track of their album Let There Be Rock, released in March 1977, and was written by Angus Young, Malcolm Young, and Bon Scott.
It was also released as a single, with a B-side of “Problem Child”, in 1977.
The song provides an encapsulated, fictionalized version of the history of rock ‘n’ roll. Building on a line from the Chuck Berry song “Roll Over Beethoven”: “… tell Tchaikovsky the news”, “Let There Be Rock” reveals that Tchaikovsky did, in fact, receive the message and subsequently shared it with the masses, resulting in the rise of rock ‘n’ roll.
Following rock’s birth, rock bands appeared everywhere, musicians found fame (while businesses made money off their efforts), and millions of people learned how to play electric guitar. The third and final verse speaks of a “42-decibel” rock band playing good, loud music in an establishment called “The Shaking Hand”. This is usually changed to “92-decibel” in live versions of the song. After the final verse, the song ends with an extended solo by Angus Young, which consists mainly of fast picking, string bends, and hammer-ons.
Being one of AC/DC’s most popular songs, “Let There Be Rock” has been included on four of the band’s six official live albums: If You Want Blood You’ve Got It (sung by Bon Scott, 1978), Live: 2 CD Collector’s Edition (sung by Scott’s replacement Brian Johnson, 1992), Let There Be Rock: The Movie (Scott, 1979), released in 1997 as part of the Bonfire box set, Stiff Upper Lip Tour Edition (Johnson, 2001), recorded from Plaza De Toros in Madrid from 1996, and Live At River Plate (Johnson, 2012), with the last recorded during AC/DC’s Black Ice World Tour at River Plate Stadium in Buenos Aires on 4 December 2009.
Live performances of the song often go into a section not included on the studio version, with Angus Young performing an extended solo without accompaniment. It is best known for a section in which he plays varying arpeggios starting on B major and ending on E major.
It is the final song played in Let There Be Rock: The Movie and at the immediate conclusion the words “To Bon” appear on the screen. On recent tours, the song has concluded the regular set before the band reappears for encores.
The music video for “Let There Be Rock” was filmed in July 1977 (see 1977 in music). It was recorded in the Kirk Gallery church in Surry Hills, New South Wales and featured Bon Scott, Angus Young, Malcolm Young, Phil Rudd, and Cliff Williams, who replaced Mark Evans as the band’s bassist shortly after the Let There Be Rock album was released. This marked one of Williams’ first public appearances with AC/DC. Scott was dressed as a priest and the rest of the band as altar boys, with Angus Young wearing a halo prop on his head. Towards the end of the video it shows Angus, and the rest of the band jamming while he plays the guitar. In an alternate ending of the video, the colors are morphed and the camera zooms in on the stained glass window. According to an interview with the Young brothers, Scott injured himself in the final jump from the podium. In the video and studio recording, Scott also sings the pre-chorus incorrectly, introducing sound before light. This is corrected during live performances of the song.