In today’s guitar lesson, this is an autobiographical song for AC/DC describing their struggles as they try to make it big by delivering a top notch live show night after night. It was genuine: at the time they were just getting started and playing some seedy venues with even seedier business associates. The hard work eventually paid off, and several years later the band was selling out arenas.
“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 Scott. Current AC/DC lead vocalist Brian Johnson does not perform it, out of respect for his predecessor.
Here are the chords that we’ll be using to play the song in this guitar lesson:
Techniques/style that you must know to play the song:
- Power Chords
- Palm Muting