AC/DC Singer Brian Johnson Addresses Conspiracy Theory Over Hit ‘Back In Black’

42 years have passed since the release of one of rock’s greatest records of all time, AC/DC’s Back in Black.

And in the four decades since, English singer Brian Johnson has been plagued by a “conspiracy theory” about who penned the ’80s hit.

There were persistent rumors that the late Bon Scott, who led the Australian band before his death in February 1980, “had scrawled most of the album’s words in one of his notebooks before he died”.

Johnson, now 75, who took over as frontman after Scott’s death at the age of 33, has explored the myth in his new book. “The Life of Brian.”

While the song stemmed from Scott telling his bandmates a story about his landlord’s complaints about the volume of his music, AC/DC co-founder and guitarist Angus Young previously said they didn’t use any of his lyrics to avoid looking like they were benefit from his early death.

“I know there’s a person who was a conspiracy theorist who kept saying, well, Bon wrote that text,” Johnson says, according to The Daily Telegraph.

“What band would allow someone else to claim someone else’s lyrics? I mean, it’s just absolute nonsense. And that’s why I put it in the book, to say once and for all that these lyrics are from my hand with a pen in it.

Johnson and Young on stage.
Both the Young brothers and Johnson are credited with writing the lyrics to Back in Black.
Getty Images

“There are people out there who just don’t believe what’s true. And I felt awful after I put it down (in the book) but it just bugged me for so long. I still enjoy listening to Bon’s fantastic lyrics, his double meanings, his funny little jokes…I couldn’t do it.”

Brothers Angus and the late Malcolm Young and Johnson are credited with writing all of the songs on AC/DC’s seventh studio album, Back In Black.

The iconic album was released just five months after Scott’s death and three months after Johnson officially joined the band, which didn’t help debunk the conspiracy theory.

Brian Johnson and Angus Young, both from the group AC/DC.
AC/DC perform during their “Thunderstruck” music video.
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It was a musical synthesis of the arts that would go on to become one of the best-selling albums in history, recorded in the Bahamas in just seven weeks from April to May 1980.

AC/DC was formed in Sydney in 1973 by the Young brothers, who released their debut album High Voltage in 1975 with drummer Phil Rudd and bassist Mark Evans.

Current members include Johnson, Rudd, Angus Young, Cliff Williams and Stevie Young, who took over as guitarist after his uncle Malcolm Young left the band in 2014 due to ill health. Malcolm died of complications from dementia in 2017. AC/DC Singer Brian Johnson Addresses Conspiracy Theory Over Hit ‘Back In Black’

Emma Bowman

Emma Bowman is a USTimeToday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Emma Bowman joined USTimeToday in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with Emma Bowman by emailing

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