Remembering John Bonham: Drumming Through The Years With Led Zeppelin
Today is the anniversary of the tragic death of John Bonham. The founding Led Zeppelin member affectionately known as “Bonzo” was the fierce drummer behind some of the most instantly recognizable beats in the history of rock ‘n’ roll. The all-too-young Bonham was just 32 when he accidentally died 36 years ago today, but his impact on music remains through the scores of drummers he’s inspired to pick up sticks and bang along to his impassioned playing.
This week Bonzo is the focus of Sunday Cinema through a series of videos that starts in 1969 and continues each year (except 1974, 1976 and 1978 which they took off from touring) through his final performance with Led Zeppelin in 1980. Throughout each of the nine featured clips, Bonham’s dynamic range is on display as his standout style solidifies over the years.
From 1969 is footage from an appearance Led Zeppelin made on Danish television of the song “How Many More Times.” Bonzo’s manic and signature “Moby Dick” solo comes from a 1970 show Zeppelin played at London’s historic Royal Albert Hall. That clip is followed by a pair of montages from rare film footage capturing “Stairway To Heaven” and “Whole Lotta Love” in Japan in 1971 and “Immigrant Song” in Australia 1972. Bonham can also be seen pounding away on “The Ocean” from the classic The Song Remains The Same concert film from Madison Square Garden in 1973.
The group returned to the road in 1975 and their rendition of “The Song Remains The Same” from their show at Earl’s Court that year is featured as is their 1977 performance of “Ten Years Gone” from a show in Seattle at the Kingdome. “Rock And Roll” from Zeppelin’s landmark appearance at the 1979 Knebworth Music Festival can be viewed below, followed by a final video filmed in Germany in July 1980 from one of Bonham’s last performances, held just months before his unexpected passing in September of that year. Watch the videos from across the years here: