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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Bon Scott & Angus Young, Atlanta, Georgia, 1978 (printed 2010)

Rennie Ellis

gelatin silver photograph, selenium toned on paper (sheet: 40.5 cm x 50.5 cm, image: 29.2 cm x 43.7 cm)

Angus Young (b. 1955), guitarist/songwriter, was a founding member of Australia's most successful ever band, AC/DC. Glasgow-born brothers of The Easybeats's George Young (1946-2017), Malcolm (1953-2017) and Angus Young formed the band in Sydney in 1973, with Angus soon adopting his trademark school uniform onstage. Ronald 'Bon' Scott (1946-1980) had come to Australia with his family in 1952, aged six, had lived in Melbourne and Fremantle, where he joined a pipe band; had dropped out of school at fifteen; and had spent some time in custody. By 1974, Scott was working at a fertiliser plant by day and writing songs that he would try out with other musicians at night. Artistic differences had arisen between AC/DC and their lead singer, Dave Evans, and Scott had had a terminal falling-out with his own loose group, the Mount Lofty rangers. He liked AC/DC but thought they were too young to rock; they thought he was too old to rock; but their first jam session was enough to seal the first AC/DC lineup. The following year, with two albums and four huge singles in Australia, the band was signed to an international deal, but American success did not come until Highway to Hell reached number 17 on the US charts in 1979. Bon told Rennie Ellis in 1978 that he could see no end to it, but two years later he was dead, having inhaled his own vomit while 'sleeping off' a bender in a parked car in London. His grave in Fremantle is the most-visited grave in Australia. In mid- 2004 UK magazine Classic Rock rated Scott as number one in a list of the 100 Greatest Frontmen. Significantly, however, largely thanks to Angus Young's star status, the band weathered the loss of Scott and his replacement by Brian Johnston. AC/DC's Back in Black, issued five months after Scott's death, is said to be the second-highest-selling album of all time worldwide, after Michael Jackson's Thriller; it is the fifth-highest selling album in the USA alone.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2010
© Rennie Ellis Photographic Archive
www.RennieEllis.com.au

Accession number: 2010.106

Currently on display: Gallery Two (Contemporary Gallery)

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Artist and subject

Rennie Ellis (age 38 in 1978)

Angus Young (age 23 in 1978)

Bon Scott (age 32 in 1978)

Subject professions

Performing arts

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

Café and shop

On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.

Bon Scott & Angus Young, Atlanta, Georgia, 1978 (printed 2010) Rennie Ellis
Bon Scott & Angus Young, Atlanta, Georgia, 1978 (printed 2010) Rennie Ellis
Bon Scott & Angus Young, Atlanta, Georgia, 1978 (printed 2010) Rennie Ellis
Bon Scott & Angus Young, Atlanta, Georgia, 1978 (printed 2010) Rennie Ellis

No shirt, no service

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2010

Bon Scott and Angus Young photographed by Rennie Ellis are part of a display celebrating summer and images of the shirtless male.

Rosaleen Norton, Witch of Kings Cross, 1970-71 Rennie Ellis
Rosaleen Norton, Witch of Kings Cross, 1970-71 Rennie Ellis
Rosaleen Norton, Witch of Kings Cross, 1970-71 Rennie Ellis
Rosaleen Norton, Witch of Kings Cross, 1970-71 Rennie Ellis

Aussies All

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2006

Rennie Ellis photographs the self-proclaimed 'Witch of Kings Cross'.

Kinky Night. Impressions Club, 1987
Kinky Night. Impressions Club, 1987
Kinky Night. Impressions Club, 1987
Kinky Night. Impressions Club, 1987

Aussies all

Magazine article by Simon Elliott, 2006

The exhibition Aussies all features the ecclectic portrait photography of Rennie Ellis which captures Australian life during the 70s and 80s.

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.