it’s a long way…

We’re on spring break this week, and in addition to reading about the history of reading in preparation for finishing up my paper to be delivered later this month at ASECS, I’ve been watching movies. One of them, School of Rock, is just pure escapist fun that easily transcends a fairly tired trope: the substitute teacher who turns out not to be what s/he seems.

A highlight of the movie is Jack Black’s character, Dewey Finn, leading his young, prep-school students in a rehearsal of AC/DC’s “It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock & Roll)”, originally released on the 1976 album High Voltage. While I now have fairly eclectic tastes in music, I used to be a big fan of hard rock and heavy metal, and AC/DC was one of my favorite bands in high school. The lyrics to this particular song, however, resonate in a completely different way now that I’m involved in a profession where so many smart people spend so much time in adjunct positions with meager benefits and no job security: “Gettin’ ripped off / Under-paid / Gettin’ sold / Second hand.”

Complete lyrics below the fold.


Ridin’ down the highway
Goin’ to a show
Stop in all the byways
Playin’ rock ‘n’ roll
Gettin’ robbed
Gettin’ stoned
Gettin’ beat up
Broken boned
Gettin’ had
Gettin’ took
I tell you folks
It’s harder than it looks
It’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock ‘n’ roll
It’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock ‘n’ roll
If you think it’s easy doin’ one night stands
Try playin’ in a rock roll band
It’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock ‘n’ roll
Hotel motel
Make you wanna cry
Lady do the hard sell
Know the reason why
Gettin’ old
Gettin’ grey
Gettin’ ripped off
Under-paid
Gettin’ sold
Second hand
That’s how it goes
Playin’ in a band
It’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock ‘n’ roll
It’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock ‘n’ roll
If you wanna be a star of stage and screen
Look out it’s rough and mean
It’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock ‘n’ roll
It’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock ‘n’ roll
It’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock ‘n’ roll
It’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock ‘n’ roll
Well it’s a long way
It’s a long way, you should’ve told me
It’s a long way, such a long way

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One thought on “it’s a long way…

  1. If memory serves, this is also the only rock song (in the original version) that I know of with a bagpipe solo. I always hought that was amusing.

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