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John Henry Bonham - 33 Years Gone

Today, on the 33rd anniversary of the passing of the greatest drummer of all time, John Bonham, I'd come up with my top five Led Zeppelin drumming songs. I know that it's hard to narrow down the list and even earlier work in Band Of Joy contained some powerful work. I know that today's playlist is all Bonham. Take a second today and pay your own tribute to Bonzo.

Good Times Bad Times
The bass drum triplets starting at 2:14. Is there any more that needs to be said? Using his experience in bands from the Midlands, John Bonham brought his creativity and power to each song in Led Zeppelin. Drummer Carmine Appice said that Bonham took the bass drum triplets from the Vanilla Fudge song Ticket To Ride.


I Can't Quit You Baby

Taking from his love of jazz, blues and R&B, Bonham breathed new life into this Willie Dixon classic. Bonham laid a cool, simple 12/8 beat down, allowing Robert Plant's lyrics and Jimmy Page's guitar work to shine. Interesting enough, if you listen to the live version from the last album Coda, er Royal Albert Hall (from January 9, 1970), you'll hear more of those bass drum triplets.


Achilles Last Stand

Perhaps it was gained from his formative years as a bricklayer or perhaps it was his 16 oz. arm curls, John Bonham was the thunder and the power behind Led Zeppelin. No other Led Zeppelin studio song aptly presents this fact as much as the first track from Presence. During the course of the track, Bonham's volcanic drum fills interlock with Page’s wailing guitar parts, seizing several moments of tension that build to the bursting point.


Fool In The Rain

Whether the samba beat was sourced from Robert Plant watching the 1978 FIFA World Cup or from personal knowledge, this is another track that Bonham took a step back to let other instruments take center stage. However, not to be totally non-existant in the track, Bonham offers up some tasty drum fills after the center section of the song.

Bonzo's Montreux

Not to be totally void of any drum solos in this list, Bonzo's Montreux makes an appearance. Drum solos were a very integral part of Led Zeppelin's live shows, allowing John Bonham to experiment and bloody up his cymbals. Recorded on September 12, 1976 at Mountain Studios in Montreux, Switzerland with Jimmy Page, Bonham wanted to create a drum orchestra. Starting with laying down the rhythm track with the drum track, he then laid auxillary instruments, such as tympanis, timbales and conga over the top. It was first released on Led Zeppelin's studio album Coda in 1982 and later fused with Moby Dick from Led Zeppelin II by Jimmy Page in May 1990 at Atlantic Records' Synclavier Suite, adding electronic treatments for inclusion on Led Zeppelin's first Box Set.
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This Month in
Led Zeppelin History


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January 09, 1944 - James Patrick Page was born in Heston, Middlesex
January 03, 1946 - John Baldwin was born in Sidcup, Kent
January 02, 1946 - Led Zeppelin Tour Manager Richard Cole was born in Kensal Rise, London, England
January 05, 1967 - Jimmy Page begins recording Little Games with The Yardbirds at De Lane Lea Studios in London.
January 17, 1969 - Led Zeppelin released in the US
January xx, 1970 - Led Zeppelin now play without support acts in order to perform longer sets
January 09, 1970 - Royal Albert Hall gig filmed and recorded for documentary that is eventually scraped. (But was recalled for 2003’s DVD)
January xx, 1971 - Recording continues at Headley Grange
January xx, 1972 - Page has a studio built into his home
January 02, 1973 - Plant’s car breaks down and Bonham and he barely make the Sheffield City Hall gig
January 22, 1973 - Led Zeppelin record a live gig at Southampton University
January xx, 1974 - Recording Physical Graffiti at Headley Grange
January xx, 1974 - The band resigns with Atlantic and forms their own label
January 03, 1975 - Jimmy breaks a finger at Victoria Station just a week before the European warm up shows
January 17, 1975 - The band rehearses in Minneapolis for the upcoming US tour. Bootleg "Johnny Kidd And The Pirates" evolves out of this rehearsal
January xx, 1976 - Jimmy contemplates the release of The Song Remains The Same film but, continues work on the soundtrack
January 01, 1976 - In Paris, Robert takes his first unaided steps since his car accident
January xx, 1977 - Rehearsals for US tour take place at Manticore Studios in Fulham
January 24, 1977 - Bonham and Plant watch The Damned perform at the Roxy in London
January xx, 1978 - Media still claims Led Zeppelin have broke up
January 21, 1979 - Robert Plant is now proud father to son Logan Romero
January xx, 1980 - Zeppelin donate Candy Store Rock to a benefit album to benefit children
January 31, 1995 - Jimmy Page escaped being knifed when a fan rushed the stage at a Page and Plant gig at Auburn Hills, Michigan. The fan was stopped by two security guards, who he knifed instead. After his arrest, he told police that he wanted to kill Jimmy Page because of the Satanic music he was playing.
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