Every music band has its unique songwriting process. While some bands have a principal songwriter, others carry it out as a group effort. In a new conversation with Rolling Stone, Brian Johnson of AC/DC reflected on the dynamics of the band’s songwriting efforts and why he stopped contributing to the lyrics at some point and left them to the Young brothers.
After joining AC/DC following Bon Scott’s death, Brian Johnson began contributing to the songwriting process, starting with the ‘Back in Black’ album. He wrote all the lyrics of the record along with Angus and Malcolm Young. However, the singer stopped writing lyrics starting with 1990’s ‘The Razors Edge,’ which credited only the Young brothers as primary songwriters.
“I think that was a management decision,” explained Johnson, sharing that it wasn’t something he demanded. “It wasn’t anything to do with me. ‘Listen, Brian. I think the boys are going to write all the lyrics now.’ I said, ‘It’ll give me a little bit of rest not having to worry about coming up with something every now and again.’ I never thought of it that much. I just said, ‘Okay, let the guys go ahead and do it.’”
Although Brian was fine with leaving the songwriting duties entirely to Malcolm and Angus Young, he still missed contributing to the process with his humorous lyrics. Johnson revealed, “And I must admit I miss some of my lyrics. There were some lovely tongue-in-cheek ones, you know, ‘Have a Drink on Me.’ And in ‘You Shook Me All Night Long,’ ‘She always kept her motor clean.’ We all know what I meant, but it’s the double-entendres I miss. I’m fine with it. It doesn’t bother me at all.”
The rocker also said elsewhere during the interview that he has been writing songs for a while with the singer Jimmy Nail. However, he doesn’t intend to do something with them in the near future. He hopes someone will find and use them in their musical efforts someday since he is proud of everything he has written.