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John Bonham, Berlin, Germany, Jul. 19, 1970
John Bonham, July 19, 1970, Deutschlandhalle, Berlin, Germany
Vital Stats
Birth Name: John Henry Bonham
Born: May 31, 1948
Redditch, Worcestershire, England
Died: September 25, 1980
Clewer, Windsor, England
Occupation(s): Musician, Songwriter
Instrument(s): Drums, Percussion, Vocals
Associated Act(s): The Band Of Joy, Led Zeppelin

John Henry Bonham was born on May 31, 1948 at Redditch, Worcestershire. His parents were John Henry "Jacko" and Joan. He had two younger siblings, Mick (1951-2000) and Deborah (1962-).

As a toddler, he beat on his mum's pots and pans, signaling that he knew his future career plans at and early age. He received his first snare drum at the age of 10 and by 15 his father, Jacko, had purchased him a Red Sparkling Ludwig Drumkit.

At the age of 17, he married Pat (Phillips), whom he met at a dance at Kidderminster. They had two children, son Jason (1966-) and daughter Zoe (1975-)

Some bands John played in were Blue Star Trio (1963), Terry Webb and The Spiders (1963), The Senators (1964), A Way Of Life (1966, re-joined in 1967), Crawling King Snakes (w/ Robert Plant) (1966), The Nicky James Movement (1966), Steve Brett and the Mavericks (1967) and The Band Of Joy (1967). After the Band Of Joy broke up in May 1968, John Bonham accepted a position as the drummer in the backing band for Tim Rose for a UK tour then set up some gigs with Chris Farlowe, that eventually had to be cancelled so that the New Yardbirds could fulfill some Scandanavian dates in Sep. 1968.

In August 1968, upon recommendation by Robert Plant, Peter Grant sent out no less than 40 telegrams to Bonham and Jimmy Page & Peter Grant went to hear Bonham play at the Marquee Club in London before he accepted the position as drummer.

On Sep. 24, 1980, Bonham was picked up by Led Zeppelin assistant Rex King to attend rehearsals at Bray Studios for an upcoming tour of the U.S.; the band's first since 1977. During the journey Bonham had asked to stop for breakfast, where he downed four quadruple vodkas. He then continued to drink heavily when he arrived at the rehearsals. A halt was called to the rehearsals late in the evening and the band retired to Page's house, The Old Mill House in Clewer, Windsor. After midnight, Bonham had fallen asleep and was taken to bed and placed on his side. Benji LeFevre and John Paul Jones found him dead the next afternoon.

John Bonham was cremated and on 12 October 1980 interred at Rushock Parish Church, Worcestershire. His headstone reads: "Cherished memories of a loving husband and father, John Henry Bonham Who died Sept. 25th 1980. aged 32 years. He will always be remembered in our hearts, Goodnight my Love, God Bless."

Despite media rumors that drummers including Cozy Powell, Carmine Appice, Barriemore Barlow, Simon Kirke or Bev Bevan, among others, would join the group as his replacement, the remaining members decided to disband Led Zeppelin after Bonham's death. They issued a press statement on December 4, 1980, confirming that the band would not continue without its drummer. "We wish it to be known that the loss of our dear friend and the deep respect we have for his family, together with the sense of undivided harmony felt by ourselves and our manager, have led us to decide that we could not continue as we were." It was simply signed "Led Zeppelin".


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This Month in
Led Zeppelin History

August xx, 1968 - Page, Plant, Jones and Bonham hold their first rehearsals in Gerrard Street, London
August xx, 1968 - Page, Grant and Chris Dreja go see Robert Plant perform at a Birmingham Teachers College. Page invites Plant to his Pangbourne house and offers him the vocalist position
August xx, 1969 - Peter Grant starts enforcing the 90/10 split in favor of the band
August 31, 1969 - The third US tour ends at the Texas International Festival in Dallas
August xx, 1970 - Zeppelin earn no less than $25,000 per show
August 17, 1970 - Page completes mixing of the Led Zeppelin III in Memphis
August 19, 1971 - The seventh North American tour opens in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
August xx, 1972 - Jimmy Page purchases Plumpton Manor in Sussex
August xx, 1973 - Jimmy starts arranging ideas for the next album
August xx, 1974 - Film maker Peter Clifton has the band re-enact scenes at Shepperton Studios
August 31, 1974 - John Paul Jones appears with David Gilmour and Steve Broughton as Roy Harper’s backing band for the night
August 04, 1975 - Robert Plant and his family are seriously injured as their car veers off the road on the island of Rhodes
August 08, 1975 - Rehearsal for Zeppelin’s Eleventh North American tour postponed after Robert is involved in a serious car accident
August xx, 1976 - Arrangements are made to show the upcoming Zep film in theaters
August xx, 1976 - Jimmy Page finishes mixing the soundtrack for the movie The Song Remains The Same
August 14, 1977 - Jimmy jams with Ron Wood at a charity golf tournament for underprivileged children
August xx, 1978 - Robert plays with Dr. Feelgood and Phil Carson in Ibiza, Spain while on holiday
August 11, 1979 - Led Zeppelin perform a second show at Knebworth due to overwhelming ticket demands
August xx, 1980 - Jimmy moves into his new Windsor home, which was purchased from Michael Caine
August 14, 2009 - It Might Get Loud opened in select theatres in NY, WA & CA.
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