25 Years On, AC/DC Fans Recall How BON SCOTT Met His End

Richard Jinman of The Guardian has issued the following report:

As rock pilgrimages go, the journey to the block of flats at 67 Overhill Road is uninspiring. Set on a steep hill in a bleakly nondescript corner of East Dulwich, south London, it seems an unlikely setting for the death of a legend.

It was here, 25 years ago today, that Bon Scott, the bourbon-swilling leader of the hard rock band AC/DC, met his end. Left in a car outside the flats to sleep off the effects of a night of partying, his body was discovered curled around the gearstick on the evening of February 19, 1980. The coroner's report cited acute alcohol poisoning.

It was the end of the road for the 33-year old Australian hellraiser who wrote the lyrics to pivotal AC/DC songs including "Highway to Hell", "Jailbreak" and "It's A Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)". A man who consumed industrial quantities of alcohol, but still managed to hoist the lead guitarist, Angus Young, on to his shoulders and belt out his anthems to "booze, sex and rock'n'roll."

Asked for his thoughts, the AC/DC founder, Malcolm Young, released a short statement this week. "Bon has already become part of rock folklore. Ride on Bon."

In Australia, where Scott grew up after his family emigrated from Scotland in 1952, his memory is still cherished. A movie, "Thunderstruck", was released last year about a group of young men who travel across Australia to bury a friend's remains next to Scott's gravestone in Perth.

A pipe band will march to the gravestone today to mark the 25th anniversary. And AC/DC tribute bands from Spain to Sydney are gearing up for commemorative concerts.

When compared with the mysterious deaths of THE DOORS frontman, Jim Morrison, and the ROLLING STONES's Brian Jones, Scott's death can be seen as a straightforward case of misadventure. He was a hard drinker who embraced the rock'n'roll lifestyle. As Clinton Walker, the Australian author of "Highway to Hell - The Life and Times of AC/DC Legend Bon Scott" puts it: "A lot of people thought it was remarkable he lived as long as he did."

But there is an element of mystery surrounding his death. Alasdair Kinnear, the friend who left him in his car that night and discovered the body some 14 hours later, has disappeared. Walker believes he never existed. "No one spoke to him before or after the event. He just doesn't seem to exist."

Walker believes Kinnear was a name adopted by one of Scott's associates who did not want to be identified.

The mystery does not end there. Geoff Barton, the editor-at-large at Classic Rock magazine, says a couple of musicians claim to have been informed of Scott's death hours before Kinnear was reported to have discovered the body. "It's a tangled web that I struggle to understand to this day."

Whatever the truth about his death, Scott made an indelible mark on rock. "He embodied a peculiarly Australian spirit and character," says Walker. "He was a larrikin — a wild-eyed kid who somehow got let loose in the lolly shop." Read more.


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