AC/DC's Brian Johnson Addresses 'Back In Black' Rumor

Keavin Wiggins | December 20, 2022
AC/DC Lives of Brian cover
Lives of Brian cover

AC/DC frontman Brian Johnson once again addressed the rumors that the lyric to the band's classic song "Back In Black" were penned by late vocalist Bon Scott.

Johnson addressed the question the authorship of the lyrics during a new interview with here to discuss his autobiography, "The Lives Of Brian". Here is an excerpt:

Metal Edge: One of the things I was surprised you addressed in the book were the rumors that you didn't write the lyrics for "Back In Black". When did you first hear the theory it was Bon's lyrics?

Brian Johnson: "It was a bit of a shock. It was probably about 1984, '85. There was no social media at the time."

Metal Edge: Really - that early? And then of course it's gained more steam over the years.

Johnson: "Yeah. And then there's this guy in Australia, who was absolutely positive that Bon had written the lyrics. And he wouldn't shut up and he wouldn't go away and he was even to the point of phoning Derek, Bon's brother, and he's a lovely guy and all that and he was sick of this guy as well.

"I won't say his name, 'cause it's not worth mentioning it. He was saying that Bon had written the words and that I had claimed them. Now, in the real world, that just doesn't happen. First of all, the boys in the band would've given me them to sing, and they would've put his name on there - it's simple as that, it's a simple thing. And it was proved, beyond any shadow of a doubt, you know, but this guy just kept pestering people. "You sure you haven't gotten any lyrics somewhere that Bon had written that we can prove?" And he's becoming a pest and Derek was saying that this guy still tries to phone him. He wants to make a movie of Bon's life and of course the family absolutely forbid it, with the privacy and all. One day they might, who knows. But I don't know - it's not my place to say.

"Now that man's getting older and he knows his time's coming up... and he can't keep on saying it, he's just gonna look foolish. There's too many people who were there, you know, that saw what happened and I just felt... I just felt I had to say somethin'. I wasn't going to because I'm not gonna let this guy think it's bothering me. But the truth was, it did bother me in a way. "Why would he do that?" Then, of course, he's one of these conspiracy theorists - you know what I mean - they're always there. I just said, let me put a full stop on this. I'll just put a full stop on this and just say, "That's enough."

Metal Edge: The theories go deep. There are rumours that Bon's family receives royalties on "Back In Black" because it's his lyrics...

Johnson: "No, no. Bon's family receives royalties from the stuff he's done - I'm sure. They'll have an estate, most people do afterwards if they die and there's still money coming in from that period of their work. That would be right. That's the right and proper thing. But I don't think so... I know so, 'cause I get them ["Back In Black" royalties]. [laughs] There's the simple answer."

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