John Bonham of Led Zeppelin.
Get over FM radio, forget black lights and cheap weed and wait until that awful memory of slow-dancing to “Stairway” dies a quiet, smothering death deep in the frustrated folds on your 9th-grade brain. Get past indie rock, forget techno and see punk rock for the marketing technique it’s become.
Then try Led Zeppelin again.
They changed music, they never died, they never had any goals or grand artistic mission beyond forming up like five fingers on the hand of God and rocking you like a giant floppy sock puppet. They do it time and again, year after year and squeal after squeal — they are thunder, they are the thudding ocean and a perfect glass of bourbon on a hot summer evening.
Talk about Page all you like — his guitar was hot lava, but Bonham’s drums were the plate tectonics that let that lava squirt up so pretty in the first place. Every beat was perfect and every hit was an asteroid making a crater. Bonham did for drums what Leatherface did for chainsaws — nobody will ever hear them the same way again.
In Through the Out Door is the eighth studio album by the band, and their final album of entirely new material. It was recorded over a three-week period in November and December 1978 at ABBA’s Polar Studios in Stockholm, Sweden, and released by Swan Song Records on 15 August 1979. In Through the Out Door was the band’s sixth and final studio release to reach the top of the charts in America, and was the last released by the band before the death of Bonham in 1980.
The album was named by the group to describe its recent struggles amidst the death of Robert Plant’s son Karac in 1977, and the taxation exile the band took from the UK. The exile resulted in the band being unable to tour on British soil for over two years, and trying to get back into the public mind was therefore like “trying to get in through the ‘out’ door.
John Bonham is the most influential Rock Drummer of all-time.
Describing the style of John Bonham’s drumming instantly conjurs up visions of the thunderous power he created. His contributions to rock music were revolutionary, and his talent unmatched and irreplaceable. You can only imagine Jimmy Page’s reaction to first seeing him in 1968, ending his search for a new drummer to form a new band, the New Yardbirds (later renamed Led Zeppelin.)
A childhood friend of Robert Plant, they played together in the ‘Band of Joy’, resulting in local gigs and a few studio demos. At first, Bonham was reluctant to join the well-known guitarist because of a steady gig with Tim Rose. But… the rest of history…
As John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant have all stated many times, Led Zeppelin wouldn’t have been half as good without him. Along with JPJ, they provided the solid foundation and backbone of the band, which made it all possible. Live performances truly showcased his abilities during the numerous improvised jams throughout every concert and of course his famous “Moby Dick” drum solo; reaching a half-hour in length at times! Immitators are usually left frustrated, since Bonham made it look so easy – not only in his playing but also in the incredible drum sound he achieved. His legendary right foot (on his bass pedal) and lightning-fast triplets were his instant trademark. He later refined his style from the hard skin-bashing approach to a more delicate wrist controlled one – which produced an even more powerful & louder sound with less effort.
On Sept. 25, 1980, John Bonham choked on his vomit and died at the tender age of 32. He drank a significant amount of vodka the night before, resulting in Pulmonary edema.
John Bonham was one of the greatest drummers of all time, and his legacy lives on with his music.
Whether he was showing off his talent on “Moby Dick” or contributing to the historic beat of “Kashmir,” Bonham was a true master of his craft. He has been recognized by many as one of the best drummers to have ever played the instrument.
His death was a tragic loss to the world of music and Led Zeppelin fans still adore his passion and expertise. He was one-fourth of one of the greatest bands to ever make music, and without him the band would never cease to be the same. No Bonham meant no Led Zeppelin, and it was the most suitable solution.
R.I.P. Bonzo. Your music will live on forever.
LED ZEPPELIN’S JOHN BONHAM & HIS DEATH