Rennie Ellis – more amazing photos of Bon!

bon scott with heathen girls

Continuing the theme of “incredible photos of Bon from the archives”, here is a set of photos by the late great Aussie photographer Rennie Ellis.

Manuela Furci, one of the lucky folks in charge of the Rennie Ellis archive, has kindly given permission for these low-res copies of Rennie’s AC/DC shots to appear on the Bon Scott Blog. If you want to see more of Rennie’s work, have a look at his website.

The above photo is titled “AC-DC Bon Scott & The Heathen Girls #2 Atlanta Georgia 1978”. Can anyone tell me more about The Heathen Girls? I presume this is their myspace page, and I imagine that AC/DC must have played a gig in Atlanta with them, and that this photo show’s Bon at the post-show party!

Here’s another one with The Heathen Girls and Bon:

Heathen Girls and Bon

and this one is priceless. It looks to be the same girl with the big hair from The Heathen Girls. Check out Bon on tippy toes:

bon with heathen girl

At the same concert in Atlanta, 1978, this photo by Rennie is possibly the most majestic I’ve ever seen. Little wonder that the Fremantle Arts Centre used it as their signature image for the Bon Scott Project.

bon in full flight

And here are more shots from the Atlanta concert:

angus on stage in colour

angus

angus on stage

angus going off

angus running

bon and angus backstage

Here is Bon being ADORED by legions of young female fans, at a concert in Moorabbin, Victoria in the mid 1970s (as also featured in The Age newspaper article by Patrick Donovan a few months back).

moorabbin bon scott

moorabbin bon scott fans

Thanks Rennie for your fine and intimate photographic work!

All these photos are on my flickr page, and a few extras too!

38 Responses to “Rennie Ellis – more amazing photos of Bon!”


  • In the top photo Bon’s gotta be thinking… Which one first, or all at once!

    MMMMMM YEAH!

    I’d volunteer!

  • I’d be next in line after you, Susann!

    As Bon proclaimed, “I just line ’em up…and they all come runnin’ when the word got round!…I do the Bad Boy Boogie!”

    MMMMMMMMMM Yeah x 1000!

  • If you are interest in my library of rare AC/DC shirts from the 70s and 80s, please visit my website. Got some cool Bon era shirts there.

    love your blog!

  • Thank you for posting these treasures, I’ve been a fan of Bon’s for 30 years+. All new material is more than welcome. Thanks again, appriciated.

  • If by any chance you feel in a generous mood, I would greatly accept anything you would wish to send to me.

    grahamlfarrell@hotmail.com

  • hola amigos que tal va todo ?? mi comentario de la foto es primero que estan muy buenas algunas nunca las habia visto y el otro es
    If You Want Bon You’ve Got It satisfaction guaranteed un abrazo desde argentina
    Carolyn and Susann Alabama if we want to recreate the picture jajaja ..pablo

  • The ninth picture isn’t correct cos it shows Ang playin’ like he was lefthanded and like other AC/DC fans I know he’s not.

  • EVERY PHOTO CAN TELL A STORY… AND THIS ONE IS ONE OF THE VERY FEW I HAVE SEEN WHERE BON HAS A SAD LOOK ON HIS FACE… I WONDER WHY???

  • Erik – I imagine that’s the result of the neg (remember the heady days of film!) being scanned backwards – so you get the image mirror reversed… i think 🙂

  • Hi Everyone, thanks for your comments! Ben, that’s an interesting question. What do you think? Maybe he’s just tired after a full-on gig, or very drunk? Or is this the beginning of his great on-the-road malaise?

    By the way, there’s a great article written by Rennie Ellis which accompanies these photos, I’ve posted it here. It sheds a little light on the Heathen Girls:

    Lead guitarist Angus Young, the enfant terrible of AC/DC, arrives closely followed by Rose Whipperr and the Heathen Girls, four stunningly beautiful, heavily made up girls who’s singing act at the local gay bars could loosely be called “bizarre chic”. The girls and the band had met at the backstage party manager Michael Browning had thrown an hour or so before at the end of a typical raging AC/DC concert.

  • these photos made my day. I love the girls outfits! Only Bon could pull off that very low key look.

  • Hi Lucas. Rennie Ellis was a wonderful photographer and had his studio around the corner from my shop in Greville street.

  • NOT REALLY SURE LUCAS;
    PERHAPS IT WAS JUST ONE OF THOSE DAYS…

  • Wasn’t this Atlanta concert the one that Vince Lovegrove interviewed
    Bon after? And they went back to his hotel and Bon was talking about being so tired & maybe wanting to settle down? Wonderful turn of phrase Lucas – on-the-road-malaise! WHere did I read that? Clinton Walker??? Not sure.

  • I’m pretty sure the interview with Vince Lovegrove was mentioned in Clinton Walker’s book. It makes me so sad that Bon, because of the critical stage in AC/DC’s climbing career, couldn’t stop and take a much-needed break. I can’t help but think that even a short one might have saved his life. The current line-up got an eight-year break. If only Bon could have had a small fraction of that when he so desperately needed it.

  • yes Carolyn: on page 257 of the more recent edition of Clinton’s book, he reprints the interview by Vince Lovegrove from RAM magazine, which was conducted after a concert at Atlanta Symphony Hall. I’m not sure if it was the same concert documented by Rennie in the above photos, as Vince mentions the support band being Cheap Trick, not The Heathen Girls.

    Anyway, here’s Bon talking to Vince after the show. (They’ve had a few whiskeys):

    “I’m getting tired of it all,” [Bon] finally confessed. We were both wasted. Totally. There were no inhibitions. His burbled confession came as a total, almost sobering shock. I mean, his scenario appeared complete. Success was almost there, and so were its trimmings. And Bon tells me he was getting tired of it; he must be joking.

    “No way, Vinnie. I really am getting tired. I love it, you know that. It’s only rock’n’roll and I like it. But I want to have a base. It’s just been the constant pressures of touring that’s fucking it. It’ve been on the road for thirteen years. Planes, hotels, groupies, booze, people, towns. They all scrape something from you. We’re doin’ it and we’ll get there, but I wish we didn’t have these crushing day after day grinds to keep up with.”

    I’d never seen Bon like it. He managed to laugh it off and have another swig. He set a fast pace, the old Bon, but if you dug deep enough, you found an accumulative exhaustion that threatened to sap his upfront energy.

    “Rock’n’roll, you know that’s all there is,” he said. “But I can’t hack the rest of the shit that goes with it.”

  • I wonder if the other band members had any idea that Bon was this far down? His position as front man required him to be “up” for every performance. If Malcolm or Cliff were having an off-night due to tiredness, it would be less visible, but Bon had to be the Bon everyone expected night after night. He was a tough, resilient guy, but everyone has their breaking point.

    I’d really like to know how much the others knew about his emotional state. The thought of Bon being in such pain breaks my heart.

  • I am the girl (wearing the short jumpsuit and tickling Bon on the chin) in the picture from 30 years ago.

    Seeing this picture really brought to mind what a fine person Bon was, and all the fun we had whenever AC/DC came to Atlanta.

    Bon Scott still Rules!

  • Jilli, I’m so envious! You sure look like you’re having a great time with Bon in that picture. That shot is one of my all-time favorites!

  • Jilli, you’re so lucky to have had those times with Bon. Thanks for sharing that with all of us.

    MMMM….

    Carolyn, I don’t need to say it, but I will, you’ve done it again1 It just kills me to think of Bon feeling so alone. Especially in the midst of the rock n roll machine.

  • Hi Jilli. Wow, it’s amazing that posting these things online begins to gather together all the original players! Tell us about your chin-tickling encounter with Bon! I’m all ears!
    xLucas

  • I’d like to hear more about that chin-tickling with Bon, too!

  • I am from a design agency in Northern Ireland. We are currently re-branding the Ulster Hall in Belfast which is due to re-open in March 2009. We are working on designs for some hoarding that will be installed along the front of the Ulster Hall. We are using a range of memorial faces that have been associated with or that have played in the Ulster Hall over the years, such as; Charles Dickens, Ulster Orchestra, Led Zeppelin, The Clash, Barry McGuigan etc.

    I was wondering if it would be possible to purchase the shot from the Alanta gig above (third down) and if it is available for print?

    Cheers,
    s

  • THOUGH I SHOULD ADD SOME INFO TO THIS THREAD!!!

    FIRSTLY THOSE WHO KNOW HOW ITS BEEN FOR ME SINCE BONS DEATH KNOW THAT IM NOT AT ALL HAPPY WITH THE WAY ALBERTS HAVE HANDLED BONS AFFAIRS.

    AND I ADD THAT ITS A VERY RARE OCCASION INDEED FOR ME TO SIDE WITH AC/DC ON ISSUES RELATED TO MY DAD…

    BUT CONTRARY TO WHAT SOME PEOPLE SAY I BELIEVE ANGUS YOUNGS STATEMENT ABOUT;
    HOW HAPPY BON WAS IN THE LEAD UP TO HIS UNTIMELY AND STRANGE DEATH…
    ITS POSSIBLE THAT OVER TIME PEOPLE HAVE BECOME MISTRUED ABOUT WHAT BON HAD SAID… FOR INSTANCE; IF HE WAS ASKED IF ALL THE TOURING WAS GETTING TO HIM… HOW HE ANSWERED MAY HAVE MISLED…

    ALTHOUGH BON WAS SUPPOSEDLY A MEGA STAR WHEN HE DIED… SOME SAY HE HAD LOTS OF MONEY IN THE “IRON TANK”(AKA…RUST CRANK) THERE ARE NO PICTURES OF HIM IN FINE CLOTHES…OR ON HOLIDAY IN THE CARRIBEAN ON HIS NEW BOAT…

    SO YET AGAIN I RAISE THE POINT OF HOW BONS FRIENDS DIFFER ON LOTS OF THINGS IN REGARDS TO HIS AFFAIRS…

    I SUGGEST AC/DC DID CONTIBUTE TO BONS DEATH BY ALLOWING HIM TO BE UNGUARDED WHEN FAME WAS IMMINENT…
    BUT AT THE SAME TIME HE WAS THE BEST THING THAT THE YOUNGS EVER CAME ACROSS… GUITAR PLAYERS ARE A DIME A DOZEN…

    BUT SINGERS WHO GO DOWN IN HISTORY ARE FAR IN BETWEEN…

    P.S—HI THERE JILLI!!!

  • WENT TO THE RENEE ELLIS EXHIBIT ON AT THE DOCKLANDS IN MELBOURNE AUSTRALIA TODAY!!!

    VERY INTERESTING TO… ONE I LAUGHED AT WAS DERRYN HINCH… HAHA LETS YOU SEE HOW ONCE APON A TIME DERRYN WAS A “BONAFIDE HIPPY”…

    I HIGHLY SUGGEST IF YOU CAN GET THERE GO AND HAVE A LOOK…NOT TO FORGET ALL THE EXHIBITS ON AT MOMENT ARE FREE TO ENTER…

    IF YOU WERE TO LISTEN TO DERRYN HINCHS “DRIVE” RADIO SHOW ON 3AW IN MELBOURNE… YOU WOULD BE EASILY LED TO THINK HE WAS AN EX JUDGE OR EX POLICEMAN IN HIS MANNERISMS…

    HAHA THEN YOU SEE THE PIC OF HIM AND HIS HIPPY GIRLFRIEND LAYING IN BED… DERRYN COMPLETE WITH A GOLD CHAIN AROUND HIS NECK… AND HIS GIRLFRIEND HAS HER FINGERS WARAPPED ROUND THE CHAIN…

    MADE ME WONDER WHO GAVE IT TO HIM??? I SUGGEST A “HOBNOB” OF MELBOURNES NEXT ROUND OF POLITICAL GRADUATES…

  • HI LUCAS;

    YOUR FLICKR PHOTOS SUGGEST YOU WERE A MELBOURNIAN LAST WEEK AND I WAS WONDERING IF YOU ATTENDED THE “DADDY COOL” THEMED EXHIBIT ON AT THE DOCKLANDS ARTS CENTRE???

    IF SO TELL US ALL ABOUT IT…

  • Hi Ben
    indeed I was in melbourne! Yes, I went to the Rennie Ellis show at Federation Square, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

    I really liked the way that Rennie came across as very non-judgemental. He was not out to satirise or lampoon, just to present what was there. I remember reading a statement by him in the exhibition which said something along the lines of – “I want people to know I am photographing them, to allow them to present themselves as they might want to be seen” – rather than snooping around secretly shooting papparazzi style. Interestingly, rather than this resulting in less “candid” shots, you get an extra layer – the person performing themselves for the camera – complete with all the awkwardness and intimacy this brings.

    I reckon there’s something pretty good about that technique, and I identified with it, as a blogger.

  • bon bloggers note re chinese whispers and incorrect information. the heathen girls are indeed the girls to whom i refer in my article ‘when bon scott first met ac/dc’ on this site pertaining to the group’s atlanta georgia performance. these were the girls who came back to the sweetpeach plaza hotel. these girls were fun and stood out at that time, as being very english looking, but with extreme southern accents. cute accents, i might add. they were great fun. in the hotel room there was bon, rennie, the girls, and myself. unless the girls played before cheap trick, they were not on the show. if indeed they did play on the show, then i did not see them, but then rennie ellis and i and a film crew did not get to the show until halfway through cheap trick’s performance. we hired rennie ellis to take still photographs of a film documentary i was filming with melbourne director paul drane, for a doco called ‘australian music to the world’, which aifred in australia on the seven network in 1978. hope that clears up a few facts folks.
    cheers, vince.

  • Please allow me to clear up a misconception. The Heathen Girls were a band, but all but one of those girls was in the band. The Heathen Girls had a rotating cast of actual playing band members, among them, fronting the band with Rose Whipperr, was Marc Stowe with guitar, Rose Robinson on bass (not pictured here), Chuck Talbott on keyboards and guitar (again, not pictured), and Robb Meadows on drums (not pictured).

    They were a killer local Atlanta band, I might add, but they never opened for AC/DC or anybody of that caliber, which was a shame. However, these made-up beauties were never in the band but one, the one smoking a cig hiding amongst the others in the center of the hotel bed group pictures. Heathen Girls, the band, were mostly guys in their many incarnations.

  • Thanks GG, I love cleared up misconceptions!

  • Hi there, Lucas! My pleasure.

    oops I worded my first paragraph wrong. I meant to say “The Heathen Girls were a (killer!) band, but only one of the girls in the photos was actually in The Heathen Girls band.”

    They always would hang out backstage to meet guys in bands, and refer to themselves as though they were a band, but that was false. It worked to suit their purposes though! In spades.

  • It’s been awfully quiet out there in Bon blog land! Any news from Australia about the proposed movie about Bon’s life?

  • florida aircraft registrations

    I am from a design agency in Northern Ireland. We are currently re-branding the Ulster Hall in Belfast which is due to re-open in March 2009. We are working on designs for some hoarding that will be installed along the front of the Ulster Hall. We are using a range of memorial faces that have been associated with or that have played in the Ulster Hall over the years, such as; Charles Dickens, Ulster Orchestra, Led Zeppelin, The Clash, Barry McGuigan etc.

    I was wondering if it would be possible to purchase the shot from the Alanta gig above (third down) and if it is available for print?

    Cheers,
    s

  • dear s
    you should contact the rennie ellis archive to ask them
    http://www.rennieellis.com.au/contact.html
    cheers
    LUcas

  • truly nice images. thanks for sharing this

  • really miss him. RIP I WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER YOU

Leave a Reply