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Top 10 John Bonham songs on his 67th birthday, by Dave Grohl

"John Bonham is the greatest rock drummer of all time. Bonham played directly from the herat. His drumming was by no means perfect, but when he hit a groove it was so deep it was like a heartbeat. He had this manic sense of cacophany, but he also had the ultimate feel. he could swing, he could get on top, or he could pull back.

"Led Zeppelin, and John Bonham's drumming especially, opnened up my ears. I didn't truly discover Led Zeppelin until I was 16. I was into hardcore punk rock; reckless, powerful drumming, a beat that sounded like a shotgun firing in a cement cellar. But when CDs first came out in the 80s the first one I listened to was Houses Of The Holy. It changed everything. I played that CD thousands of times. I listened so hard I could hear the kick drum pedal squeaking!

"I learned to play by ear. I wasn't trained and I can't read music. What I play comes straight from the soul - and that's what I hear in John Bonham's drumming. I've watched Bonzo on the Led Zeppelin DVD and it looks like the film has been speeded up because he's playing so fast. I don't know anyone who thinks there's a better rock drummer than John Bonham: it's undeniable!"

1. Achillies Last Stand
Presence, 1976
"This song has some fireworks, and it's a good example of Bonham's reckless side. You can tell he's taking chances as the tape rolls. There's an amazing kick-drum pattern that propels the track. And there's one fill right after the first verse that just doesn't sound humanly possible."


2. Kashmir
Physical Graffiti, 1975
"Bonham knew when to step up and shine. I love the way he lays the snare in there. It's a straight backbeat throughout the song until he pulls off a signature kick-drum triplet. he's signing the cheque right there: 'Love, John Bonham'."


3. When The Levee Breaks
Led Zeppelin IV, 1971
"That is a straight groove. It's incredible to have a rock drummer that powerful, that crazy, that bad-ass, but with a groove so smooth. It's so purely human, so fuckin' smooth, man! It's pure chocolate fuckin' sex. I could loop that track in my iPod for hours. This is the best groove of all time - better than any James Brown track.""


4. Immigrant Song
How The West Was Won, 2003
"This live version just comes right out of the gate. You know that people's jaws would have dropped. Bonham is really pushing it. He's either drunk as hell or he's just having the time of his life."


5. Poor Tom
Coda, 1982
"It makes me want to throw on a pair of cowboy boots and do a jig on a sawdust floor. It's got a nice country swing. Bonham could play pounding rock but he was just as good playing weird Meters honky-tonk shit."


6. Trampled Underfoot
Physical Graffiti, 1975
"For a big white man from England, he was pretty funky. It's a fast-forward funk beat with another machine-gun roll - so quick across the drums. His sense of funk and feel were so natural. Bonham and John Paul Jones, they had funk up their ass!"


7. No Quarter
Houses Of The Holy, 1973
"Bonham's sense of dynamic is such an esential part of Zeppelin's songwriting. He's like one big volume knob - he takes it up and down, and that is something that few drummers understand. Every producer and drummer in the world has tried to recapture the John Bonham sound, but it's impossible. Drums are an acoustic instrument and how they sound depends on how you touch them."


8. Since I've Been Loving You
Led Zeppelin III, 1970
"The swing in that song - it's just so sad and beautiful. The drumming, it breaks my heart. It's such pasionate, feel playing. The way he plays on Since I've Been loving You, it sounds like John Bonham's got the blues."


9. The Wanton Song
Physical Graffiti, 1975
"There are not many riffs better than that. It sounds like all three guys - Bonzo, Jimmy and John Paul - are trying to be John Bonham in the way they play this song. It's a wicked beat - something to fight or shake your ass to."


10. Moby Dick
Led Zeppelin II, 1969
"What can I say? Fucking Moby Dick, man! You'll never find another drummer willing to play a solo with his bare hands. I've tried and it hurts. You'd have to drink a bottle of vodka just to think about doing that. Drum solos are usually just wank, crap, but the one in Moby Dick is the greatest drum solo of all time."


From: Foo Archive
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This Month in
Led Zeppelin History

February 7, 1962 - Deborah Bonham, sister to John, was born in Redditch, Worcestershire, England
February 23, 1966 - Warren Grant, son of Peter, was born.
February xx, 1969 - Led Zeppelin enters the Billboard Top 40
February 16, 1969 - Led Zeppelin wrap up their first American tour in Baltimore, MD.
February 07, 1970 - Edinburgh gig cancelled after Plant receives facial injuries in a car accident
February 28, 1970 - The band performs as "The Nobs" in Copenhagen after threat of legal action from Countess Von Zeppelin
February xx, 1971 - John Paul Jones involved in legal issues regarding a musician who shares the same name
February xx, 1971 - Overdubs for the fourth album are recorded at Island Studios
February 14, 1972 - The band is refused admission into Singapore due to their long hair
February 16, 1972 - The Australian tour begins in Perth
February 21, 1972 - Led Zeppelin: Rock and Roll b/w Four Sticks (Atlantic 45-2865) 45 single is released in the US.
February xx, 1973 - The band makes final preparations for the European tour
February 16, 1973 - The release date for Houses Of The Holy is pushed back due to some sleeve problems
February xx, 1974 - Sessions for Physical Graffiti continue
February 14, 1974 - Page, Plant and Bonham attend a Roy Harper concert
February 04, 1975 - Zeppelin perform a last minute show at Nassau Coliseum to accomodate fans after being banned in Boston
February 24, 1975 - Physical Graffiti finally issued worldwide to phenomenal sales
February xx, 1976 - Media reports that Zeppelin are due to release an album entitled Obelisk
February xx, 1977 - Robert contracts a bout of tonsillitis postponing the American tour
February xx, 1978 - Robert Plant helps produce a record for punk band Dansette Damage
February 16, 1978 - The cases against Bonham, Cole & Grant stemming from the Oakland incident are heard and all receive suspended prison sentences and fines
February xx, 1979 - Although absent from the US stage or market, Led Zeppelin rank best in many music magazine categories
February xx, 1979 - Mixing sessions for In Through The Out Door take place at Polar Studios. Rumors fly of a European tour
February 03, 1980 - Robert joins Dave Edmund’s Rockpile at the Birmingham Top Rank
February 13, 2005 - Led Zeppelin receives a Grammy for Lifetime Achievment.
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