Bon Scott’s Prediction About Brian Johnson

Changing their frontman and carrying on with a new singer might be challenging for the bands because it comes with many risks. Each vocalist brings their own singing style, which can lead to a change in the band’s sound, and most fans prefer to watch acts play with their original lead singers. Bands, including Genesis, Black Sabbath, Journey, and Van Halen, all needed to find a new vocalist for various reasons.

While it can be tricky for an act to keep things going with someone new, some bands, including AC/DC, still managed to make a successful change. When Bon Scott died in February 1980, AC/DC briefly considered calling it a day, but Scott’s parents encouraged the band to move on and find a new vocalist.

Filling the shoes of Bon was no easy task as he had defined the band’s sound for years with his signature singing style. Yet, the late singer had already given his bandmates the name of a good vocalist, as if he knew he was going to die and AC/DC would need someone to replace him. Interestingly enough, the name Scott mentioned was none other than Brian Johnson, who would be the band’s new frontman.

Bon Scott and Brian Johnson’s paths crossed while the former was touring Britain with a band, and the latter was performing with a rock act called Geordie. Johnson’s singing would make such an impact on Scott that he would mention his name to his AC/DC bandmates even after months had passed since their encounter. Speaking to Howard Stern in 2011, Brian gave further details on how AC/DC heard about him at the time.

“First of all, there was a fan from Cleveland to my eternal debt,” the singer recalled when asked who had called him from AC/DC when Bon Scott died. “Mutt Lange, who kept saying, ‘You’ve got to try this guy.’ And Bon Scott himself unwittingly told the boys, he said, ‘Well, a rock singer has a scene in England, there’s this kid called Brian Johnson who I played with when he was in the other band.’”

Johnson continued, “We played together, and we got on well, me and Bon. We went our separate ways, and I never saw him again, but it was very nice of him [to complement me]. It was a very nice thing to say, so they put the three together again and said, ‘We’ve got to find this guy.’ So, I got the telephone call in the office, and this woman said, ‘Is this Brian Johnson?’ and I went, ‘Who is this?’”

So, Brian thought that it was very lovely of Bon to mention his name rather than being possessive of the band. Further reflecting on the call he received, Johnson added, “She said, ‘That I cannot tell before. I’m phoning, for you must come to sing in London.’ I said, ‘Well, for which band?’ [and she said] ‘I cannot tell you this.’”

Sharing the funny anecdote of this mysterious call for AC/DC, the rocker noted, “I said, ‘But well, I’m not coming down to London. You have to give me a clue.’ She went, ‘Okay, the initials are AC and DC.’ I said, ‘So, it’s AC/DC.’ She said, ‘I have said too much’ [laughing].”

In one of his previous interviews, Angus Young also confirmed that they had heard Brian’s name for the first time from Bon Scott. So, when Scott died, and the band decided to carry on, Johnson was one of the first names Angus and Malcolm had thought of as the new lead singer. Thus unwittingly, Scott determined the future of the band in a way by giving away Johnson’s name. We all know how the rest was history following Brian’s successful audition with AC/DC.