The only song AC/DC's Brian Johnson will never perform

"It's a long way to the top if you want to play rock 'n' roll. If you want to be a star of stage and screen, Beware, it's a cruel and sneaky thing..."

Why AC/DC Refuses to Perform "It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)"

AC/DC - legendary Australian rock band formed in Sydney in November 1973 by Scottish-born brothers Malcolm and Angus Young. Today there is not a person who does not know about the existence of this group: multimillion circulation worldwide, bright live shows for crowds of thousands, classic records and loud hits... This project has done too much not to remain in the shadows for many decades.

Today the lead singer of AC/DC Brian Johnson continues to rock the crowd despite his respectable age: the man turned 75 in October 2022! However, devoted fans know that originally there was another man at the microphone, Bon Scott. It was with him that the band began its way and earned its first serious fame. Some of the band's most iconic early songs were also recorded and released with him.

Bon Scott
Bon Scott

His premature death was a heartbreaking loss for both the band members and the rock community at large. According to the remaining members, Scott wanted them to continue their rumbling march to Olympus, so they found him a replacement - the charismatic Johnson. However... in spite of everything, AC/DC's repertoire includes single trackwhich they will not comply with under any circumstances.

The Tragic Death of Bon Scott

Bon Scott
Bon Scott

By the early '80s, AC/DC had already earned their fame and fans, and hoped that soon the whole world would be at their feet. However, one tragedy almost ruined all their plans... Their frontman Bon Scott was famous for being a brilliant performer and songwriter, but also for his truly destructive lifestyle. He suffered from alcohol addiction throughout his career, and one night the singer's body finally failed him. In February 1980, Bon passed away due to "acute alcohol poisoning". He was only 33 years old...

Subsequently, his former Fraternity colleague, Bruce Howe, recalled:

"At times he did wild things. On days when he was bored, the future didn't exist, it was just now. He didn't care if he lived or was already dead... He tried everything, and risked everything, often riding around like a lunatic on his bike."

The story and meaning of "It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)"


Apparently, Bon was not thinking about the dire consequences of his own actions. It seems that after a series of drunken nights on a motorcycle he came to the conclusion that he had found immortality... His wild way of life clearly pleased him, and so he even wrote a song about it - a speech about "It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)". This track is one of the most defining of the band's career and embodies the dangerous lifestyle that the first AC/DC frontman lived.

"It's a long way to the top if you want to play rock 'n' roll.
If you want to be a star of stage and screen,
Beware, it's a cruel and sneaky thing..."

Why Bryan Johnson would never sing this rebellious anthem

AC/DC Band
AC/DC today

According to Mark EvansOver the years, the song has gained tremendous weight, both for the AC/DC members and for the fans.

"For AC/DC, this track has become iconic. I think it's most associated with the band, and with Bon. It's undeniable: over time this song has gotten a lot bigger than when it first came out."

His words were confirmed by Angus Youngwho told reporters:

"This track really characterizes us as a band.

However, despite all the greatness and popularity of the song, the band has refused to play it for decades... The last time AC/DC played "It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)" at the Hammersmith Odeon in the late '70s, shortly before Bohn's death.

Brian Johnson
Brian Johnson

Since this hymn is based on of the crazy life of the first frontman groups, Brian Johnson thought it would be bad form to perform it. Well, that seems like a sensible thing to do. After all, the memory of the man and respect for him are many times more valuable than fan satisfaction, especially since, afterwards, when Brian took his place at the microphone, the band recorded more than one cool hit!

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