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BOOK REVIEW: Live Wire – Bon Scott by Mary Renshaw, John D’Arcy and Gabby D’Arcy

| 19 November 2015 | 1 Reply

BOOK REVIEW: Live Wire – Bon Scott by Mary Renshaw, John D’Arcy and Gabby D’Arcy

Allen & Unwin
October 2015
Paperback, $32.99
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

Music Biography


Live Wire - Bon Scott by Mary Renshaw, John & Gabby Darcy

Does the world really need another AC/DC biography? The band’s history has been tackled by everyone from ex-bassist Mark Evans, through a who’s who of international rock journos and authors.

LIVE WIRE: BON SCOTT isn’t, however, an AC/DC biography, rather it is a memoir of their former lead singer Bon Scott, as told by three of his close friends.

It’s easy to forget when icons die, as Bon did on 19 February, 1980, that they don’t merely leave behind the legacy of their art, and a wealth of road stories (some true, some exaggerated and some apocryphal… not to mention conspiracy theories, rumours and conjecture about their every undocumented moment), but also a family, a childhood, formative years before fame thrust them into the spotlight and – perhaps most importantly – friends.

In Bon’s case he lived hard and fast from an early age, and by the age of 19 was co-lead singer of poncy-shirt-wearing bubblegum popstars The Valentines. John D’Arcy (or Darce as everyone “except his Mum and the police” know him), also came up rough, and met Bon when he joined The Valentines as a roadie, also aged 19, fast becoming firm friends and fellow troublemakers and leaving a trail of girls, empty booze bottles and drug hangovers in their wake.

The future Gabby D’Arcy was just a 14-year-old schoolgirl when she met The Valentines, who despite their reputation as womanisers quickly became like protective older brothers to her and her best friend Betty. Within a couple of years Gabby & Darce were an item and they are still together today, more than 45 years later.

Mary Renshaw was a teenager when she met Bon at a Valentines gig in ’67, and went on to become a well known fashion designer, and a girlfriend and life-long friend and lover of Bon’s.

Together this unlikely threesome reminisce about The Valentines days, the crazy rock n’ roll antics on and off the road, and Bon’s tender, loving and friendly side. Bon was a wild one, for sure, but they open a window to a side of him that is all too easily overlooked except by those who knew him well: the lovable rogue with the heart of gold who would do anything for a mate, and who clung ever-closer to his friends whenever he could as the AC/DC worldwide whirlpool got stronger and stronger.

Theirs is a touching tale, taking us through not only Bon’s experiences with The Valentines, Fraternity and AC/DC, but also the Australian music scenes of those times. By the time we get to Bon’s tragically avoidable death, tears will be shed for a lost friend – including by the reader, who will by now know more about Bon Scott the man.

LIVE WIRE: BON SCOTT shows the human side of a legend, and whilst doing so reminds us that we are all human, we all have petty frailties, doubts and insecurities, and are all capable of being part of something world-changing. For that reason it may be the most important and certainly the most touching Bon Scott book yet written.

Category: Book Reviews

About the Author ()

Editor, 100% ROCK MAGAZINE

Comments (1)

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  1. Gruzel 1234 says:

    Moving review, have to get it and have a read2

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