AC/DC singer Brian started wearing famous cap because he didn’t want to be recognised in day job after leaving Geordie
AC/DC singer Brian Johnson says he began wearing his trademark cap because he didn’t want to be recognised doing a day job after he fell from fame in 1976.
Four years before he replaced Bon Scott in what would become the biggest rock band in the world, Johnson found himself broke and unemployed following his departure from Newcastle outfit Geordie.
The band had enjoyed four top-twenty hits including All Because of You, which reached number six in 1973 – so when Johnson found himself working as a windshield fitter he didn’t want anyone to connect him with his previous success.
The singer tells PopEater.com: “People just assumed you were an instant millionaire. It wasn’t the case at all. We didn’t make much money and when it all finished I was worse off than when I went in.
“I had to get a job quick, so I took the first thing I could find. I thought being a windshield fitter on the motorway was a good idea because nobody would see me.
“But just in case I pinched my brother’s sports car driving hat, and I pulled it tight over my eyes so nobody would say, ‘Weren’t you the lad that was on television?’”
Things didn’t work out the way Johnson had hoped: “It didn’t friggin’ work,” he says. “My cheeks blushed and it was just awful, the humiliation of it all.
“But I had a band at night and we were very popular in the pubs. I kept wearing the hat because I’d come straight from work and run onto the stage. It became a trademark – it became my lucky hat.”
When he got the job with AC/DC in 1980, Johnson originally planned to abandon the headgear, but his new bandmates encouraged him to stick with it because they felt it “had some style”.
He recalls: “Once, about 1985, when my hair was shaggy, I thought, ‘Bollocks to this.’ I went up the front and people started booing. I thought, ‘Fuck, what have I done?’ I ran back and Malcolm Young said, ‘It’s your friggin’ hat, mate,’ so I got my hat and went back on, and they went, ‘Hooray!’”