Ronald Belford "Bon" Scott (9 July 1946 – 19 February 1980) was a Scottish-born Australian rock musician, best known for being the lead singer and lyricist of Australian hard rock band AC/DC from 1974 until his death in 1980. He was born in Forfar, Scotland, and moved to Melbourne, Australia with his family in 1952 at the age of six.
Scott formed his first band, The Spektors, in 1964 and became the band's drummer and occasional lead vocalist. He performed in several other bands including The Valentines and Fraternity before replacing Dave Evans as the lead singer of AC/DC in 1974.
In the July 2004 issue of Classic Rock, Scott was rated as number one in a list of the "100 Greatest Frontmen Of All Time" ahead of Freddie Mercury and Robert Plant. Hit Parader ranked Scott as fifth on their 2006 list of the 100 Greatest Heavy Metal Vocalists of all time.
AC/DC's popularity grew throughout the 1970s, initially in Australia, and then internationally. Their 1979 album Highway to Hell reached the top twenty in the United States, and the band seemed on the verge of a commercial breakthrough. However, on 19 February 1980, Scott died after a night out in London. AC/DC briefly considered disbanding, but the group quickly recruited vocalist Brian Johnson of the British glam rock band Geordie. AC/DC's subsequent album, Back in Black, was released only five months later, and was a tribute to Scott. It went on to become the second best-selling album in history.
After Highway to Hell, Bon Scott and company began developing a new album that was to eventually become Back in Black, but Scott would not be a part of its success. On 19 February 1980, Scott, 33 at the time, passed out after a night of heavy drinking in a London club called the Music Machine (currently known as the KOKO). He was left to sleep in a Renault 5 owned by an acquaintance named Alistair Kinnear, at 67 Overhill Road in East Dulwich, South London. The following afternoon, Kinnear found Scott lifeless, and alerted the authorities. Scott was rushed to King's College Hospital in Camberwell, where he was pronounced dead on arrival. Pulmonary aspiration of vomit was the cause of Scott's death, and the official cause was listed as "acute alcohol poisoning" and "death by misadventure". Scott was cremated and his ashes were interred by his family in Fremantle, Western Australia.
Inconsistencies in media accounts of Scott's death (incorrect spelling of Alistair Kinnear's first name, among others) have been cited in conspiracy theories, which suggest that Scott died of an alcohol poisoning, or was killed by exhaust fumes redirected into the car, or that Kinnear did not exist. Additionally, Scott was asthmatic, and the temperature was below freezing on the morning of his death. Ozzy Osbourne states in the documentary Don't Blame Me that Scott actually died of hypothermia.
Shortly after Scott's death, the remaining members of AC/DC briefly considered quitting. However, it was eventually decided that Scott would have wanted them to continue and, after the blessings of Bon's family, the band hired Brian Johnson as the new vocalist. Angus Young stated in an interview with VH1 that Scott's mother, whom all the band members personally knew, heartily approved of the band continuing, and felt that it was the only way to properly remember her son and their bandmate.
Five months after Scott's death, AC/DC finished the work they began with Scott and released Back in Black as a tribute to him with two tracks from the album, "Hells Bells" and "Back in Black", dedicated to his memory. It is now the second best-selling album in history, behind Michael Jackson's Thriller. The French rock band Trust wrote their hit song "Ton dernier acte" ("Your last act") in memory of Scott in 1980.
Scott's ashes were interred in Fremantle Cemetery and his grave site has become a cultural landmark; more than 28 years after Scott's death, the National Trust of Australia decreed his grave important enough to be included on the list of classified heritage places. It is reportedly the most visited grave in Australia. On 9 July 2006, the plaque was stolen from the site.