Statue Of BRIAN JOHNSON Unveiled In City Where He Played His First Concert With AC/DC 43 Years Ago
April 16, 2023
A statue of AC/DC's Brian Johnson was unveiled earlier today (Sunday, April 16) in Namur, Belgium to commemorate the first concert he ever played with the band on June 29, 1980 at the city's Palais Des Expositions.
The project came together after a crowdfunding campaign launched by AC/DC fans Michel Remy, Mike Davister and Georges Boussingault, as well as support from the national radio station RTBF Classic 21.
The statue itself was created by the company Design Stone from Libramont using top-quality Belgian Blue Stone, a natural stone mined in Belgium, which is reportedly between 150 million and 350 million years old.
Johnson himself recorded a video message thanking the fans for their support and promising to visit Namur in the next few weeks to see the statue in person. You can see the video below.
"[Namur is] a very special place for me," he said. "It was the first might I sang with AC/DC, and I was a very nervous boy. So that memory will stay with me forever, and now that you've built this statue. Honestly, I'm not worthy of it. I thank you, and I'll take it in good grace."
A little over two years ago, AC/DC guitarist Angus Young told 95.5 KLOS's "New & Approved" series about how late AC/DC singer Bon Scott first met Johnson in the early 1970s. "Bon had been in a band that had toured in Britain, and they were opening for the band Brian was in, which was a band called GEORDIE," Angus said. "Anyhow, they were gigging away, and as Bon told the story, he was saying he was listening to GEORDIE performing and listening to Brian, and then he heard this screaming. He said it sounded great — he said it sounded like Little Richard was on the stage. He said this guy [was] howling and yelling. And then he said then he saw the guy on the floor. Bon thought it was great — it was the best act he had seen, and a singer, in a long time. But what he didn't know, afterwards he found out, Brian had an attack of appendicitis. But Bon thought it was part of the act. He thought, 'This guy is incredible.' 'And he was still hittin' these high notes.'"
Brian previously spoke about crossing paths with Bon in a 2011 interview with New York Post. He said: "I met Bon in 1973 or 1974. His band was supporting my band, GEORDIE. I had a terrible case of appendicitis and I went down on my side, kicking and going, 'Ooh!' But I kept on singing. Apparently, he told the boys when he joined AC/DC, 'I saw this guy Brian Johnson sing, and he was great. He was on the floor, kicking and screaming — what an act!' Of course, it wasn't an act. I was really ill."
On July 25, 1980, AC/DC released "Back In Black" in the U.S., followed by the album's U.K. release on July 31. It was the band's first album without Scott, who had died a few months earlier after passing out and choking on his own vomit following a long night of drinking.
The group quickly decided to press on and hired Johnson from the band GEORDIE to take over on vocals, and they headed to the Bahamas for about six weeks to do the album. AC/DC had made some serious headway in America before Scott's death, but no one knew how "Back In Black" would be received.
"Back in Black" first went platinum in October 1980. The RIAA lists "Back In Black" as the fourth biggest-selling album of all time.
"Back In Black" included the singles "You Shook Me All Night Long", which peaked at No. 35 on the Billboard Hot 100, and "Back In Black", which peaked at No. 37.
Despite its massive success, it never got higher than No. 4 on the album charts. The band's next album, "For Those About To Rock", reached No. 1.
"Back In Black" was produced by Robert "Mutt" Lange, who went on to produce DEF LEPPARD, FOREIGNER, THE CARS, and BRYAN ADAMS.
In 2012, "Back In Black" was added to The Recording Academy's legendary Grammy Hall Of Fame collection.
In 2020, AC/DC launched a range of new merchandise to celebrate the 40th anniversary of "Back In Black".
Ce dimanche midi, la statue de Brian Johnson, chanteur d'AC/DC , a été inaugurée devant un parterre de fans. C'est officiel, la place située en face de Namur Expo s'appelle désormais "l'esplanade AC/DC".
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