Let us take some time out today, to honour one of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll vocalists that ever lived, though somebody who is rarely discussed. He was a lyricist and a drummer, but it is with singing that he found his true place in the hallways of rock ‘n’ roll glory.
Born Ronald Belford Scott, and popularly known as Bon Scott, he became the voice of one of the hardest-rocking bands in history, AC/DC. And in his short time with the band, he established a template that has been followed by innumerable bands ever since.
Bon Scott was born in Scotland but moved to Australia at the age of six. He did become Australian by technicality, but at heart, he was a true Scotsman, always believing in living the good times.
Contrary to popular belief, he was not the original vocalist of AC/DC. In fact, he replaced a certain Dave Evans, a year after the formation of the band, and went on to create history with AC/DC. One hilarious fact is that Bon Scott joined the band before Dave Evans, but as their driver! He actually wanted to be their drummer, before becoming their singer in 1974.
The first three AC/DC albums with Bon Scott on vocals were High Voltage, T’N’T and Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap. Although these were initially only released in Australia, growing popularity led them to be released in compilation formats with alternate track listings. The fourth and fifth albums, Let There Be Rock and Powerage, respectively, made them a force to be reckoned with, making people in the UK and the US sit up and take notice.
But the sixth album made the band what we know them as today, and that has been their legacy ever since. Released in 1979, Highway to Hell made international rock superstars out of AC/DC. This short (by today’s standards) 40-minute album has become the soundtrack to every generation, and any rocker worth his salt will always cite Highway To Hell as an inspiration at some point in time.
Unfortunately, the title song proved to be a bit too prophetic when, Bon Scott after a long night of hard partying, ingested a little too much alcohol into his system. And so, in February 1980, seven months into the global success of Highway To Hell, one of the hardest rocking vocalists of one of the greatest rock bands we’ve ever known, was dead. Of course it is needless to say that, the posthumous sales skyrocketed, making the album a phenomenon.
But the untimely death of Bon Scott did not stop AC/DC from rocking and rolling on, as they felt that it was the best way to carry on his legacy and keep the memory of Bon Scott alive. So five months later, armed with a new singer in Brian Johnson, in the summer of 1980, AC/DC released Back In Black. It became one of their biggest selling albums ever, and at over 49 million copies sold, it has become the second largest selling album of all time, behind
Michael Jackson’s Thriller
So today, let us all go back in time and revisit the voice and attitude of one of rock ‘n’ roll’s greatest vocalists, Bon Scott. And as we look back on the music of AC/DC, with all due respect to Brian Johnson, we realize that Bon Scott has always been around, he never really left… if I may say so.