AC/DC's Brian Johnson shoots down the rumour that Bon Scott wrote lyrics for Back In Black: "I want to put this baby to bed"

AC/DC, 1981
(Image credit: Michael Putland/Getty Images)

AC/DC frontman Brian Johnson has shot down the nagging rumour that his predecessor Bon Scott wrote any lyrics for Back In Black, the album which serves as a tribute to Scott's passing, 

In Johnson's recently released memoir, The Lives Of Brian, he addresses the rumour in chapter 22, titled Rolling Thunder: "It was me at the end of the pen, writing every night and every morning, with only the title to work with," Johnson writes. "That's what happened. That's the truth and I really hope that settles it."

In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Johnson explains why he felt the need to make such an emphatic statement on the matter. 

"There was one particular journalist — a writer in Australia — who just wouldn’t let go of this thing," the singer explains. "And of course, Malcolm and Angus [Young] were like, 'What a fucking load of bullshit.' And I said, I wish you would tell him. And their attitude was always, 'Just leave it. Just let them talk himself into a fuckin’ early grave.' And of course, it became more and more obvious by the day that Bon hadn’t, because the riffs weren’t written then. The boys were still doing it. So we didn’t say anything because otherwise it would have given him more fame.

"It wasn’t something that stuck in me craw a lot," Johnson adds, "but every now and again, a fan would come up and say, 'This guy’s saying this.' And factually, it wasn’t true. There wasn’t an internet then; it didn’t really get further than Australia. But I thought it was awful I had to explain meself and that’s why in the book, I went, once and for all, I want to put this baby to bed."

In the interview, Johnson admits that he sometimes misses writing double entendre lyrics for the band, Malcolm and Angus Young having taken that responsibility from the singer in the mid '80s.

"I think that was a management decision," he says. "It wasn’t anything to do with me. 'Listen, Brian. I think the boys are going to write all the lyrics now.' I said, It’ll give me a little bit of rest not having to worry about coming up with something every now and again. I never thought of it that much. I just said, OK, let the guys go ahead and do it.

"And I must admit I miss some of my lyrics. There was some lovely tongue-in-cheek ones, you know, Have a Drink on Me. And in You Shook Me All Night Long, “She always kept her motor clean.” We all know what I meant, but it’s the double-entendres I miss. I’m fine with it. It doesn’t bother me at all."

The full interview with Johnson can be read on

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.