On February 19, 1980, Bon Scott was tragically found dead after a night of heavy drinking in London.
The AC/DC front man had been enjoying the rise to stardom after the release of Highway to Hell, their seventh album. The album had put the band on the map, especially in America, and had been accompanied by a successful tour. Just a little over three weeks before his death, Scott had unknowingly played his last show at the Gaumont Theatre in Southhampton, U.K. on January 27, 1980.
On the night of February 19, Scott had been out drinking with friends at a London club. Later that night Alistair Kinnear, a friend of Scott\’s, left an intoxicated Scott to \’sleep it off\’ in his car. The next day Kinnear discovered Scott unresponsive and rushed him to King\’s College Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
“For us, it was like losing a member of your family,” guitarist Angus Young said in a subsequent interview. “It’s very, very difficult to go through something like that. Not only is it your friend, it’s also somebody you’ve been working with all that time.”
Shortly after the loss, AC/DC hired Brian Johnson to finish the follow up album to Highway to Hell and subsequently dedicated the newest album to Scott.
“We wanted just a simple black cover,” Young told VH-1’s Behind the Music. “We wouldn’t have even done him justice in words. Even the bell in the beginning of ‘Hell’s Bells’ was our little tribute.”