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Ronald Belford "Bon" Scott (9 July 1946 – 19 February 1980) was a Scottish born Australian rock musician, best known for being the lead singer and lyricist of Australian hard rock band AC/DC from 1974 until his death in 1980. He was born in Kirriemuirmarker, Scotland, and emigrated to Melbournemarker, Australia with his family in 1952 at the age of six.

Scott formed his first band, The Spektors, in 1964 and became the band's drummer and occasional lead vocalist. He performed in several other bands including The Valentines and Fraternity before replacing Dave Evans as the lead singer of AC/DC in 1974.

AC/DC's popularity grew throughout the 1970s, initially in Australia, and then internationally. Their 1979 album Highway to Hell reached the top twenty in the United States, and the band seemed on the verge of a commercial breakthrough. However, on 19 February 1980, Scott died after a night of partying in Londonmarker. AC/DC briefly considered disbanding, but the group quickly recruited vocalist Brian Johnson of the British glam rock band Geordie. AC/DC's subsequent album, Back in Black, was released only five months later, and was a tribute to Scott. It went on to become the second best-selling album in history.

Biography

Youth

Ronald Belford Scott was born on 9 July 1946 at the Fyfe Jamieson Maternity Hospital, Forfarmarker, Scotlandmarker to Charles and Isabelle Scott, and grew up in Kirriemuirmarker. A younger brother Derek was born in 1949. The Scott family emigrated from Scotland to Australia in 1952 where they initially lived in the Melbournemarker suburb of Sunshinemarker. 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 Australiamarker 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 Prisonmarker'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."

Early career

After working as a postman, bartender and truck packer, Scott started 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 artistic differences after a much-publicised drug scandal.

Scott moved to Adelaidemarker in 1970 and joined the progressive rock band Fraternity. Fraternity released the LP 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, became the lead singer of AC/DC after Scott's 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.

With AC/DC

In 1974 Scott was working as a driver and general hand in Adelaidemarker. 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 however was a compilation of tracks from the first two albums, also entitled High Voltage, which was 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 tracklisting.

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 Theatremarker 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.

Death

Bon Scott's grave.
Statue of Bon Scott, Fremantle, Western Australia.
[[File:67 Overhill Road East Dulwich.JPG|thumb|67 Overhill Road, East Dulwich, London, the site of Bon Scott's death]]On 19 February 1980, Bon Scott, 33 at the time, passed out after a night of heavy drinking in a Londonmarker club called the Music Machine (hosted at the Camden Palacemarker, 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 Dulwichmarker, South London. The following afternoon, Kinnear found Scott lifeless, and alerted the authorities. Scott was rushed to King's College Hospitalmarker in Camberwellmarker, where he was pronounced dead on arrival. Pulmonary aspiration of vomit was the cause of Scott's death, and 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, Western Australiamarker, the city to which they had moved when he was six.

Inconsistencies in media accounts of Scott's death (incorrect spelling of Alistair Kinnear's first name, amongst others) 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. Ozzy Osbourne states in the documentary Don't Blame Me that Scott actually died of hypothermia. The coroner had no such doubts based on the medical facts.

Shortly after his death, AC/DC briefly considered quitting, but later felt that Scott would have wanted them to continue and, after the blessings of Bon's family, 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 with two tracks from the album, "Hells Bells" and "Back in Black", dedicated to his memory. The French rock band Trust wrote their hit song "Antisocial" in memory of Scott in 1980. Ozzy dedicated "Suicide Solution" to him. This song is known for alleged subliminal messages about suicide, but Ozzy stated it was only a tribute to the singer.

Scott's ashes were interred in Fremantle Cemeterymarker and his grave site has become a cultural landmark; more than 28 years after Scott's death, the National Trust of Australia 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 9 July 2006, the plaque was stolen from the site.

Posthumous events

AC/DC released a box set named Bonfire as a tribute to Scott on 18 November 1997. It contains four albums; a remastered version of Back in Black; a "rarities" album with alternate takes, outtakes, and stray live cuts, Volts; and two live albums, Live from the Atlantic Studios and Let There Be Rock: The Movie.

Live from the Atlantic Studios was recorded on December 7, 1977 at the Atlantic Studios in New York Citymarker.

Let There Be Rock: The Movie is a double album which was recorded on December 9, 1979 at the Pavillon de Paris in Parismarker, and was the soundtrack of the motion picture, AC/DC: Let There Be Rock.

AC/DC was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Famemarker in 2003. Members of Scott's family joined the band at the podium to accept the honour in his place.

In 2003 Bon Scott's final studio album with AC/DC, 1979's Highway to Hell ranked 199 on Rolling Stone's The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

In 2004 the song "Highway to Hell" that Bon Scott cowrote with Malcolm and Angus Young ranked 254 on Rolling Stone's The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

In the July 2004 issue of UK magazine Classic Rock, Scott was rated as number one in a list of the "100 Greatest Frontmen," ahead of Freddie Mercury and Robert Plant.

Bon Scott memorial, Kirriemuir, Scotland.
On 6 May 2006, the town of Kirriemuirmarker in Scotland held a service and unveiled a Caithnessmarker stone slab commemorating the singer. A message was read from long time friend and fellow member of The Valentines, Vince Lovegrove in which he said:

On 24 February 2008, a bronze statue of Bon Scott was unveiled in Perth, Western Australia. The statue which portrays Scott atop a Marshall amplifier was installed at Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbourmarker in October 2008.

On 4 December 2008, Undercover.com reported that a Bon Scott movie was in the works. AC/DC representatives confirmed this report via their record company's band website. A Melbourne man thought to be Scott's only son has expressed an interest in playing the role of his father, although he currently has no acting experience.

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