A life-sized statue of Bon Scott, the influential frontman of world-conquering band AC/DC, was unveiled on Saturday, April 30 in the Scottish town of Kirriemuir.
Keen to recognize the Scottish roots of the talismanic lead singer — voted No. 1 on a list of the "100 Greatest Frontmen Of All Time" by Classic Rock magazine — the bronze statue was revealed during the tenth annual Bon Scott international festival, Bonfest, by event organizers DD8 Music. It followed a two-year crowdfunding campaign, which drew support from AC/DC members themselves, as well as thousands of the band's loyal fans worldwide.
Attending the unveiling were Mark Evans, bass player on four of the Bon-era albums; Tony Currenti, drummer on AC/DC's first album; Mary Renshaw, who has co-written a memoir on Bon Scott's life; and sculptor John McKenna.
McKenna told the crowd: "When I was a kid, I used to listen to Bon Scott and when I did that, I never in a million years thought I'd be a sculptor and never thought I'd be making a statue of Bon Scott, the son of Kirriemuir, this musical icon.
"This has happened because fans from all over the world donated money for this statue — it wouldn't have happened otherwise."
Bonfest chairman John Crawford told The Courier: "It's amazing how many people don't know that Bon Scott came from Kirriemuir. People know about J.M. Barrie and Peter Pan, but they are both famous sons of the town and there is room for them both. This statue and memorial garden is going to be a lasting tribute to Bon, funded a hundred percent by the fans. People will come from the four corners of the world to see it."
Mark Evans added: "It's magical. Bon was a great pal and it's just great to be in the place where he came from. The statue has captured his essence, right down to his tattoos."
He continued: "Bon would have been turning 70 this year. I was just 19 when I joined the band — he was ten years older — but you couldn't help but like the guy. He was a hellraiser but there was another side to him and he never forgot his Scottish roots. He'd have been absolutely chuffed to have a statue in Kirriemuir."
The Angus town was home to a young Ronald Bedford Scott until the age of six, when his family left Scotland for Fremantle, Western Australia.
Scott was invited to join the band by Glasgow-born brothers and founding members Malcolm and Angus Young in 1974, and achieved international stardom before his death at the age of 33 in 1980.
The event was supported by EventScotland's National Funding Programme in its tenth-anniversary year, which allowed for the erection of a big top festival site and a street party to take place. Bonfest was also supported by Angus Council.
Stuart Turner, head of EventScotland, said: "We are delighted to support the life and work of one of Scotland's most influential and best-loved musicians with our funding of the tenth edition of Bonfest.
"I'm sure that the newly-unveiled statue will serve as further incentive for AC/DC aficionados to make the journey to Kirriemuir in the future to see where Bon spent his formative years, but also to experience all that wider Angus and Scotland have to offer."
Individual members of AC/DC past and present have offered their support previously, with Mark Evans saying in 2012, "It's so amazing that Bon is getting honored like this, especially since Scotland is such an important place in the history of AC/DC. Bon already had a street named after him in Kirriemuir and now this!"
The statue will be the second of Scott, who was born in Kirriemuir in 1946 but moved with his family to Australia in 1952. An Australian statue honoring Scott has already been on display since February 2008.
The singer died in 1980 at the age of 33 from alcohol poisoning. He sang on AC/DC's first six studio albums, including "High Voltage", "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap", "Let There Be Rock" and "Highway To Hell".
AC/DC guitarist Angus Young told The Pulse Of Radio a while back that the band almost didn't get past Scott's death. "Bon was the big… He was a full-on frontman, plus he had this great character, you know. I mean, he just lived that rock 'n' roll life. With Bon, what you saw was what you got, and, yeah, it was pretty, pretty tough."