Barnes was never up for Bon’s job
Former Cold Chisel singer Jimmy Barnes has finally laid a 32-year urban myth to bed by confirming he was never in the frame to replace Bon Scott in AC/DC.
The Australian band were rising through the ranks when their frontman died in February 1980. After deciding to keep the outfit going Malcolm and Angus Young settled on Brian Johnson for their new singer, released Back in Black later the same year and went on to become one of the biggest acts in the world.
But rumours have persisted that fellow Scotsman Barnes was among the candidates for Scott’s position. Now he says that was never the case.
He tells Classic Rock’s Dave Ling: “The whole thing was was a complete urban myth – I never even spoke to the guys about it.
“Bon was a good mate of mine. I used to go into the studio and watch them record. I knew Angus and Malcolm Young very well, and I was also acquainted with Harry Vanda and George Young.
“We were all very comfortable around one another – but the idea of me joining AC/DC was never discussed.
“It’s one of those subjects that’s been written about so many times that it’s become accepted as being true, when in fact it’s a complete figment of somebody’s imagination.”
Barnes replaced Scott in his previous group Fraternity in 1975 – which may be the source of the rumour. After six months he returned to Cold Chisel, who had formed in 1973, and remained with them until they split in 1983. At the height of their powers they were the biggest-selling act in Australia and Barnes had a reputation as a wild man, downing a bottle of vodka during each show. The reunited band released their ninth studio album, No Plans, last month. In July they’ll play three UK shows, their first visit in 30 years.
Cold Chisel will be featured in Classic Rock Magazine No.173, on sale June 20. Classic Rock No.172, with Rush on the cover, is available now.