Tuesday, February 23, 2021

AC/DC: Angus Young details Bon Scott’s work on Back In Black

AC/DC guitarist Angus Young details the extent of Bon Scott’s involvement in the band’s “Back In Black” album in a new interview with Paste magazine.

Writer Tom Lanham asked Young to address what he references as “probably urban mythology” about rumored recordings of Scott singing some of the songs on the project, which was in its early stages when the singer passed away in February 1980 after a night of heavy drinking in London.

“At the time, me and Malcolm were writing songs, which became the songs for Back in Black,” explains Angus. “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,”
he adds. “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.”

AC/DC brought in former Geordie singer Brian Johnson to handle lead vocals and the group issued the best-selling hard rock album of all time as a tribute to Bon just five months later – with the full support of the Scott family.

“I always took my cues from Malcolm, because Malcolm got us through, especially in the Bon era,” recalls Angus about the period after Scott’s death. “Malcolm said, ‘We’ll just continue doing what we do [writing songs]. We’ll just carry on and not even think about what we’re going to do.’ So it was really after we had been to Bon’s funeral and talked with his parents—and especially Bon’s father had been the one who had said to us, ‘Bon loved working with you two guys—he would have really wanted you to go on.’ And that was good for us, because it felt like we had his blessing.”

AC/DC recently released their 17th album, “Power Up”; the project – which debuted at No. 1 in the US and UK, among others – recently enjoyed a four-week run atop the Australian charts.

See also:

AC/DC share making of Realize video
Pre-AC/DC Bon Scott recordings released
AC/DC premiere Realize video
AC/DC preview Realize video
Search AC/DC at hennemusic