Search form

menu menu
  • Daily & Weekly newsletters
  • Buy & download The Bulletin
  • Comment on our articles

AC/DC lead singer Brian Johnson makes surprise visit to Namur following inauguration of statue

AC/DC singer Brian Johnson next to his statue in Namur
17:49 20/06/2023

The statue of rocker Brian Johnson may have been unveiled earlier this year, but when AC/DC’s frontman decided to see the work for himself, his flying visit was kept under wraps.

Johnson and his wife arrived from their home in England via private jet on 16 June. A welcoming committee awaited: Michel Remy and Georges Boussingault – two of the fans behind the statue they commissioned as a tribute to the musician’s first concert as lead singer with the rock band in Namur in 1980.

Under police escort, they were driven to the Walloon capital and the new Esplanade AC/DC where the statue had been inaugurated in April 2023. There, they were joined by Namur mayor Maxime Prévot, other city dignitaries, sculptor Anthony Cognaux and Classic 21 radio.

It was smiles and handshakes all around, and Johnson could not hide his gratitude and emotion, according to RTBF, which was also involved in the erection of the commemorative statue.

Cognaux explained about the work that was made in local bluestone by Marbrerie Cognaux in Libramont. The singer then grabbed the microphone from local TV station Bouké to mimic the stance assumed in the sculpture.

The group headed across the road to Namur Expo, where despite the visit being under strict embargo, fans were waiting. This was the site of Johnson’s memorable appearance on 29 June 1980. In his own words, he was “a stressed young guy” singing for the first time with the legendary Australian rock band.

Newcastle-born Johnson was replacing the late Bon Scott. The newly-formed line-up performed songs from the band’s biggest album Back in Black. It was a memorable concert serving as a pre-album release practice session, and was mentioned in biographies of the band.

Johnson told RTBF that when he was backstage that evening, he felt like "a parachutist who has to jump into the void for the first time." Despite his nerves, the experience meant that Namur had always been a special place for him.

The singer also revealed that he liked French songs, quoting Edith Piaf and singing some Gallic classics to the delight of the crowd.

"I like when people sing with passion, that's the case with Piaf, and that's how I do it with AC/DC".

Photo: ©Belga/Maxime Asselberghs

Written by Sarah Crew