When AC/DC frontman Bon Scott died after a "night of misadventure" back in 1980, it left a huge creative and personal void for the band and fans alike. As with all premature rock star deaths, we can only imagine the incredible music he had yet to sing and co-write with AC/DC’s Young brothers.
That said, this list of Top 10 Bon Scott AC/DC Lyrics illustrates that he'd accomplished a lot – even at the tender age of 33. He died as both an approachable blue-collar poet and (of course) a hilariously raunchy delight.
Make no mistake: Women, wine and debauchery, tawdry tales and endless double-entendres were an integral part of Bon’s lyric-writing genius. Here are 10 of the very best examples.
"Rock ‘n’ Roll Singer"From: ‘High Voltage’ (1976)
Choice lyrics: “You can stick your golden handshake / And you can stick your silly rules / And all the other s--- that they teach to kids in school / 'Cause I ain't no fool"
Bon pretty much outlined his five-year-plan towards achieving fame and glory (and that of any wannabe rock and roll front man, for that matter – you’re all welcome!), no matter the obstacles right here. Along the way, lines like the one cited above showed the defiant streak that would endear him to rock-loving teenage rebels everywhere, making "Rock ‘n’ Roll Singer" an obvious choice to kick off for our list of the Top 10 Bon Scott Lyrics.
"Carry Me Home"From: “Dog Eat Dog' single (1977)
Choice lyrics: “You ain't no lady but you've sure got taste in men / That head of yours has got you by time and time again / But I've just spent next week’s wages and I'm right out of coin / But you want more and it's half past four and they want to close the joint.”
This profanity-laced, almost stream-of-conscience sequence of late-night drunken repartee remains one of the very best AC/DC numbers left off their U.S.-released album. Originally recorded during the Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap sessions and released in Australia as the B-side of Let There Be Rock's "Dog Eat Dog" single, "Carry Me Home" welcomes anyone who hears it to grab the bar-stool, share a drink and carouse with both bartenders and fellow patrons alongside Bon himself.
"Sin City"From: ‘Powerage’ (1978)
Choice lyrics: “So spin that wheel cut that pack / And roll them loaded dice / Bring on the dancin' girls and put the champagne on ice / I'm going in…to sin city”
Scott is better known as a ladies' man than he is a gamblin' man, but the AC/DC classic "Sin City" proved he knew more than enough casino lingo to weave a believable tale about the betting man's darker obsessions, underneath the bright boardwalk lights. Between his cynical wordplay and the Youngs' ominous chords AC/DC never sounded more menacing, thanks in large part to Bon’s evocative wordplay.
"Ride On"From: 'Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap' (1976)
Choice Lyrics: “Broke another promise and I broke another heart / But I ain't too young to realize that I ain't too old to try / Try to get back to the start.”
"Ride On" is one of the few songs in AC/DCs vast catalog you could truly call a ‘ballad,’ and its mellow tone and heartfelt lyrics provided a much-needed respite from the tawdry tales dominating 1976’s Dirty Deeds LP. As such, this sorry loner’s lament showcases Bon choosing his words carefully in order to convey the emotion and subtlety required by his band mates’ equally restrained performance. Ride on, Bon, ride on.
"Touch Too Much"From: ‘Highway to Hell’ (1979)
Choice lyrics: “She had the face of an angel smilin' with sin / The body of Venus with arms / She wanted it hard, she wanted it fast / She liked it done medium rare!”
The presence of producer Robert John "Mutt" Lange may have helped AC/DC streamline their songs somewhat for optimal platinum success on 1979’s Highway to Hell. But not even he could entirely sanitize Bon’s lyrics for safe radio broadcast, as evidenced by the album’s most obvious should-a-been single, "Touch Too Much." Here, not even references to classic Greek sculpture (we’re talking about the Venus de Milo, of course) could make a dent on Bon’s lurid charm and persistent come-ons to his willing female "victims."
"What’s Next to the Moon"From: ‘Powerage’ (1978)
Choice lyrics: “Well I tied my baby to the railroad track / Cannonball down the line / Giving that woman just a one more chance to give it to me one more time / Engineer wishing he was home in bed / Dreaming about Casey Jones / Wide-eyed woman half a mile ahead / Thinking about broken bones.”
One of many underrated gems from the Powerage album, "What's Next to the Moon" sees Bon converting a relatively straightforward tale about tying his old lady to the railroad tracks into a far more complex, almost impressionistic appraisal a lover's fatal obsession. Confused? Just approach the song like a WAAAAY more subtle precursor to Guns N' Roses' "I Used to Love Her" and you'll see what we mean.
"Whole Lotta Rosie"From: ‘Let There Be Rock’ (1977)
Choice lyrics: “She ain't exactly pretty / Ain't exactly small / Fourty-two, thirty-nine, fifty-six / You could say she's got it all!”
Here's another occasion where the higher aspirations for our list of Top 10 Bon Scott Lyrics were trumped by the man's unparalleled gift for spinning even the tawdriest sexual adventures into downright comical yarns. In fact, it was largely Bon's willingness to poke fun at himself that endeared him to everyday working stiffs everywhere, allowing them to see right through his superstar aura and relate with him on a personal level. Few rock stars have that kind of confidence to be so down-to-earth.
"Ain’t No Fun (Waitin’ ‘Round to be a Millionaire)"From: “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” (1976)
Choice lyrics: “And I got patches on the patches on my old blue jeans / Well they used to be blue, when they used to be new / When they used to be clean.”
The longest-running studio cut in AC/DC's entire catalog at just over seven minutes of slowly building boogie rock intensity, "Ain't No Fun" still ends way too soon for us: just as Bon is telling his next-door neighbor, Howard, to "Get your f---in' jumbo jet off my airport"! Before then, rock's street-poet laureate conjures up countless brilliant couplets glorifying the process of starving for rock and roll immortality – once again connecting with the average Joe's experience of rock and roll – not that of the precious few who actually make it.
"Let There Be Rock"From ‘Let There Be Rock’ (1977)
Choice lyrics: “In the beginning / Back in 1955 / Man didn't know 'bout a rock 'n' roll show and all that jive / The white man had the schmaltz / The black man had the blues / No one knew what they was gonna do / But Tchaikovsky had the news, he said"
There's no way we could leave AC/DC's biblical interpretation of rock and roll's creation off our list of Top 10 Bon Scott Lyrics. After all, truer words were never uttered from any church pulpit! And you can credit the religious fervor and wild-eyed intensity of pastor Bon’s delivery of said lyrics for ensuring that rock’s gospel will neither be taken lightly, nor carelessly misinterpreted by his loyal flock. Praise God, rock without end, amen!
"Down Payment Blues"From: ‘Powerage’ (1978)
Choice lyrics: “Know I ain't doing much / Doing nothing means a lot to me / I got myself a Cadillac / But I can't afford the gasoline / Feeling like a paper cup floating down a storm drain / Got myself a sailing boat but I can't afford a drop of rain.”
And the No. 1 choice in our list of the Top 10 Bon Scott Lyrics is the cult favorite "Down Payment Blues" – yet another hardscrabble tale from 1978's Powerage focused on those of us living just enough for the city, as Stevie Wonder would say. Clearly, Bon Scott was at his most piercing, philosophical and poetic when ruminating about the rags-to-riches (but-still-wearing-rags) contradictions of the rock and roll lifestyle he endured, and for that we will be forever grateful. Heck, given what we know about Bon, he’d be the first in line to cover your down payment, whether you were friend or stranger, no questions asked.