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Bon Scott

Bon Scott (center) pictured with guitarist Angus Young (left), performing at the Ulster Hall, August, 1979.
Background information
Birth name Ronald Belford Scott
Born 9 July 1946(1946-07-09)
Kirriemuir, Scotland
Died 19 February 1980 (aged 33)
London, England
Genres Hard rock, blues-rock
Occupations Musician, songwriter
Instruments Vocals, Drums, Bagpipes
Years active 1964 - 1980
Associated acts AC/DC, Fraternity, The Valentines, The Spektors

Ronald Belford "Bon" Scott (9 July 1946 – 19 February 1980) was a Scottish-born Australian rock musician, best known for being the lead singer and lyricist of Australian hard rock band AC/DC from 1974 until his death in 1980.[1] He was born in Kirriemuir, Scotland, and emigrated to Melbourne, Australia with his family in 1952 at the age of six.

Scott formed his first band, The Spektors, in 1964 and became the band's drummer and occasional lead vocalist. He performed in several other bands including The Valentines and Fraternity before replacing Dave Evans as the lead singer of AC/DC in 1974.

AC/DC's popularity grew throughout the 1970s, initially in Australia, and then internationally. Their 1979 album Highway to Hell reached the top twenty in the United States, and the band seemed on the verge of a commercial breakthrough. However, on 19 February 1980, Scott died after a night of partying in London. AC/DC briefly considered disbanding, but the group quickly recruited vocalist Brian Johnson of the British glam rock band Geordie. AC/DC's subsequent album, Back in Black, was released only five months later, and was a tribute to Scott. It went on to become the second best-selling album in history.[1][2] Hit Parader ranked scott as fifth on their 2006 list of the 100 Greatest Heavy Metal Vocalists of all time.[1]




Ronald Belford Scott was born on 9 July 1946 at the Fyfe Jamieson Maternity Hospital, Forfar, Scotland to Charles ("Chick") and Isabelle ("Isa") Scott, and grew up in Kirriemuir. A younger brother Derek was born in 1949.[1] The Scott family emigrated from Scotland to Australia in 1952 where they initially lived in the Melbourne suburb of Sunshine.[1] It was at Sunshine Primary School that he received his nickname; there was already a classmate with the name Ronald and as he had recently arrived from Bonnie Scotland he was dubbed "Bon" and the name stuck. A second brother, Graeme, was born in 1953.

In 1956, the family moved to Fremantle, Western Australia and Bon joined the associated Fremantle Scots Pipe Band, learning the drums.[1] He dropped out of school at the age of 15 and spent a short time in Fremantle Prison's assessment centre and nine months at the Riverbank Juvenile Institution relating to charges of giving a false name and address to the police, having escaped legal custody, having unlawful carnal knowledge and stealing twelve gallons of petrol.[1] He attempted to join the Australian Army but was rejected for being deemed as "socially maladjusted."[3]

Early career

After working as a postman, bartender and truck packer, Scott started his first band, The Spektors, in 1964 as drummer and occasional lead singer.[4] Two years later the Spektors merged with another local band, The Winstons, and formed The Valentines, in which Scott was co-lead singer with Vince Lovegrove. The Valentines recorded several songs written by George Young of The Easybeats including "Every Day I Have to Cry" which made the local top 5.[1] In 1970, after gaining a place on the National Top 30 with their single "Juliette", the Valentines disbanded due to artistic differences after a much-publicised drug scandal.[5]

Scott moved to Adelaide in 1970 and joined the progressive rock band Fraternity. Fraternity released the LPs Livestock and Flaming Galah before touring the U.K. in 1971, where they changed their name to "Fang". During this time they played support slots for Status Quo and Geordie, whose front man, Brian Johnson, became the lead singer of AC/DC after Scott's death.[1]

In 1973, just after returning to Australia from another tour of the UK, Fraternity went on hiatus. In this period, Scott began singing in a band named "Mount Lofty Rangers" which was formed by other ex-Fraternity members. However, after leaving a rehearsal with Mount Lofty Rangers, Scott suffered serious injuries from a motorcycle accident and subsequently left the band.[5] Fraternity however, later reformed and replaced Scott with Jimmy Barnes.

With AC/DC

In 1974 Scott was working as a driver and general hand in Adelaide. He then met the touring members of AC/DC, including brothers Angus and Malcolm Young. At that time, AC/DC's lead singer was Dave Evans, but soon the Young brothers decided that Evans was not a suitable frontman for the group as they felt he was more of a glam rocker like Gary Glitter.[6] Scott, who had become the band's driver, expressed an interest in becoming their drummer, but the band kept telling him they didn't need a drummer, they needed a singer.[7]

Bon Scott replaced Dave Evans as the lead singer of AC/DC in September 1974. With the Young brothers as lead and rhythm guitarists, session drummer Tony Currenti (see AC/DC lineups) and George Young as a temporary bassist, AC/DC released High Voltage, their first LP in Australia in February 1975. Within a few months Currenti was replaced by Phil Rudd and Mark Evans was hired as a permanent bassist,[citation needed] and AC/DC began recording their second album T.N.T., which was released in Australia in December 1975. The first AC/DC album to gain international distribution however was a compilation of tracks from the first two albums, also entitled High Voltage, which was released in May 1976. Another studio album, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap was released in the same year, but only in Australia; the international version of the album was released in November 1976 in the U.K. and in March 1981 in the U.S., with a different tracklisting.

In the following years, AC/DC gained further success with their albums Let There Be Rock and Powerage. The 1978 release of Powerage marked the debut of bassist Cliff Williams (who had replaced Mark Evans), and with its harder riffs, followed the blueprint set by Let There Be Rock. The album was the last produced by Harry Vanda and George Young with Bon Scott on vocals and is claimed to be AC/DC's most underrated album.[9] Only one single was released for Powerage — "Rock 'n' Roll Damnation" — and gave AC/DC their highest chart position at the time, reaching #24. An appearance at the Apollo Theatre in Glasgow during the Powerage tour was recorded and released as If You Want Blood You've Got It.[10]

The band's sixth album, Highway To Hell, was produced by Robert "Mutt" Lange and was released in 1979. It became AC/DC's first LP to break the U.S. top 100, eventually reaching #17, and it propelled AC/DC into the top ranks of hard rock acts.[11][12]


Bon Scott's grave.
Statue of Bon Scott, Fremantle, Western Australia.
67 Overhill Road, East Dulwich, London, the site of Bon Scott's death

After Highway to Hell, Bon Scott and company began developing a new album that was to eventually become Back in Black, but Scott would not be a part of its success. On 19 February 1980, Scott, 33 at the time, passed out after a night of heavy drinking in a London club called the Music Machine (hosted at the Camden Palace, currently known as the KOKO). He was left to sleep in a car owned by an acquaintance named Alistair Kinnear, at 67 Overhill Road in East Dulwich, South London.[13] The following afternoon, Kinnear found Scott lifeless, and alerted the authorities. Scott was rushed to King's College Hospital in Camberwell, where he was pronounced dead on arrival. Pulmonary aspiration of vomit was the cause of Scott's death,[14] and the official cause was listed as "acute alcohol poisoning" and "death by misadventure".[15][16] Scott was cremated and his ashes were interred by his family in Fremantle, Western Australia.[17]

Inconsistencies in media accounts of Scott's death (incorrect spelling of Alistair Kinnear's first name, amongst others) have been cited in conspiracy theories, which suggest that Scott died of a heroin overdose, or was killed by exhaust fumes redirected into the car, or that Kinnear did not exist.[15] Additionally, Scott was asthmatic, and the temperature was below freezing on the morning of his death.[18] Ozzy Osbourne states in the documentary Don't Blame Me that Scott actually died of hypothermia. The coroner had no such doubts based on the medical facts.[citation needed]

Shortly after Scott's death, the remaining members of AC/DC briefly considered quitting. However, it was eventually decided that Scott would have wanted them to continue and, after the blessings of Bon's family, the band hired Brian Johnson as the new vocalist. Angus Young stated in an interview with VH1 that Scott's mother, whom all the band members personally knew, heartily approved of the band continuing, and felt that it was the only way to properly remember her son and their bandmate.[citation needed] Five months after Scott's death, AC/DC finished the work they began with Scott and released Back in Black as a tribute to him with two tracks from the album, "Hells Bells" and "Back in Black", dedicated to his memory. It is now the second best-selling album in history, behind Michael Jackson's Thriller, and the best-selling album by a band. The French rock band Trust wrote their hit song "Ton dernier acte" ("Your last act") in memory of Scott in 1980. Ozzy dedicated "Suicide Solution" to him. This song is known for alleged subliminal messages about suicide, but Ozzy stated it was only a tribute to the singer.[citation needed]

Scott's ashes were interred in Fremantle Cemetery and his grave site has become a cultural landmark; more than 28 years after Scott's death, the National Trust of Australia decreed his grave important enough to be included on the list of classified heritage places.[17][19] It is reportedly the most visited grave in Australia.[20] On 9 July 2006, the plaque was stolen from the site.[21]

Posthumous events

AC/DC released a box set named Bonfire as a tribute to Scott on 18 November 1997. It contains four albums; a remastered version of Back in Black; a "rarities" album with alternate takes, outtakes, and stray live cuts, Volts; and two live albums, Live from the Atlantic Studios and Let There Be Rock: The Movie.

Live from the Atlantic Studios was recorded on December 7, 1977 at the Atlantic Studios in New York City.

Let There Be Rock: The Movie is a double album which was recorded on December 9, 1979 at the Pavillon de Paris in Paris, and was the soundtrack of the motion picture, AC/DC: Let There Be Rock.[22]

AC/DC was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003.[23] Members of Scott's family joined the band at the podium to accept the honour in his place.[citation needed]

In 2003 Bon Scott's final studio album with AC/DC, 1979's Highway to Hell ranked 199 on Rolling Stone's The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

In 2004 the song "Highway to Hell" that Bon Scott cowrote with Malcolm and Angus Young ranked 254 on Rolling Stone's The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

In the July 2004 issue of UK magazine Classic Rock, Scott was rated as number one in a list of the "100 Greatest Frontmen," ahead of Freddie Mercury and Robert Plant.[24]

Bon Scott memorial, Kirriemuir, Scotland.

On 6 May 2006, the town of Kirriemuir in Scotland held a service and unveiled a Caithness stone slab commemorating the singer.[25] A message was read from long time friend and fellow member of The Valentines, Vince Lovegrove in which he said:

The thing I loved most about Bon Scott, was his almost unique self honesty. What you saw was what you got, he was a real person and as honest as the day is long.
To my mind he was the street poet of my generations and of the generations that followed.[26]

On 24 February 2008, a bronze statue of Bon Scott was unveiled in Perth, Western Australia.[27] The statue which portrays Scott atop a Marshall amplifier was installed at Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour in October 2008.[28]

On 4 December 2008, reported that a Bon Scott movie was in the works.[29] AC/DC representatives confirmed this report via their record company's band website.[30] A Melbourne man claiming to be Scott's only son has expressed an interest in playing the role of his father, although he currently has no acting experience.[31]


  • Walker, Clinton (1994), Highway to Hell: The Life and Times of AC/DC Legend Bon Scott, Verse Chorus Press, ISBN 0-283-06263-0 .
  • Stenning, Paul (2005), AC/DC - Two Sides to Every Glory, Chrome Dreams, ISBN 1-842-40308-7 .


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Bon Scott Story". Crabsody in Blue. Retrieved 2008-08-07. 
  2. ^ "Record Breakers and Trivia : Albums". Retrieved 2008-11-11. 
  3. ^ (Walker 1994, p. 39)
  4. ^ (Walker 1994, p. 32)
  5. ^ a b Ankeny, Jason. "Bon Scott Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2008-08-07. 
  6. ^ (Stenning 2005, p. 34)
  7. ^ (Stenning 2005, p. 32)
  8. ^ ""Night Prowler" by AC/DC". Songfacts. Retrieved 2008-08-07. 
  9. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "AC/DC - Powerage". Allmusic. Retrieved 2008-08-07. 
  10. ^ Christopher, Michael (2003-06-30). "Epic Records AC/DC Re-issues: Second Wave". PopMatters. Retrieved 2008-08-07. 
  11. ^ "Timeline". AC/DC official website. Retrieved 2008-08-07. 
  12. ^ Engleheart, Murray (1997-11-18). AC/DC - Bonfire. 
  13. ^ Weather report
  14. ^ "Scott [had] choked on his own vomit [in his sleep]." Back in Black 1980,2003 CD booklet.
  15. ^ a b Jinman, Richard (2005-02-19). "25 years on, AC/DC fans recall how wild rocker met his end". The Guardian. Retrieved 2008-08-07. 
  16. ^ Scott's death certificate
  17. ^ a b "Bon's Highway leads to the National Trust". Metropolitan Cemeteries Board. 2006-02-15. Retrieved 2008-08-07. 
  18. ^ Stevenson, Jane (1997-11-22). "AC/DC lights a Bonfire in tribute". Canoe JAM! music. Retrieved 2007-08-07. 
  19. ^ Laurie, Tiffany (2006-02-15). "Grave News is Great News for Scott fans". The West Australian. 
  20. ^ "AC/DC agnostic celebrates the ultimate live wire". Sydney Morning Herald. 2008-05-14. Retrieved 2008-05-14. 
  21. ^ "Bon's grave robbed". News Limited. 2006-07-10.,10221,19752285-10431,00.html. Retrieved 2006-10-07.  (now inactive)
  22. ^ "Boxsets". AC/DC discography. Retrieved 2008-08-07. 
  23. ^ "AC/DC". Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2008-08-07. 
  24. ^ "The 100 Greatest Frontmen". Classic Rock (July 2004)
  25. ^ "Town's tribute to AC/DC front man". BBC News. 2006-05-07. Retrieved 2008-08-07. 
  26. ^ "Kirriemuir salutes rock star legend". The Courier. 2006-05-08. Retrieved 2008-08-07. 
  27. ^ "Bon Scott statue unveiled at Perth tribute show". 2008-02-25. Retrieved 2008-02-24. 
  28. ^ "Bon Scott Statue Unveiled". 2008-10-28. Retrieved 2008-10-28. 
  29. ^ "Bon Scott Movie In The Making". - Australia. 2008-12-04. Retrieved 2008-12-08. 
  30. ^ "Bon Scott Movie in the Works?". AC/ 2008-12-05. Retrieved 2008-12-10. 
  31. ^ "Son of Bon Scott Wants To Be A Movie Star". 2008-12-08. Retrieved 2009-05-26. 

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Ronald Belford "Bon" Scott (July 9, 1946 – February 19, 1980) was the lead singer, lyricist, and frontman of the Australian hard rock band, AC/DC, from 1974 until his death in 1980.


  • My new schoolmates threatened to kick the shit out of me when they heard my Scottish accent. I had one week to learn to speak like them if I wanted to remain intact. Course, I didn't take any notice. No-one railroads me, and it made me all the more determined to speak my own way. That's how I got my name, you know. The Bonny Scot, see?
    • As quoted in the Bonfire box-set.
  • Angus? I think he's kinda crazy. Since the first night I saw the band way back in Australia, I knew their manager, and I'd never seen the band before and never even heard of AC/DC. And the manager just said stand here, the band comes on in two minutes. So I stood there and this band comes on and there's this little guy, about that big, with a school uniform and a bag on his back going crazy and I laughed, and I must have laughed for half an hour. And I still laugh, and I think he's great.
    • When asked about Angus Young, lead guitarist of AC/DC. From Reims, December 1979.
  • Malcolm? He's the brain [of the band].
    • When asked about Malcolm Young, rhythm guitarist of AC/DC. From Reims, December 1979.
  • No matter how long you play rock and roll, songs might change just as long as the balls are there, the rock balls. And that's what's important to us
    • Interview with Record Review, 1979.
  • What's a punk band? Hey, who's got a beer?
    • When asked if he had any sympathy for punk bands. From Record Review, 1979.
  • I can't even say the word, it's too early in the day to get upset.
    • When asked of his thoughts on disco music. From The Good Times, July 1979.
  • It keeps you fit - the alcohol, nasty women, sweat on stage, bad food - it's all very good for you.
    • When asked about touring. From Circus, January 1979.
  • I've never had a message for someone in my entire life. Except maybe to give out my room number.
    • From The Good Times, July 1979.
  • I'm 33...before AC/DC I've played in a lot of bands in Australia. You're never too old to rock and roll.
    • From Best, December 1979.
  • I don't give a fuck what else on the rider, as long I've got Jack Daniels.
    • About Jack Daniels Whiskey [specific citation needed - this could just be an advert posted by Jack Daniels marketing department]
  • Atlantic reckoned we should use a top Yank producer and appointed one Eddie Kramer to the post. It turns out the guy was full of bullshit and couldn't produce a healthy fart.
    • In a letter to a former band-mate in Fraternity, 'Uncle' John Ayres, circa 1979.
  • It's nothing to do with us at all, our success is due to the taste of the public.
    • Countdown interview, Mascot Airport, Sydney, April 1976.
  • We've got so many ideas for songs and good riffs, and the more we work, the more we tour, we're getting more ideas, just more. It's just gonna get better and better. I can't see an end to it. It's like infinity rock and roll.
    • Australian Music to the World interview at Symphony Hall, Atlanta, August 1978.


  • Bon was the biggest single influence on the band. When he came in it pulled us all together. He had that real stick-it-to-'em attitude. We all had it in us, but it took Bon to bring it out.
    • Malcolm Young, from Bonfire album notes.
  • Often he would trail off with fans who came backstage after a show and go off with them to a party or something. He judged people as they were and if they invited him and he was in the right mood to go, he went. We used to call him 'Bon the Likeable'.
  • We could be somewhere where you would never expect anyone to know him and someone would walk up and say "Bon Scott!" and always have a bottle of beer for him.
    • Angus Young, from Sounds, March 1980.
  • He made alot of friends everywhere and was always in contact with them too. Weeks before Christmas he would have piles of cards and he always wrote to anyone that he knew, keeping them informed. Even his enemies I think.
    • Angus Young, from Sounds, March 1980.

External links

Wikipedia has an article about:

Simple English

Bon Scott
Bon Scott (center) with AC/DC in August 1979
Background information
Birth name Ronald Belford Scott
Born 9 July 1946(1946-07-09)
Kirriemuir, Scotland
Died 19 February 1980 (aged 33)
London, England
Genres Hard rock, heavy metal, blues-rock, rock and roll
Occupations Musician, songwriter
Instruments Vocals, Drums
Years active 1964 - 1980
Associated acts AC/DC, Fraternity, The Valentines, The Spektors

Bon Scott (born on July 9, 1946 – died February 19, 1980) was an Australian singer and songwriter. He was the lead singer of hard rock band AC/DC from 1974 until he died of alcohol poisoning in 1980.



Scott was born Kirriemuir, Scotland. He and his family moved to Fremantle, Australia in 1952. He left school when he was 15 and spent a short time in a juvenile institution. In 1964, he formed a band called The Spektors. They later became a different band called The Valentines. When the Valentines broke up in 1970, Scott joined a band called Fraternity. Fraternity left Australia and went to Europe, but came back soon after. Scott then joined a band called the Mount Lofty Rangers. In 1974 he had a motorcycle accident and was in hospital for a few months. After he left hospital he joined AC/DC.


AC/DC's first two albums were High Voltage and T.N.T.. They were only released in Australia. Their first worldwide album was released in 1976. It had songs from both High Voltage and T.N.T., and was also called High Voltage. They released another album that year called Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap. Their next albums were Let There Be Rock, Powerage, and a live album called If You Want Blood You've Got It. AC/DC's last album with Scott as their singer was Highway to Hell.


Scott died of alcohol poisoning on 19 February 1980. He was 33 years old at the time. Brian Johnson became AC/DC's new lead singer. There is a bronze statue of Bon Scott in Fremantle.

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