John Bonham in 1970
|Birth name||John Henry Bonham|
|Also known as||Bonzo|
|Born||31 May 1948 |
Redditch, Worcestershire, England
|Died||25 September 1980 (aged 32)|
Clewer, Windsor, England
|Genre(s)||Hard rock, heavy metal, blues-rock, folk rock|
|Instrument(s)||Drums, Timpani, Gong|
|Label(s)||Atlantic, Swan Song|
|Associated acts||Led Zeppelin, Band of Joy, Terry Web and the Spiders|
John Henry "Bonzo" Bonham (May 31, 1948 – September 25, 1980) was an English drummer and member of the band Led Zeppelin. Events 1279 BC - Rameses II (The Great (19th dynasty becomes pharaoh of Ancient Egypt. Year 1948 ( MCMXLVIII) was a Leap year starting on Thursday (link will display the 1948 calendar of the Gregorian calendar. Redditch is a Town and local government district in north-east Worcestershire, England. Worcestershire (ˈwʊstəʃə abbreviated Worcs) is a county located in the West Midlands region of central England. England is a Country which is part of the United Kingdom. Its inhabitants account for more than 83% of the total UK population whilst its mainland Events 303 - On a voyage preaching the Gospel, Saint Fermin of Pamplona is beheaded in Amiens, France Year 1980 ( MCMLXXX) was a Leap year starting on Tuesday (link displays the 1980 Gregorian calendar) Clewer (also known as Clewer Village) is an ecclesiastical Parish and region of Windsor making up three wards of the Royal Borough of Windsor Windsor (ˈwɪnzə/ /ˈwɪndzə is a suburban town and tourist destination in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead in Berkshire, England. England is a Country which is part of the United Kingdom. Its inhabitants account for more than 83% of the total UK population whilst its mainland A music genre is a categorical and typological construct that identifies musical sounds as belonging to a particular category and type of music that can be distinguished from other Hard rock (also referred to as heavy rock) is a variation of Rock music which has its earliest roots in mid-1960s garage and Psychedelic rock Blues-rock is a hybrid musical genre combining Bluesy improvisations over the 12-bar blues and extended Boogie jams with Rock Folk rock is a musical genre combining elements of Folk music and rock music. A musician is a person who plays or writes Music. Musicians can be classified by their roles in creating or performing music An instrumentalist plays a A songwriter is someone who writes the Lyrics to songs the Musical composition (chords or Melody to songs or both A musical instrument is a device constructed or modified for the purpose of making Music. A drum kit (also drum set or trap set) is a collection of Drums Cymbals and sometimes other Percussion instruments such as cowbells Timpani (also known colloquially as kettledrums or kettle drums) are Musical instruments in the percussion family This article is about the Internet Protocol Television channel In the Music industry, a record label can be a Brand and a Trademark associated with the Marketing of music recordings and Music Atlantic Records ( Atlantic Recording Corporation) is an American Record label best known for its many recordings of Rhythm & blues, Rock Swan Song Records was a Record label launched by English Rock group Led Zeppelin on May 10, 1974. Led Zeppelin were The Band of Joy were a 1960s Rock band from Birmingham, England. Events 1279 BC - Rameses II (The Great (19th dynasty becomes pharaoh of Ancient Egypt. Year 1948 ( MCMXLVIII) was a Leap year starting on Thursday (link will display the 1948 calendar of the Gregorian calendar. Events 303 - On a voyage preaching the Gospel, Saint Fermin of Pamplona is beheaded in Amiens, France Year 1980 ( MCMLXXX) was a Leap year starting on Tuesday (link displays the 1980 Gregorian calendar) England is a Country which is part of the United Kingdom. Its inhabitants account for more than 83% of the total UK population whilst its mainland A drummer is a Musician who plays a Drum or drums particularly a Drum kit ("drum set" or "trap set" Marching percussion Led Zeppelin were He was renowned for his power, fast right foot, distinctive sound and "feel" for the groove. Groove is the sense of propulsive Rhythmic "feel" or sense of " Swing " created by the interaction of the music played by a band's Rhythm section Bonham is described by the Encyclopædia Britannica as "the perfect model for all hard rock drummers that have followed him". The Encyclopædia Britannica is a general English-language encyclopaedia published by Encyclopædia Britannica Inc 
Bonham was born in Redditch, Worcestershire, England. Redditch is a Town and local government district in north-east Worcestershire, England. Worcestershire (ˈwʊstəʃə abbreviated Worcs) is a county located in the West Midlands region of central England. England is a Country which is part of the United Kingdom. Its inhabitants account for more than 83% of the total UK population whilst its mainland He first learned how to play drums at the age of five, making a drum kit out of containers and coffee tins, and copying the moves of his idols Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich. Gene Krupa ( January 15, 1909 &ndash October 16, 1973) was an influential American Jazz and Big band Drummer Bernard "Buddy" Rich ( September 30 1917 &ndash April 2 1987) was an American jazz drummer and Bandleader His mother Joan gave him a snare drum at the age of ten, and he received his first proper drum kit at the age of fifteen, a Premier Percussion kit. A drum kit (also drum set or trap set) is a collection of Drums Cymbals and sometimes other Percussion instruments such as cowbells Premier Percussion Limited is an English manufacturer of Drums and Percussion instruments The company was founded in 1922 as the Premier Drum Company The drummer - nicknamed 'Bonzo' after the dog in a British comic strip - never took any drum lessons though as a teen would knock on the doors of other drummers and ask for advice.
After leaving Wiltan House public school (some sources say he attended Bedford Modern), he worked for his father Jack Bonham in the construction industry in between drumming for different local bands. In 1964, Bonham joined his first band, Terry Webb and the Spiders, meeting his future wife Pat Phillips at a dance in Kidderminster. Year 1964 ( MCMLXIV) was a Leap year starting on Wednesday (link will display full calendar of the 1964 Gregorian calendar. Kidderminster is a town in the Wyre Forest district of Worcestershire, England. He also played in other Birmingham bands such as The Nicky James Movement, The Blue Star Trio, and The Senators, who released a moderately successful single "She's a Mod. Birmingham ( ˈbɜːmɪŋəm Ber -ming-um " Bonham enjoyed the experience and decided to take up drumming full-time. Two years later, he joined A Way of Life, but the band soon became inactive. In desperation for a regular income, he joined a blues group called Crawling King Snakes whose lead singer was a young Robert Plant. The Blues is a vocal and instrumental form of Music based on the use of the Blue notes It emerged as an accessible form of self-expression Robert Anthony Plant (born 20 August 1948 West Bromwich, England) is an English rock singer and songwriter famous for his membership in the
In 1967, A Way of Life asked Bonham to return to their group, and he agreed — though throughout this period, Plant kept in constant contact with Bonham. Year 1967 ( MCMLXVII) was a Common year starting on Sunday (link will display full calendar of the 1967 Gregorian calendar. When Plant decided to form Band of Joy, Bonham was first choice as drummer. The Band of Joy were a 1960s Rock band from Birmingham, England. The band recorded a number of demos but no album. In 1968 American singer Tim Rose toured Britain and invited Band of Joy to open his concerts. Year 1968 ( MCMLXVIII) was a Leap year starting on Monday (link will display full calendar of the Gregorian calendar. Timothy Alan Patrick Rose ( September 23, 1940 &ndash September 24, 2002) best known professionally as Tim Rose, was an American The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom, the UK or Britain,is a Sovereign state located The Band of Joy were a 1960s Rock band from Birmingham, England. When Rose returned for another tour months later, Bonham was formally invited by the singer to drum for his band, which gave him a regular income.
When Jimmy Page wanted to start a band in the wake of The Yardbirds break-up, his first choice for singer was Terry Reid. Led Zeppelin were James Patrick Page, OBE (born 9 January 1944 is an English Guitarist, Composer and record producer The Yardbirds are an English rock band noted for starting the careers of three of rock's most famous Guitarists Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck Terry Reid (born 13 November 1949, Huntingdon, England) is a rock Singer and Guitarist. However Reid had already signed with Mickie Most for a solo career. Mickie Most, born Michael Peter Hayes ( 20 June 1938 – 30 May 2003 was a successful English Record producer, with a string of Number One Reid suggested Robert Plant, who in turn suggested Bonham. Robert Anthony Plant (born 20 August 1948 West Bromwich, England) is an English rock singer and songwriter famous for his membership in the Bonham had already drummed with Plant, and knew Page from session work, as well as John Paul Jones. John Paul Jones (born John Baldwin on January 3, 1946) is an English Musician, Composer, arranger, Record Page's choices for drummer included Procol Harum's B.J. Wilson, and session drummers Clem Cattini and Aynsley Dunbar. Procol Harum are a British rock band formed in the 1960s which built an important foundation for what would become Progressive rock, or perhaps more Barrie James Wilson ( 18 March, 1947 -- 8 October, 1990) born in Edmonton London, England; was the original Drummer Clem Cattini (born Clemente Anselmo Cattini 28 August 1937, Stoke Newington, North London, England) was the Drummer for Aynsley Thomas Dunbar (born 10 January 1946, in Liverpool, England) is a prolific English Drummer. Ginger Baker was also rumoured to be on Page's list. Peter Edward "Ginger" Baker (born 19 August 1939 Lewisham, South London) is an English Drummer. However, upon seeing Bonham drum for Tim Rose in Hampstead, north London, in July 1968, Page and manager Peter Grant were instantly convinced that he was the perfect fit for the new project. London ( ˈlʌndən is the capital and largest urban area in the United Kingdom. Year 1968 ( MCMLXVIII) was a Leap year starting on Monday (link will display full calendar of the Gregorian calendar. Peter Grant, ( 5 April 1935 &ndash 21 November 1995) was an English Music manager.
Despite an intensive campaign to snare the drummer, Bonham was initially reluctant to join the band, as he thought that the Yardbirds was a name from the past with no future. Plant sent eight telegrams to Bonham's pub, the "Three Men in a Boat", in Walsall, which were followed by forty telegrams from Grant. Walsall ( is a large industrial town in the West Midlands of England. However, at the same time he was also receiving lucrative offers from established artists Joe Cocker and Chris Farlowe. Joe Cocker OBE (born 20 May 1944 is an English rock / Blues Singer who came to popularity in the 1960s and is most known for his gritty Chris Farlowe (born John Henry Deighton, 13 October 1940, Islington, North London, England) is a successful English In the end, though, Bonham accepted Grant's offer. He later recalled, "I decided I liked their music better than Cocker's or Farlowe's. "
During Led Zeppelin's first tour of the United States in December 1968, Bonham became friends with Vanilla Fudge's drummer Carmine Appice. Led Zeppelin 's 1968/1969 tour of North America was the first Concert tour of North America by the English rock band. Year 1968 ( MCMLXVIII) was a Leap year starting on Monday (link will display full calendar of the Gregorian calendar. Vanilla Fudge was an American psychedelic band that recorded albums from 1967 to 1970 Carmine Appice (b December 15, 1946 in Brooklyn New York) is an American rock Drummer of Italian ancestry Appice introduced him to Ludwig drums, which he then used for the rest of his career. Ludwig-Musser is a Drum and Percussion instrument Manufacturer owned by Conn-Selmer Inc Bonham used the longest and heaviest sticks available, which he referred to as "trees. " His hard hitting style was displayed to great effect on many Led Zeppelin songs, including "Immigrant Song" (Led Zeppelin III), "When the Levee Breaks" (Led Zeppelin IV / ), "Kashmir" (Physical Graffiti), "The Ocean" (Houses of the Holy), and "Achilles Last Stand" (Presence). " Immigrant Song " is the opening track on English rock band Led Zeppelin's third album, Led Zeppelin III Led Zeppelin III is the third album by English rock band Led Zeppelin. " When the Levee Breaks " is a Blues song written and first recorded by husband and wife Kansas Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie in 1929 " Kashmir " is a song by the English rock band Led Zeppelin from their 1975 album Physical Graffiti. Physical Graffiti is the sixth album by the English Hard rock band Led Zeppelin. Houses of the Holy is the fifth album by English rock band Led Zeppelin released by Atlantic Records on 28 March " Achilles Last Stand " is a song by English rock group Led Zeppelin, featured as the opening track on their 1976 album Presence. Presence is the seventh studio album by English rock band Led Zeppelin, released by Swan Song Records on March 31, The studio recording of "Misty Mountain Hop" perfectly captures his keen sense of dynamics, and this is similarly exhibited by his precise drumming on "No Quarter. A recording studio is a facility for sound recording. Ideally the space is specially designed by an acoustician to achieve the desired acoustic properties (sound " Misty Mountain Hop " is a song from English Rock band Led Zeppelin 's untitled fourth album, released in 1971. In Music, dynamics normally refers to the volume of a Sound or note, but can also refer to every aspect of the execution of a given piece either stylistic " No Quarter " is the seventh song on English rock band Led Zeppelin 's fifth album Houses of the Holy, released in 1973 " On several cuts from later albums, Bonham rather adeptly handled funk and Latin-influenced drumming. Funk is an American musical style that originated in the mid- to late-1960s when African American musicians blended Soul music, Soul Latin music, includes the music of all countries in Latin America (and the Caribbean) and comes in many varieties Songs like "Royal Orleans" and "Fool in the Rain" are good examples, the latter displaying great skill with a New Orleans shuffle and a samba rhythm. " Royal Orleans " is a song by English rock group Led Zeppelin, from their 1976 album Presence. " Fool in the Rain " is a song on English rock band Led Zeppelin 's 1979 album In Through the Out Door.
His famous drum solo, first entitled "Pat's Delight," then "Moby Dick," would often last for half an hour and regularly featured his use of bare hands to achieve different sound effects. " Moby Dick " is an Instrumental tune and drum solo by English rock band Led Zeppelin, featured on their 1969 album Led Zeppelin In Led Zeppelin concert tours after 1969, Bonham would expand his basic kit to include congas, orchestral timpani, and a symphonic gong. The conga is tall narrow single-headed Cuban Drum of African origin probably derived from the Congolese Makuta drums or Sikulu Timpani (also known colloquially as kettledrums or kettle drums) are Musical instruments in the percussion family This article is about the Internet Protocol Television channel Bonham is also credited (by the Dallas Times Herald) with the first in-concert use of electronic timpani drum synthesizers (most likely made by Syndrum) during a performance of the song "Kashmir" in Dallas, Texas in 1977. The Dallas Times Herald, founded in 1888 by a merger of the Dallas Times and the Dallas Herald, was once one of two major An electronic musical instrument is a Musical instrument that produces its sounds using Electronics. The Pollard Syndrum was the first Electronic drum. In 1976 Joe Pollard (the father of the electronic drum} met Mark Barton at Tycobrahe Sound company in Hermosa Beach " Kashmir " is a song by the English rock band Led Zeppelin from their 1975 album Physical Graffiti. Texas ( is a state geographically located in the South Central United States and is also known as the Lone Star State. Also 1977 (album by Ash. Year 1977 ( MCMLXXVII) was a Common year starting on Saturday (link displays Many modern rappers would later heavily sample his drumming and incorporate it into their compositions, such as the Beastie Boys, who sampled "Moby Dick," "The Ocean," and "When the Levee Breaks. Hip hop music, also referred to as rap music, is a Music genre typically consisting of a rhythmic vocal style called rap which is accompanied with In Music, sampling is the act of taking a portion or sample, of one Sound recording and reusing it as an instrument or element of a new recording "
In 1974, Bonham appeared in the film Son of Dracula, playing drums in Count Downe's (Harry Nilsson) backing band. Year 1974 ( MCMLXXIV) was a Common year starting on Tuesday (link will display full calendar of the 1974 Gregorian calendar. Son of Dracula is a Musical comedy Film released in 1974 by Apple Films, starring Harry Nilsson and Ringo Starr. Harry Edward Nilsson III ( June 15, 1941 – January 15, 1994) was an American Songwriter, singer Pianist, and This was an Apple film made by Ringo Starr. Apple Corps Ltd is a multi-armed multimedia Corporation founded in January 1968 by British Rock band The Beatles to replace their Ringo Starr, MBE (born Richard Starkey on 7 July 1940 is an English Musician, Singer, Songwriter and Actor Bonham appeared in an overcrowded drum line-up including Keith Moon and Starr on the soundtrack album. Keith John Moon ( August 23, 1946 &ndash September 7, 1978) was the Drummer of the rock group The Who. Bonham's action sequence for the film The Song Remains the Same featured him in a drag race at Santa Pod Raceway to the sound of his signature drum solo, "Moby Dick. The Song Remains the Same (also known as TSRTS) is a Concert film by the English rock band Led Zeppelin Santa Pod Raceway, in Bedfordshire, England, founded in 1966, is Europe's first permanent Drag racing venue "
During his time with Led Zeppelin, Bonham was also an avid collector of antique sports cars and motorcycles, which he kept on his family's farm called The Old Hyde. He even bought The Plough pub in the nearby village of Shenstone, which shows signs of conversion work to allow him to drive his bikes or cars right behind the bar. This was not, however, the pub featured in the film The Song Remains the Same. The Song Remains the Same (also known as TSRTS) is a Concert film by the English rock band Led Zeppelin It was in fact the New Inn which is currently boarded up, the only clue to its famous past being a picture hanging close to the bar. 
As well as recording with Led Zeppelin, Bonham also found time to play on sessions for other artists. In 1969 Bonham appeared on The Family Dogg's A Way of Life, with Page and Jones. Year 1969 ( MCMLXIX) was a Common year starting on Wednesday (link will display full calendar of the Gregorian calendar. The Family Dogg was a British Vocal group best known for their Harmony vocals. A Way of Life is the début album by British vocal harmony and folk-rock group The Family Dogg. Bonham also sessioned for Screaming Lord Sutch on his album Lord Sutch and Heavy Friends in 1970. Screaming Lord Sutch 3rd Earl of Harrow, known as Screaming Lord Sutch, born David Edward Sutch ( 10 November 1940 &ndash Lord Sutch and Heavy Friends is the debut album of English rock singer Screaming Lord Sutch. He also played drums on Lulu's 1971 song "Everybody Clap," originally written by Maurice Gibb and Billy Lawrie. Lulu Kennedy-Cairns, OBE, (born Marie McDonald McLaughlin Lawrie on 3 November 1948 in Lennoxtown, East Dunbartonshire Maurice Ernest Gibb CBE ( December 22 1949 &ndash January 12 2003) was a Musician and Singer-songwriter Later in his career, Bonham drummed for his Birmingham friend, Roy Wood, on his 1979 album, On the Road Again, and for Paul McCartney's Wings on their Back to the Egg Rockestra project. Birmingham ( ˈbɜːmɪŋəm Ber -ming-um Roy Wood (born Roy Adrian Wood 8 November 1946, Kitts Green, Birmingham, West Midlands, England) is a Songwriter Year 1979 ( MCMLXXIX) was a Common year starting on Monday (link displays the 1979 Gregorian calendar) Wings were a rock supergroup formed in August 1971 after the breakup of the Beatles, by ex-Beatle Paul McCartney. Back To The Egg is the final studio album by Wings and was released in 1979 Rockestra Theme, one of Paul McCartney 's harder-rocking songs was recorded on October 3, 1978, at Abbey Road Studios by an all-star collection of
On September 24, 1980, John Bonham was picked up by Led Zeppelin assistant Rex King to attend rehearsals at Bray Studios for the upcoming tour of the United States, the band's first since 1977. Events 622 - Prophet Muhammad completes his hegira from Mecca to Medina. Year 1980 ( MCMLXXX) was a Leap year starting on Tuesday (link displays the 1980 Gregorian calendar) Bray Studios is a film and television studio next to the River Thames at Water Oakley in the Civil parish of Bray, near Windsor in During the journey Bonham had asked to stop for breakfast, where he downed four quadruple vodkas (roughly sixteen shots (~2/3 imperial quart, or ~4dl of vodka)). Vodka is one of the world's most popular Distilled beverages It is a clear liquid which consists of mostly Water and Ethanol purified by Distillation He then continued to drink heavily when he arrived at the studio. A halt was called to the rehearsals late in the evening and the band retired to Page's house, The Old Mill House in Clewer, Windsor. Clewer (also known as Clewer Village) is an ecclesiastical Parish and region of Windsor making up three wards of the Royal Borough of Windsor Windsor (ˈwɪnzə/ /ˈwɪndzə is a suburban town and tourist destination in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead in Berkshire, England. After midnight, Bonham had fallen asleep and was taken to bed and placed on his side. Benji LeFevre (who had replaced Richard Cole as Led Zeppelin's tour manager) and John Paul Jones found him dead the next morning. For other uses see Richard Cole (disambiguation. Richard Cole (born January 2, 1946) was heavily involved in the Bonham was 32 years old. 
An inquest at East Berkshire coroner's court recorded a verdict of accidental death, the cause being asphyxiation from vomit. An inquest is a judicial investigation usually by a group of court-appointed people ( Jury) in Common law Jurisdictions The most common kind of inquest A coroner is an official responsible for investigating deaths particularly some of those happening under unusual circumstances and determining the cause of death An accident is a specific identifiable unexpected unusual and unintended external event which occurs in a particular time and place without apparent or deliberate A subsequent autopsy found no other drugs in Bonham's body. An autopsy, also known as a post-mortem examination, necropsy, or obduction, is a Medical procedure that consists of a thorough Examination  The alcoholism that had plagued the drummer since his earliest days with the band ultimately led to his death. Alcoholism is a term with multiple and sometimes conflicting definitions John Bonham was cremated and on October 12, 1980 interred at Rushock Parish Church, Worcestershire. Events 539 BC - The army of Cyrus the Great of Persia takes Babylon. Year 1980 ( MCMLXXX) was a Leap year starting on Tuesday (link displays the 1980 Gregorian calendar) Worcestershire (ˈwʊstəʃə abbreviated Worcs) is a county located in the West Midlands region of central England. A cymbal sits in front of his headstone in his memory. His headstone reads:
Cherished memories of a loving husband and father, John Henry Bonham Who died Sept. 25th 1980. aged 32 years. He will always be remembered in our hearts, Goodnight my Love, God Bless.
Despite media rumors that Cozy Powell, Carmine Appice, Barriemore Barlow, Simon Kirke, or Bev Bevan would join the group as his replacement, the remaining members decided to disband Led Zeppelin after Bonham's death. Colin Flooks ( December 29, 1947 - April 5, 1998) better known as Cozy Powell, was an English rock drummer Carmine Appice (b December 15, 1946 in Brooklyn New York) is an American rock Drummer of Italian ancestry Barriemore Barlow (born Barry Barlow, 10 September 1949, Birmingham) is best known as the Drummer and Percussionist for Simon Frederick St George Kirke (born 28 July 1949 but according to the Associated Press he was born 27 August 1949 is an English rock drummer best known as a member of Bev Bevan (born Beverley Bevan on 24 November 1944 in Sparkhill, Birmingham, England) is an English rock They issued a press statement on 4 December 1980 confirming that the band would not continue without its drummer. "December 4th" redirects here For the song by Jay-Z, see December 4th (song. Year 1980 ( MCMLXXX) was a Leap year starting on Tuesday (link displays the 1980 Gregorian calendar) "We wish it to be known that the loss of our dear friend and the deep respect we have for his family, together with the sense of undivided harmony felt by ourselves and our manager, have led us to decide that we could not continue as we were. " It was simply signed "Led Zeppelin". 
John Bonham's younger sister, Deborah Bonham (born 1962), is a singer-songwriter. His younger brother, Mick Bonham (1951-2000), was a disc jockey, author and photographer. John Bonham's son, Jason Bonham (born 1966), is a rock drummer, who recently played with Led Zeppelin on their one-off reunion show in December 2007, as well as their two previous reunions. Jason Bonham (born July 15, 1966) is an English Drummer and son of Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham. Led Zeppelin were Bonham's daughter, Zoë Bonham, is a singer-songwriter and also appears regularly at Led Zeppelin conventions and awards.
In 2007, Ludwig and drum-builder Ronn Dunnett came together to make a limited edition kit in Bonham's memory. These stainless steel kits are the same as the one Bonham himself used on the last Led Zeppelin tours in the 1970s.