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John Bonham

On 31/05/1948 John Bonham was born in Redditch, Worcestershire. His full birth name was John Henry Bonham. He started playing drums at the age of five on a homemade kit. His early influences were Max Roach, Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich. When he was ten his mother gave him a snare drum and when he was 15 his father gave him a full kit. He never received formal drum lessons. Whilst still at school be joined the Blue Star Trio and Gerry Levene & the Avengers.
In 1964 he left school and started playing with local bands, whilst working as a carpenter for his father. He soon joined his first semi professional band Terry Webb and the Spiders. He also played with bands The Nicky James Movement and The Senators.
In 1966, now drumming full time, he joined A Way of Life, who soon disbanded. Looking for a new band to give him an income he joined Crawling King Snakes who featured Robert Plant on vocals.
In 1967 A Way of Life had reformed and Bonham joined them again. Meanwhile Plant formed Band of Joy and asked him to join the band. The band didn't record an album but in 1968 toured with Tim Rose. After the tour Tim Rose recruited Bonham to his band.
Jimmy Page left The Yardbirds and recruited Robert Plant for what would become Led Zeppelin. Plant then recommended that Bonham join the band. Page went to watch Bonham play in the Tim Rose band at a club in Hampstead in 1968, where he was convinced to recruit him. Bonham took some convincing to join the band however. It took 8 telegrams from Page and 40 from manager Peter Grant, before deciding he would accept.
Led Zeppelin were a great success. 9 albums were produced with them between 1969 and 1982. Bonham was an integral part of their success, with his hard hitting drumming being particular evident on songs such as "Immigrant Song", "When the Levee Breaks", "Kashmir", "The Ocean", "Achilles Last Stand" and the drum orientated "Moby Dick".
Outside of Led Zeppelin he has contributed to several other artists including Screaming Lord Sutch, Lulu, Jimmy Stevens, Roy Wood and Wings.
He died in his sleep on 24 September 1980 after choking on his vomit. He had consumed an excessive amount of alcohol.
Led Zeppelin soon disbanded not wanting to go on without him.
He is considered one of the very best rock drummers in history and had been highly influential.

The Music History Calendar is written by the Blues Rock artist Marshland Pete
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