"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 album T.N.T., released in December 1975, and was written by Angus Young, Malcolm Young and Bon Scott. The song is notable for combining bagpipes with hard rock instrumentation; in the middle section of the song there is a call and response between the bagpipes and guitar. The original recording is in B-flat major, but it was played live in A major.
A slightly shortened version of the song is also the first track on the international version of High Voltage, released in 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 from 1980 until his departure in 2016, did not perform it out of respect for his predecessor.
The song chronicles the hardships endured by a rock band on tour, such as being robbed, assaulted, stoned and cheated by a greedy agent. However, the band accepts these hardships as natural on the path to stardom, saying that "It's a long way to the top/If you wanna rock 'n' roll".
George Young (the older brother of Angus and Malcolm), having heard that Bon Scott was in a pipe band, encouraged the use of bagpipes in the song. Scott obliged despite having never played them before; he had actually been a drummer in the band. Scott used a set of bagpipes to play the song live until 1976, when they were destroyed by fans when he set them down at the corner of the stage. Subsequent live performances used a recording of the song's bagpipe part or an extended guitar solo by Angus. File Hashes
HASH2: 741B304B17E8E804 (FLAC)
HASH2: 7029572A1F667980 (MP3)