Friday, May 13, 2011

Face-Off: Bon Scott or Brian Johnson?

Karen: Here's another musical choice for you: AC/DC with Bon Scott on vocals, or with Brian Johnson?

Scott was the original singer, who unfortunately died far too young in 1980. The band considered breaking up, but eventually brought in Brian Johnson, and rebounded with the huge Back in Black.

I'm really torn on this one. I think the Bon Scott years were filled with more youthful enthusiasm (and some very funny lyrics). Johnson's arrival seemed to bring about a bigger sound. I really like both singers and it's hard to choose one over the other. But I bet so
me of you can. So who ya got?


J.A. Morris said...

Bon Scott, all the way! 'Back In Black' is where I draw the line with the band. Not a bad album, but it's got nothing on 'Highway To Hell' and 'Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap' or 'Highway To Hell'. Johnson is okay, but Scott has this insane other-wordly-madman presence.

Wolfgang's Vault recently posted hundreds of concert videos, including this (late Bon Scott-era)AC/DC footage:

Doug said...

Thanks for everyone's patience with Blogger. If you weren't aware, it was down for around 18 hours. In looking at our queue, Karen and I may have lost some saved work that was set to run in the near future. Bear with us if we seem "lame" over the weekend -- we'll try to pull everything back together!

In regard to AC/DC, I just want to know how either of those guys could talk at all after using those voices for 2 1/2 hours in concert!!


J.A. Morris said...

I picked a bad week to start a blog on Blogger!

Inkstained Wretch said...

On my Ipod I have two categories for the band, AC/DC (Scott) and AC/DC (Johnson), because in my mind they are really two different bands. It is not just that they have different vocalists, but the rest of the music sounds dofferent too.

The Scott-era stuff is much more Rolling Stones bluesy in its approach. There is a looseness to the playing and even a little bit of funk in songs like "The Jack" and "Ride On". Plus, you gotta love a band that would include bagpipes in a song like "It's A Long Way To The Top".

The Johnson-era stuff is much less bluesy and more metalic-sounding, more straight-ahead and propulsive. Take a song like "Thunderstruck". I cannot imagine the earlier band doing that, and I think it is one of the best songs they ever came up with.

So I see no need to choose. They are different bands. Call it a cop-out if you want, but that's my position and I'm sticking with it.

Karen said...

You're not the only one J.A. -I started a blog for the book I'm writing and it is completely gone now! Dang you, Blogger!!


david_b said...

Ah, well. The wisdom of CTRL-C shines again..

Was never a AC/DC fan, so I'm not missing out today..

Joseph said...

Great topic!

I'm going to agree with Inkstained Wretch (who posts a great synopsis of the difference between the two) - I tend to treat these two incarnations as separate bands. Sometimes I'm in the mood for Bon Scott, sometimes Johnson. I think I tend to take the Bon Scott version more seriously, but that isn't to say that I like them more.

Edo Bosnar said...

Let me preface this by apologizing for being so harsh, but words cannot describe the utter loathing I have for Johnson's screeching. It so grates on my nerves that I can't even sit through a single post-Scott AC/DC song. Otherwise, to me, Scott's voice so defines the band, the same way Roth's voice defines Van Halen.
In other news: Karen's writing a book? That's so f-ing cool!

Sharper13x said...

Great topic. Love AC/DC. I agree with much of what's already been said. So I'm just adding a bit to some of the ideas.

Yes, they are like two different bands. Bon's AC/DC was young and fun. They must have been the greatest bar band anyone has ever seen.

Two big differences with Back in Black - First, Mutt Lange produced it. He was and maybe still is the best rock producer around. And he totally took AC/DC to a whole new level in perfecting those incredible hooks Malcolm and Angus always came up with. If there's one reason why that album is so great even 30 years later, it's Mutt Lange getting a hold of those guys at their peak.

The other difference - Brian's voice for the first two albums, was inhuman, inimitable, insane, and plain awesome. But it was too much to sustain.

Touring started to eat away at his voice. On "For Those About to Rock" he still had it, but you can really hear the fade on "Flick of the Switch," and it's pretty much toast after that. By "Thunderstruck" he had started to sound like Donald Duck.

So for me, Back in Black is their best album, and one of the best rock albums ever. But if I had to listen to one version of AC/DC forever, I'd take Bon. Less polished, but more fun. And his voice stayed the same on every album.

Plus, you can sing along in the car without injuring yourself.

Karen said...

I would agree with others here about how Brian Johnson's voice has now deteriorated -Donald Duck indeed!From growl to quack...but I guess that growl took it's toll.

Edo: thanks for the remark re: my book. I've been working on this for about 6 months now, and should be able to share some of it soon. It's a story that involves the Frankenstein Monster, alchemists, a plague of zombies, and more weirdness than you can shake a stick at.I hope it's fun.


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