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Angus Young Shoots Down Bon Scott ‘Back in Black’ Rumors

Angus Young said Bon Scott “never really got the chance” to contribute to AC/DC’s Back in Black before his death, shooting down rumors that the singer performed early versions of some of the classic album’s songs.

In a new interview with Paste, Young noted that Scott’s contributions to the album were limited to playing drums on early demo versions of the songs “Hells Bells” and “Have a Drink on Me.”

Following the completion of the band’s tour in support of 1979’s Highway to Hell, Young and his bandmate brother Malcolm rented a rehearsal room in London to begin writing songs for the follow-up, taking turns playing guitar and drums. One day, Scott, who began his career as a drummer, dropped in while the duo was working on the intro to “Hells Bells.”

“Bon got behind the kit so we could try and work out this intro, how we wanted to do it,” Young recalled. “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. ….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.”

Plans were made for Scott and the Young brothers to continue work on the new songs in the near future. “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,'” Young said. “But unfortunately, he passed before that.”

Scott died on Feb. 19, 1980, choking on his own vomit after he passed out from a night of drinking. Six weeks later, AC/DC announced Brian Johnson as his replacement; in July, they released Back in Black, which went on to make the band global superstars. The album’s title and all-black cover were tributes to Scott, as were the church bells that ring solemnly four times before the opening guitar riff of lead track “Hells Bells.”

After enduring a series of health and legal challenges that seemed certain to end the band after the 2016 Rock or Bust tour, AC/DC regrouped and released the acclaimed Power Up last year.

 

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