Bon’s story is a lesson in those downfalls, as well – he passed away on February 19, 1980, less than a year after Highway To Hell, AC/DC’s commercial breakthrough in America, was released. He was 33 years old, and Highway had just hit the U.S. Top 20.
Self-aware long before that was ever something we expected from rock stars, Bon prognosticated his own demise on the album’s title-track. 'Hey Satan, paid my dues / Playing in a rocking band / Hey mama, look at me / I’m on my way to the promised land,' he wails on Highway to Hell — the band’s second-most played song on Spotify as of this writing. Bon had gone biblical before that on Let There Be Rock – a harmless bit of heavy metal pretension his successor Brian Johnson didn’t repeat – but on this song, he summed up the totality of the AC/DC worldview.
To Bon, 'going down' had three meanings: It meant hitting the next gig, cunnilingus, and descending into damnation all at once. For the frontman, drinking himself silly, chasing rock’n’roll as a worthy life pursuit, and engaging in sexual promiscuity were all valid ways to live — and you, too, could be like him if you chose to do so.