Classic Rock

Brian Johnson Shares His Favorite Bon Scott Era

todayMarch 27, 2024 1

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Brian Johnson is a world-renowned rockstar who rose to fame as the lead vocalist of AC/DC, one of the most legendary rock bands of all time. Johnson joined the band in 1980, succeeding the late Bon Scott, who passed away that same year. Despite their unfortunate circumstances, Johnson has always held Scott in the highest regard and has never failed to show his respect to the former bandmate.

“What’s Next to the Moon” from the Bon Scott-Era

Throughout his nearly four-decade-long career with AC/DC, Johnson has produced some of the band’s most iconic tunes, including “Back in Black,” “You Shook Me All Night Long,” and “Thunderstruck.” Despite this impressive catalog of hits, there was one song from the Bon Scott-era that Johnson believed should have received more attention.

The song in question is “What’s Next to the Moon.” It was co-written by Scott and Malcolm and Angus Young, and released on the band’s fifth album ‘Powerage’ in 1978. Although it wasn’t released as a single, the song remained one of Johnson’s favorites. He has even performed it live with the band on a few occasions.

“Well, I wish we did it. We only did it [a couple of times], and I loved it to death,” said Johnson in a recent interview with American Songwriter. He added that he felt the song deserved more recognition in the band’s catalog.

A Chance Meeting and Undying Friendship

In addition to his appreciation for the song, Johnson has always held Bon Scott in high regard, despite never having had the chance to meet him until after he joined AC/DC. Ironically, Johnson and Scott shared the same kind of background and even bonded over a few beers before either of them ever joined the band.

 

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Johnson revealed during the interview that he was fronting a band called Geordie in the early 1970s when they played in Torquay, England, and were supported by a band called Fang. After watching the band perform, he recalls having a beer with the singer, who turned out to be Bon Scott. Johnson says that they both immediately hit it off and swore undying friendship after a few drinks.

The Significance of “What’s Next to the Moon”

Scott even went on to say some nice things about Johnson to the AC/DC boys, which helped pave the way for Johnson’s eventual entry to the band. Johnson never forgets the role that Scott played in bringing him into the band, stating, “If it hadn’t been for him telling the boys [in AC/DC]—he said some really nice things about me—and when I put two and two together, that was ’73.”

“What’s Next to the Moon” may have been overlooked as a single, but it’s a song that showcases Scott’s lyrical prowess. The song tells a story of a woman called Casey Jones who gets hit by a train. Scott creates a vivid image with his lyrics and paints a picture of a gruesome murder on railroad tracks.

“We were in the studio, and I had just broken a string,” said Angus Young about writing the song, as recalled in the American Songwriter interview. “Instead of changing my guitar, I preferred to keep the one I had, because that day I had a hell of a sound, so I changed the string and, in order to test the arrangement, I played a few notes followed by a chord. That was exactly the intro to ‘What’s Next To The Moon.’ Malcolm said, ‘This would be good to start a song.’ And here it was.”

Despite never having recorded the song himself, Johnson’s admiration for “What’s Next to the Moon” is palpable. It serves as a testament to the importance of Bon Scott’s impact on the band, and Johnson’s respect for the band’s history.

Written by: Best Classic Bands Staff

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