Bagpipes, Farm Tools, and a Buddhist Monk: 7 Crazy Covers of AC/DC Classic “Thunderstruck”

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

A rock anthem and classic in its marching beats and wizardry of Angus Young’s riffs flitting all about, AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” has been covered by a number of artists since its release in 1990, but several musicians and YouTubers have reimagined the hit, featured on the band’s 12th album Razor’s Edge, in some unimaginable ways throughout the past few years.

Using some not-so-rock and some unorthodox “Instrumentation”—a mix using gurgles of a baby and even one incorporating washing machines—for their covers, here are seven of the craziest and inventive versions of the AC/DC classic played on ancient Asian instruments, retro analog platforms—and a little bluegrass (performed by Finnish musicians using farm equipment) for measure. 

1. Finns and Farm Tools

In 2014, Finnish country band Steve’n’Seagulls covered “Thunderstruck” using fiddles and other typical bluegrass instruments along with some not-so-traditional pieces—a tractor and other farm equipment. Part of the band’s set for years, this was the first time the quintet recorded their bluegrass version of “Thunderstruck,” and they did it right on a farm.

2. Bagpipes and Dubstep (2015)

Indian artist Archy J (aka The Snake Charmer) reinterpreted the AC/DC song on bagpipes and took it a step further. Calling her version “Dubstruck,” her experimental track was also mixed with some dubstep beats. “The world’s first dubstep bagpipe track on a rock and roll song,” said the artist of her cover. “This will definitely be something you have never heard before. No matter what music you listen to, there is something in this for everyone.” The artist has also taken on a number of television and film theme songs with her bagpipes—The Walking Dead, Pirates of the Caribbean, Game of Thrones—and even has renditions of “Auld Lang Syne” and “Amazing Grace.”

3. The Gayageum (2018)

Musician Luna Lee released a video of her take on the  AC/DC classic using the traditional Korean instrument, the gayageum. Similar to the Chinese guzheng or the Japanese koto, the gayageum is a traditional zither, or stringed instrument, featuring 12 or up to 25 strings and dates back to the 6th century. In her version of “Thunderstruck,” Lee uses all the strings to capture the layered arrangement instrumentation of the song. Throughout the years, the California-based musician has also covered Nirvana’s “In Bloom,” Elvis Presley’s “Jailhouse Rock,” Roy Orbison’s “Only the Lonely,” Guns N’ Roses’ “Don’t Cry,” Neil Young’s “Cinnamon Girl,” Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams,” Green Day’s “Wake Me Up When September Ends” and more on the archaic instrument. 

4. Stylophone (2020)

YouTuber maromaro1337 recently took on Metallica’s 1986 song“Master of Puppets” after renewed interest in the metal classic, following its feature on the Netflix series Stranger Things, using the analog stylus-operated keyboard called a stylophone. Invented in 1967 by Brian Jarvis, the stylophone was manufactured in 1968 by Dubreq. Throughout the past two years, maromaro has also stunned viewers by taking on heavier songs like Rammstein’s “Sonne” and even hip-hop with Dr. Dre’s “The Next Episode,” along with the AC/DC classic. 

“That was very hard to pull off,” said maromaro1337 of playing “Thunderstruck” on the stylophone. “The main guitar part was just horrible to play on the Stylophone. The riffs and solos were cool to play, but damn…it was harder than it looks.” 

5. Cyberpunk Synth (2021)

YouTuber siblings Dave and Joe, known as the Melodicka Bros, have offered up their synth-wave and electronic versions of songs by Ghost, Linkin Park, Green Day, System of the Down, and more, calling their sound “Weird music for weird people.” For “Thunderstruck,” the brothers gave the song a trifecta blend sound of cyberpunk, synth, and electronic rock they said was “coming right from the year 2077.”

6. A Monk and Meditation (2021)

Buddhist monk and YouTuber Kossan1108 (real name Kazutaka Yamada) offered a slightly meditative version of “Thunderstruck,” beginning with a slowed drumbeat and then exploding with the monk taking on AC/DC singer Brian Johnson’s iconic vocals before its apex: a gong just before and the remaining three minutes left to quiet meditation. Yamada has also shared more meditative versions of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman,” Queen anthem “We Will Rock You,” The Ramones’ “Teenage Lobotomy,” and The Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine.”

Check out Yamada’s version posted on Facebook (or watch a metalhead reacting to it below).

7. The Guzheng (2022)

Most recently, musician Moyun used the guzheng, a traditional Chinese instrument originating nearly 2,500 years ago that features up to 21 movable strings and bridges. The artist, who has gained a following covering more modern songs on the antiquated instrument—including Linkin Park’s “Numb,” The Kid Laroi’s “Stay” and more—methodically plucked the guzheng strings following Angus Young’s iconic guitar riffs and tapped the wooden sections of the instrument to capture the thumping beat of the rock anthem.

Read more on Moyun’s AC/DC cover here.

Photo: Sony Music

Leave a Reply

Sam Hunt Denied Access Into Canada, Festival Date Canceled

Barbara Mandrell Returns to Grand Ole Opry to Celebrate 50th Anniversary as Member