The Truth About AC/DC's First Lead Singer

The tragedy of AC/DC is that their first lead singer, Bon Scott, passed away before his years of work, both recording and touring, resulted in massive fame. When he died, he only had $30,000 to his name. Then, Brian Johnson joined the group, they released Back in Black, and the oft told story is told once more.


...that's not how the history of AC/DC went.

Though Bon Scott made AC/DC and recorded their first album with them, he wasn't their first singer. That obscured honor goes to Dave Evans.

When AC/DC first formed, Dave Evans was there as the vocalist, staying with them long enough to record the first version of the single "Can I Sit Next To You Girl" and to see AC/DC develop a strong enough reputation to tail Lou Reed's tour. The sound they pumped resembles less the bluesy hard rock sound AC/DC would become known for than the glam rock image that was already declining by 1974. Michael Browning, the Melbourne promoter who would become AC/DC's manager, was impressed by the guitarists, but didn't rate Evans highly: "No disrespect to Dave, but they wouldn't have made it with him as singer. He could sing OK, but he didn't have the character Bon brought into the band. The character, the sense of humour, the swagger. They were never going to go as far as they went with Dave out front. Bon was the real deal."

Leaving AC/DC

How Evans left the band is about as obscure as his involvement with the band in the first place. Evans certainly disliked Browning as much as Browning thought little of Evans, claiming to have declared he was leaving the band after Browning smart-mouthed him one too many times.

For AC/DC, the transition went smoothly as their chauffeur happened to be a fellow named Bon Scott who hung around a lot of their shows. They asked him whether he wanted to join the band, he said yes, and AC/DC went on to produce many classic albums, like "Let There Be Rock." Evans reportedly doesn't blame Scott — after all, who wouldn't say yes to joining an up and coming band — but always resented the lack of credit: "They try to pretend that the first history of the band never existed. In most of the interviews, it's like Bon was there from the very beginning.

After AC/DC, Dave Evans' career trundled along without ever exploding in the way that his former bandmates's did. He joined a group called Rabbit from 1974-1977, releasing a few pretty good albums. Since then, he has formed and disbanded a series of groups around him and focused on recording solo albums. However, even when he visits a Brazilian football match, he's still the ex-member of AC/DC. There are some shadows you can never escape.