Bon Scott

Bon Scott

Infobox musical artist
Name = Bon Scott

Img_capt = Bon Scott (center) pictured with guitarist Angus Young (left), performing at the Ulster Hall, August, 1979.
Landscape =
Background = solo_singer
Birth_name = Ronald Belford Scott
Alias =
Born = birth date|df=yes|1946|07|09
Died = death date and age|df=yes|1980|2|19|1946|7|9
London, England
Origin = Kirriemuir, Scotland
Instrument = Vocals
Genre = Hard rock
progressive rock
rock and roll
Occupation = Musician
Years_active = 1964 - 1980
Associated_acts = AC/DC (1974-1980)
Fraternity (1970-1973)
The Valentines (1966-1970)
The Spektors (1964-1966)

Ronald Belford "Bon" Scott (9 July 1946 – 19 February 1980) was an Australian rock musician, most well-known for being the lead singer and lyricist of Australian hard rock band AC/DC from 1974 until his death in 1980.cite web | url = | title = Bon Scott Story | work = Crabsody in Blue | accessdate = 2008-08-07] 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. He vomited while unconscious and choked. 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. [cite web | work = | url = | title = Record Breakers and Trivia : Albums | accessdate = 2008-11-11]



Bon Scott was born in Kirriemuir, Scotland on 9 July 1946 to Charles and Isabelle Scott. A younger brother Derek was born in 1949. The Scott family immigrated to Australia in 1952 where they initially lived in the Melbourne suburb of Sunshine. 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. 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. He attempted to join the Australian Army but was rejected for being deemed as "socially maladjusted." [Harv | Walker | 1994 | p=39]

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. [Harv | Walker | 1994 | p=32] 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. In 1970, after gaining a place on the National Top 30 with their single "Juliette", the Valentines disbanded due to differing opinions within the band concerning musical direction, and also after a much-publicised drug scandal.cite web | url= | last = Ankeny | first = Jason | title = Bon Scott Biography | work = Allmusic | accessdate = 2008-08-07]

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, later succeeded Scott as the lead singer of AC/DC after his death.

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. 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. [Harv | Stenning | 2005 | p=34] 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. [Harv | Stenning | 2005 | p=32]

Bon Scott replaced Dave Evans as the lead singer of AC/DC in September 1974. With the Young brothers as lead and rhythm guitarists, 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, 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 was a compilation of tracks from the first two albums, also entitled "High Voltage", and 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 tracklist [see "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (international album)"] .

multi-listen item
filename = ACDC NightProwler.ogg
title = "Night Prowler" (1979)
description = "Night Prowler" contains all the new elements of "Highway to Hell". The song finishes with Bon Scott saying the Robin Williams' famous catch phrase, "Shazbut Nanoo Nanoo", from the TV show Mork and Mindy. [cite web | title = "Night Prowler" by AC/DC | url = | work = Songfacts | accessdate = 2008-08-07 ]
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. [cite web | url = | title = AC/DC - Powerage | work = Allmusic | first = Stephen Thomas | last = Erlewine | accessdate = 2008-08-07 ] 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".cite web | url = | title = Epic Records AC/DC Re-issues: Second Wave | accessdate = 2008-08-07 | last = Christopher | first = Michael | date = 2003-06-30 | work = PopMatters ]

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.cite web | url = | title = Timeline | work = AC/DC official website | accessdate = 2008-08-07] cite book | first = Murray | last = Engleheart | title = AC/DC - Bonfire | date = 1997-11-18 | ]


On 19 February 1980, Bon Scott, who was only 33 at the time, passed out after a night of heavy drinking in a London club called MusicMachine (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 [ [ Weather report ] ] . 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. Although common folklore claims that ingestion of vomit or drugs were the cause of Scott's death, the official cause was listed as "acute alcohol poisoning" and "death by misadventure."cite web | first = Richard | last = Jinman | title = 25 years on, AC/DC fans recall how wild rocker met his end | url =,11711,1418115,00.html | work = The Guardian | date = 2005-02-19 | accessdate = 2008-08-07 ] Scott was cremated and his ashes were interred by his family in Fremantle, the area to which they had immigrated when he was a child (Fremantle - commonly known as Freo - is a port city in Western Australia, located 19 kilometres (12 miles) southwest of Perth, the state capital).cite web | title=Bon's Highway leads to the National Trust | date = 2006-02-15 | accessdate = 2008-08-07 | work=Metropolitan Cemeteries Board | url=]

Inconsistencies in the official accounts of Scott's death 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. Additionally, Scott was asthmatic, and the temperature was below freezing on the morning of his death. [cite web | url = | title = AC/DC lights a Bonfire in tribute | accessdate = 2007-08-07 | last = Stevenson | first = Jane | date = 1997-11-22 | work = Canoe JAM! music ]

Shortly after his death, AC/DC briefly considered quitting, but later felt that Scott would have wanted them to continue and 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. Five months after Scott's death, AC/DC recorded "Back in Black" as a tribute to him. Scott's ashes were interred in Fremantle Cemetery and his grave site has become a cultural landmark; more than 27 years after Scott's death, the National Trust of Australia has decreed his grave important enough to be included on the list of classified heritage places. [cite news | first = Tiffany | last = Laurie | title = Grave News is Great News for Scott fans | work = The West Australian | date = 2006-02-15 ] It is reportedly the most visited grave in Australia. [cite news | url = | title = AC/DC agnostic celebrates the ultimate live wire | date = 2008-05-14 | work = Sydney Morning Herald | accessdate = 2008-05-14 ] On 9 July 2006, the plaque was stolen from the site on what would have been his 60th birthday. [cite news | url =,10221,19752285-10431,00.html | title = Bon's grave robbed | date = 2006-07-10 | work = News Limited | accessdate = 2006-10-07 (now inactive)]

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 "".

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

' 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, '. [cite web | url = | title = Boxsets | accessdate = 2008-08-07 | work = AC/DC discography ]

AC/DC was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003. [cite web | url = | title = AC/DC | work = Rock and Roll Hall of Fame | accessdate = 2008-08-07] Members of Scott's family joined the band at the podium to accept the honour in his place.

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. ["The 100 Greatest Frontmen". "Classic Rock" (July 2004)]

In May 2006, the town of Kirriemuir in Scotland held a service and unveiled a Caithness stone slab commemorating the singer. [cite web | url = | work = BBC News | title = Town's tribute to AC/DC front man | date = 2006-05-07 | accessdate = 2008-08-07] A message was read from long time friend and fellow member of The Valentines, Vince Lovegrove in which he said:

On 24 February 2008, a bronze statue of Bon Scott was unveiled in Perth, Western Australia. [cite web | title = Bon Scott statue unveiled at Perth tribute show| work = | date = 2008-02-25 | url =,21598,23271125-5012990,00.html | accessdate = 2008-02-24]


* Harvard reference
Surname1 = Walker
Given1 = Clinton
Authorlink = Clinton Walker
Year = 1994
Title = Highway to Hell: The Life and Times of AC/DC Legend Bon Scott
Publisher = Verse Chorus Press
ID = ISBN 0-283-06263-0
* Harvard reference
Surname1 = Stenning
Given1 = Paul
Year = 2005
Title = AC/DC - Two Sides to Every Glory
Publisher = Chrome Dreams
ID = ISBN 1-842-40308-7


External links

* [ AC/DC official website]

NAME=Scott, Bon
ALTERNATIVE NAMES=Scott, Ronald Belford (birth name)
DATE OF BIRTH=9 July 1946
PLACE OF BIRTH=Kirriemuir, Scotland
DATE OF DEATH=19 February 1980
PLACE OF DEATH=London, England

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