Remembering Led Zeppelin's John Bonham

10/10/2011
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(Gibson) On this day in 1980, the funeral took place of Led Zeppelin's drummer John Bonham. "Bonzo" was found dead at guitarist's Jimmy Page's house of what was described as asphyxiation, after inhaling his own vomit after excessive vodka consumption, (40 shots in 4 hours) aged 32. Gibson takes a look back:

Considered one of — if not the – greatest rock and roll drummers in history, Led Zeppelin percussionist John Henry Bonham was born on May 31, 1948 in Redditch, Worcestershire, England. An early fan of legendary drummers Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich, Bonham began playing drums at the age of five, first on a homemade kit of coffee tins and containers, then on his first real drum set, a Trixton kit his father, Jack, acquired for him.

An entirely self-taught drummer, Bonham joined a couple of musical outfits while still in school, including the Blue Star Trio then Gerry Levene and the Avengers. The headmaster at Bonham's secondary school once scribbled on the cheeky lad's report card that he'll "…either end up a dustman or a millionaire."

After leaving school, Bonham continued playing in different bands while also working as an apprentice carpenter for his father. In 1964, he joined his first professional band, Terry Webb and the Spiders. He soon met his future wife, Pat Phillips. Membership in more bands followed, including stints with the Nicky James Movement and The Senators, who released the moderately successful hit, "She's a Mod." This success helped convince Bonham to pursue music as a full-time profession. Two years later he joined the blues group, Crawling King Snakes, which featured a young Robert Plant on lead vocals. more on this story

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