AC/DC Fans Remember Bon Scott On 30th Anniversary Of His Death
February 16, 2010
Darryl Sterdan of jam.canoe.ca reports: “I ain’t too old to die,” Bon Scott once sang, “but I sure am hard to beat.”
He’ll get no argument here. Or from the millions of AC/DC fans marking the 30th anniversary of the inimitable singer’s tragic death this week on Friday.
On Feb. 19, 1980, the Scottish-born singer had everything to live for. After years of struggling, he and the rest of the Australian rock crew — guitarists Angus and Malcolm Young, bassist Cliff Williams and drummer Phil Rudd — were finally enjoying the fruits of their labour.
Their sixth album Highway to Hell, produced by Mutt Lange, had finally pushed the underground heroes into the mainstream, going platinum in North America. Propelled by Scott’s winkingly lascivious lyrics and leering screech, tracks such as Girls Got Rhythm, Walk All Over You, Touch Too Much and If You Want Blood (You Got it) were earning a place next to AC/DC’s early classics such as Sin City, High Voltage, T.N.T., Let There Be Rock and Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap.
They had slowly expanded their fan base by slogging it out on lengthy North American tours opening for Aerosmith and KISS, where Angus’ schoolboy togs and hyperactive stage presence — a contrast to Scott’s bare-chested swagger and rooster-like strut — made a memorable impression. Scott felt their next album, the band later said, would be “the crowning glory of his life.”
So, when the newly minted 33-year-old rock star hit the town on Feb. 18, the night before he was due back in the studio with the band, he was in a celebratory mood. At a London club called The Music Machine, he spent the evening downing quadruple whiskeys with several friends, one of whom drove the passed-out Scott home that night and left him to sleep it off in the car. He never woke up. The next day, his friend discovered his lifeless body still in the vehicle. He had died from acute alcohol poisoning. Death by misadventure, the coroner ruled. Ten days later, Scott — clad in his trademark jeans and white T-shirt — was cremated in Australia, marking the final chapter in his journey.
But it was just the beginning for AC/DC. Within weeks, the band had regrouped and risen from the ashes, hiring singer Brian Johnson and heading into the studio to make Back in Black, the album that would serve both as a tribute to Scott and the cornerstone of the global success they enjoy to this day. But for many fans, AC/DC still isn’t the same without Scott.