AC/DC’s “Back In Black”: For Bon Scott, or by Bon Scott?

Is there thievery and a cover-up behind the classic rock masterpiece?

Phil Rossi
4 min readJan 12, 2021


The collaboration between Bon Scott and AC/DC on their epic album, Back In Black, remains an intriguing riddle. Still unclear and unsolved to this day. How much did Bon Scott inspire this iconic, heavy metal monster? Not from the grave, but before it — as a rock and roll songwriter.

Is there thievery and a cover-up surrounding one of classic rock’s greatest albums? 40 years later, Back In Black still enjoys hefty sales and generous radio time, with no indication of slowing down.

Outside of its enormous impact and accolades, AC/DC marketed the album as a tribute to Bon Scott. AC/DC’s memorial to their former frontman may tug the heartstrings of the masses, but questions remain over Bon Scott’s artistic contribution to Back In Black.

The “Highway To Hell” Gets Paved With Platinum:

After years of touring, promotion, and limited airplay, AC/DC released their platinum-selling album, Highway To Hell. The record took off, catapulting the band to rock stardom. The boys arrived — in the money and bonafide stars.

In the fall of 1979, AC/DC began the groundwork for the follow-up album to Highway To Hell, untitled at the time. Angus and Malcolm Young would write the music, while Bon would pen the lyrics.

Through the winter of 1980, they’d often get together to compare notes. The Youngs to read Bon’s poetry, Bon to hear the latest chords and riffs. By then, the material began to gel, pushing AC/DC closer to the recording studio.

The Death of Bon Scott:

When Bon finished his lyrics for the album, he called friends to celebrate the achievement. After a night of heavy drinking and drug use, Bon fell asleep in a parked car. Hours later, his mates discovered an unresponsive Scott and phoned paramedics. Rushed to a hospital, Bon was pronounced dead on arrival.

AC/DC Moves Ahead To Record That Next Album, Holding Rehearsals for Bon Scott’s Replacement:

After weeks of tryouts, AC/DC selected Brian Johnson to be the band’s new lead singer. Soon after, AC/DC departed for the Bahamas to…