Bon Scott

 https://i2.wp.com/randalrauser.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Bon-Scott.jpg                                                                                                                            

After adding this as part of a blog one day ( my mate and I TOTALLY getting off listening to some ACDC from the early days of Bon Scott) we thought we just HAD to include him under this banner of Brilliant Users.

If you really wanna have a look at the ACDC line up BEFORE Bon Scott –(click here) do check it out – if ONLY for the Thank Fuck value that the world was spared a rather painful ACDC with the original front man, glam rock stylee, Dave Evans. The Young brothers, Malcolm (rhythm guitar) and Angus (lead guitar) have been the only ones to be there from the very beginning, forming the band, and naming it after seeing the voltage sign on their sisters sewing machine ‘AC DC’, perfect for high voltage rock n roll.

The story goes -and this is from the grape vine,  Bon Scott was the driver/roadie of ACDC at the time of this odd line up. (It does appear that he was around the band while a few members came and went). The front man Evans decided he didn’t want to play one night at this particular heavy looking club/bar, (dressed like Gary Glitter to be fair) and so Bon Scott said, ‘Fuck this, I’ll get up there and sing!’ And so, a legend among music – and the hard core fraternity, was born. Not only a talented vocalist, he was wordsmith, he had a witty but touching way with words, very Glaswegian (where he was born), but very Aussie too as it was Australia where he grew up.

The band decided that Evans was an unsuitable front person, and not wanting to go down the glam rock path, they eventually settled on Ronald Belford “Bon” Scott.

Bon Scott joined the band in 1974 and by January the next year, the debut album, High Voltage had been recorded. It took only ten days and was based on instrumental songs written by the Young brothers, with lyrics added by Scott. This album was initially only released in Australia -and should not be confused with the  international release two years later -and of the same name which was a compilation of ACDC’s first two Aussie albums High Voltage and TNT  (see video below – Rock n Roll singer which was on the album), released on the Atlantic Records label. The album gained the band a following among the British punk and metal audiences, John Peel actually introduced them as an Australian punk band.

The opening track of the (international) album was “It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll)”, which is perhaps ACDC’s perennial anthem and has many immortal lines alluding to the lifestyle they were leading ” Getting drunk, getting stoned, getting beat up, broken bones”.  

The love of hard rock, booze and an attitude that was essentially anti-establishment, was embodied in ACDC in 1970’s Australia. Being Melbourne boys, they were hard core, Sydney by then, was perhaps a little more polished. In any case for young men (and women) who wanted live the hard core life, injecting speed was the way to  go in 1970’s Australia, mostly being distributed by big biker gangs. Alcohol has always been the favourite drug of the Aussie working man and the combination made sure you could drink a hell of a lot more and still stand up.

Their next studio album was Dirty Deeds Done Cheap, followed by 1977’s Let There Be Rock, which really helped them take off in Europe. Very soon after, Powerage was released  and is considered something of a curio amongst ACDC fans; it contains few hits but interestingly, it is Keith Richards’ favourite ACDC record and does contain some classic lyrics from Scott, for example Down Payment Blues and Gone Shootin’.

There is ample evidence to suggest that Bon Scott was familiar with the drug scene, and it was in the late 70’s that the heroin wave really broke in both Australian  and the UK. The song, Gone Shootin’ from Powerage (1978) deals with the death of a girlfriend from an overdose, though it is slightly enigmatic as to what the drug actually was.  Read the lyrics included below and decide for yourself.

After releasing a live album (If you want blood you got it), they recorded Highway to Hell in 1979 which was easily their biggest seller in America and saw the band on the verge of international superstardom. Tragically, it was at the beginning of the production of their seminal album Back in Black, in Feburary 1980, that Bon Scott died. The official cause of death was named as ‘death by misadventure’ and ‘acute alcohol poisoning’. He was buried in Fremantle, Australia.

After much deliberation, the band decided to continue, and recruited Brian Johnson to take up the mantle of AC/DC vocalist and he sure had big boots to fill. He helped the band to finish writing the album Back In Black, which they had begun with Bon Scott and which they dedicated to him. The album spawned the hits ‘You Shook Me All Night Long’ and ‘Hells Bells’. The album has sold over 22 million copies, in the US alone. It was a UK number one and spent 131 weeks in the US album charts.

Written by EO and Nick C. Farr

Here I have included my personal tribute to Bon Scott and ACDC from back in the day.  This song – and video is called Jailbreak, and is relatively unknown in the UK having been left off the International release of High Voltage.. This is for all the prisoners out there…. Lap it up – it’s the only way. Underneath we have also included  lyrics from Rock N Roll Singer, coz they are wicked!

(Most Jailbreak videos have the bloody gunshot scene censored out….how ridiculous! But this video does not. Enjoy ACDC fans, remember your buddies who have died as well, this 21st July….)

There was a friend of mine on murder
And the judge’s gavel fell
Jury found him guilty
Gave him sixteen years in hell
He said “I ain’t spending my life here
I ain’t living alone
Ain’t breaking no rocks on the chain gang
I’m breakin’ out and headin’ home”

Gonna make a jailbreak
And I’m lookin’ towards the sky
I’m gonna make a jailbreak
Oh, how I wish that I could fly

All in the name of liberty
All in the name of liberty
Got to be free

Jailbreak, let me out of here
Jailbreak, sixteen years ah
Jailbreak, had more than I can take
Jailbreak, yeah

He said he’d seen his lady being fooled with
By another man
She was down and he was up
Had a gun in his hand
Bullets started flying everywhere
And people started to scream
Big man lying on the ground
With a hole in his body
Where his life had been

But it was all in the name of liberty
All in the name of liberty
I got to be free

Jailbreak, jailbreak
I got to break out
Out of here

Heartbeats, they were racin’
Freedom, he was chasin’
Spotlights, sirens, rifles firing
But he made it out
With a bullet in his back

Jailbreak, jailbreak
Jailbreak, jailbreak
Jailbreak, jailbreak
Jailbreak, jailbreak
Jailbreak, jailbreak

The video below is not the actual one released with the song, but this is actually an interesting compilation of early ACDC history, with some rare footage of Bon Scott just being himself, and you can’t help but feel the loss of a true original. RIP mate. (PS lyrics on video also in Spanish!)

“Rock ‘N’ Roll Singer”

My Daddy was workin’ nine to five

When my Momma was havin’ me

By the time I was half alive

They knew what I was gonna be

But I left school and grew my hair

They didn’t understand

They wanted me to be respected as

A doctor or a lawyer man

(But I had other plans)

Gonna be a rock ‘n’ roll singer

Gonna be a rock ‘n’ roll star

Gonna be a rock ‘n’ roll singer

I’m gonna be a rock ‘n’ roll,

A rock ‘n’ roll star

Well I worked real hard and bought myself

A rock ‘n’ roll guitar

I gotta be on top some day

I wanna be a star

I can see my name in lights

And I can see the queue

I got the devil in my blood

Tellin’ me what to do

(And I’m all ears)

Gonna be a rock ‘n’ roll singer

Gonna be a rock ‘n’ roll star

Gonna be a rock ‘n’ roll singer

I’m gonna be a rock ‘n’ roll,

A rock ‘n’ roll star

(I hear it pays well)

Well you can stick your nine to five livin’

And your collar and your tie

You can stick your moral standards

‘Cause it’s all a dirty lie

You can stick your golden handshake

And you can stick your silly rules

And all the other shit

That you teach to kids in school

(‘Cause I ain’t no fool)

Gonna be a rock ‘n’ roll singer

I’m gonna be a rock ‘n’ roll star

Gonna be a rock ‘n’ roll singer

I’m gonna be a rock ‘n’ roll

A rock ‘n’ roll star

Gonna be a rock ‘n’ roll singer

Gonna be a rock ‘n’ roll star

Gonna be a rock ‘n’ roll singer

I’m gonna be a rock ‘n’ roll

A rock ‘n’ roll star

Yes I are!

AC/DC Gone Shootin’ w/ lyric

Off the Powerage album.  lyrics and video for Gone Shootin’  (apparently Scott’s eulogy about a girfriend’s overdose). This was a rare live recording in Nashville of ‘Gone Shootin’ with an extended solo (circa 1978). This is sadly not a moving video but is a great recording.

Feel the pressure rise
Hear the whistle blow
Found a ticket on her own accord
That I don’t know
Packed her heart in a traveling bag
And never said bye bye
Something’s missing in the neighborhood
All the cryin’ eyes
I stirred my coffee with the same spoon
Do a favorite tune

Gone shootin’
My baby’s gone shootin’

Wrap yourself around
Like a second skin
Backed her favorite nag
But she could never win
I took her number in another town
She took another pill
She was running in overdrive
Up until my overkill
She never made it passed the bedroom door
What was she aiming for

Gone shootin’
She’s gone, gone, gone, gone

Gone shootin, how am I gonna get her down
Gone shootin, look out look out look out
Gone shootin, she can hurt someone
Gone shootin, yeah she sure is loaded
Gone shootin, she’s gone, gone, gone, gone, she’s gone
Gone shootin

Now, it might not be hard to believe that Bon Scott was in a band prior to ACDC but it will be hard to believe that this was it! The Valentines was the name, and the year was 1969 and the song was Build Me Up Buttercup.  See if you can guess which one is Bon.  You maybe surprised – or maybe not….

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1 Comment

  1. Nick Farr

     /  April 17, 2015

    Just to correct a couple of the lyrics here, don’t know how but we managed to get it wrong in two of the most important places: “Something’s missing in the neighbourhood, OF the crying eyes” (verse 1); and “She was running in overdrive, A victim of overkill” (verse 2) hope it makes more sense now, I always thought ” The neighbourhood of the crying eyes” meant Kings Cross, Sydney incidentally.
    Nick C. Farr

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