Fond memories of our “lightning flash in the middle” Bon, who would be 75 today.
You’d have to go a long way to find anyone who’d say a bad word about Bon Scott.
Ronald Belford Scott came into my life in 1974. After meeting Bon backstage at that first Sydney gig in Rockdale, I described him as a very cocky and charismatic Scotsman and I felt that my working relationship with this man was not going to be dull, and the next six years proved just how right I was!
Bon was a funny guy. Everybody liked him, but what made him stand out was his talent for rock lyrics. I don’t think he will ever be bettered. Respect.
I met Bon back when he joined ACDC...Bon WAS a rockstar...cheeky fun loving and oh so talented...a voice that could cut steel and a master of lyrics...we owe a lot to Bon he gave the world so much!
A wordsmith telling stories of the street, one of the last of a dying breed, impish grin and swagger to match, a poet behind a leer; a troubadour, a singer of songs a scallywag buccaneer; the likes of him well not see again for many a long, long year. Angry
1. Bon had a gift with words. Not only did he write amazing lyrics, but he could improvise and play with them spontaneously during a gig. I watched him do this many times. He seemed to read the audience and tailor words to suit. Sometimes small, subtle changes, sometimes obvious departures from the original lyric. And with his gift for phrasing, he would make these new words fit as if they were the original. She’s Got The Jack was the best example. He obviously enjoyed himself as he delivered new lines, always accompanied by his trademark cheeky grin - he could get away with anything.
2. In 1975, during our short SA country tour supporting AC/DC, I was in the audience watching their show at the Sundowner Hotel, Whyalla. Bon did “the walk,” pushing through the punters with Angus on his shoulders. Soon after they got back to the stage, Angus took exception to someone down the front (something he said?). In a typical fit of Scottish anger, he threw down his guitar and leapt on top of the offender, who happened to be a 6’4” biker covered in tatts and surrounded by his mates. Bon, equally fearless, dived off the stage after Angus and both were swallowed up in a sea of flying fists and leather jackets. Their roadie, the inimitable Pat Pickett, made it to the scene in time to drag them out, threw Angus back on the stage and the show continued … maybe it was part of the act.
Some thoughts about Bon Scott,
We, The Angels, became friends with AC/DC in 1975 when we supported them through three regional SA shows, Port Pirie, Whyalla and Port Augusta. Bon, Angus and Malcolm approached us in Whyalla and said they’d like to tell Harry Vanda and George Young about us. True to their word that’s exactly what they did and not long after we were signed to Alberts. Those days were incredible, to work with Vanda/Young, to hang out with the AC/DC guys in the studio, on occasion swapping instruments and jamming and to be part of such an amazing stable of artists, JPY, TMG, Rose Tattoo, Stevie Wright and George and Harry. Also we formed a close relationship with Mark Opitz, Fifa Riccobono and Sam Horsburgh.
Back to those first three gigs, I remember sitting with Bon in AC/DC’s tour bus, an old Pioneer, in Port Augusta after the show sharing a drink and chatting. Bon told me their plans to go overseas as soon as possible and take on the World. He said “…we’ll be one of the biggest bands in the World because we’ve got Angus”. I said “…don’t sell yourself short Bon, they’ve got you!” To me that’s a good example of Bon being typically humble.
We did quite a lot of gigs with AC/DC in those days and, on one occasion, in Adelaide, all of us staying in the Australia Hotel, Bon said he wanted to go for a walk. I went with him down the hill to the Parklands that surround the city. Within minutes there were quite a number of people who just fell in line silently following. He was a kind of rock n’ roll Pied Piper, so charismatic, a genuine star.
Bon was the only singer that got up and sang with The Angels. It was at Selinas, I’ve no idea what song, but it was just fantastic! My memories of Bon and all from those days remain as some of my most precious.
I remember the first time I saw AC/DC.
Journey was continuing our quest to become headliners and Van Halen, who were our opener, were with us for about a month and had just left the tour to pursue their headlining dreams.
The next thing I know, I'm in Corpus Christi, Texas showing up for our set and a new opening act from Australia was just added to our tour.
I had heard about AC/DC but never seen them live.
When I walked in I heard this Massive pumping Drum, Bass and Rhythm Guitar groove with an amazing Lead Guitar and a voice soaring above it all like no other.
I walked over to stage left to see what the heck was happening and there he was, Bon Scott with a bottle of Jack, no shirt, Levis and cowboy boots, singing like a cross between Steve Marriott and a Cat.
His voice was so fucking powerful that he changed me for ever. He lived what he was.
Bon Scott equals big balls, big heart, big crazy mischevious fun presence and a raucous, beautiful, GIANT voice, which all in all makes him the true Bruce Lee of frontmen
Bon was a unique singer and I think somewhat underestimated for he had a great and everlasting influence on many young and also famous Metal and Rock vocalists all over the world. He certainly knew how to party but he was the real deal and will always be remembered for his down to earth attitude, his approachable and friendly character and most of all his live performances - wherever you are Bon - happy Birthday man - have a drink on me !!
I was fortunate enough to have known Bon for a short time, in fact, it was for the length of AC/DC’s 1979 European tour, on which we special guested. During that tour, I found him to be full of fun and mischief, small in stature but immense in character, with a voice that was unique, and unmatched to this day. Bon’s brilliant career was tragically cut short - there’s a saying that says, the light that shines bright, burns out quickest, and Bon shone brightest of all!
Bon’s attitude demeanour and front man swagger gave him the Everyman persona that the world loved him for. His voice look and on stage character drew us all in - there’s an unmatched uniqueness that solidifies Bon's legendary status in rock and roll.....
I would watch him work from the side of the stage and out front and the magnetism he projected was non-stop. You felt the pure love energy and honesty he belted out with his band. He and I had down to earth wholesome encounters in the dressing room and on the bus that I cherish in that he talked from the heart uncluttered and with no ego. As a singer he can’t be matched by virtue of style and sound....we love and miss you Bon.....!
I saw Bon Scott performing up close only once when we supported AC/DC in Sydney decades long gone and I never forgot it. The cheeky gap-toothed grin and cocky promenading were added layers that fleshed out a consummate professional. He owned the stage and the song with precision and spunk. Whilst never appearing to take anything too seriously, he was leading one of the most formidable guitar bands we’ve ever seen or heard to the very top. Writing, singing and performing at a level most only dream about. And then he was gone too soon - what an incredible legacy.
Respectfully my wife (Marlina) and family send our love to the Scott family.
We live in N.W. NSW on a cattle and grains (when it rains) farm I’ve owned for 30 years.
I was born near Cottesloe Beach, Perth on 27/3/1959.
I remember as a teenager when I first heard the name AC/DC and then of course the first time I heard and understood the music and the lyrics, the guts of Oz youth culture.
Both had a lasting impression on me as a young and older fella, and that amazing voice .!!.. of course the late great Mr Bon Scott.
For me as a founding member and the main songwriter of INXS (with Michael Hutchence also) we had always admired Bon and AC/DC for their “whatever it takes“ career attitude.
Michael would at times wear an AC/DC T-shirt on stage.
INXS had a different sound and music but as a band of brothers we experienced a similar internationally successful journey a trajectory with massive high’s and lows ……
and so I will use the word empathy .
Empathy for the loss of Bon (and Michael), dearly loved by so many around the world and with both bands sharing brothers as members within both bands.
But most importantly,
Empathy for those closest to Bon and the Scott family.
Happy Birthday Bon,
God knows you are loved and missed dearly,
Love to All,
Bon was a huge inspiration to me. I saw him as this completely uninhibited performer, a magical, elemental force. All of this and the fact that he was the real deal, inspires me to this day to keep being myself which I think is so important for an artist.
Hands down, Bon Scott is one of the greatest frontmen to ever set foot on a stage. Sly, cheeky and a little bit dangerous, he had charisma to burn and it was impossible to take your eyes off him. He always looked like he was having the time of his life and he made you want to be a part of it.
Then there was his amazing voice - bratty and gruff with a bright edge that cut through even the dirtiest mix, Bon’s howling and yowling gave every note a pure rock and roll intensity. The only other singer I can compare him to is Little Richard, not so much in the tone of his voice but more in the raw honesty and his fierce individuality. Just like Little Richard, Bon Scott was one of a kind.
Yes, Bon was an incredible singer and performer but, more than that, he was also a brilliant songwriter. Bon’s inspired melodies set off Malcolm Young’s epic guitar riffs perfectly as they danced around and bounced off each other. As the old saying goes, this was a match made in heaven, even if Bon’s lyrics insisted they were a highway to hell. Ah, Bon’s brilliant lyrics! They are probably the least discussed facet of his talent but, for my money, they were his greatest strength. Hilarious, outrageous, audacious, you could always tell there had been a twinkle in Bon’s eye as he wrote them and his wicked intellect was also apparent in the way he sang them. “Dirty deeds…ow-ooh! …done dirt cheap.” Unforgettable.
Bon Scott - what a character - what a performer - what a fucking legend!
The first time I saw ACDC was on television and I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen. It wasn’t just the sound, or the song, or Angus’ schoolboy outfit, it was Bon Scott, the lead singer. He had a classic rock n’ roll voice that sat perfectly atop the Young brothers’ twin guitar assault. But he had something else - an amazing charisma born of a cheeky smile and a twinkle in his eyes that told you he was clever, a lot of fun and a little bit dangerous. Then he played the bagpipes! I nearly fell off the lounge.
Bon Scott was the perfect frontman, that vital link between the band, the songs and the audience. He was an incredible singer, with great tone and fantastic pitch. There were no studio tricks to help vocalists back then, you had to deliver and Bon certainly did. As a songwriter, his lyrics were the ideal fit for Malcolm and Angus’ music and the songs they created were absolute classics.
I was devastated when he passed away. But his music lives on as a testament to just how good that combination of drums, bass, guitars and vocals can be. Here’s to Bon Scott, a true original.
Bon was a gypsy, a vagabond, a Bad Boy and a Rock n Roll outlaw. He truly was a street poet.
When I first met Bon, he was in the Valentines, it felt like they were nearing the end of their span. We were miming our single on Happening 70 too. They were dressed in their orange crepe shirts and you could see Bon’s tatts showing through - it seemed an odd fit to me. They were nice fellas though and I saw them over the next few months at different gigs we shared till the Valentines split up.
Bon joined Fraternity. He was very much a junior partner in the band then as he hadn’t started writing and probably the lyrics he wrote later wouldn’t have been right for that band. I used to hang out at Jersey Road in Paddington a lot, which was where I started to get to know the Fraternity guys well and my band Sherbet shared a residency with Fraternity at the infamous Jonathan’s in Sydney.
Bon was a true front man - a genuine rock star. This was always a contradiction to me because while the rock star always had the hell raiser image, when we were hanging out at the band’s house Bon was behind the facade, a really sweet, friendly bloke. I was not surprised he went on to become a star with AC/DC once he found the right vehicle for his image and his persona. He had the voice, he had the look, and he had the talent.
On his last trip to Australia, I heard Bon looked everybody up. I hadn’t seen him for over 5 years but he came to one of my gigs and we had a long rave. Bon said he’d grown a bit tired of the whole touring scene and that he wanted to do just a bit more touring and then split and buy a pub. I’m not sure that would have been a great plan but, sadly, we weren’t to find out.
Always missed, Bonnie.
I knew The Valentines very well, Bon in particular. You couldn’t help but like him. Bon brought a very dynamic drive to the band. He commanded the stage. He was a great singer and an excellent percussionist and he and I used to do combination drum/percussion duets too (from memory) songs like ‘People Get Ready’. I was, at times, the designated person to locate the missing Bon, who I would invariably find passed out in the ladies’ toilet. He was very much a lightweight, so it wasn’t too hard to plonk him in a vehicle, take him home and put him to bed, only to find that he was gone early next morning, arriving back later on in the day with multi-coloured hair. He had some girlfriends who were hairdressers.
It’s hard to imagine Bon at the age of 75. He was always a puckish, sort of ageless Peter Pan figure. AC/DC is a good example – Though he was old enough to be Angus and Malcolm’s father, he fit the band like a hand in a glove simply because of his attitude and demeanour. When I joined Fraternity as a 20-year-old neophyte, I literally learned how to be a rock star simply by watching Bon. Though he acted as one who was born to it, he never lost his humility – he would give you the shirt off his back. I saw him do it.
Most people are familiar with the quote from "A Streetcar Named Desire" - "I have always depended on the kindness of strangers". In a quite radical way Bon was a kind stranger to me on several occasions but the occasion that stands out is the time he invited me to get on the back of his trail bike for a ride along a beach near Adelaide. I was my usual depressed, introverted, screwed-up self but Bon had a radical course of action that 'snapped' me out of it. We rode at great speed through a wide tidal stream that was flowing across the beach. Water blasted me like a fire hose and I was totally soaked. We then rode headlong into the side of a high sand dune and we were both thrown off the bike as it stopped suddenly in the sand. I was thrown down the hill and Bon was thrown further up the hill. He was grinning down at me and I burst into laughter. Bon said "I knew you would either laugh or hit me". Such was the Bon Scott cure for depression and paranoia and all forms of mental illness. I am most grateful to have known Bon. Happy 75th birthday Bon!
I LIVED WITH BON FOR FIVE YEARS
WE FOUGHT, FUCKED, DRANK & FUSED OUR BRAINS OUT TOGETHER.
WE PLAYED POOL IN THE SLEAZIEST FRONT BARS ALL OVER OZ AND IN GERMANY.
HE HAD AN UNCANNY KNACK OF SOOTHING THE LOCALS.
THAT HOSTILITY WHEN STRANGERS ARE ON THEIR TURF AND WINNING.
I LEARNT EARLY ON THAT BON HAD WHAT I CALLED HIS “ANTI DR.WHO ZONES.”
“THERE IS NO FUTURE. THERE IS ONLY NOW!!”
WHEN THE “NOW” WAS OVER WE WERE ALWAYS IN DEEP SHIT.
NO MONEY, NO FOOD, NOWHERE TO SLEEP, AND AT TIMES HALLUCINATING.
KALGOORLIE, A GOLD MINING TOWN ON THE EDGE OF THE GREAT NULLARBOR DESERT, AN OUTSTANDING EXAMPLE.
NONE OF THE ABOVE EVER HAPPENED WHEN WE WERE GIGGING.
THE BAND, THE SHOW, BON’S OWN PERFORMANCE, ALWAYS TOOK PRECEDENCE ABOVE EVERYTHING IN HIS LIFE.
I LOVED THAT ABOUT HIM. EVEN ON A LONG TOUR, 3-4 WEEKS, HE NEVER FUCKED UP. UNLIKE SOME OF US.
I LOVED SINGING HARMONY WITH THAT GREAT VOICE.
I WISH HE WERE HERE, HAVIN’ A BEER, NOW
I’M SHEDDING A TEAR…YOURS TRULY,
P.S. I DO APOLOGISE, THERE WAS ONE EXPERIENCE AFTER A “NO FUTURE, ONLY NOW” ZONE THAT WOULD NEVER BE REPEATED, I RODE HOME ON THE BACK OF HIS MOTOR BIKE I DECIDED THE FUTURE HAD A LOT OF APPEAL.
I met Bon in early 1971, when I was playing keyboards in a band called Headband, and we were managed by the same person who managed the band Fraternity, a Mr. Hamish Henry.
So originally, before we had heard each other play any music, Hamish had employed me to run his Art Gallery in Molesworth Street, North Adelaide, while simultaneously taking phone calls to co-ordinate the running of both bands. One day he introduced me to the new singer for Fraternity, who had just come over from interstate.
His name was Bon Scott, and Hamish also employed him to do odd jobs around the house, such as mowing the lawn, cleaning up the yard, digging the garden etc. Neither band was making much money to start with, and we needed a bit of extra work to stay alive. But both Bon and I agreed, even then, that we would only do manual work, so as to stay fit, and make sure we never gave our heart and souls to a day job and were always ready to give it up if we got offered any excuse to play rock n roll instead. In our work breaks, we would often sit around in the gallery, and play a couple of old nylon string guitars, and I would teach him a few chords and a bit of music theory, because he was basically a singer, and didn’t know much about the practicalities of music. In this way we started a friendship that lasted until the end of his life.
So now we jump forward to 1974, and both Headband and Fraternity had both had minor success, but eventually broken up, and returned home.
To keep up the music playing, I had formed a part-time band which often incorporated many of the members of both Fraternity AND Headband and called it “The Mount Lofty Rangers”. The idea behind it being that we would just play fairly simple country-rock type of music, and ONLY do the original songs of the members of the band that night. And also, that it would never be the same band twice. And that we would just pick out the best of the musicians that needed a job that night. Vince Lovegrove was running a booking agency called Jovan, and he would get us work all over the place, and often at country venues. And because Vince and Bon used to sing together in the Valentines, he would also often end up on stage with us too. Vytas Serelis was also a close friend, and did all the posters, photographs and publicity visuals for us. But, we never made much money out of it, it was mainly a labour of love, and often we’d have to resort to doing a day job for a little while to survive. So, one night I was home with my wife and kids in North Adelaide, when there was a knock on the door, and it was Bon, with a bottle of Jack Daniels, looking very tired, but with a familiar glint in his eye. He explained that he had just finished a 12 hour stint of shovelling bags of shit all day for the Wallaroo Fertiliser Co., and that while he had been labouring, he had written the words of two completely different songs in his head which he thought would be perfect for the Mount Lofty Rangers to do, but he needed my help to work out the music, and arrangements. He was still a bit smelly from his day’s work, so we got him to have a shower, my wife Mouse made him some food, and then we sat around with piano and guitar to see what we could come up with. After drinking the bottle of Jack dry, and smoking a few doobies, we finished about midnight, and two more songs were added to the Ranger’s repertoire. One was a beautiful ballad called “Clarissa”, about a girl he had met in the country, and the other was a very funny fast and furious lament about living in the country and not getting any -it was called “I’ve been up in the hills too long”.
We played both these songs every time we worked with the Mt. Lofty Rangers after that, and they always brought the house down. Unfortunately, they never got recorded, but there would be people all over Adelaide who might have a cassette of a rehearsal somewhere, but we haven’t found them yet. So, if you want to hear the songs, you will have to put up with my versions of them recorded years later, and just believe me when I tell you Bon sang them much better.
There was a friend of mine on vocals
Who also played the drums
Could fill a bag with breath and make
The pipe’s drones really hum
A voice told many stories
Of exploits and deeds done
Of change in types of music
And styles since it all begun
As tough as nails, a gentle soul
A hard rocker is what we got
Living on a Highway to Hell
There was no need to stop
Writing with some younger guys
Songs that just weren’t pop
Life on the road performing
Makes a Long Way To The Top
A Livewire leaking High Voltage
Show Business bore the brunt
Of this Rock ‘n’ Roll Singer’s rage
Belting songs out at full grunt
Bare chested and no bullshit
The stage was his domain
The prowl and strut delivering
With that little boy cheeky smile
He said to me more than once
“When I go I’m gonna be
The best that I can ever get
On top of the effen tree”
I’m happy for him that he got his wish
It’s just a terrible shame
It happened for him the way it did
But he got there just the same
Happy Birthday Mate
1969 ....14 years old, mad about a band called The Valentines! And their roadie!
Two front men in the band. One would be known as one of the best in the world! Bon Scott.
Bon loved the stage, he owned the stage!!!!
So excited for the fans to have this dedicated site to keep our mate right where he belongs. On top of the world stage.
Well done to the Scott Family.....miss our old mate.
Wish you were here to enjoy good times with us xx Gab
I'm really excited that Bon has his own authentic website. Set up for his fans by his family.
What a time.......Living and working with Bon in the late sixties and early seventies and watching him hone his artistry. He just wanted to take his songs to the world! And he did! All his songs were great because he lived them! He always had time for his fans and loved them.
It really has been a long way to the top!
Keep the Legend Alive
Kirriemuir has had a long-standing relationship with Ronald Belford Scott. Not only is it the Scott family’s hometown but also the home of the charity DD8 Music which organises the annual Bon Scott International Music Festival or Bonfest for short. Ron’s links with Kirriemuir have allowed Bonfest to grow substantially over the years and thus have enabled DD8 Music to help 100s of young people to become more self-confident, learn new skills, meet and interact with new people amongst a whole raft of other things. In return DD8 Music is constantly keeping the legacy of Ron alive via the annual Bonfest, the memorial statue that was erected in 2016 and our new project which is going to be the Kirriemuir rock museum, which we plan to open in 2022.
The music of AC/DC and the legacy of Bon Scott lives on at our Club. It’s an awesome feeling hearing TNT after our wins at home.
Happy 75th Bon!