'Highway To Hell' The Life & Death of AC/DC Legend Bon Scott


 By Clinton Walker

Pan Macmillan Australia (pub)

The dazzling cover caught my eye from under the glass counter of Phase 4 one day and I saw it was written by Clinton Walker so I snapped it up for $30. Complete with the author's signature it was a bargain. The adage; You can't judge a book by its cover sprang to mind when I noticed that the sketch of Scott seemed to be missing the tattoos but on close examination I found one and the cover had already done its job well enough, it is an attractive package and Clinton Walker has enough credibility as a writer about music to convince me I should read it. It was the first book by Walker that I have read and it does plenty to enhance his standing as a writer, researcher and commentator in his chosen field.


I found the story was well paced and entertaining enough to keep me reading with interest, as the author says in his preface; “... when you've got material this good it'd be hard to fuck it up......when I first started work on the book in the early nineties, always feeling as if I should be looking over my shoulder because here was this amazing story just sitting there untouched – I couldn't believe I had it all to myself!” I am pretty sure there are more than a few who could fuck up on a story with as much controversy and myth surrounding it as this one. The author goes on to inform us of the statement issued in 2005 by Alistair Kinnear “the mystery man who spent Bon's last year on earth with him....confirmed my original reconstruction of it in the first place”. Twenty one years after the books first release it still stands as a very credible and accurate description of not only his death but also his life and the early life of AC/DC.


The author's passion for his topic is restrained but nonetheless evident while avoiding the hyperbole that such a character often generates. The lengths the author went to to give voice to those who were close to Bon over the years and also to those who were in a position to add details and commentary makes this a very rewarding read. Rather than trying to give you some juicy bits when the story as a whole is what makes it such a good book I will simply say that apart from drinking and some pot the habits of the major characters are not excessive compared with many in the rock business mainly because AC/DC is such a professional working band. I have already resolved to read more titles in Clinton Walker's repertoire and urge others interested in Australian music to do likewise.

Walker, Clinton
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