Bagpipes don’t often make an appearance in rock music, but there are a few songs which include them. These “bagpipe-rock” tunes will have you mesmerized.
Gleadhraich are an Edinburgh-based band who combine classic rock hits sung back with bagpipes in thrilling and genre-defying skirling-rock performances, according to vocalist Craig Weir.
AC/DC are an Australian rock band best known for their 1980 hit “Back in Black.” Over 150 million albums have been sold globally and they were honored with induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; additionally they rank fifth on US music’s all-time sales charts.
AC/DC’s most iconic song is ‘It’s A Long Way To The Top (If You Want To Rock N Roll).’ This classic rock tune boasts an interesting backstory: Bon Scott, AC/DC’s lead singer, once played pipes but did not know how to play them properly until his producer, George Young suggested learning them instead.
Scott was encouraged by his producer to unleash his pipes during the recording of “It’s A Long Way to the Top”, and it proved an instantaneous hit.
At first, their music had only limited success until ‘Back in Black’ came along – this riff is unquestionably one of the greatest heavy rock riffs ever written and Johnson must be in his element when performing it live!
And to top it all off, he uses his bagpipes for an impressive “back in black” part at the end of each song! Though this may not seem impressive at first glance, this feat truly is noteworthy!
AC/DC was somewhat remiss in not employing bagpipes more frequently in their music; an exception being their song ‘Tomorrow’ which features them prominently as more than just an isolated interlude of pipe work; its sounds become part of its overall soundscape.
As Saint Patrick’s Day approaches, bagpipes play an integral part of many Irish-themed songs. From rock groups such as Dropkick Murphys and U2 to Irish rock group The Chieftains – bagpipes can be heard playing throughout your celebration of this holiday! When out celebrating you’ll want to listen out for tunes featuring bagpipes.
After being introduced to rock fans as an intimidating instrument, Scottish Bagpipes quickly found a more subdued place in mainstream music. Irish Uillean Pipes took longer, but eventually found their place within rock music as well.
U2’s sophomore album October included one of its most moving tracks – “Tomorrow”, featuring Ireland’s national bagpipes (uilleann pipes). This heartbreaking lament for Bono’s mother who passed away when he was still young is an inspiring example of a band focusing their attention back onto where they come from and their heritage.
The Scottish bagpipe is the most prevalent variety used in traditional music. Other variations can be found across Europe and around the world; you may even hear some bagpipes in popular rock songs with additional instruments such as harp or guitar accompaniment.
Dixebra, Scorpions, and Nightwish are among the many rock bands known for incorporating bagpipes into their music; however, American nu metal band Korn stands out as being particularly adept at using bagpipes in their tunes.
At its height, this band boasted a distinctive sound rooted in heavy metal and psychedelic rock music. They included bagpipes in various ways in their sound – most prominently to open “Wild Child” from 1994 album Pure Instinct.
The bagpipe has long been an integral component of rock music, yet few songs feature its presence prominently. Still, they add some flair and can help enliven any composition.
There are various bands who incorporate bagpipes into their music, like Australian indie band Brother. Brother often utilizes Highland bagpipes to blend Celtic with contemporary sounds; worldbeat ensemble Afro Celt Sound System also utilizes uillean pipes to enhance their musical textures.
Although many songs feature bagpipes, one particularly notable example is the opening fanfare to Scorpions’ Wild Child by using them as part of the overall sound to set the atmosphere for what will follow.
AC/DC was another band to incorporate bagpipes into their music, using them prominently in 1975’s iconic rock track “It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Want to Rock ‘n’ Roll). Bon Scott from Fremantle Scots Pipe Band played his Highland bagpipes for this track; today it remains one of rock ‘n’ roll’s most influential and beloved tunes and Bon Scott is still an esteemed piper today.
It’s a Long Way to the Top is one of the most beloved rock songs ever, having reached number one on British charts and being covered by many bands such as Korn.
Scottish folk metal band Cruachan and Irish punk group Flogging Molly both incorporate uillean pipes into their music, while Portuguese group Gaitafolia have created their own version of traditional bagpipes which they incorporate into their sound. Neutral Milk Hotel also utilizes these pipes in some songs.
How often have bagpipes appeared in rock songs? In many different forms; from Celtic-influenced tunes to more contemporary rock.
Scottish bagpipes are among the most commonly heard instruments, yet there are numerous styles that can be played. Some pipes are constructed of wood while others can be plastic or metal.
Irish Uillean pipes are another highly regarded form of bagpipe, often played slowly and hauntingly to create an eerie and disquieting ambience in rock songs spanning different genres; especially popular within Irish folk rock music genre.
U2 introduced the world to uilleann pipes with their 1975 song “Tomorrow.” The tune pays an emotional tribute to Bono’s late mother, who passed away when he was still young. Uileann pipes play an instrumental role in its opening sections – their haunting sound providing atmosphere before building to an electric rocking finish that rocked to life in response.
Richard Thompson has made use of Northumbrian smallpipes on several albums he’s recorded; these instruments resemble uilleann pipes but feature different sounds.
Finn’s Fury, a New York-based Celtic rock band, frequently collaborates on stage with the Nassau County Firefighters Pipes and Drums; often using them in several of their songs and helping establish contemporary Celtic rock in America.
This song’s guitar and percussion create an engaging blend of traditional and modern Celtic music, moving seamlessly between both styles during its duration – including bagpipes taking center stage twice during this track!
Bagpipes are an integral component of music. Their versatile instrument can create various tones, from deep bass notes to soft whistles. Rock bands commonly utilize bagpipes as an accent in their songs – some using real bagpipes while others mimic its effects using synthesized instruments or guitar.
The White Stripes, formed in Detroit by Jack White and his wife Meg, is widely considered by fans to be some of the finest garage rock albums ever released. Both White Blood Cells and Icky Thump remain among their most critically-acclaimed efforts.
Even with their success, the band has never forgotten where they came from and remains experimental in terms of sound and approach. Bagpipes have featured prominently in songs like “Prickly Thorn, But Sweetly Worn” as well as Patti Page’s 1950’s country hit, “Conquest.”
While some may question their decision to incorporate bagpipes into their music, the decision proves quite effective. Bagpipes create an intriguing sound that is quite catchy.
White Stripes bandmates Jimmy Mercer and Jack White created this song as a way of showing their appreciation for Irish culture while paying homage to Led Zeppelin – two bands they are big fans of – with a message that remains relevant today.
“Icky Thump” is another song with bagpipes that showcases how the band can create an unforgettable sound. The opening guitar riff, while grimy and grungy at first listen, becomes majestic later on and will have you coming back for more!
The White Stripes are an incredible band and their music is truly outstanding, featuring bagpipes as an integral element. If you have never encountered them, I strongly encourage you to give their tunes a listen!