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    • AC/DC rock music: Wyllough
    • Jul 25th 2019
     
    Trying to find out about Bon's bagpipes. Mark Evans seems to give the best lead when he said they were made by Hardie's of Glasgow, bought for $479 from a shop in Park st, Melbourne. Was there a music shop in Park street in the mid 70's? Were they stolen during a gig? Did someone take them home or were they destroyed/burnt after the gig?
    • AC/DC rock music: soda
    • Jul 25th 2019
     
    After someone (don't remember who) threw the playback cassette in the wall, there was no use for the bagpipe anymore. So I guess somebody in the crew brought it home.
    •  
      AC/DC rock music: Treehorn
    • Jul 25th 2019 edited
     
    Supposedly they were stolen from Glasgow City Halls (where I work) during a riotous gig on the Lock Up Your Daughters tour in June (?) 1976. I can't remember which book I read it in, apologies. They played there twice that year, it might have been the November gig- from memory, they had police at the second gig. Seats were set on fire and there was enough trouble to see the band banned from appearing at the venue again!

    *Edit*. Just checked, it's page 165 of the Engleheart book:

    "After the carnage of the band's previous visit to Glasgow, this time at the City Halls show there was a strong security presence, while the riot squad were stationed in the surrounding grounds.

    Angus stripped off anyway, although the band jumped in front of him to block the view. There would have been a riot if he had been arrested. The presence of the riot squad had an unexpected twist, as, further into the tour, police would occasionally have a drink backstage after the show and tell the band how much they enjoyed the performance. However, getting on the right side of the authorities didn't stop Bob's bagpipes being destroyed by fans. He would never play them again.

    Angus: 'Bon got these little mics built specially for it, he had them put in the pipes and he got it happening really well. He was all proud of it but then he put it down at the side of the stage during the gig and, of course, all these kids grabbed it and tore it to bits! Then they set fire to the curtains! That was pretty much the end of that.'"
    • AC/DC rock music: Wyllough
    • Jul 25th 2019
     
    Wow! Thanks for all that, Treehorn. Really interesting. I'll have to find a copy of the Engleheart book.
    • AC/DC rock music: nimeta
    • Jul 25th 2019
     
    On a related subject I always understood that playing bagpipes is hard as hell. So I googled it, and it seems even harder than that...


    You blow into the blowpipe to fill the bag, which you then apply pressure to with your arm to squeeze air out of the 3 drones and the Chanter. While air is flowing through them, the drones and chanter each emit a moan. Your hands go on the chanter and that's the part that plays the melody. My teacher remarked that "playing the bagpipes is trying to keep a hole-filled bag inflated while also carrying a chair on your shoulder, marching around in a kilt, and keeping your fingers moving."

    Once you get good at it, it isn't that hard to keep the bag inflated, but before your lips strengthen up and you figure out the rhythm of breathing, it is exhausting. This is pretty hard no matter who you are. I learned bagpipes at a time when I could easily run a 6-minute mile and was playing competitive soccer 10+hours/week, and this was still tough for me.



    Imagine doing that during a high octane AC/DC gig????? Maybe Bon was secretly happy to see the end of those pips lol
    • AC/DC rock music: soda
    • Jul 25th 2019 edited
     
    Bon never played on the bagpipe because he couldn't play bagpipe. I thought it was widely known? Mark Evans writes about it in his book. After all, George Young did a great job of cutting that stuff together in the studio and live they used a playback cassette that George did. When that cassette was destroyed it was all over with the bagpipe.

    The whole story is hysterically funny.
    Bon told the others that he had played in a bagpipe orchestra and that he would take care of that part in It's A Long Way ...
    The problem was that he had played drums (!) in that orchestra - which was revealed in the studio when he couldn't get a sound out of the damn thing! :D
    • AC/DC rock music: Rocco
    • Jul 25th 2019
     
    Posted By: sodaBon never played on the bagpipe because he couldn't play bagpipe. I thought it was widely known? Mark Evans writes about it in his book. After all, George Young did a great job of cutting that stuff together in the studio and live they used a playback cassette that George did. When that cassette was destroyed it was all over with the bagpipe.


    Well he "played" em live as can be seen in that video from St. Albans High School in 1976. It doesn't sound like it was playback, but I could be wrong.

    • AC/DC rock music: soda
    • Jul 25th 2019 edited
     
    Posted By: Rocco
    Posted By: sodaBon never played on the bagpipe because he couldn't play bagpipe. I thought it was widely known? Mark Evans writes about it in his book. After all, George Young did a great job of cutting that stuff together in the studio and live they used a playback cassette that George did. When that cassette was destroyed it was all over with the bagpipe.


    Well he "played" em live as can be seen in that video from St. Albans High School in 1976. It doesn't sound like it was playback, but I could be wrong.



    I don't see why Mark Evans would lie about it.. Mark really loved Bon and they became really close at the end.
    Mark was in the studio when it was recorded and on the stage when they played it live.
    • AC/DC rock music: Drew1999
    • Jul 25th 2019
     
    I read something about him not being able to play either. Angus said they were in the studio and George had brought in some bagpipes and Bon said he was in a bagpipe band, but played drums, not the bagpipes.
    •  
      AC/DC rock music: Treehorn
    • Jul 25th 2019
     
    We'll between Angus and Mark, one of them has remembered it wrong or embellished the story. It certainly sounds like he's playing it live in the clip, they spend an excruciating amount of time tuning up the semitone for the pipes! Really wanted to ask Mark Evans at Kirriemuir why they didn't just put a capo on but lost my nerve!

    Seem to remember it was a patch job in the studio when they put the track down, but can't remember source for that.

    Our band played it last year with a professional piper, he was brilliant. We rehearsed this tune at City Halls, so there is a *very* tenuous link! (Yes, I know it's too fast, and the many other imperfections, but we had fun)

    •  
      AC/DC rock music: Grim177
    • Jul 25th 2019
     
    Posted By: TreehornIt certainly sounds like he's playing it live in the clip, they spend an excruciating amount of time tuning up the semitone for the pipes!


    I've always disputed this. Live, the song was played in B (half step down) At that show Angus is tuning up because he broke a string during the previous song. They wouldn't have stopped to re-tune to play LWTTT.
    •  
      AC/DC rock music: Grim177
    • Jul 25th 2019
     
    Posted By: Rocco>
    Well he "played" em live as can be seen in that video from St. Albans High School in 1976. It doesn't sound like it was playback, but I could be wrong.


    You're not wrong.
    •  
      AC/DC rock music: Treehorn
    • Jul 25th 2019
     
    Posted By: Grim177
    Posted By: TreehornIt certainly sounds like he's playing it live in the clip, they spend an excruciating amount of time tuning up the semitone for the pipes!


    I've always disputed this. Live, the song was played in B (half step down) At that show Angus is tuning up because he broke a string during the previous song. They wouldn't have stopped to re-tune to play LWTTT.


    I always thought that footage on Plug Me In shows them all tuning up the half step, but it's a long time since I sat through it. But that would make more sense to play it in B flat.
    •  
      AC/DC rock music: Grim177
    • Jul 25th 2019
     
    Posted By: TreehornI always thought that footage on Plug Me In shows them all tuning up the half step, but it's a long time since I sat through it. But that would make more sense to play it in B flat.


    The 5 or so live versions I've heard are in B flat except the one off in 1979 where it's in A (standard) and the Bagpipes were done on a synth.
  1.  
    Posted By: Rocco
    Posted By: sodaBon never played on the bagpipe because he couldn't play bagpipe. I thought it was widely known? Mark Evans writes about it in his book. After all, George Young did a great job of cutting that stuff together in the studio and live they used a playback cassette that George did. When that cassette was destroyed it was all over with the bagpipe.


    Well he "played" em live as can be seen in that video from St. Albans High School in 1976. It doesn't sound like it was playback, but I could be wrong.



    I just noticed in the video at 4:48 Bon either gives the bagpipes to a roadie or could this have possibly have been the show where they were destroyed by fans?
    • AC/DC rock music: Rocco
    • Jul 26th 2019
     
    Posted By: soda
    Posted By: Rocco
    Posted By: sodaBon never played on the bagpipe because he couldn't play bagpipe. I thought it was widely known? Mark Evans writes about it in his book. After all, George Young did a great job of cutting that stuff together in the studio and live they used a playback cassette that George did. When that cassette was destroyed it was all over with the bagpipe.


    Well he "played" em live as can be seen in that video from St. Albans High School in 1976. It doesn't sound like it was playback, but I could be wrong.



    I don't see why Mark Evans would lie about it.. Mark really loved Bon and they became really close at the end.
    Mark was in the studio when it was recorded and on the stage when they played it live.


    So you think in the video I posted, the bagpipes are from a playback?
    • AC/DC rock music: Wyllough
    • Jul 26th 2019 edited
     
    As yet I've been unable to find a music shop in Park street, Melbourne in the 70s. It would be great to track down that part of Mark Evan's story.
    • AC/DC rock music: soda
    • Jul 26th 2019 edited
     
    Posted By: Rocco
    Posted By: soda
    Posted By: Rocco
    Posted By: sodaBon never played on the bagpipe because he couldn't play bagpipe. I thought it was widely known? Mark Evans writes about it in his book. After all, George Young did a great job of cutting that stuff together in the studio and live they used a playback cassette that George did. When that cassette was destroyed it was all over with the bagpipe.


    Well he "played" em live as can be seen in that video from St. Albans High School in 1976. It doesn't sound like it was playback, but I could be wrong.



    I don't see why Mark Evans would lie about it.. Mark really loved Bon and they became really close at the end.
    Mark was in the studio when it was recorded and on the stage when they played it live.


    So you think in the video I posted, the bagpipes are from a playback?


    What I think is uninteresting, but I read the chapter again about the bagpipe in Mark Evans's book for clarity.
    I remembered most things right - and other wrongs. The main thing is that here we have facts in the case.
    It appears that the playback cassette was destroyed at a concert at the Hordern Pavilion Sydney 1975.
    How they solved the bagpipe after that is not clear, but here's how they did before that incident:

    Another interesting part of recording "It's A Long Way" was the use of bagpipes. When the idea was raised, Bon said that he'd played in a pipe band; he decided then and there he was just the guy for the job. What he neglected to tell us was that while he did play in a pipe band in Fremantle with Chick, his dad - they where known as the Coastal Scots - Bon was a drummer, not a piper. A rather large factor to leave out of the equation, don't you think?
    So, with the okay of Fifa Riccobono, our indispensable go-between at Alberts, Bon was off to Bagpipes R Us in Park Street, a couple of blocks away, and then back to the studio with a set of $435 Hardy pipes. It was a very expensive purchase for a band still finding its way. Bon's omission not only presented the problem of who would play the pipes, but who'd assemble the damn thing. Now if you want a good giggle, get a bunch of Scotsmen with no previous experience and ask them to put some bagpipes together. Watching the Youngs at work was like a Scottish Rubik's Cube, with added swearing and shouting. Perheps it might been an idea to hire a piper, if the track was in the right key for the bagpipes, wich it wasn't.
    More swearing and shouting ensued until the thing was playable. So what happened was that Mal, Phil and I gathered around a microphone and blew the drones- the big pipes sticking out of the top of a bagpipe- and then that was "looped" by George. That basically ment we played the drones for a few seconds and George made a tape loop to repeat those few seconds over and over, to give the impression of a continuous drone, essential to the sound of the pipes. The tape was also slowed at the start to give that particulair drag the pipes have when they kick in. Those pipes created a shitload of extra work for George on the top of the job of editing the original take. Some piece of work, eh?
    But "It's A Long Way To The Top" didn't last too long in our live set. A problem with performing the song live was the bloody bagpipes. We hit on a solution. We took the tape loop of the bagpipe drone that was used on the record, put that onto a cassette, and blasted it through the PA while Bon blew on the chanter - that's the recorder-like bit of the tapes - and hit an approximation of the notes over the taped drone. Not ideal, but sort of workable. A painful part of the deal was that we had to tune up to the drone before the show, or it would be horrendous. Ralph the Rodie would bring the cassette deck backstage and put it through an amp for us to tune to, then whip back out the front with the cassette deck for the house mixer. That's how we battled through the song.
  2.  
    I love that sort of stuff^ very interesting.

    To be fair though, my favorite live version is the one without bagpipes, Angus soloing in place to fill the gaps. Worked out beautifully I thought, as much as I love the studio version. I would prefer it not having the bagpipes and being all live than having them on a tape.
  3.  
    Posted By: nitroangus23I love that sort of stuff^ very interesting.

    To be fair though, my favorite live version is the one without bagpipes, Angus soloing in place to fill the gaps. Worked out beautifully I thought, as much as I love the studio version. I would prefer it not having the bagpipes and being all live than having them on a tape.


    There are so many things about the one single performance that is unique as fuck and unlike anything else the band has ever done. Bon singing the second verse by himself, Angus completely ripping up the bagpipes section, and Malcolm building up the second solo with the ringing chords is absolutely monumental.

    I can’t even think of a word to describe what exactly about it makes me love it so much. Transcendent? It’s just on a completely different level than everything before and after.
  4.  
    It is very spontaneous sounding and that may be the reason it is so cool, captures that "live magic" so well.

    It sort of reminds me of how Angus added the little solo bits to the breakdown of Sin City eventually it became so familiar and fluid that the studio version almost sounds naked with out it.

    I can imagine if the song stayed in the set through out the years it would have more or less evolved into a more refined version of that.If the song had been continuously played that way live, the studio version would probably sound odd in comparison ala Sin City.Love the way they all drop out and then come back in building back up into the full tune.

    Magic.

    Also, just had a thought. I wonder if they had a version of it pre-bag pipes that was more jamming/riffing? Demos of Touch Too Much and Get It Hot are very loose and jam session like, would be fucking cool to hear a take of Long Way in studio with Mal and Ang tearing it up.
  5.  
    Posted By: nitroangus23

    Also, just had a thought. I wonder if they had a version of it pre-bag pipes that was more jamming/riffing? Demos of Touch Too Much and Get It Hot are very loose and jam session like, would be fucking cool to hear a take of Long Way in studio with Mal and Ang tearing it up.


    I don't think so. Many have told that the song consisted more or less of a tape of jamming that George and Harry cut together to make it a song.
    • AC/DC rock music: soda
    • Jul 28th 2019
     
    Posted By: soulstripper666
    Posted By: nitroangus23

    Also, just had a thought. I wonder if they had a version of it pre-bag pipes that was more jamming/riffing? Demos of Touch Too Much and Get It Hot are very loose and jam session like, would be fucking cool to hear a take of Long Way in studio with Mal and Ang tearing it up.


    I don't think so. Many have told that the song consisted more or less of a tape of jamming that George and Harry cut together to make it a song.


    That's correct. That song is largely George's creation there and then in the studio. Mark Evans also writes about this in his book. It's what he is referring to here:
    "Those pipes created a shitload of extra work for George on top of the job of editing the original take. Some piece of work, eh?".
    In fact, George had a very large part (as a songwriter) in many of the songs on the first three albums.
    • AC/DC rock music: Nachos73
    • Jul 28th 2019
     
    Posted By: nitroangus23I love that sort of stuff^ very interesting.

    To be fair though, my favorite live version is the one without bagpipes, Angus soloing in place to fill the gaps. Worked out beautifully I thought, as much as I love the studio version. I would prefer it not having the bagpipes and being all live than having them on a tape.


    Where can I find said version?
    • AC/DC rock music: Wyllough
    • Jul 28th 2019 edited
     
    Having searched the 1974 Melbourne business directory (no 1975 edition) and found no music shop in Park st, I realised it would, of course, have been Park st, Sydney, not too far from Albert studios at 139 King st. Unfortunately this means having to go to Sydney State Library some time.
    • AC/DC rock music: soda
    • Jul 28th 2019
     
    Posted By: Nachos73
    Posted By: nitroangus23I love that sort of stuff^ very interesting.

    To be fair though, my favorite live version is the one without bagpipes, Angus soloing in place to fill the gaps. Worked out beautifully I thought, as much as I love the studio version. I would prefer it not having the bagpipes and being all live than having them on a tape.


    Where can I find said version?


    Heymarket Sydney January 30th 1977 bootlegs.
  6.  
    Posted By: soda
    Posted By: Nachos73
    Posted By: nitroangus23I love that sort of stuff^ very interesting.

    To be fair though, my favorite live version is the one without bagpipes, Angus soloing in place to fill the gaps. Worked out beautifully I thought, as much as I love the studio version. I would prefer it not having the bagpipes and being all live than having them on a tape.


    Where can I find said version?


    Heymarket Sydney January 30th 1977 bootlegs.


    There ya go man^^^

  7.  

    That's correct. That song is largely George's creation there and then in the studio. Mark Evans also writes about this in his book. It's what he is referring to here:
    "Those pipes created a shitload of extra work for George on top of the job of editing the original take. Some piece of work, eh?".
    In fact, George had a very large part (as a songwriter) in many of the songs on the first three albums.


    And remember young folks, in those days you couldn't just sit there with Cool Edit or Garage Band or something cutting and experimenting away. You had it all on physical tape, and if you cut something wrong it was never to be restored. Unless maybe if you were handy with the glue ...
  8.  
    Posted By: soulstripper666

    That's correct. That song is largely George's creation there and then in the studio. Mark Evans also writes about this in his book. It's what he is referring to here:
    "Those pipes created a shitload of extra work for George on top of the job of editing the original take. Some piece of work, eh?".
    In fact, George had a very large part (as a songwriter) in many of the songs on the first three albums.


    And remember young folks, in those days you couldn't just sit there with Cool Edit or Garage Band or something cutting and experimenting away. You had it all on physical tape, and if you cut something wrong it was never to be restored. Unless maybe if you were handy with the glue ...


    Indeed, that's what makes it all the more amazing. Tape editing like that was an art.
    • AC/DC rock music: Nachos73
    • Jul 29th 2019
     
    Posted By: nitroangus23
    Posted By: soda
    Posted By: Nachos73
    Posted By: nitroangus23I love that sort of stuff^ very interesting.

    To be fair though, my favorite live version is the one without bagpipes, Angus soloing in place to fill the gaps. Worked out beautifully I thought, as much as I love the studio version. I would prefer it not having the bagpipes and being all live than having them on a tape.


    Where can I find said version?


    Heymarket Sydney January 30th 1977 bootlegs.


    There ya go man^^^




    That is quite awesome! Thanks for the share!
    • AC/DC rock music: Goulash
    • Jul 31st 2019 edited
     
    Posted By: Grim177
    Posted By: TreehornI always thought that footage on Plug Me In shows them all tuning up the half step, but it's a long time since I sat through it. But that would make more sense to play it in B flat.


    The 5 or so live versions I've heard are in B flat except the one off in 1979 where it's in A (standard) and the Bagpipes were done on a synth.


    I’ve just come across my copy of the Hammersmith 1979 cassette where they played “Its A Long Way To The Top” as well as “Baby Please Don’t Go”.
    I wonder why they decided to pull these two tracks out of the bag and is this the only recording of Cliff playing IALWTTT?
  9.  
    Posted By: Goulash
    Posted By: Grim177
    Posted By: TreehornI always thought that footage on Plug Me In shows them all tuning up the half step, but it's a long time since I sat through it. But that would make more sense to play it in B flat.


    The 5 or so live versions I've heard are in B flat except the one off in 1979 where it's in A (standard) and the Bagpipes were done on a synth.


    I’ve just come across my copy of the Hammersmith 1979 cassette where they played “Its A Long Way To The Top” as well as “Baby Please Don’t Go”.
    I wonder why they decided to pull these two tracks out of the bag and is this the only recording of Cliff playing IALWTTT?


    I vaguely remember someone giving an explanation as to why they played them, but I can’t for the life of me remember what it was since it was from nearly a decade ago.

    I think it was to celebrate something specific to that venue but i’m probably wrong.
    •  
      AC/DC rock music: Grim177
    • Jul 31st 2019
     
    The show was billed as "Thank You London". I think it was literally just that, a "Thank You".



    As for those two tracks being pulled out of retirement, I assume as they'd just played four shows at that venue barely a month earlier, they thought they'd do something a bit special. I wish there was a better recording. That "Blue Peter" synth is classic.
    • AC/DC rock music: Goulash
    • Jul 31st 2019
     
    Posted By: Grim177The show was billed as "Thank You London". I think it was literally just that, a "Thank You".



    As for those two tracks being pulled out of retirement, I assume as they'd just played four shows at that venue barely a month earlier, they thought they'd do something a bit special. I wish there was a better recording. That "Blue Peter" synth is classic.


    I’m just glad that they didn’t have Rolf Harris on his stylophonw.
  10.  
    Long way is in A, tuned up a half step to sound Bb.
    •  
      AC/DC rock music: Grim177
    • Aug 3rd 2019
     
    Posted By: tomscotlandLong way is in A, tuned up a half step to sound Bb.


    In the studio. Not live.
    • AC/DC rock music: Wyllough
    • Aug 5th 2019
     
    Only music shop in Park st I have found so far was Harry Landis (40 Park st) which was a big music shop until it closed, I think, sometime in the 80s. Malcolm bought at least one of his guitars from there. Only a short walk from Albert studios.