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A Marijuana Bust Broke Up Bon Scott's Bubblegum Pop Band 'The Valentines'

The late Bon Scott is best remembered as the hedonistic frontman of the hard rock outfit AC/DC. But his first taste of fame came when he was the co-lead singer of The Valentines, a bubblegum pop group that broke up in the late 60s following a shocking marijuana bust.

The Valentines formed in 1966 following the demise of Scott's first band - The Spektors. Scott fronted the new group alongside Vince Lovegrove. Together, they entertained Australian teeny boppers with songs that make The Monkees sound like Iron Maiden. If you don't believe us, check out this pre-school rocker, 'Nick Nack Paddy Wack' (yes, it's based on the 'This Old Man' nursery rhyme).

But cheesy as the tunes were, they played well with the kids who turned the band into heartthrobs in 1967. But that image didn't sit well with Scott, who often snuck offstage during the band's solos to steal a swig of Johnnie Walker in the wings. And his wholesome image almost literally washed away during one concert.

"As the set progressed he built up a decent sweat and I could see something strange going on under the sheer chiffon sleeves," AC/DC bassist Mark Evans later recalled. "Tattoos were starting to appear – he had tried to hide them with makeup but the sweat was making it run. The guy was turning into Bon Scott before my eyes."

Unfortunately, The Valentines couldn't shed their family-friendly image so easily. When sales began to dry up in 1968, they tried to attract an older audience by adapting to mainstream rock, but the new sound didn't catch on. While subsisting on boiled potatoes, the group made light of their dire straits by promoting their 1968 single 'Peculiar Hole in the Sky' with the slogan, "Please buy a copy – we're starving."

Rock fans didn't bite, so The Valentines soldiered on patiently until September 20, 1969, when the band got busted for marijuana during a raid on their home base. While pot busts had become established as an occupational hazard for rock stars elsewhere in the world, Australia hadn't had a drug scandal till then. So the fiasco wrecked what was left of The Valentines' commercial viability. When their next single failed to improve their fortunes, the band broke up in 1970. 

So if it hadn't been for weed, Scott might've kept churning out nursery rhymes instead of crafting hard rock standards with AC/DC.


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