(Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

A Bon Scott birthday memorial is a bittersweet thing. After all, he’s been gone for so long. But as the saying goes, his music lives on.

Ronald Belford Scott was born in Forfar, Scotland on July 9, 1946. His family relocated to Sunshine, Victoria in Australia when he was six. That’s where Ronald became Bon: There was another Ronald in his class, so he got the cool nickname.

Here’s a pair of interesting facts. Bon Scott shares a birthday with Jack White. Jack White’s first instrument? The drums. Bon Scott’s first instrument was also the drums: he played them and sang a bit in The Spektors, his first band, in 1964.

Bon Scott Birthday: Singled Out

A decade after his first foray into rock music, Scott caught AC/DC live in Adelaide in 1974. The band had fired their singer and were playing instrumentals. After some prompting, Scott joined them onstage. That’s where he’d stay for the next six years.

Unbeknownst to Bon, the band had already singled him out as their next lead singer. The Young brothers liked his style and felt a kinship through their shared Scottish roots. With Scott as their frontman, the band was off and running. You know the rest.

Bon Scott Birthday: The AC/DC Years

Scott and the band crammed a lot into a short stretch. From 1975 through 1979, the group released six studio albums and one live album. It gets a little confusing, as some of the releases have international versions or U.S.-only versions.

When you break it down, though, it’s six proper albums. So I’ll nick a song from each for this Bon Scott birthday 6-pack. And I’ll dedicate them all to my Uncle Neil, who all these years later, will still only listen to Bon Scott-era AC/DC. What a legend.

  • "She's Got Balls"

    The band didn’t waste any time after installing Scott at the front. In November of 1974, they recorded High Voltage, their debut studio album. The original version would release in February of 1975, with the international version (containing a different track listing) coming in 1976. This song is on both versions.

  • "The Jack"

    Again we have the theme of “not wasting time.” AC/DC followed up the Aussie-only High Voltage with the Aussie-only T.N.T. in December of 1975. The title track and “It’s a Long Way to the Top…” are the standout tracks, but I’ve always been partial to “The Jack,” which would also feature on the international version of High Voltage.


  • "Jailbreak"

    Yes, the title track is one of Scott’s more iconic vocal performances. But the album’s closer, “Jailbreak,” is an absolute gem, too. And you don’t get it on the U.S. version of Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, which wouldn’t release until 1981.

  • "Problem Child"

    AC/DC’s fourth album, Let There Be Rock, is widely regarded as a “guitar” album. Riffs upon riffs upon riffs. But there’s Bon Scott soaring above it all. “Problem Child” leads the second side of the international version and it’s a killer.

  • "Riff Raff"

    Ask a hardcore, old school AC/DC fan to give you their top five Bon Scott songs, off the dome. It’s a safe bet “Riff Raff,” from 1978’s Powerage, will make that list. And Scott sits out the first minute and a half!

  • "Girls Got Rhythm"

    Highway to Hell. 1979. AC/DC’s sixth studio album. Their final album with Bon Scott, who would die in February of 1980. The entire album is a masterpiece of rock. But I have to choose one song to wrap up my list. I choose this one.

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