Sat Eye Candy: John Bonham


John Bonham would have turned 60 today. The Led Zeppelin drummer was a majestic beast, equally capable of shaking Olympus as he was at turning a tear with his delicacy. Possessed of Keith Moon's brutality and the complexity of Elvin Jones, Bonham was all things rough 'n' tumble about rock with a much more complex undercurrent than history often affords him. From the water-on-leaves softness of "The Rain Song" through crushing blues workouts like "When The Levee Breaks," Bonzo had an unerring knack for the perfect percussion tact on every highly varied Zeppelin track. He was a wild tornado in his personal life, taken from this mortal coil too soon for diggin' into life's riches a bit too heartily, but artistically he's golden. Few drummers will ever approach his level of craft, instincts, chops or just plain mutha-flucking mojo. We light a candle for you on this birthday, Mr. Bonham. You done good while you were here.

We begin our celebration of Bonham's natal day with one of the most famous, most sampled, most indestructible drum lines of all time – "Kashmir."

Next up, an interview with Bonham and Robert Plant from 1970, where they discuss how Led Zeppelin's music is the next step on from The Beatles. This is a wonderful glimpse into how their music was received back in the day.

Let's dive into "The Ocean" from 1973, where Bonham hangs off the bottom of the beat, teasing and tugging, all while keeping a steady platform for the others to freak fabulously over.

And we wrap our birthday remembrance with "The Rain Song," captured at Madison Square Garden in 1973. Dig the crazy Lord of the Rings filmed sequences with Plant, who looks quite the Elvish Lord here. Also, it's zero surprise the Jimmy Page has serious back problems today. Look at the size of that double-neck guitar!

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[Published on: 5/31/08]

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WidespreadMule3 Sat 5/31/2008 08:13AM
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saw zoso last night. they were pretty good. i met the band before the show. pretty cool guys. i doubt the show was even half as good as a real zeppelin show tho.

Muffinman1 Sat 5/31/2008 01:31PM
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GREATEST DRUMMER EVER. Daney Carey is a close second. IMO.

moejoerisin Sat 5/31/2008 02:11PM
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cheers to you, bonzo!

Muffinman1 Sat 5/31/2008 03:05PM
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*Danny Carey

wagsinnorthernva starstarstarstarstar Mon 6/2/2008 05:48AM
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We share the same birthday. 5/31. He was one of the best ever.

kandrokitis starstarstarstarstar Mon 6/2/2008 07:59AM
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the only guy that can compete with bonzo for greatest drummer ever is neal peart. he was truly amazing and ahead of his time. RIP.

sunnbear starstarstarstarstar Mon 6/2/2008 09:21AM
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I had the pleasure of seeing him play with the mighty Zep back in '77. What an experience! More than I imagined and much more than I could possibly describe to you. Bonham was definately a beast on the drums. He is missed today and will be forever! Happy B.D. Bonzo!

redhed starstarstarstarstar Tue 6/3/2008 05:13AM
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it's been a long time since we've rock and rolled, bonzo was the best!

ykmgeedee Thu 6/5/2008 07:58AM
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Thanks Jambase! Bonzo- you wuz and still iz da BEaST!

johnnyiceberg Tue 7/8/2008 10:03AM
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Bonham is a god, one of my biggest influences on the drums...hands down, although you are right Ted, Carey is a damn close second. Everyone should check out an amazing cover of The Ocean I stumbled upon by a hell of a rock and roll band out of New Orleans call Bonerama. Check em out at

Here is there Ocean rocks, wah driven trombone is all i have to say.