AC/DC have reflected on writing their hit song ‘Back In Black’ in memory of late frontman Bon Scott.
The singer fronted the band from 1974 until his death in 1980 at the age of 33. His official cause of death was given as acute alcohol poisoning.
As part of celebrations marking the 40th anniversary of the seminal album ‘Back In Black’, the band have been sharing episodes of a new series The Story Of Back In Black on their YouTube channel, which give insight into the writing of songs from the record. In the latest instalment, they discussed the difficulties of writing a fitting tribute to their former bandmate.
Frontman Brian Johnson, who took Scott’s place in the line-up, reflected on the writing of the track. “I remember Back in Black was particularly difficult because the boys were saying, ‘Listen we want this song in memory of Bon, but we don’t want it to be sad or maudlin, we want it to be a good thing, positive song’,” he said.
“So it was pretty tough, but I think we managed it pretty good. It’s kinda slow but it’s got a great riff. It was a toughy, that one.”
Johnson added: “The guys wanted it to be a good rock record in memory of Bon but without all the slather, without all the mulch and the crap that usually goes with that. They wanted the album to be black and I filled it with lines like ‘Nine lives, cats eyes’ because Bon had lived on the edge for a long time and he’d always made it through.”
The short video also featured contributions from Malcolm and Angus Young, the former of whom died in 2017. “It’s different, completely different to anything that had come on before with rock,” Malcolm said in the clip. “It was almost funky in nature, or soul. It’s like a soul vibe.” Watch it above now.
Meanwhile, some of rock’s biggest voices have spoken on how ‘Back In Black’ shaped their lives. Speaking to NME, The Darkness’ Dan Hawkins called the record “a permanent reminder to all musicians that we can achieve something mind-blowing when we come together as a group, have faith in one another and actually play together when we record.”