Bon Scott: His Legacy and His Contributions to Back in Black – Part 2
AC/DC were known for churning out albums very quickly in the 1970s.
They released six studio albums in a five-year stretch from 1975-1979. The notion of the band putting the pieces of Black in Black together in just a few months is not impossible, not by any means. However, those six albums were written with Bon Scott at the helm. Bon was a lyrical genius. Bon could write about anything and everything. Whether it was an STD or life on the road or being lonely, or getting screwed over by a woman, Bon had this magical gift of being able to lyricize his deepest and most personal thoughts and make them relevant to millions of people. Bon was as unique as they come. We can’t say the same about his successor. Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge Brian Johnson fan. I think he is a true bad-ass and the only person who could have replaced Bon. But, if you look at the albums post BIB, lyrically, they leave a lot to be desired.
Let’s focus on the band’s first top 40 hit You Shook Me All Night Long. Brian says this was the first song he ever wrote for the ‘lads’. He said he wrote the song because of his admiration for American women and he had fantasized about bedding one. To that point, he says he had never been to America and he had never had carnal relations with a woman from the States. My friends, that song is written in the past tense. “She WAS a fast machine, she KEPT her motor clean, she WAS the best damn woman that I ever seen.” He is telling a story about an encounter that he already had. Well, how can that be if he says he had never been with an American woman? Also, that song is dripping with double entendres. Bon was a master of that…. “The Jack.” “You Shook Me” has Bon’s signatures written all over it and, with all due respect to Brian as his vocal delivery made that song the immense hit that it became, I truly believe those were Bon’s lyrics.
Another song to look at is the album’s finale Rock N Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution. Bon’s girlfriend at the time of his death said that his notebook full of lyrics mysteriously disappeared after his funeral. She claimed that Bon would argue with their landlord all the time about the volume of their stereo. Bon would insist to his landlord, Rock N Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution, mate. She did accuse the band of plagiarism. Other song titles like, Givin’ The Dog a Bone, What Do You Do For Money, Honey? and Let Me Put My Love In To You(which I actually think is about sexual assault if you read between the lines) all follow Bon’s misogynistic, chauvinistic stylized template.
I do believe that the producer of the album, Mutt Lange, did sit down with Brian and iron out selective pieces. I also believe that the title track, which was supposed to be a tribute about Bon, was actually written by Bon. Let’s look at those lyrics. They are self-congratulatory. There is also an arrogance to them. Bon referenced Cadillacs in a few prior songs. He was infatuated with them. You mean to tell me, by coincidence, that Brian loved them too? “Back in the back of a, Cadillac, number one with a bullet I’m a power pack”
Up and down the album, on virtually every song, you can point out some reference or connection to Bon’s lyrics on previous albums. When you look at the lyrics on the albums after BIB, they are quite different and not nearly as provocative. Bon was a master at pushing the envelope and sparking outrage among sanctimonious sects of our society. Heck, the song “TNT” was written as a response to the Australian media blaming Bon for the misguided youth and you know what, Bon didn’t shy away from it. He almost,dare I say, enjoyed being vilified?
Let me make one thing perfectly clear….even though I believe the BIB lyrics not to be Brian’s, I do believe his legendary vocal performances are what made that album the monster that it become. No one had really heard a voice like that before. He screamed louder than Halford. His voice was more piercing than Ozzy’s. The songs on Back in Black are impossible to sing at karaoke night-unless you want to blow out your vocal cords. Brian Johnson is also an incredible live front man. At his age, he can still belt out those songs and he can run around the stage after the mercurial Angus Young. I have been fortunate enough to see AC/DC live over a dozen times. Brian has never, even into his late 60s, given a bad performance. He should go down in history in the same discussions as Robert Plant, Bruce Dickenson and Steven Tyler.
In the next segment we will go over why the band mislead about who wrote the lyrics.
Two of my biggest passions are sports and rock music. Both of which, I have many strong and at times provocative opinions on.
My favorite bands are AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Pantera, and 80s Metallica and well, I have to admit I listen to a lot of Kiss, too.
My teams are the Mets, Jets and Rangers(I know, they all suck)
I've never met a place for buffalo wings that I didn't like.
I am a customs house broker by trade but I have this yearning to express my views on a variety of topics and blogging has become a great outlet for my voice.
In the words of the immortal Bon Scott, "Lock up your daughter and lock up your wife. Lock up your back door and run for your life. The man is back in town, so don't you mess me around"