Brian Johnson over Bon Scott

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Defend Brian Johnson as a better lead singer than Bon Scott.

cw28 (cw28), Thursday, 6 May 2004 12:17 (sixteen years ago) link

you first.

Pashmina (Pashmina), Thursday, 6 May 2004 12:20 (sixteen years ago) link

can anyone? i mean including Brian Johnson's family?

Robbie Lumsden (Wallace Stevens HQ), Thursday, 6 May 2004 12:21 (sixteen years ago) link

Even Brian Johnson puts Bon first!

M Carty (mj_c), Thursday, 6 May 2004 12:24 (sixteen years ago) link

He's still breathing

Dadaismus (Dada), Thursday, 6 May 2004 12:27 (sixteen years ago) link

All of the touring AC-DC did after Johnson joined the band completely destroyed his vocals, so even he can't sing as well as he did on Back in Black and For Those About to Rock.

Johnson is as good a replacement lead singer as the band could hope to find; AC-DC did make a great album, a good album and some good songs after he joined. Many bands completely fall apart after a line up change as such.

earlnash, Thursday, 6 May 2004 12:32 (sixteen years ago) link

I really like Brian Johnson's vocals. Better than Bon Scott? Dunno, but I certainly don't dread them. And for some reason I can't imagine Scott doing as good of a job with, say, "For Those About to Rock."

Josh in Chicago (Josh in Chicago), Thursday, 6 May 2004 12:57 (sixteen years ago) link

Earl Nash OTM. It's a shame that Johnson didn't take better care of his throat, because "Back In Black" is totally amazing, and there's some high quality work all the way through "Flick of the Switch" I think. Still, I saw 'em live on the "...About to Rock" tour, and the damage was not pretty - no voice left after the second song.

J0hn Darn1elle (J0hn Darn1elle), Thursday, 6 May 2004 13:04 (sixteen years ago) link

he has a GREAT voice (although I'm not surprised singing like that has ruined his throat - ever try to do an impression of him? shit hurts). while Bon may have been a better lyricist and been there for the band's best/most defining work, I personally like Johnson's voice better.

Al (sitcom), Thursday, 6 May 2004 13:46 (sixteen years ago) link

I'll admit I preferred Back in Black era Johnson to Bon Scott.

To be honest, I'm no huge AC/DC fan. I love raw rawk 'n rollll, but other than Back in Black, I'm really not a fan of the band much at all.

uh (eetface), Thursday, 6 May 2004 13:54 (sixteen years ago) link

Well, he occasionally could be a tiny bit more intelligible than Bon - not that that's necessarily a good thing! He was a good enough replacement, but really Bon Scott was incomparable, one of the all-time masters of heavy metal hystrionics along with Ian Gillan, David Byron and Sir Lord Baltimore's John Garner. And yeah, Johnson's voice is now mostly shot, and I haven't much cared for any AC/DC LP since '83s Flick Of The Switch (one of their greatest and most underrated, sez me.)

Myonga Von Bontee (Myonga Von Bontee), Thursday, 6 May 2004 14:10 (sixteen years ago) link

eww, I"d never put Bon in the same league as the god-like Ian Gillan.

uh (eetface), Thursday, 6 May 2004 14:11 (sixteen years ago) link

"not swimmin! WOMEN!"

Robbie Lumsden (Wallace Stevens HQ), Thursday, 6 May 2004 14:12 (sixteen years ago) link

My thing with Bon, despite loving raw, rock 'n roll voices, is that his always rubbed me the wrong way, like he was one of the Muppets munching on a barbed wire sandwich.

uh (eetface), Thursday, 6 May 2004 14:13 (sixteen years ago) link

...

Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Thursday, 6 May 2004 14:24 (sixteen years ago) link

Anthony otm

J0hn Darn1elle (J0hn Darn1elle), Thursday, 6 May 2004 14:27 (sixteen years ago) link

Isn't it the case that most of "Back in Black" was written before Bon died? AC/DC had been on a pretty remarkable upswing in terms of quality with "Highway to Hell" a dizzying high. I like Johnson's singing on "Back in Black" pretty well but can imagine a lot of the songs on it sounding incredible with Scott on vox.

J0hn Darn1elle (J0hn Darn1elle), Thursday, 6 May 2004 14:29 (sixteen years ago) link

did BJ really take voice lessons to emulate Bon Scott's sound?

uh (eetface), Thursday, 6 May 2004 14:29 (sixteen years ago) link

the instrumental part of Back in Black was completed already. They had told Bon that they would be ready for him the next week to lay down vocal tracks, and then he died.

So Brian didn't really have much say in the creative process. While I can see Bon on a number of tracks, I really am not sure that he'd pull off the title track as well as Brian did. I guess it's really up to our own imaginations.

uh (eetface), Thursday, 6 May 2004 14:30 (sixteen years ago) link

the only songs Johnson sings where I don't think about how much better Scott could have pulled it off are the ones where the song feels unusually melodic and/or shiny. Scott-era was more human in its bombast. Arena rather than stadium. "Back In Black," "You Shook Me All Night Long," "Money Talks" and "Thunderstruck" all qualify.

Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Thursday, 6 May 2004 14:36 (sixteen years ago) link

are there any demos of this Bon-in-Black stuff? Back in Black is like one of the greatest albums ever as far as I'm concerned. Except for the 1/6 of it that sux.

J0hn Darn1elle (J0hn Darn1elle), Thursday, 6 May 2004 14:36 (sixteen years ago) link

hrm, since there's 10 songs, and the album is 41 minutes, that means 7 minutes of it sucks. So which 7 minutes is it for you?

I like most every track on it, though some thrill me less than others.

I'd put forth "shoot to thrill" as one I'd be questioning Bon's ability on, too. I agree with Anthony's opinion on the "more melodic" stuff...I think the other tunes on Back in Black he could tackle though, even if I admittedly was no fan of him.

uh (eetface), Thursday, 6 May 2004 14:40 (sixteen years ago) link

I like Brian's cabbie hat.

Johnny Fever (johnny fever), Thursday, 6 May 2004 14:42 (sixteen years ago) link

haha, yea

uh (eetface), Thursday, 6 May 2004 14:42 (sixteen years ago) link

he really works the fuck out of that hat, too. I mean, just the little gestures he does, touching it while he's singing. that's another thing, he has good stage presence.

Al (sitcom), Thursday, 6 May 2004 14:45 (sixteen years ago) link

I love "Shoot to Thrill" - think Johnson's perfect on it, too - but think "Given the Dog a Bone" and "What Do You Do for Money Honey" are pretty lame. Guess that's more like a fifth. HAHA BON SCOTT A FIFTH DO YOU SEE

J0hn Darn1elle (J0hn Darn1elle), Thursday, 6 May 2004 16:27 (sixteen years ago) link

Shoot to Thrill just r00lz yo. totally a road anthem.

uh (eetface), Thursday, 6 May 2004 16:31 (sixteen years ago) link

Zeke = "Shoot to Thrill" rock, and a lot of people like them.

Ian Christe (Ian Christe), Thursday, 6 May 2004 17:46 (sixteen years ago) link

Bon Scott has style and wit and grace (although Johnson's a great hard rock growler and a very able replacement - I couldn't imagine them having done better)...but I mean Bon was just class....this isn't even a close contest imo...

M@tt He1geson (Matt Helgeson), Thursday, 6 May 2004 17:49 (sixteen years ago) link

Zeke = "Shoot to Thrill" rock, and a lot of people like them.

Eh, wasn't sure about the new album. Just sorta there.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Thursday, 6 May 2004 17:50 (sixteen years ago) link

I have two Zeke albums. I don't play them much, but they're fun in small doses...fast bursts of cock-rocky punk.

I can imagine they'd be a hoot live though

uh (eetface), Thursday, 6 May 2004 18:06 (sixteen years ago) link

Have to disagree with J0hn, there are even quite a few Brian Johnson era AC/DC records I like more than Back In Black. I like the obvious songs on it, but, I forgot who said it on one of the threads, but Back In Black is no greater than being AC/DC's eighth greatest record, if even that. The rest of the album just sounds rather dull, and I'm afraid had Bon not died, it would have been seen as a decline for the band. (Highway To Hell is their greatest album if only for the production and arrangements, but Bon was already starting to calm down and go through the motions by then.. I still think Powerage and Let There Be Rock were their peaks) Anyway, For Those About To Rock, We Salute You slays Back In Black IMHO, as do a few songs on Flick Of The Switch even.

donut bitch (donut), Thursday, 6 May 2004 18:34 (sixteen years ago) link

I remember reading a story where, for whatever reason (Sundance?), Michael Stipe and Brian Johnson were at the same party. The interviewer is speaking with Stipe, and then suddenly Stipe sees Johnson and murmurs (ha...) "Oh, that guy makes me uncomfortable," then leaves the room. Johnson's response was supposedly a good natured, "well, fuck him, then, if he don't like a larf," or something along those lines. AC/DC v. R.E.M. feud!!!

Josh in Chicago (Josh in Chicago), Friday, 7 May 2004 14:54 (sixteen years ago) link

fuck that. Bon any day of the fucking week

ken taylrr (ken taylrr), Friday, 7 May 2004 16:09 (sixteen years ago) link

There is a version of the song 'back in black' with bon scott on vocals available on soulseek supposedly. Not heard it so i cant be sure its genuine.

Rock Bastard, Friday, 7 May 2004 17:14 (sixteen years ago) link

check out user gregoirdronten for that song.

Alice, Friday, 7 May 2004 17:15 (sixteen years ago) link

yea, peer2peer files can never be truly verified. That supposed Metallica cover of the Imperial March, which isn't even Metallica, is STILL floating around.

and on audiogalaxy for a while, songs from Rage's The Perfect Man were labeled "Rage Against the Machine". :) I can't imagine the RATM fans who d/led it. "WOW, ZACH IS SINGING! WHERE'S THE RAP?"

My favorite gimmick is when people "leak" new albums and then you download it and it's just Michael jackson's thriller.

uh (eetface), Friday, 7 May 2004 17:17 (sixteen years ago) link

I have a friend in San Diego who will download top 40 tracks, double track the song in his multitracking software, just so one track is about a few milliseconds off and apply a slight change in the second track's speed, creating a weird phasing effect, render it, then quietly reintroduce it into the p2p stream.

donut bitch (donut), Friday, 7 May 2004 17:46 (sixteen years ago) link

I fucked with Metallica's Sad But True once and warped the hell out of it on cooledit, including adding an a capella four part rock 'n roll harmony recording I did from a long time ago on top of it

uh (eetface), Friday, 7 May 2004 17:54 (sixteen years ago) link

I misread this title as BORIS Johnson vs Bon Scott. Which would be no contest, obv.

Jerry the Nipper (Jerrynipper), Friday, 7 May 2004 18:00 (sixteen years ago) link

the Sounds letters page c.1981 to thread!

zebedee (zebedee), Friday, 7 May 2004 18:04 (sixteen years ago) link

The sharpest recollections of 70s hard rock always come from King Diamond. He claims to have seen Geordie several times in Denmark in the late 1970s, and laments that Brian Johnson used a falsetto voice that he dropped after joining AC/DC.

Ian Christe (Ian Christe), Friday, 7 May 2004 18:26 (sixteen years ago) link

I hung this over my desk while laboring over Sound of the Beast:

http://lookinside2-images.amazon.com/Qffs+v35leoSAuVahiEysS6kjw5/huTOGaUAOrFjwzfi/iliNdpAA9pE/V7MUkmk

Ian Christe (Ian Christe), Friday, 7 May 2004 18:28 (sixteen years ago) link

why should he lament, THAT MEANT LESS COMPETITION FOR THE DIAMOND!

I LOVE...(STRATOSPHERE WAIL) TO FEEL YOU DIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

uh (eetface), Friday, 7 May 2004 18:34 (sixteen years ago) link

I think he's lonely up there, maybe?

Ian Christe (Ian Christe), Friday, 7 May 2004 18:35 (sixteen years ago) link

hahaha.

uh (eetface), Friday, 7 May 2004 18:45 (sixteen years ago) link

Highway To Hell is their greatest album if only for the production and arrangements, but Bon was already starting to calm down and go through the motions by then.

this is actually why Highway To Hell is one of my least favorite Scott-era albums.

Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Friday, 7 May 2004 20:27 (sixteen years ago) link

Weird comment. "If You Want Blood" and "Night Prowler" are two of his best performances. Come to think of it, all Bon's performances on the record are of a high standard. I don't get that one at all.

Broheems (diamond), Friday, 7 May 2004 20:40 (sixteen years ago) link

There ARE classic tracks on that, but I think some of the tracks sound rote compared to the previous album, Powerage. The '76 stuff was mainly about MEETING girls and being a bad-ass, Let There Be Rock about being in a relationship, and Powerage is about getting your ass dropped. Highway To Hell is less focused and sounds a bit transitory. I genuinely don't like "Walk All Over You" and there's a good bit of filler. Being a Bon Scott album it's still full of great stuff (the two you mention, "Love Hungry Man," the title track, "Girls Got Rhythm") but compared to the other albums (Except Let There Be Rock which has "Bad Boy Boring Boogie" on it) I think its a tad less inspired.

Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Friday, 7 May 2004 20:44 (sixteen years ago) link

Anthony is mostly OTM here. "Night Prowler" is definitely an exception for a Bon performance, solely. And the whole album, minus a few songs, is musically solid through and through (probably due to Mutt Lange behind the helm, but also the boys putting together some really great tjoons...). It's why I call Highway To Hell my favorite AC/DC album. But (and this is more whining about a shortcoming than marking a major criticism here) this is the first album where Bon started to sound a little more bored than usual. I fear had he lived on through Back In Black, he may have sounded even more bored, and given that I think, minus three songs, Back In Black is a far more musically boring album than the previous ones, it might have been damned with faint praised and been seen as a decline.

But I stress the word "may" in all of the above, of course. Perhaps, Bon could have possibly been recharged and made Back In Black an album 10 times more amazing than it stands now...(which is really not much to me)

donut bitch (donut), Friday, 7 May 2004 22:18 (sixteen years ago) link

ten months pass...
Bon was more expressive... had more wit, inflections, and presence in his voice and lyrics. Just listen to Let There Be Rock, and compare.

Brian Johnson was more of a rock machine... which is cool for the material they were doing at that point. Back In Black is a miracle for a post-Bon effort.

But what am I gonna flip in on a road trip and rock the fuck out to at top-volume for hours extended? That would be Bon Scott...

Bobby Peru (Bobby Peru), Friday, 25 March 2005 05:40 (fifteen years ago) link

Bobby OTM.

That said, since The Razor's Edge, when AC/DC pretty much changed their sound significantly for the first time, Johnson obviously fits better.. and doesn't need to sing as loud and high.

Stiff Upper Lip is actually my favorite Johnson-era AC/DC album under For Those About To Rock, We Salute You...

I'm quite curious what the next AC/DC record will sound like. Aren't they due for one right around now? It's been half a decade.

donut debonair (donut), Friday, 25 March 2005 05:58 (fifteen years ago) link

Brian Johnson over Bon Scott
Do you mean hunched over him giving him the high hard one?

Lord Custos Omicron (Lord Custos Omicron), Friday, 25 March 2005 18:47 (fifteen years ago) link

ewwwww....

Bobby Peru (Bobby Peru), Friday, 25 March 2005 18:49 (fifteen years ago) link

dude, no.

donut debonair (donut), Friday, 25 March 2005 19:42 (fifteen years ago) link

Brian Johnson unfairly maligned for not being capable of hipness in the manner of Bon Scott. Find Geordie's "Geordie's Lost His Liggie." Man, even if you don't know what Johnson's going on about, it's hysterical. There's a lot of low-rent nuance on the Geordie albums, much of which got left behind apparently for the move to AC/DC. Ah well, progress.

George Smith, Friday, 25 March 2005 19:58 (fifteen years ago) link

But anyhow, being serious for a moment...
Defend Brian Johnson as a better lead singer than Bon Scott.
Sorry. I can't. I prefer Bon Scott's voice. Brian Johnson is just shrill...and that hat he always wears annoys me for some reason. I keep wanting to shoot it off his head with a slingshot.

Lord Custos Omicron (Lord Custos Omicron), Saturday, 26 March 2005 06:39 (fifteen years ago) link

two years pass...

On the Efficiency of AC/DC: Bon Scott versus Brian Johnson, by Dr. Robert J. Oxoby, Associate Professor, Department of Economics, University of Calgary (pdf)

mookieproof, Thursday, 23 August 2007 04:31 (thirteen years ago) link

The premise of that paper is faulty. There is no debate: Scott runs rampant over Johnson, First round KO.

And to the guys a couple years ago saying Scott sounded"bored" on Highway to Hell: I hope your hearing has returned.

Bill Magill, Thursday, 23 August 2007 14:01 (thirteen years ago) link

The paper shies away from an obvious conclusion. The experiment shows that Bon Scott makes people act crazier than Brian Johnson. Therefore Bon Scott rocks harder.

Brian Johnson fans can cry all they want about inadequate sample size. And then they can go off and listen to a version of AC/DC that makes them act in an economically efficient manner. Science has spoken.

dad a, Thursday, 23 August 2007 17:55 (thirteen years ago) link

three years pass...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5rLSyT_hVE&feature=related

one of the few recordings I've ever found where he sounded good live on this, though on the second verse it sounds like he realizes midway through that he used verse 1's vocal pattern....

my downeaster ilxor (Neanderthal), Saturday, 11 June 2011 22:45 (nine years ago) link

The real question is...Brian Johnson vs. Dan McCafferty of Nazareth.

that's not funny. (unperson), Saturday, 11 June 2011 23:45 (nine years ago) link

nine years pass...

Listening to AC/DC right now - which, I can assure you, is something of a novelty for me - and, boy, does Bon Scott ever sound like Alex Harvey!

Eggbreak Hotel (Tom D.), Thursday, 7 January 2021 18:53 (two weeks ago) link

Yes! I have always audibly thought Alex Harvey was a huge influence on Bon. He was very open that Alex was his hero and for sure borrowed some of his inflections. Two Scottish titans.

stirmonster, Thursday, 7 January 2021 20:57 (two weeks ago) link

I knew SAHB were especially popular in Aus, Nick Cave's another big fan, so I'm not surprised that Bon Scott was a fan too. Bon's voice is slightly higher and more of a conventional rock voice but his phrasing is so similar.

Eggbreak Hotel (Tom D.), Thursday, 7 January 2021 21:45 (two weeks ago) link

I misread this title as BORIS Johnson vs Bon Scott. Which would be no contest, obv.

did we ever get this sorted

shivers me timber (sic), Thursday, 7 January 2021 21:47 (two weeks ago) link

i just found out Bon was in a prog rock band called Fraternity and it kinda blows my mind, on some Procol Harum, Moody Blues shit crazy to hear/see

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZY2nl2CwLc

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Thursday, 7 January 2021 21:53 (two weeks ago) link

I knew SAHB were especially popular in Aus

Not sure this is true btw; I first heard of them reading a Cure bio in 1989, never encountered 'em in second-hand record shops after that, and have never heard a note of them in the wild.

Wikipedia says they had one top 30 single, and their best-selling album peaked at #78.

shivers me timber (sic), Thursday, 7 January 2021 21:58 (two weeks ago) link

I knew SAHB were especially popular in Aus

Not sure about the broad truth of this statement, but Foetus covered "Faith Healer" live in '88-'89.

but also fuck you (unperson), Thursday, 7 January 2021 22:07 (two weeks ago) link

Seems like musicians in Australia like them at least!

Eggbreak Hotel (Tom D.), Thursday, 7 January 2021 22:16 (two weeks ago) link

... liked them, that is.

Eggbreak Hotel (Tom D.), Thursday, 7 January 2021 22:17 (two weeks ago) link

Foetus probably heard it off Cave’s cassettes in NYC or London or Berlin.

shivers me timber (sic), Friday, 8 January 2021 00:00 (two weeks ago) link

"Faith Healer" is a pretty well known song though. Even if people didn't know any SAHB there is a good chance they'd know it plus JG Thirwell had been living in UK for many years.

stirmonster, Friday, 8 January 2021 00:53 (two weeks ago) link


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