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" really summed us up as a band," Angus Young told Rolling Stone
. It was the audience that really allowed us to even get near a studio.
A study in contrast is the Boston song "Rock And Roll Band
," released in 1976. That song tells the story of a similar struggle, but it was completely made up: Boston was a studio act first and foremost and had immediate success with their first album.