AC/DC‘s Angus Young has shot down a long-standing rumor that the band’s late frontman Bon Scott was involved in the songwriting process of several of the “Back In Black” tracks prior to his untimely death in early 1980. “Bon never really got the chance,” the guitarist told Paste magazine in a new interview. “At the time, me and [founding AC/DC rhythm guitarist] Malcolm [Young] were writing songs, which became the songs for ‘Back In Black’. We were in London in a rehearsal room, and Bon had come down, too. And what used to happen was, me and Malcolm would get together and get a drum kit, and Malcolm would get behind the drums sometimes, and I’d get on the guitar and just tap out a riff. Or other times, Malcolm would get on the guitar and he’d get me to just knock out a simple beat on the drums. Anyhow, we were working away, and it was on an intro which was actually what became the intro for ‘Hells Bells’. So Bon showed up, and Malcolm said, ‘Oh, great, Bon. You can get behind the kit.’ Because originally Bon started as a drummer. So Bon got behind the drum kit so we could try and work out this intro, how we wanted to do it. So we sorted that out how we wanted. And the other one was ‘Have A Drink On Me’, a riff Malcolm was playing around with. So we worked out the intro on that and how the song was gonna go. So he had Bon tapped to do a demo for that. So that was it, really. If you were looking up what Bon had done, it was really just to help us with those demos on the drums. And he even said to us, as we were knocking off in the night time, ‘Look, we’ll hook up next week.’ He’d been working on some lyrics, and said, ‘We’ll hook up next week and maybe the three of us can just start going through stuff.’ But unfortunately, he passed before that.”
Angus continued: “It’s kind of strange, in a way, when I think back, because when Bon first joined us as a band, that was the first thing he wanted to do — he took me and Malcolm and said, Come on!’ And we went to a friend’s place who had a studio, and when we got there, Bon got behind the drum kit and said, ‘All right, come on you guys. Start playing.’ And Malcolm said, ‘Look, Bon — we’ve got a real good drummer. We don’t need another drummer. What we need is a really good rock ‘n’ roll singer.’ But with Bon, what you saw was what you got. He had his own approach to this, and he lived that character. I mean, sometimes you’d be doing a gig somewhere, and he’d show up with some people, and then he’d be gone for a few days. And he’d have been out with some guys drinking moonshine up in the hills. He’d just met them, but they were all like his long-lost friends, ya know?”
“Back In Black” was the first album AC/DC released after singer Brian Johnson replaced Scott, and it went on to become the third-biggest-selling LP of all time.
Scott was invited to join AC/DC by Malcolm and Angus Young in 1974, and achieved international stardom before his death at the age of 33 from alcohol poisoning.
He sang on AC/DC‘s first six studio albums, including “High Voltage”, “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap”, “Let There Be Rock” and “Highway To Hell”.
Scott died of acute alcohol poisoning after a night of heavy drinking at a club in London, just days after attending a session with Malcolm and Angus Young where they began working on music for what became the “Back In Black” album.
According to the AC/DC FAQ web site, Bon and the friend, a musician named Alisdair Kinnear, had been drinking the evening of February 19, 1980 and Bon apparently fell asleep during the ride home. Kinnear could not wake Bon, so he left him in the car to sleep. Kinnear awoke early in the evening on February 20, checked on Bon, and found him unconscious in the car. Bon could not be revived, and was pronounced dead.