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Performances Song History

Hell's Bells

Music/Lyrics: Johnson/A. Young/M. Young

Vocals: Instrumental

Original Artist: AC/DC

Original Album: Back in Black (1980)

Historian: Martha Hunt, Mark Toscano

"Hell's Bells" originally appeared on the 1980 album Back in Black. This was AC/DC’s first release after the death of Bon Scott. It was he more than any other member of the band who was responsible for creating AC/DC’s “bad boy” image. One month after Scott’s accidental, alcohol-related death in February 1980, the brothers Malcolm and Angus Young, rhythm and lead guitarists, respectively, drummer Phil Rudd and bassist Cliff Williams recorded Back in Black with new lead singer, Brian Johnson. It was to become their most popular album, firmly establishing the Australian rockers’ place in the pantheon of the most influential and distinctive heavy metal bands.

Phish performed “Hells Bells” at only one show. Well, sort of performed, and sort of at a show. On 7/6/97, the crowd in Desenzano, Italy was treated to an early entrance and an impromptu soundcheck circus. The band did some karaoke-style song requests, as part of the pre-show antics, with “Hells Bells” actually being inspired by some church bells ringing nearby this outdoor performance. Though it was only toyed with and not played in full, Phish’s “Hells Bells” is silly fun, and led directly into another AC/DC tune, “You Shook Me All Night Long.”

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Recommended Versions: 1997-07-06

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