Friday, September 15, 2006

Bagpipe Rock

With the possible exception of the pipe organ, is there a more beautiful instrument than the bagpipe? And yet the world of rock music is pretty much devoid of bagpipery. Why is this?

The only two songs I am aware of that feature bagpipes are:
1- Mull of Kintyre by Paul McCartney. Which is not really what you would call a "rock" song, but a pretty song nonetheless.

2- Long Way to the Top by AC/DC. This is definitely what one would call "rock". The bagpipe harmonizes with the guitar so well in this song, I am amazed it has not been done more often.

My son found this rare clip of AC/DC and its first frontman, distant cousin Bon Scott, playing the bagpipe and wearing a black superman T, on YouTube. He was evidently an award winning bagpipe player, being born in Scotland before his family moved to Australia. And check out the young Angus Young in his blue schoolboy outfit. Hilarious stuff. Totally awesome.

So the question remains...where is the bagpipe rock? It's a whole genre waiting to be explored.


  1. There are lots of references to bagpipes in rock and roll:

    Roy Woods (with a mention of ELO, thank you very much):

    Las Vegas act, Johnny Bagpipes:

    Australian rock group, Brother:

    Celtic rock band, Lenahan:

  2. Yeah the guitar harmonizes well because had to tune their guitars differently than the normal E, A, D, G, B, E tuning.. Cause everybody knows you can't tune a bagpipe lol. And nice reference to the "young" Angus...... Young.

  3. TK!

    Again, I am amazed at the stuff you find. Go bagpipes.

    Mr. Anonymous!

    As usual, an encyclopedia of information. Good show.

  4. What about Neil Anderson "Antipypr" the jimmi hendrix of bagpipe music. Drop kick murphy's,Prydien and many many more.

  5. Actually it's spelled Prydein (I guess the Welsh don't go for the whole "I before E" thing...

    Just type "Bagpipe Rock" into Google, there are a lot of us out there


    p.s. a great version of "It's a Long Way to the Top" can be found on YouTube performed by the band "McCuaig"... here's the link

  6. there is actually a newer bagrock band, called the red hot chilli pipers, they do some re-makes of popular rock songs as well as some rock sounding scottish stuff.

  7. My all time favorite band - The levellers

    one song in particular is awesome and is what got me hooked on bagrock, the flowers of the forest

  8. Aron and Patrick!

    Thanks for the Prydein mention and link, which I've bookmarked. Sounds great.

  9. check out the Dropkick Murphys, and their songs like the spicy mchaggis jig, and kiss me i'm shitfaced. Flatfoot 56 are ok too.