Top 10 Bon Scott AC/DC Songs
The best Bon Scott AC/DC songs lighten the sense of menace found within the band’s lyrics and music with the sense of humor and self-deprecation that made the singer so charismatic and beloved. Here’s our humbly chosen list of the 10 Best Bon Scott AC/DC songs:
‘Shot Down in Flames’
Right off the bat, here’s the humility that not-so-secretly fuels the best Bon Scott songs. Our hero’s out on the town and looking for love; problem is, his approach is all wrong. He accuses one woman of being a prostitute, and forgets to check for angry boyfriends before chatting up another. Whoops!
This already downbeat tale of the lonely parts of life on the road took on extra depth following Bon Scott’s tragic passing in 1980. The song’s lyrics find him regretting empty bottles, broken promises and his own “evil ways,” but also admitting he’s not ready to change just yet.
‘Hell Ain’t a Bad Place to Be’
Like a rocked-up and far less moral version of Bill Withers’ 1972 soul classic “Use Me,” this song finds Bon Scott willing to put up with all of the boozing, philandering and wrongdoing his woman is taking part in all over town, as long as he gets to be her final victim at the end of the night.
Okay, let’s get this out of the way — this song is not about a game of cards, despite what the official recorded lyrics might tell you. In fact, it’s among the worst-kept secrets in rock music that this track is about an overly friendly houseful of women that gave Scott and his bandmates “the clap.” In concert, the band frequently spells things out a bit more clearly with different lyrics.
‘Let There Be Rock’
Bon Scott basically adds a new chapter to the Bible, documenting the birth of rock ‘n’ roll music itself with the sense of importance and gravity we all know it deserves: “There was fifteen million fingers / Learnin’ how to play / And you could hear the fingers pickin’ / And this is what they had to say… LET THERE BE ROCK!“
The template for Bon Scott’s swaggering tales of bad-ass behavior was set pretty early with tracks like this one. The song’s growling chorus and opening “Oi! Oi! Oi!” refrain have made it an audience-participation favorite throughout AC/DC’s 30-plus years with Bon’s replacement (and, let’s be clear, deserved legend in his own right) Brian Johnson.
‘Whole Lotta Rosie’
Way before Sir Mix-A-Lot declared that he liked big butts, this unruly candidate for best Bon Scott song lyrics ever, or at least most honest, found the singer pining for “a whole lotta woman,” literally. Bon may be gone, but Rosie, in inflatable doll form, still joins the band onstage every night in concert.
‘It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock and Roll)’
You know what pissed my parents off way more than distorted rock ‘n’ roll played at rattling volumes from my bedroom? Bon Scott blaring away on the bagpipes on top of that “$#@%* racket!” as he does on this song, that’s what! Besides serving as a timely reminder of the years of hard work that go into “overnight success” in the music industry, he gave youngsters around the world a piercing new weapon in the battle against ear health. Thanks, Bon!
‘Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap’
The Australian-based AC/DC’s first three albums were issued with different tracklists, covers, and most importantly, at different times over here in the states. That meant we didn’t get to hear some of Bon Scott’s best songs, such as this strutting, non-repentant tale of murder-for-hire, on wax until five years after their original release. We’d like to hire someone to, you know … “take care of” the guy that made that decision!
‘Highway to Hell’
The title track from Bon Scott’s final album with AC/DC has become a unifying anthem for rock ‘n’ rollers all over the world. The drawbacks of life on the road, and a sense that he’s flirting with disaster, are once again mentioned in Scott’s lyrics, but this time the tone is almost fully defiant and celebratory: “Hey momma, look at me! / I’m on my way to the promised land …“