Tuesday, March 10, 2015

My Top 10 Bagpipe Rock Tunes

The pipes are a magical instrument meant to stir your blood and move you!  But it's not just used in marches.  Here's my list of the top 10 uses of the greatest instrument in some non-traditional, pop/rock music.

In honour of International Bagpipe Day our pipe band is having a bit of fun bringing some bagpipe spirit to folks - and so I thought I'd add a bit of sources to show where the bagpipes have had impact outside the marching circuit.

Now these are my favourite songs where bagpipes were included, and I've steered clear of any directly celtic bands; otherwise this would become a huge list.

Okay, so let's start out:

10. Copperhead Road - Steve Earle

I put this one last because they're not really playing bagpipes, but a synthesizer to sound like one, yet it's one of the few tunes folks can clearly identify pipes in and we get asked regularly to play

9. Rhythm of my Heart - Rod Stewart

It sounds very synthetic to me, but is actually played, and you can at least see a piper in the video

8. Both Sides of the Story

You got to respect the guy who can play bagpipes in his own music.

7. Hazel Eyes - The Darkness

I'll admit, this one was a reach for me to get to my 10 and had just discovered it for this list.  It's layered pretty heavily into the background, and you'll only get to hear it at the end.

6. Are You Ready to Rock - Wizzard

This one ... well, it's just weird, but in a fun way.  They come in about the 2 minute mark.

5. Fields of Gold - Sting

I've always liked the sound in this song (using Northumbrian pipes)

4. It's A Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n Roll) - AC/DC

Little known fact that Bon Scott actually played in a pipe band when he was young (funny thing was he was a drummer back in those days, yet would learn play them for this song and in concert - I guess you can rehabilitate a drummer).  Yeah, I know I didn't put this in #1 like most folks might have, but this is my list.

3. You're the Voice - John Farnham

It wasn't until the Chili Pipers did a bit of a cover that I realized I remembered this one.

2. Mull of Kintyre - Paul McCartney & Wings

Now this has a special place in my heart as on the first day I ever played with the pipe band we played this with the Diamonds in the Rough and came in as a surprise through the smoke machine.  Wicked night.

But first... let's give an honourable mention to:

Prickly Thorn, But Sweetly Worn - The White Stripes

I preferred St. Andrew's from the Icky Thump album, but can't find a YouTube video.  I only gave it an honourable mention as although they are a 'rock' band, the song definitely plays to strong celtic roots, and is a little off from the rest of their typical sound.

1. Trojan Horse - LUV

Who doesn't like a little disco with their bagpipes?  The video even has the Beatrix Pipeband from the Netherlands!  (I've heard from some folks that the video below may not play in all places, so in case, here's another copy of them singing live with a pipe band:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCSG19g8388)

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