You've Been Thunderstruck!
It is hard to believe that "Thunderstruck" is 26 years old—or that AC/DC started 43 years ago, in 1973. They are still performing (I correctly predicted the longevity of this band in my science fiction story "Mrs. Lincoln's China," published in Asimov's in 1993). AC/DC were pioneers of Heavy Metal, and for over three decades their songs have gone to the top of charts worldwide. This Australian band has given us such ear-pounding songs as "Thunderstruck," "You Shook Me All Night Long," and "Highway to Hell."
I spent years studying classical music, but one of the pleasures of my life has been finding great music in other genres. There's a lot of it in Heavy Metal.
Here is a link to "Thunderstruck" on Amazon.com:
Board Game to Big Screen
I reencountered this song watching the movie Battleship, which makes a movie out of the old board game. The movie features an original film score by Steve Jablonsky, but sometimes other songs are used, including "Thunderstruck." It is perfect in its scene for several reasons, among them the fact that the entire world, in this movie, is literally thunderstruck by the alien invasion.
Without giving too much away, the movie takes place in and around Hawaii. There comes a time when a group of international navies have nothing left to fight with—their ships are sunk—but there is one critical mission still to perform, a mission which, if it fails, will doom the Earth. The hero of the movie remembers a World War II-era battleship that had just been dedicated as a museum at Pearl Harbor. At the dedication ceremony, which he had attended, WWII veterans, many of whom had served on battleships, were honored. The modern navy personnel have no idea how to get the analog systems on the old ship running; that's when the aged veterans step forward to save not just the day, but the world. The scene is actually quite exciting as you watch them rush to get the decommissioned ship battle ready. Throughout that scene, they play "Thunderstruck"—and it works.
Here is a link to Battleship on Amazon.com (you can access it on iTunes, as well):
The trailer portrays the hero of this movie as someone who is confident and sure of himself—but he is none of that. One of the reasons I like this movie is that the main character is not prepared to assume command; he is, in fact, troubled by self doubt through much of what he must do. He has the authority to lead: but he must work through his doubt to find the confidence to lead.
It is ingenious, I think, how the scriptwriters work the board game Battleship into the movie. I remember playing the game as a boy—before the board game came out. We used grid paper (or traced grids on lined paper), then drew in our ships and started the naval assaults. In dozy afternoon mathematics classes, we'd sometimes continue the game, our papers hidden in our desks. "B3," I'd whisper. "Miss," my friend would whisper back, then take his turn. "C7."
I created "You Will Hear Thunder," the image above, in 2008. It is based on Mandelbrot fractals. The title is from Anna Akhmatova's poem "You Will Hear Thunder":
You will hear thunder and remember me,
And think: she wanted storms.