It was all the way back in April of 2012 when we put out an episode showcasing Aaron and Chris’ Top 5 Brian Johnson-era AC/DC songs. With 30 years worth of material on 10 studio albums from the Johnson-fronted version of the band available, it was difficult to narrow down five picks for each host. They never thought picking songs from a 6 album/6 year period would be equally as difficult. The boys’ goal this week was to chronicle Bon Scott’s much-too-short history in music and with AC/DC while playing selections from their favorite tracks from the classic lineup of the band from the six album span of High Voltage in 1975 through 1979’s Highway to Hell album.
Ronald Belford Scott was born on July 9th 1946 in Forfar, Scotland. In 1956 his family moved to Western Australia. It was there that he joined the Associated Fremantle Scots Pipe Band, learning to play the drums. He attended North Fremantle Primary School and later, John Curtin College of the Arts until he dropped out at the age of 15.
He spent a short time in Fremantle Prison’s assessment centre and nin 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 gas. He was, for all intents and purposes, a problem child.
He attempted to join the Australian Army but was rejected for being deemed “socially maladjusted.” In a very real way, the entertainment industry was tailor-made for someone of Bon’s mindset and personality as it allowed him to be himself.
In 1970, Bon Scott moves to Adelaide and joins progressive rock band Fraternity. They soon change their name to Fang. During this time they play support slots opening for Status Quo and Geordie; a band fronted by a gentleman named Brian Johnson who would go on to replace Bon after his death in 1980.
In 1974 Bon is introduced to the guys in AC/DC by friend and former band mate Vince Lovegrove. Vince later worked in journalism and television (including KISS’ 1980 Inner Sanctum Special from Australia).
Bon replaced Dave Evans as the lead singer of AC/DC on October 24,1974, when it became obvious the band and Evans were heading in different directions, with Evans having personal clashes with band members and management.
The Bon Scott AC/DC Discography:
Released 2/17/75 in Australia
3rd Young brother, George, was one of the albums producers and plays bass on a number of tracks.
Most of the songs on this version of High Voltage were not released outside Australia until 1984, when “Baby, Please Don’t Go”, “You Ain’t Got a Hold on Me”, “Soul Stripper”, and “Show Business” were included on the ’74 Jailbreak EP, released in the United States, Canada, and Japan in October 1984.
Only Australian AC/DC studio album for which there is no international counterpart. However, seven of its nine songs comprise the international version of High Voltage, released in May 1976.
The other two, “Rocker” and “School Days”, saw worldwide release as part of Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap‘s international version (1976/1981) and the Bonfire box set (1997) respectively.
Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap:
Released 12/17/1976 internationally
Certified 6x platinum in the US, selling at least six million copies, becoming the third-highest selling album by AC/DC in the US after Highway to Hell (7x platinum) and Back in Black (22+).
A song titled “I’m a Rebel” was recorded during this album’s sessions in 1976, with music and lyrics written by Angus and Malcolm Young’s older brother, Alex Young. This song was never released by AC/DC and remains in Albert Productions‘ vaults. German band Accept later released it as a single and named their second album after the song.
AC/DC’s record label at the time, Albert Productions, was not happy with the album’s vocals and production. According to bassist Mark Evans, the band’s manager Michael Browning told him he assumed Bon Scott would be fired as a result.
Furthermore, the term “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” is an homage to the cartoon Beany and Cecil, which Angus watched when he was a child. One of the cartoon’s characters was named Dishonest John, and carried a business card that read, “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap. Holidays, Sundays and Special Rates.”
Studio debut of bassistCliff Williams. Former bassist Mark Evans says that the album also has bass by him, as the Powerage songs started being done during the recording of his last album Let There Be Rock, and producer George Young,
while Williams was having trouble on getting his work visa.
First to break the US Top 100, eventually reaching #17
The final words spoken by Scott on the album are “Shazbot, na-nu na-nu”, phrases used on the then-popular American sitcom, Mork and Mindy, by lead character Mork (a visiting extraterrestrial played by Robin Williams). The phrase ended the song “Night Prowler” and closed the album.
Pre-production of the album began in January 1979 with demos cut at Albert Studios in Sydney, Australia, where they met the intended producer, Eddie Kramer. Kramer was fired before a single track had been completed, and Robert John “Mutt” Lange was brought in to replace him.
Bon Scott died February 19, 1980. After passing out in a car after a night of drinking in a London club, he was found dead the next afternoon in the car by a friend. Initially his death was as pulmonary aspiration from choking on his own vomit but later confirmed as due to acute alcohol poisoning, classified as “Death by misadventure.”
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