On the 19th of February in 1980, the music world was shaken by the loss of AC/DC‘s iconic frontman, Bon Scott, who was just 33. This tragic event cast a shadow over the band’s future. However, AC/DC resiliently pushed forward, welcoming Brian Johnson as their new lead singer.
Merely five months post-Scott’s departure, the band, comprising Angus and Malcolm Young on guitars, Cliff Williams on bass, and Phil Rudd on drums, launched the critically celebrated album ‘Back in Black.’
Post-Scott, the band’s trajectory soared with Johnson at the helm, though some fans and critics still harbor a preference for Scott. Notably, rock legends like Pantera’s Phil Anselmo and Skid Row’s Sebastian Bach have weighed in on this debate. Extracts from the book ‘A Rockin’ Rollin’ Man: Bon Scott Remembered’ reveal their insights, underscoring the band’s pivotal decision in selecting Johnson.
Anselmo appreciates the distinctive qualities of both vocalists, lauding the foresight or perhaps fortuitous choice made by AC/DC, particularly the Young brothers, in choosing Johnson:
“Both vocalists brought their unique essence and vibe. While their vocal styles were distinct, each possessed a remarkable attitude. The visionary Young brothers’ decision to bring in Brian Johnson was either a stroke of foresight or sheer luck, given the undeniable talent of both.”
Contrary to the approach of some bands that seek to replicate their previous lead singers, Sebastian Bach commends AC/DC for charting a different path. He observes that the band avoided the pitfall of imitation, recognizing the irreplaceable and distinctive talent of Bon Scott:
“AC/DC steered clear of the common trap of seeking a replica of their former vocalist. Many bands fall into this error, opting for a mimic rather than an original. However, AC/DC understood the futility of trying to replicate Bon Scott’s inimitable style. Brian Johnson’s arrival introduced a fresh and distinct sound, making any comparison redundant due to their stark differences.”
Through their perspectives, it’s clear that both Anselmo and Bach acknowledge and respect the unique contributions of each vocalist to AC/DC’s enduring legacy.