Stevie Let your Hair Hang Down

stevie wright atop a lion
[Stevie Wright astride a bronze lion in Trafalgar Sq., London, 1975. Photo entitled “Portrait of Stevie Wright, London, 1975” by Gary Ede, originally published here.]

One of the most significant non-Bon discoveries I made while working on the Bon Scott Blog was the music of Stevie Wright. By chance, I found Stevie’s album Hard Road at a flea market. I had a vague notion that Stevie had something to do with Bon, so I bought it for a mere seven bucks. Since then (my girlfriend gave me a record player for my birthday) and Hard Road has been on high rotation. It is brilliant.

Stevie really shines on this album – the writing, the voice, the guitar work, the production values (rough enough but still polished). Vanda and Young did really well here.

When I first heard the album, the similarity between Stevie and Bon stood out. Stevie’s infectious trick of inserting little asides at the end of verses “My mum and pop they told me, son, you know you’re just a fool (yes they did) / when I told them I was leaving home, I was leaving school (yes I was)” is something Bon picked up on. And even in the narrative of the album – about being on a hard road with just my dog and my guitar and so on, there is something pretty similar to Bon’s later “Long way to the top” and “showbusiness” line of song writing about the struggles of being an aspiring rock star.

Stevie was mooted by some to take over as singer in AC/DC when Bon died, but it never happened. Apparently Alberts (the record company) and the Youngs were pretty hardline in their no drugs policy, which ruled out Stevie. In fact, it seems he went off the rails not long after Hard Road. In 2004, he released an autobiography, which I am yet to discover (details here); and in 1999 Jack Marx wrote a book about him called Sorry: The Wretched Tale of Little Stevie Wright, which is pretty rare – there’s a good review of that book here, although it seems that Stevie does not endorse Marx’s version of events, which have been described as “one of the most morally clouded rock’n’roll biographies you will read anywhere“.

black eyed bruiser stevie wright poster
[poster image from here]

I note that wikipedia says he put out an album called Black-eyed Bruiser in 1975 (and the above image would support that idea!), but when I searched for Black-eyed Bruiser, I mostly found reference to an album by Rose Tattoo. Does anyone have any more info on that album?

Anyway, the point of this blog entry is to say I’m excited to discover that Stevie is headlining the Legends of Rock day at Byron Bay and Perth very soon. If anyone goes along, I’d love to hear how Stevie performs. Here’s his feature page on the concert website. And the concert will also feature Dave Tice and Mark Evans, who I saw performing their excellent blues at the Sando in Sydney a few months back.

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oh, I just stumbled across some very thorough Wright-ology here.

8 Responses to “Stevie Let your Hair Hang Down”


  • WELL IM NOT SURE I AGREE WHEN YOU SAY BON PICKED UP ON THINGS THAT STEVIE DID… I THINK YOU WOULD FIND THAT THE YOUNG FAMILY MUSIC MACHINE.. HAD IDEAS ABOUT HOW THEY WANTED THERE MUSIC TO BE… AND WHOEVER IT WAS AT THE HELM OF SINGING WAS REQUIRED TO ACT THOSE IDEAS OUT!!!

    EVEN THE DANCING… YOU CAN SEE THE EVEN THE DANCE BETWEEN BON AND DAVE EVANS(FOUNDING ACX/DC SINGER) IS ALSO VERY SIMILIAR…

  • ah, good point ben. interesting to think about the complex nature of influence, and the things that go into inventing a performance character…

  • WELL JUST FINISHED READING A NEW BOOK ON AC/DC CALLED…

    AC/DC THE ENCYCLOPEODIA…

    FAIRLY RUN OF THE MILL STUFF ALTHOUGH IT DOES GO AS FAR AS INFORMING US OF PEOPLE RARELY MENTIONED IN AC/DC TOPICS… LIKE THE ELDEST YOUNG BROTHER… AND THE MILLION DRUMMERS/BASSISTS AC/DC HAVE HAD IN 30 YEARS…

    SEEKS THOUGH YET AGAIN I MISSED OUT ON A MENTION… ALEX “THE IMPOSTER” OLOUGHLIN… GOT MENTIONED ; EVEN GOT HIS PRANCY FACE IN THE BOOK…

    BUT POOR OLD BEN… HE IS ATILL ONLY PAGE 2 NEWS!!!

    IF AT FIRST YOU DONT SUCCEED; TRY. TRY AGAIN…

  • A recent-ish book called “AC/DC Maximum Rock’n’Roll” is the most comprehensive book on the band I’ve seen, and it makes it pretty clear that Bon did consciously ape some of Stevie Wright’s stage moves and that Wright was one of his musical heroes. The similarity in their voices is probably coincidence, though.

  • http://WWW.ROCKCLASSICSMAG.COM

    I CANT EXPLAIN THE ENJOYMENT I HAD READING THIS ARTICLE ON AC/DC…

    TRULY A MUST HAVE!!!

  • Stevie Wright is one of the few real Rock`n Roller.Also,his “Hard Road” is real masterpiece,but i strongly recommend his DVD from 1987
    “In Concert At The Bridgeway Hotel”.
    I never have a chance to see him live,and this DVD made me speechless.
    Stevie gave 110 %,he sang his heart out,..a must see!
    Here is the link for great and rare Black-eyed Bruiser
    http://rockonvinyl.blogspot.com/2010/11/stevie-wright-black-eyed-bruiser-1975.html

  • ah, good point ben. interesting to think about the complex nature of influence, and the things that go into inventing a performance character…..
    you’re right lucas..

  • yeah just to add i can see almost eery simularities between bon and dave evans in body movement style;etc.etc

    not sure about legal things but if i had to decide i would suggest bon ripped off dave in the song can i sit next to you girl…

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