Bruce Springsteen, Eddie Vedder and Tom Morello are no strangers to AC/DC’s 1979 classic “Highway to Hell.”
They’ve been down that road before.
Morello of Rage Against the Machine has just released a new cover version of the AC/DC classic with Springsteen and Vedder on lead vocals. It’s part of the upcoming Morello album, “The Atlas Underground,” due Oct. 15.
Springsteen and the E Street Band developed quite a penchant for the song during the E Street band’s “High Hopes” tour of 2014. It started in February of that year when the band debuted their version of it Feb. 8 in Perth, Australia, the hometown of the band’s late lead singer Bon Scott.
Morello was on stage with group as he was filling in for guitarist Steven Van Zandt, who was busy filming “Lilyhammer” at the time. The E Street’s version rolls big on the highway without the sneer of the AC/DC version.
Springsteen and the E Street Band, including Morello, took a liking to the song. They played it five times during the “High Hopes” run in Australia, according to Brucebase.
Vedder of Pearl Jam got involved at the Feb. 15, 2014, show in Melbourne. The Boss invited him onstage to begin the show.
Vedder was touring theaters in Australia at the time.
“Hey, Ed! I’ve got an idea!,” said Vedder, impersonating Springsteen on the Howard Stern show in 2020, according to Variety. “Here’s the deal. All right. First song: AC/DC, ‘Highway to Hell.’ You take a verse, I take a verse, and then you’re done. You can drink beer, you can do whatever you want. None of this encore (blank). You don’t have to wait around. First song, hit it with me, and you’re good to go!”
Springsteen and the E Street Band played the song once in the U.S. during the “High Hopes” show on April, 29, 2014, at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida.
The Boss spotted a fan wearing an AC/DC T-shirt in the crowd.
“Is somebody rocking an AC/DC T-shirt out there?” asked Springsteen, according to a Magik Rat video.
Morello’s upcoming “The Atlas Underground” features collabs Chris Stapleton, Mike Posner, Damian Marley and more. His “Highway to Hell” with Springsteen and Vedder garnered a lot of attention when it was released on Aug. 4.
“Our version of ‘Highway To Hell’ pays homage to AC/DC, but with Bruce Springsteen and Eddie Vedder, brings this legendary song into the future,” said Morello in a statement. “One of the greatest rock ’n’ roll songs of all time sung by two of the greatest rock ’n’ roll singers of all time. And then I drop a shredding guitar solo. Thank you and good night.”
Well, that’s not quite all for Springsteen’s AC/DC connection. The Boss and E Street Band, also on the “High Hopes” tour, covered the Easybeats 1966 classic “Friday on my Mind” to open the group’s Feb. 19, 2014, show in Sydney. Easybeats member George Young, who co-wrote the song, is the older brother of AC/DC founders Malcolm and Angus Young.
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Chris Jordan, a Jersey Shore native, covers entertainment and features for the USA Today Network New Jersey. Contact him at @chrisfhjordan; [email protected]