5 Key AC/DC Songs Sung by Bon Scott

{Guest post by Jesse Fink, author of Bon: The Last Highway}

Compiling a list of any “best ofs” is usually a fraught task when it comes to one’s favourite band, especially a group as mighty as Bon Scott–era AC/DC. Bon wrote some of the best rock songs ever recorded over his short career with AC/DC, a band he joined in 1974, yet the focus of my book, Bon: The Last Highway, is specifically his time in America, 1977–79, and his death in London in 1980.

How to pick just a few when so many — dozens, in reality — would be worthy?

But when I was asked by the editors at ECW Press to come up with 5 songs had “particular significance to his story and his death”, it was a fairly straightforward exercise. These are the 5 songs that are a kind of aural roadmap to Bon’s life during the 1977–80 period and reflect key events or themes in the book.


Bon: The Last Highway by Jesse Fink | ECW Press

1. “GONE SHOOTIN’” (1978)

Bon told the audience in Columbus in September 1978 that this standout track from Powerage was “a lady who took it upon herself to do whatever she wanted to do”. That lady was Silver Smith, Bon’s muse and tormentor, who earlier that year in Sydney had broken up with him to go “overland” through Asia with their mutual friend, Joe Fury. But the lyrics in the song are actually about her decision to leave Bon behind in Indianapolis, Indiana, in December 1977, where she bought a train ticket west. Her plan was to go out to California. Hence the first verse: 

Feel the pressure rise
Hear the whistle blow
Bought a ticket of her own accord
To I don’t know

Silver was a heroin user, as were many people in Bon’s orbit, so he makes a sly reference to it in the lyrics and well as the title of the song.

I stirred my coffee with the same spoon
Knew her favourite tune
Gone shootin’
My baby’s gone shootin’

Silver, who died in December 2016, told me she never injected heroin. So why, then, did he insert make a reference to a spoon?

“Some poetic licence,” she said. “‘Gone Snortin’” doesn’t quite have the same ring, does it?”



Arguably Bon’s finest moment as a songwriter. This song, which has its origins in a rough 1976 composition called “Rock ’N’ Roll Blues”, contains some of the best lines he ever put to paper: Living on a shoestring/A 50-cent millionaire, I got myself a Cadillac/But I can’t afford the gasoline, Can’t even feed my cat/On social security, Feeling like a paper cup/Floating down a storm drain. The whole song is just a brilliant piece of writing.

Bon never had much money during his time with AC/DC. He was constantly borrowing money or getting other people to pay his bills. When he died in February 1980, thanks to the breakthrough of Highway To Hell, he had just over $30,000 from album royalties in his savings account. That was the sum of his entire estate.

Doug Thaler, AC/DC’s booking agent for their American tours during that period, told me he got a phone call from Bon just before he died.

Highway To Hell was just about platinum by then and I congratulated him on that – I said something like, ‘You’ll finally have some real money for your pocket now.’ He said that with all the newfound success, nothing had trickled down to him yet so his life was still the same as it had been. It was only a couple of weeks later that I got the call from [AC/DC manager] David Krebs that he’d been found dead in a car in London.”

3. “GIRLS GOT RHYTHM” (1979)


Michael Fazzolare and his punk-rock band Critical Mass hung out with AC/DC during their Miami rehearsals for the Highway To Hell album. Bon had a gorgeous teenage lover in Key Biscayne called Holly X and was having a fine time, contrary to his well-known quip that the city was “God’s waiting room”. This song most likely was about Holly X or another of his Miami lovers, Pattee Bishop and Beth Quartiano.

AC/DC had just parted ways with Vanda & Young as their producers and were in Florida to work with Eddie Kramer at Criteria Recording Studios, which didn’t turn out well. In the end, they ended up recording the album at Roundhouse Studios in London with Mutt Lange, who gave the band a much more polished, commercial sound. You can really notice the difference in the backing vocals, especially.

As Fazzolare recalled about the writing of “Girls Got Rhythm”: “Malcolm asked the band if they were all aboard in going with this more refined, slightly more dynamic commercial style. They were writing ‘Girls Got Rhythm’, and Bon was singing some racy lyrics: The girl’s got rhythm, she’s got the freestyle rhythm. [Laughs] Malcolm stops playing and says, ‘Mate, those words are a bit too strong. We need to tone it down a little.’ Of course, the lyric became the back seat rhythm. To be honest, I didn’t see the difference. Then again I was 23 so my imagination was very active.”

4. “TOUCH TOO MUCH” (1979)


A very sexual song containing some great writing from Bon: She had the face of an angel/Smiling with sin/A body of Venus with arms. It’s a song about Holly X, according to Fazzolare: “I still say ‘Touch Too Much’ is about Holly.” According to Holly’s friend Liz Klein: “Bon was madly in love with Holly. She was always gorgeous, still is; just a beautiful woman, really beautiful inside and out. She had just like a perfect body.”

5. “HIGHWAY TO HELL” (1979)


Bon’s career apogee and the inspiration for the title of the book and its narrative arc from Route 79 outside Milano, Texas, to Overhill Road in East Dulwich, London. An all-time classic that remains as popular and powerful as the day it was released. Doesn’t get any better, really. Not much more I need to add. Just enjoy it.




This tracks mysterious sign-off — “Shazbot Nanu Nanu”, the last words ever spoken by Bon on an AC/DC album — has nothing really to do with Bon being a fan of Mork & Mindy. Its a reference to a guy called Teddy Rooney, who was the son of Mickey Rooney and played bass in a Miami band called Tight Squeeze. Rooney jammed with AC/DC in rehearsals. He died in 2016.

Says Michael Fazzolare of Critical Mass: “It was something we were all saying when we hung out, which was started by Teddy. He was the one who went around using the phrase. We would all chime in on occasion. I would guess it winding up on the album was either a nod from Bon to Teddy himself or a nod to the entire Miami gang.”


Jesse Fink was born in London in 1973. He is the author of The Youngs: THe Brothers Who Built AC/DC, which was released in more than 20 countries. Bon: The Last Highway is his fourth book. He divides his time between Sydney, Australia and Sao Paulo, Brazil, with his wife and daughter.

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  • Thank you very much for the invitation :). Best wishes.
    PS: How are you? I am from France :)

    MixAcush on
  • Up to my neck , #2 squealer #3 damnation #4 if you want blood #5 millionaire. Bonus song, soul stripper. Notable mention, 74 jail break….ahhhh fuck it there all good lol!!
    Callum on
  • My favorite 5….soul stripper, up to my neck in you, rock and roll damnation, 74 jail break, go down, bonus…shot down in flames……if you want blood…..and if you know everyone of bond lyrics , it’s just a given that back in black is bon…dog eat dog,just a given the dog a bone? Dalmatian on dirty deeds cover,bon was even pissing on the TNT cover, legged cocked and the whole bit.. highway to hell…..hells Bell’s, forget about the check we’ll get hell to pay. Satan’s got ya. Hey Satan paid my dues. Hell ain’t a bad place to be….. sitting in my Cadillac from down payment blues…back in black… back in the back of a Cadillac hmmmmm??.shoot to thrill take you down down down, let there be rock go down? And I’ll end on live wire….full of fire hell and heaven, alot of what he sang about…..and it’s just plastered all over back in black,and there is much much more….shame on who ever took his note book and sold it to Lang. And shame on the Young’s for watching it happen.

    Callum MacLeod on
  • You left out “What’s Next To The Moon”.

    Patrick Pettite on

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