Fast facts: featuring the songs of AC/DC

I have interesting co-workers. On a recent trip to a local mall with my “legitimately-wears-a-sash, shoots-a-.50-cal-and-leaves-spent-cartridges-on-my-desk, wishes-she-had-a-pink-jeep, has-exactly-zero-minutes-of-time-for-herself-because-she’s-involved-in-a-bajillion-charities-and-groups, and really-really-wants-a-pink-jeep” co-worker, she cranked AC/DC’s Hell’s Bells during the trip and was talking about how much she enjoyed their concerts. I started wondering how many times AC/DC repeated the word “Hell” in their lyrics.

I then asked my has-a-band, you-can-listen-to-his-shit-on-itunes-and-google-play-and-spotify-etc, has-opinions-about-music-and-isn’t-reluctant-to-share-them, and is-perfectly-happy-with-his-nissan-altima coworker to guess what he thought would be the most frequently occurring word in their lyrics. He guessed “hell.”

This led me to a few dozen sites that host song lists and lyrics. After 180 or so copy-paste operations into a spreadsheet (and a generous application of Excel’s text-to-column and count-if features and functions), I can now report the following fast facts:

When we rock we rock, and when we roll… well you know how it goes

Let’s start by looking at the word frequency for words you’d expect in just about any metal band that was alive in the 80’s…

Word(s)Number of times
word(s) appear in lyrics
ROCK(ER)(ING)(S)429
ROLL(S)(ER)(ING)273
GOT(TA)437
GONNA278
WANNA93
GIV(ES)(ING)/GIMME197
YE(A)(AH)(AHHH)195
(O)OH(H)77
HEY81
AIN’T178
HOT(TER)98
HIGH(ER)90
HARD(ER)73
FAST(ER)16
LONG(ER)65
WILD(ER)24
NIGHT(S)136
SHOW67
SHAK(ES)(ING)120
RID(E)(ING)63
BUSINESS(MAN)63
MON(EY)(ETARY)63
MILLION(AIRE)22
SHOTS56
READY82
DRINK(S)(ING)50
PLAY(S)(ING)(ED)41
RHYTHM31
PROBLEM(S)30
LIGHT(S)(ING)29
RAIN22
WHISKEY12

Feelings, nothing more than feelings

Another hallmark of 80’s metal was discussing one’s feelings… particularly the sexy ones.

Word(s)Number of times
word(s) appear in lyrics
LOV(ED)(ELY)(ER)(ING)174
FEEL(S)(INGS)127
NEED(ED)(ING)86
FUN60
BLUE(S)51
TOUCH(ED)(ING)51
TALK(S)(ED)(ING)49
HEART(BEAT)(S)42
SWEET35
SCREW(ED)33
PLEAS(E)(URE)31
LIP(S)29
KISS(ED)(ING)21
LUST5

Girls rock the boys

Given that female pronouns occur 400% more often than male ones, you’d think these guys were experts on the issues facing women in the 80’s…

Word(s)Number of times
word(s) appear in lyrics
SHE(S)425
BABY110
HER94
WOM(AN)(EN)(ANS)87
GIRL(S)79
HONEY40
STRIPPER14
WIFE1
MAN115
HE41
BOY(S)31
HIM13

Now that’s what I call AC/DC

There’s a certain flavor that gets added to an AC/DC song. Here is the secret blend of spices…

Word(s)Number of times
word(s) appear in lyrics
BALL(S)113
FIRE(S)85
HELL(S)86
HIGHWAY22
BELL(S)25
DIRT(Y)65
THUNDER(STORM)(STRUCK)53
DAMN(ED)(NATION)52
BLOOD(Y)47
BLACK39
DEVIL33
EVIL31
SIN(NER)(S)(NING)40
FLAMES25
SOUL22
TNT17
DYNAMITE20
LIGHTNING9
EXPLODE8
VOLTAGE21

Miscellany

Randomly frequent terms…

Word(s)Number of times
word(s) appear in lyrics
JACK93
DOG(S)89
SHOOT(ER)(ERS)(ING)88
WAR68
BRAINS60
DEEP47

RESEARCH NOTES:

  • All numbers provided are based on the research of a single individual who was responsible for both the creation and interpretation of the data-set and therefore subject to human error.
  • Titles were intentionally excluded from this list.
  • Only songs that were released on AC/DC albums are included in the data set. Songs written for soundtracks, performed in conjunction with other artists, or recorded as part of someone else’s album are not included because they were subject to outside influence.

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