Bagpipes in Rock Music

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Rock music and bagpipes aren’t necessarily something you’d naturally associate with one another but heres a coupleof examples where the two distinctly different musical genres made great music together.

AC/DC – ‘It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock N Roll)’

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AC/DC always have a strong connection to Scotland, key members the Young brothers Angus and Malcolm were born in Glasgow before moving to Australia at a young age, so it shouldn’t be too surprising to see bagpipes sneaking into one of their biggest hits. ‘It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock N Roll)’ featured original singer, the legendary Bon Scott on Bagpipes, producer George Young having heard that Scott had previously been in a pipe band asked him to add some to the track. The story goes that whilst it was true Scott had been in a pipe band in the past he had actually been a side drummer and never played bagpipes before! Check out the classic song and its video here:

Dropkick Murphys – ‘I’m Shipping Up To Boston’

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Pretty much anything by the Dropkick Murphys will have a least a hint of bagpipes in it but for us this is the benchmark. The lyrics about a sailor that lost his leg and is heading to Boston to find a wooden leg were actually written years beforehand by country music legend Woody Guthrie and adapted into this classic. Probably their best known track thanks to its inclusion in the Martin Scorsese directed, Jack Nicholson staring classic ‘The Departed,’ ‘I’m Shipping Up To Boston’ kicks ass! It will probably live forever thanks to its ubiquity at sports games and St Patricks day celebrations. Listen to it here:

These are just two examples so what have we missed? You tell us in the comments section below.

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