(July 9th 1946 - February 19th 1980)
Birth Name: Ronald Belford Scott
Born: July 9, 1946 - Kirriemuir, Scotland
Died: February 19, 1980 - London, England
Cause Of Death: Choked On His Own Vomit
1971 Fraternity - Livestock
1972 Fraternity - Flaming Galah
1975 AC/DC - High Voltage (Australian)
1976 AC/DC - T.N.T. (Australian)
1976 AC/DC - High Voltage
1976 AC/DC - Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
1977 AC/DC - Let There Be Rock
1978 AC/DC - If You Want Blood You've Got It
1978 AC/DC - Powerage
1979 AC/DC - Highway To Hell
1984 AC/DC - '74 Jailbreak
1986 AC/DC - Who Made Who
1988 Bon Scott - Early Years 1967-1972
1992 Bon Scott - With The Spektors And The Valentines
1997 AC/DC - Bonfire
Bon Scott was born in Kirriemuir, Scotland on July 9, 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."
After working as a postman, bartender and truck packer, Scott joined his first band, The Spektors, in 1964 as drummer and occasional lead singer. 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.
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.
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. 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.
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)).
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. 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.
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.
On February 19, 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. 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." 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.
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.
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. It is reportedly the most visited grave in Australia. On July 9, 2006, the plaque was stolen from the site on what would have been his 60th birthday.
On 24 February 2008, a bronze statue of Bon Scott was unveiled in Perth, Western Australia.