Rick Allen of Def Leppard on Discovering Bon Scott’s Hidden Side

Rick Allen spoke with Forbes before heading on the Japanese leg of Def Leppard’s world tour in November. He remembered a memory with AC/DC’s Bon Scott while discussing his early experiences in the music industry: “I recall having a cup of tea with Bon Scott. We opened three or four shows for AC/DC on their ‘Highway To Hell’ tour. And on my 16th birthday, at the Hammersmith Odeon, Bon Scott came over to me and handed me a bowl of Smarties and wished me a ‘Happy Birthday,’ and we had a cup of tea together.” Allen has previously described Scott as a ‘humble and quiet guy.’ This time, he went into greater detail on the distinction between his onstage and offstage identities, explaining: “He was lovely and unassuming.” He didn’t come across as a crazy man to me. What a tragic loss.

I recall seeing the first night of that tour. They got on stage and played ‘Live Wire,’ and they were one of the most powerful bands I’d ever seen: hard rock and roll with well-executed and well-crafted tunes. Excellent musicianship and singing. Everything a rock band should be, in my opinion.” His early involvement with the band and its former frontman influenced the Def Leppard drummer’s musical selections when he compiled an all-time favorites list for Spin last year. He placed AC/DC’s ‘Back in Black’ at number one and stated: “This album is raw, unapologetic rock and roll.” When recounting his meeting with Scott, he added: I needed to pinch myself… “I’ll never forget my birthday.”

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