HIGHWAY TO HELL: THE LIFE AND DEATH OF AC/DC LEGEND BON SCOTT
Highway to Hell was first published by Pan Macmillan in Australia in 1994. More than a quarter of a century later, with a new fourth Australian edition of the book out in 2015 and a third global English-language edition in 2023, plus five foreign-language translations, Highway to Hell still sets the benchmark for Australian rock books, and remains the original, forensic, unflinching and masterful biography of a man who is an international Australian icon and one of rock’s greatest-ever performers. Acclaimed an instant classic, Highway to Hell was initially published in the UK in 1995 by Sidgwick & Jackson, and then in the US, in 2001, by Verse Chorus Press. In 2002, Pan Macmillan published a second Australian edition, in Picador, and then in 2007 the book underwent a major revamp for new editions through Picador in Australia and VCP for the US and UK. Subsequently, there have been French, Italian, Bulgarian, Spanish and Finnish editions. The current VCP edition remains the only one still illustrated, and that's a great asset it boasts. But I'm stoked that Pan Macmillan in Australia still refuses to let it go out of print in my (and Bon's!) home territory, and all the more chuffed because this current edition gave me the opportunity to get in great Sydney artist Glenn Smith to design an all-new, all-awesome cover, which I'm staggered to say, is, well, embossed - now I've really made it! Read here the Preface for this edition. I was so impressed with Glenno's work I got him in to do the 2023 VCP edition too!
Highway to Hell has had to face down many challengers to its throne over the years, but, I think I can humbly and confidently say, it remains unbowed...
“Like the Doors after the publication of Danny Sugarman’s No One Here Gets Out Alive, the Bon Scott-era AC/DC is about to become a bona fide cult sensation. Cast in the Sugarman role is respected rock writer Clinton Walker ... a timely and acclaimed biography” - Glenn A. Baker, BILLBOARD
“Australia’s leading rock writer Clinton Walker has a best-seller on his hands - his book about AC/DC singer Bon Scott looks like becoming the most successful Australian rock’n’roll book ever”
- THE BIG BACKYARD
Read here a piece I wrote for the Age in 1994 called “In Search of Bon Scott," and here an interview with Bon from beyond the grave that I reconstructed for a Playboy magazine '20 Questions' feature.
See a 1994 TV interview here, and here a cover story I wrote for Rolling Stone on the 25th anniversary of Bon's death in 2005.
“This is much more than just the story of a heavy metal band ... The history of Australian music is being forgotten, and Highway to Hell is an important part of the remembering” - Toby Creswell, JUICE
“Peppered with the exuberance and good humour of its subject ... (Walker’s) easy-going style makes this biography both entertaining and not insubstantial reading” - Andrew Watt, IN-PRESS
“Great reporting, scholarship and story-telling” - David Fricke, ROLLING STONE
“If, like this reviewer, you’d always figured all you wanted to know about Bon Scott could be contained on a couple of battered albums, Highway to Hell comes as a revelation ... unquestionably, the most perceptive book written about an Australian rock figure ... as much about Australian youth culture in the 60s and 70s as it is Scott” - Stuart Coupe, SYDNEY MORNING HERALD
“Great stories about Bon’s reckless spirit, about the Young brothers, about what being on the road is really all about. It’s also a great insight into how the Australian culture shaped one of the greatest rock’n’roll bands in the world ... a compulsory read” - Robyn Doreian, METAL HAMMER
“In this well-written, thoroughly-researched biography, Walker paints a graphic picture of men behaving badly ... sensitive but unsentimental. Nor does (Walker) indulge in sensationalism”
- Valerie Potter, Q
“The best AC/DC-related book so far” - ELECTRIC OUTLAWS
“Walker manages to piece together Scott’s story and paints a vivid picture of not just the man but the machinations of being in a band, and the development of Australian rock music from the 1960s into the 70s ... a fine testament to the man who once answered the question, Are you the AC or the DC? with, Neither - I’m the lightning flash in the middle!” - Barry Divola, WHO WEEKLY