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March 5, 2021

John Bonham: One of the Greatest Drummers of All Time

Born 1948 in Redditch, Worcestershire, English musician and songwriter John Bonham was best known as the drummer for the English rock band Led Zeppelin. Esteemed for his speed, power, fast bass drumming, distinctive sound, and feel for the groove, he is regarded as one of the greatest and most influential rock drummers in history.

Bonham took up drums at the age of five, receiving a snare drum at the age of 10 and a full drum set at the age of 15. He played with multiple local bands both at school and following school, eventually playing in two different bands with Robert Plant.

Following the demise of the Yardbirds in 1968, Bonham joined Plant, guitarist Jimmy Page and bassist John Paul Jones to form Led Zeppelin. With the band, Bonham mostly showcased a hard-hitting hard rock style, but also handled funk and Latin-influenced grooves in later releases. His drum solo, “Moby Dick”, was featured on the group’s second album and was a staple of their concerts, often lasting over 20 minutes.

Outside of Led Zeppelin, Bonham played drums for other artists, including the Family Dogg, Screaming Lord Sutch, Lulu, Jimmy Stevens and Wings. He played with Led Zeppelin until his death at the age of 32, in September 1980 following a day of heavy drinking. The surviving members disbanded the group out of respect for Bonham after his death.

A mostly self-taught drummer, Bonham’s influences included Max Roach, Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich. He was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995 as a member of Led Zeppelin. In 2016, Rolling Stone ranked him first in its list of the “100 Greatest Drummers of All Time”.

Take a look at these fabulous photos to see portrait of John Bonham during his career.


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