It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)

It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)

Infobox Single
Name = It's A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)
Artist = AC/DC
from Album = T.N.T.
B-side = "Can I Sit Next to You Girl"
Released = 1975
Format = CD
Recorded = 1975
Genre = Hard rock
Length = 5:15
Label = Albert Productions
Producer = Harry Vanda, George Young
Chart position =
Last single = "High Voltage" / "Soul Stripper" (1975)
This single = "It's A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)" (1975)
Next single = "T.N.T." / "Rocker" (1976)
Song_infobox
Name = It's A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)
Artist = AC/DC
Album = T.N.T.
Released = December 1975
track_no = 1
Recorded = July 1975
Genre = Hard rock
Length = 5:15
Writer = Angus Young, Malcolm Young, Bon Scott
Label = Albert Productions
Producer = Harry Vanda, George Young
[ Chart position = ]
prev = "N/A"
next = "Rock 'n' Roll Singer"
next_no = 2
Song_infobox
Name = It's A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)
Artist = AC/DC
Album = High Voltage
Released = May 1976
Length = 5:15 (CD), 5:01 (vinyl)
track_no = 1
prev = "N/A"
next = "Rock 'n' Roll Singer"
next_no = 2
"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 their Australian album "T.N.T.", released in December 1975 (see 1975 in music), and was written by Angus Young, Malcolm Young and Bon Scott. Musically, the song is notable for combining bagpipes with hard rock electric guitars, drums, and bass.

A slightly shorter version of the song is also the first track on the international version of "High Voltage", released in May 1976 (see 1976 in music). This is on vinyl and 2003 remastered releases of the album only. CD releases include the full version.

This song is also on the "Volts" CD of the "Bonfire" box set, released in 1997.

This was a signature song for Scott, who also played the side drum in Coastal Scottish Pipe Band WA in the 1960s. Current AC/DC lead vocalist Brian Johnson doesn't perform it out of respect for his predecessor. [http://www.theage.com.au/news/Music/The-legend-lives-on-in-a-laneway-to-heaven/2005/02/14/1108229929370.html "The legend lives on in a laneway to heaven"] , "The Age", February 15, 2005. Retrieved on 2007-02-15.]

Composition

The song is about the travails of using rock 'n' roll as a vehicle for success. As detailed by the song, perils of being in a rock 'n' roll band include getting:

Personnel

* Bon Scott - lead vocals, bagpipes
* Angus Young - lead guitar
* Malcolm Young - rhythm guitar
* Mark Evans - bass guitar
* Phil Rudd - drums

Production

* Producers: Harry Vanda, George Young

Music Video

The music video for "It's A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)" was filmed on February 23 1976 for the Australian music television program "Countdown". It featured the band's then-current lineup, along with members of the Rats of Tobruk Pipe Band, on the back of a flat-bed truck traveling on Swanston Street in Melbourne, Australia. The Young brothers, Evans, Rudd and the Rats of Tobruk Pipe Band all appeared to play their instruments, while Scott sang and appeared to play bagpipes, as well. Known members of the Rats of Tobruk Pipe Band at the time of the video's filming include: Alan Butterworth, Les Kenfield and Kevin Conlon. The video is dubbed with the studio track from the "T.N.T." album. [Video Footage and Liner Notes, "Family Jewels" 2-Disc DVD Set, 2005.]

The video was directed by Paul Drane. David Olney was the cameraman. [Johnston, Chris, [http://www.theage.com.au/news/arts/acdc-still-current-30-years-on/2006/02/22/1140563859775.html "AC/DC still current 30 years on"] , "The Age", February 23, 2006. Retrieved on 2007-02-15.]

Two other videos for the song exist. One features the group simply miming the song on a stage, making it appear as if it were being played live. The second version, filmed the same day as the truck version, features the group miming the song on a stage in a city park in front of an audience. The pipe players appear here as well. Also, a version of the group performiming the song on Australian Bandstand with Scott singing over the studio track appears on the DVD set Plug Me In.It should be noted that this song was only performed live in 1976.This song was not played after Bon set the bagpipes down at the corner of a stage and they were destroyed by fans.It was performed one last time in 1979,but synthesisers were used instead of the bagpipes.

Popularity

In May 2001, Australasian Performing Rights 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. [cite web |url=http://www.apra.com.au/awards/music/2001_topten.asp |title=The final list: APRA'S Ten best Australian Songs |publisher=APRA |date=2001-05-28 |accessdate=2008-05-08]

Cultural references

In Australia, children (and adults) sometimes sing "It's a long way to the shop if you wanna sausage roll". In the "Kid's kommentary" on the DVD for School of Rock one of the kids quotes this line when the song is played during the end credits.

Connection to ACDC Lane

On October 1 2004 Melbourne, Australia's Corporation Lane was officially renamed "ACDC Lane" in honour of the band (street names in the City of Melbourne cannot contain the "/" character). This change was made in part because the music video for "It's A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)" was filmed on Melbourne's Swanston Street, near ACDC Lane. The Melbourne City Council's vote to rename the street was unanimous. [Boulton, Martin, [http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2004/09/09/1094530766163.html "Lane way to the top for AC/DC"] , "The Age", September 10, 2004. Retrieved on 2007-02-15.] Bagpipers played "It's A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)" at the official renaming ceremony.

Recorded Cover Versions

Performed by:
* Jack Black ("School of Rock" Motion Picture, 2003)
* Pat Boone ("", 1997)
* Dead Moon ("Destination X", 1999)
* Dropkick Murphys ("The Singles Collection, Vol. 2", 2005)
* Eagles of Death Metal ("Death By Sexy", 2006)
* Electric ("A Tribute to AC/DC", 2006)
* John Farnham ("Age of Reason", 1990)
* Iced Earth ("Tribute to the Gods", 2002)
* Local H ("Pack Up The Cats B-Side", 1998)
* The Meanies (Fuse Box - An Alternative Tribute)
* Motörhead ("Thunderbolt: A Tribute to AC/DC", 1998)
* Nantucket ("Long Way to the Top", 1980)
* Rawkus ("AC/DC: Hometown Tribute", 2002)
* W.A.S.P.
* Sandra Weckert ("Bar Jazz", 2003)
* The Wiggles ("The Andrew Denton Breakfast Show - Musical Challenge", 2000)

The song was covered during the credit sequence of the movie "School of Rock", performed by Jack Black and the class of children he taught while masquerading as a teacher. However, the children ad-libbed their own lyrics towards the end of the song.

Billy Corgan covered the song live as an encore on almost every show during his 2005 tour supporting his debut solo effort TheFutureEmbrace.

A dramatic re-interpretation was released by Norwegian duo Susanna and the Magical Orchestra (a.k.a. Susanna Wallumrød and Morten Qvenild) in late summer 2006 on their second album "Melody Mountain", which consists entirely of cover versions. Their style is slow and melancholic with only cembalo accompaniment to Wallumrød's pure vocal, and brings out the essential sadness of the song.

References


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