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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Alternative ideas for Wedding Pipers

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People may just think booking a piper is just booking a piper, however there are more options than you might realise. If you are in the market for something a little different to a classic piper here are a few options you could take into consideration.

If you are looking for a little showmanship how about the self proclaimed “Badpiper?” This flame throwing, tattooed punk looks like he wandered off the set of Mad Max and has been delighting crowds around the world for over 15 years. He’s just maybe not one for your granny. Search YouTube and you’ll find The Badpiper performing his take on rock standards by AC/DC and Queen as well as his own signature tunes. His bagpipes spit fire in the process, resulting in some awesome visuals that your guests wouldn’t be forgetting anytime soon.

Looking for something a little more surreal? Portland’s Unipiper is the guy that looked at The Badpipers flaming bagpipes and said “I can do more with this.” This video of a man, dressed in Darth Vader cosplay, a kilt, on a unicycle playing the Star Wars theme on his set of fire spitting bagpipes is probably the best thing you’ll see on the internet today….

….unless that is, you’re more of a Game of Thrones fan.

Not sure if he’s available for bookings but he’d certainly bring a memorable amount of of weirdness to the day. Altthough, again, maybe not one for your gran.

Closer to home when speaking about pipers its hard not to mention The Red Hot Chilli Pipers, one of the highest profile pipe bands in the world. They made their name performing a combination of traditional pipe tunes and contemporary pieces, covering music an eclectic mix of music from Deep Purple to Snow Patrol to Gangnam Style (!?)

Would they play at your wedding? You never know, but you’d have to book early. These guys are in high demand having played around the world not to mention a few times at T in the Park too.

Of course if these ideas aren’t for you theres always Elite Bands’ handpicked piper, Stuart looks the part and is one of the best Scottish wedding pipers out there.

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Stuart is the pipe major of the elite pipe band, the best sounding pipe band on the planet (if we do say so ourselves!) Depending on what you’re looking for the company Elite Bands can provide you a solo piper or the full pipe band, that will keep you (and your granny) happy. Head here for more details: http://elitebands.co.uk/band/elite-piper

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