My daughter held her phone up to me the other day.
“Watch this video, daddy, it’s cool.” As a dad, that statement can really make me cringe. There’s no telling what cockamamie thing my kids will think is cool and try to make me watch. In this case it was two guys dressed like Renaissance courtiers, with cellos. It was almost five minutes long.
“It’s almost five minutes long,” I said, but it was no use. She hit play. They played the cellos. Then they played them faster. Then the song started to sound familiar. Then the song WAS familiar.
It was “Thunderstruck.” Yeah, by AC/DC. That Thunderstruck.
Thunderstruck on a pair of cellos…crazy, right? But it was actually cool. And, it reminded me of another weird video I’d seen, where a hillbilly band plays Thunderstruck on banjo, accordion and an iron anvil. So we watched that, and it was kind of cool, too.
And then I had the thought…”How many different versions of Thunderstruck ARE there, anyway?” So I searched for “Thunderstruck” on YouTube.
I found a guy playing it on bagpipes that shoot flames out of them:
And then a classical string quartet:
And another bagpiper…but with Indian themes and some dubstep mixed in. Dubstep!
A mashup with Coldplay and some other group?
Violin solo with techno beat?
Another cello, but this time with a singing group:
Ukulele and guitar? Check:
Getting a bit weirder…what looks like a bar band covering the hillbilly band’s cover of Thunderstruck?
Next is a percussion ensemble…and they don’t disappoint, either:
And I didn’t even know this was a thing…but a clarinet band. A school clarinet band, from Spain. All clarinets…and they ain’t bad:
And all of this is in addition to the tons of guitar covers, and more tons of Thunderstruck played to video of helicopters destroying things. But my question, really, is what makes Thunderstruck so interesting and ripe for re-arrangement? I searched a couple of other songs, and they had nothing like the variety of covers that Thunderstruck has. I’ll admit that it’s a complicated song, and it has a lot going on, with several different rhythm lines and a couple of lead tracks — all that from four guys with guitars and voices. But to do it as a percussion ensemble? Or even weirder…a band made completely of clarinets? I can’t even…I have not the words, but there’s enough going on in the song to support a group of 50, or it can be pared down to just a duet and it still holds together. That’s pretty amazing.