Copyright royalties continue to exist after an artist’s death and become an asset of his estate. When Bon Scott passed away in 1980, AC/DC had already begun work on ‘Back in Black.’ While the late singer was not recognized as the songwriter, whether his lyrics were used in the record and whether his family received any royalties has been a source of contention. Brian Johnson addressed the rumors in a recent Metal Edge interview. “No, no,” the singer said when asked if he knew Bon Scott’s estate paid for ‘Back in Black’ because the late artist’s lyrics were reportedly copied. “I’m sure Bon’s family receives royalties from the work he’s done.” They’ll have an estate; most people do if they die with money pouring in from that era of their career.”
Although Johnson is aware that Bon Scott’s estate receives royalties from his earlier works with AC/DC, he believes they do not receive money from ‘Back in Black.’ “That would be correct,” the musician continued. That is the proper and proper thing to do. But I doubt it… I know this because I receive royalties from the ‘Back in Black’ film. That’s the easy solution.” Following this, the journalist questioned Brian Johnson if he was certain that no Bon Scott lyrics had been used since ‘Highway to Hell,’ the late rocker’s last album. “No, I can honestly say that,” Johnson responded emphatically, adding that the band hasn’t used any of Scott’s lyrics since his death.
Bon Scott is known to have attended some of the ‘Back in Black’ recording sessions and played drums on a few songs. Angus Young reacted to the rumors a year and a half ago, saying that Scott had never had the opportunity to contribute to the songwriting process owing to his untimely death. Despite working on some lyrics, he was unable to share them with the rest of the band. Bon’s two ex-girlfriends, on the other hand, claim he wrote the song ‘You Shook Me All Night Long.’ So it appears that the rumors will continue.