What You're Not Listening To

What You're Not Listening To

AC/DC: The Bon Scott Years

March 01, 2020

A tribute to a man who helped made Rock and Roll dirty, loud and fun again. #rockandroll #acdc #bonscott

40 years ago, on February 19th, 1980, the world lost one of the most exciting frontmen ever to sing for a Rock and Roll band, when Bon Scott died from what was classified as “death by misadventure” in London. A lifelong heavy drinker and drug user, he died in the backseat of a car parked outside the residence of a friend.

Though not the first lead singer AC/DC had, he and the principles of the group, brothers Malcolm and Angus Young, immediately hit it off when they met. Their histories were similar: all three men were originally from Scotland, and their families moved to Australia to find a better life. Scott was a few years older than the brothers, and had been in professional recording and touring outfits prior. At the time of Scott’s appearance in the band, he had just left a job with another band, Fraternity, and had a day job shoveling manure.

Bon Scott on stage in Hollywood, CA, 1977. Photo courtesy of the Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images.

AC/DC were attempting to shed their original glam rock tag and get back-to-basics with a stripped-down, lean sound, influenced by American first wave Black Rockers such as Little Richard and Chuck Berry, whom were favorites of Scott’s as well. AC/DC, with the help of their manager/producer brother George, himself a veteran of the music industry with the Australian garage rock act The Easybeats, released two albums in Australia, and slowly built a rabid fan base there.

“I’ve never had a message for anyone in my entire life. Except maybe to give out my room number.“Bon Scott

Following an international distribution deal with Atlantic Records, which often saw the band often at loggerheads with label executives, their hard work paid off. They were finally about to become major commercial arena rock superstars by 1979’s Highway to Hell LP, their first LP to crack the Billboard Top 100 LP’s chart and their first to make the U.S. Top 20.

AC/DC, 1979. (l-r) Malcolm Young, Bon Scott, Cliff Williams, Angus Young, and Phil Rudd. Photo by Fin Costello.

Scott’s death almost destroyed the band. Undaunted, they recruited a new lead singer, Brian Johnson, and recorded Back In Black, one of the biggest selling albums in history. Scott’s legacy was continued even after his death, with a surprise 1981 LP hitting the U.S. Top 10, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, featuring Scott on vocals, a five year old recording their label initially rejected, which also marked Scott’s highest ranking on the charts Stateside.

First Part

* T.N.T., 1975, High Voltage (U.S. release 1976)* Problem Child (live), 1977, Live From The Atlantic Studios* Big Balls, 1976/re-release 1981, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap* Can I Sit Next To You Girl, 1975, High Voltage (U.S. release 1976)* Sin City (live), 1978, Midnight Special TV program* Whole Lotta Rosie (live), 1979, Live In Paris* Crabsody In Blue, 1977, originally only on U.K. and Australian versions of Let There be Rock

Second Part

* Girls Got Rhythm, 1979, Highway To Hell* Kicked In The Teeth, 1978, Powerage* Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap [Live], 1977, Live at the Festival of Sydney, Haymarket, Australia, 30 January 1977* Baby, Please Don’t Go, 1974, single release Australia, U.S. release on the EP ’74 Jailbreak in 1984


* Let There Be Rock, 1977, Let There Be Rock

Love to you all.

Ben “Daddy Ben Bear” Brown Jr. Host, Producer, Audio Engineer, Webmaster,