Here is a bell story that blew my mind: the legendary rock band AC/DC tours with an actual 1 ton bell that they use at the beginning of their piece “Hells Bells”. Here is the bell being used at a concert in Dalas Texas in 2009 (jump to 0:41 to see the bell in action).
The story of where the bell came from and how they recorded it is fascinating. From the official AC/DC website:
AC/DC’s “Hells Bell” is an actual replica of the Denison Bell, which is the largest bell in the war memorial tower The Carillon, which is located in the middle of Loughborough, Leicestershire, England. The Denison bell is a 4 ton bell, and the band decided to have a one ton replica bell cast. The bell was cast by J. Taylor and Sons, and stamped with the AC/DC Logo and “Hells Bell” as the band requested.
Attempts at recording the Denison bell for the “Back In Black” album failed after the flutter of flying pigeons that were nesting in the tower disrupted the mobile recording sessions. Time was cut close, but the finished cast of AC/DC’s new Hells Bell was ready in just enough time, so they were able to record the toll of this bell instead. The bell posed many problems in the early tours due to it’s massive weight, many venues simply did not have roofs strong enough to suspend it, and in some locations a crane was necessary, and some others the bell was not able to be used at all.
In the later part of the 1980’s, in Frankfurt Germany the bell chain snapped, almost crushing Angus. The band decided to substitute a lighter weight bell since then, and the original Hells Bell was retired.
Here is an interview with Tony Platt, who did the original recording of the bell used on the album
How about that for crazy bell history?