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"It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)" is a song by Australian hard rock band AC/DC. It is the first track of the group's second album T.N.T., released only in Australia on 8 December 1975, and was written by Angus Young, Malcolm Young and Bon Scott. The song combines bagpipes with hard rock instrumentation; in the middle section of the song there is a call and response between the bagpipes and guitar.[1] The original recording is in B-flat major, but it was played live in A major.[2]

A slightly shortened version of the song is also the first track on the internationally released High Voltage (May 1976). This version appears only on the vinyl release and the 2003 CD reissue.

The full version of the song is also on the Volts CD of the Bonfire box set, released in 1997.

This was a signature song for Bon Scott. Brian Johnson, who replaced Scott as AC/DC's lead vocalist after Scott's death in 1980 until his departure in 2016, did not perform it, out of respect for his predecessor.[3]

Lyrics Edit

[Verse 1] Ridin' down the highway Goin' to a show Stoppin' on the byways Playin' rock 'n' roll

[Pre-Chorus] Gettin' robbed, gettin' stoned Gettin' beat up, broken boned Getting had, getting took I tell you folks, it's harder than it looks

[Chorus 1] It's a long way to the top, if you want to rock 'n' roll It's a long way to the top, if you want to rock 'n' roll If you think it's easy doing one night stands Try playing in a rock-roll band It's a long way to the top, if you want to rock 'n' roll

[Bagpipes Solo]

[Verse 2] Hotel, motel Make you want to cry Ladies do the hard sell Know the reason why


[Pre-Chorus] Gettin' old, gettin' gray Gettin' ripped off, underpaid Gettin' sold, second-hand That's how it goes, playin' in a band

[Chorus] It's a long way to the top, if you want to rock 'n' roll It's a long way to the top, if you want to rock 'n' roll If you wanna be a star on stage and screen Look out, it's rough and mean It's a long way to the top, if you want to rock 'n' roll It's a long way to the top, if you want to rock 'n' roll

[Outro] Well, it's a long way Oh, it's a long way (You should have told me) It's a long way Such a long way

PopularityEdit

In May 2001, Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) celebrated its 75th anniversary by naming the Best Australian Songs of all time, as decided by a 100-member industry panel. "It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)" was ranked as the ninth song on the list.[4] The song is regularly played during stoppages at AFL matches at the ANZ stadium in Sydney.

The song was also used in the comedy movie School of Rock (2003) during the ending credits sequence when Jack Black's character, Dewey Finn, is giving his kids an "after-school lesson" on rock. This song was also featured in the movie Only the Brave (2017) During One of the many firefighting scenes. In 2010, this song was ranked no. 3 in Triple M's Ultimate 500 Rock Countdown in Melbourne. The top five were all AC/DC songs.[5]

In 2012, this song was inducted into the National Film and Sound Archive's Sounds of Australia.[6]

In the third episode of Empire of Cricket, a 2009 British BBC-TV documentary about the history of cricket, "It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)" is played over the opening credits. The episode details the history of Australian cricket and its rise to dominance.

ITV used the song for the closing montage to their coverage of the 2010 Tour de France. It was the first to be won by an Australian, when BMC's Cadel Evans won the race.

A clip of the song's intro is often used by the Golf Channel before commercial breaks.

The song was used to accompany the promotional video for the 2013 Australian Open Tennis Tournament.

Keith Urban guitarist Brian Nutter often uses the song during his solo section during live performances.

The song is being used by the Chicago Cubs in 2017 as an accompaniment to a video played just prior to the team taking the field.

The original version of the song is played on the PA track list prior to Metallica live performances. As soon as the song concludes, the lights go out and "The Ecstasy of Gold" is played while Metallica appears on stage.

ReferencesEdit

  1. Wall, Mick (2012). AC/DC: Hell Aint a Bad Place to Be. London: Orion Publishing group. ISBN 9781409115359. 
  2. Evans, Mark, Dirty Deeds: My Life Inside/Outside of AC/DC, Bazillion Points, 2011, p. 40.
  3. "The legend lives on in a laneway to heaven", The Age, 15 February 2005. Retrieved on 2007-02-15.
  4. The final list: APRA'S Ten best Australian Songs”. APRA. 2001-05-28. Archived from the original on 2008-03-08. https://web.archive.org/web/20080308150930/http://www.apra.com.au/awards/music/2001_topten.asp. Accesat la 2008-05-08. 
  5. [1]
  6. Archived copy”. Archived from the original on 2016-11-08. https://web.archive.org/web/20161108135523/http://nfsa.gov.au/collection/sound/sounds-australia/sounds-australia-2012/. Accesat la 2016-11-08. 
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