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 John Henry “Bonzo” Bonham

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John Henry “Bonzo” Bonham

  • Birth 31 May 1948 Redditch, Redditch Borough, Worcestershire, England
  • Death 25 Sep 1980 Clewer, Windsor and Maidenhead Royal Borough, Berkshire, England
  • Burial Rushock, Wyre Forest District, Worcestershire, England
  • Memorial ID 2172

Rock Musician. He gained wide acclaim and notoriety as the drummer of the seminal rock band "Led Zeppelin". Born in Redditch, Worcestershire, England, he started drumming on pots and pans by the age of five, followed by his first drum at ten, and a second hand drum kit at fourteen. After finishing school, he worked for his father in construction while drumming for local bands in his off time. In 1964, he joined the band "Terry Webb and the Spiders", followed by stints with bands "The Nicky James Movement", "A Way Of Life", "Steve Brett and the Mavericks", "The Blue Star Trio", and "The Senators', who released a moderately successful single ‘She's a Mod'. He then joined the "Crawling King Snakes" fronted by singer Robert Plant. When Plant formed "Band Of Joy", Bonham was first choice as drummer. When guitarist Jimmy Page started to rebuild a group after his successful band "The Yardbirds" broke up, Robert Plant was recommended to him, who in turn recommended John Bonham, who had developed a reputation for the loudest rock drummer in Great Britain. With bassist/keyboardist John Paul Jones, the newly-formed band was called "The New Yardbirds". Told at one point they would "go over like a lead balloon" (meaning they would not achieve any sort of success), the band name was changed to "Led Zeppelin". Several of the band's songs featured Bonham's unique drum solos, which could last up to thirty minutes. He constantly explored his craft, and was among the first to include congas, timpani, and drum synthesizers in his kit. He appeared in the film ‘Son of Dracula' in 1974 and the Led Zeppelin Concert film. ‘The Song Remains the Same' in 1976. Bonham also played sessions with friends and colleagues, including Paul McCartney's "Rockestra" and "Screaming Lord Sutch". Of Led Zeppelin's released albums, six achieved number one status on both the United States and United Kingdom sales charts. Known as a extraordinarily heavy drinker, on September 24, 1980, John Bonham drank roughly sixteen shots of vodka with breakfast and continued to drink during the band's studio rehearsal. By the evening it was estimated that he had consumed approximately forty shots of vodka. After falling asleep, Bonham was put to bed where sometime during the might he aspirated his disgorge and asphyxiated. Plant's assistant Benji LeFevre and John Paul Jones found him dead the next morning. His body was cremated and a funeral was held on October 10th, 1980 at Rushock, Worcestershire parish church. Led Zeppelin officially disbanded the following December; they issued a statement saying that the band could not continue without the irreplaceable John Bonham. Bonham is today lauded as one of the most influential rock drummers of all time and one of the most respected drummers in any music genre. In 1994, Led Zeppelin was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and received they lifetime achievement award from the American Music Awards in 1995. On both occasions, accepting for John Bonham was his son, Jason Bonham, who grew up to be a noted rock drummer in his own right. In 2006, daughter Zoe Bonham appeared at a tribute concert in Stockholm, Sweden when Led Zeppelin was awarded the Swedish Polar Music Prize.

Bio by: Iola





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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 1 Jan 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 2172
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for John Henry “Bonzo” Bonham (31 May 1948–25 Sep 1980), Find A Grave Memorial no. 2172, citing St Michael Churchyard, Rushock, Wyre Forest District, Worcestershire, England ; Maintained by Find A Grave .