While former AC/DC lead singer Bon Scott left the world all too soon in 1980, he left AC/DC fans a musical legacy in recordings with the Australian hard rockers.
And his former wife believes his distinctive vocals are the result of a motorcycle crash in 1974.
Scott’s ex-wife, Irene Thornton, noted in her book Bon Scott, his voice changed after the accident, where he suffered a neck injury, broken collarbone and a cut throat.
“Well I did feel that after he had the neck injury and broken collarbone and a cut in his throat, his voice didn’t sound the same,” Irene said in the book. “He didn’t seem to be able to do the same thing – he was doing a lot of melodic singing before, had a beautiful tone in his voice, but I don’t think that (tone) was the voice he ended up with or that what he had (before) was the AC/DC voice everyone knows.”
Scott was drunk on that night in May in the suburbs of Adelaide and just prior to the crash had been in a huge fight with bandmates from the Mount Lofty Rangers. The accident left him in a coma for three days and another 18 long days in hospital.
It was partly a blessing in disguise, that crash, as he was no longer a member of the Rangers and shortly thereafter joined Angus and Malcolm Young in AC/DC.
Thornton may be right that the motorcyle accident changed his voice, perhaps giving it that gravelly edge AC/DC fans instantly recognize.
Listening to the following clip from Mount Lofty Rangers’ “Round and Round and Round”, Scott still has that nasal sound to his voice, but it’s not as gravelly.