This article is the beginning of an on-going series of articles featuring some of the greatest drummers ever.Name: John Henry Bonham
Born: May 31, 1948 in Redditch, Worcestershire, England
Died: September 25, 1980
Led Zeppelin's drummer, John Bonham, is arguably one of the world's greatest, most influential, and most innovative drummers ever. He is recognized as a pioneer in rock drumming and is most known for his power, his speed, and his ability to improvise.
John Henry Bonham was born in Redditch, Worcestershire, England on May 31st, 1948. He taught himself to play drums on tin cans at the age of 5 before his mother gave him a snare drum at the age of 10. It wasn't until he was 15 years old that he received his first drum set.
In his late teens, Bonham had gigs with a few bands, most notably, the Crawling King Snakes which was a blues band featuring Robert Plant singing lead vocals. Bonham left the King Snakes to go play with another band that he was in prior to joining the King Snakes. But, Plant and Bonham stayed in contact with each other.
Jimmy Page was wanting to start a new band after The Yardbirds broke up in 1968. He ended up hooking up with Plant who recommended Bonham as a drummer. Bonham was reluctant to join after receiving offers to play for Chris Farlowe and Joe Cocker. Ultimately, he agreed to join Plant and Page because he liked their music better than Farlowe's and Cocker's. And it's a good thing he did. What John Bonham has done for drummers as a member of Led Zeppelin is timeless.
Watching one of his improvised solos during songs like "Moby Dick" -- which could last for 20 to 30 minutes at times -- is nothing short of amazing. He was an intense and powerful drummer. At times, his solos sounded like rhythmic thunder.
He was an innovator on the drums. He would use his bare hands to play the drums at times during some of his solos. The song, "Four Sticks", was named by the fact that Bonham had failed a few takes of the song in the studio because he couldn't get the drum track just how he wanted it. In his frustration, he grabbed a second set of sticks (four sticks total) to lay down the final track.
Bonham has influenced drummers like Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters, Alex Van Halen of Van Halen, and Neil Peart of Rush - all great drummers in their own right. Zeppelin's music is timeless. Because of this, Bonham's drumming continues to influence drummers today. He is arguably one of the world's greatest drummers ever.
Bonham played with Ludwig drums, Paiste cymbals, and Remo drum heads.