Born on May 31, 1948 John Henry Bonham became very serious
about drumming at age ten.
His first band was Terry Webb and the Spiders. Was part of the Crawling King Snakes for a while
along with A Way of Life was in the third Band of Joy with Robert Plant. He used to put his drum set out in front of the stage
so that he would have as much a chance of getting noticed as Robert. Married his wife, Pat, in 1967. They had two kids: a
son and a daughter.
Turned down offers to perform with Joe Cocker and Chris Farlow in order to join Led Zeppelin. His
symbol is three rings interlocking, which stands for the trilogy - man, woman, and child. It was taken from a book of runes
and he chose it simply because he liked it. It is also to logo for Ballantine Beer. More recently, it can be seen on the shield
of one of the characters in the animated film "Quest for Camelot" His sequence in The Song Remains the Same shows his family
life and his other love - cars. He drag races, rides a motorcycle, and scoots along in his Addams family-esque car. And he
also shows off his cow and drives a tractor. He once bragged that he hadn't broken a drum skin in three years, which is almost
unbelievable considering his power and strength.
Plant later said that what made bonham such a great drummer was that
he didn't not overplay. It was what he held back made him a great drummer. At one stop on the 1977 tour in America, Bonham,
Peter Grant, and John Bindon were arrested and later charged for severely beating a security guard who had pushed Grant's
son. At another show, Bonham yelled to a disruptive audience member "yeah, peace love and happiness in here, and I'll kick
your ass outside!" He loved Heineken beer so much that he was dubbed John "Heineken" (Henry) Bonham. In 1977, he was
in a car accident and broke three ribs. One of his joys of performing live was yelling as loud as he could while beating the
drums to give it that extra edge.
Just prior to his death at a show in early 1980, he fell of of his stool during the
third song, indicating the extent of his substance abuse.
He died on September 24, 1980 at Page's home. He had consumed
an uncountable number of drinks and had been taking a drug to keep him off of heroin, and when he was laid down to sleep,
his face was up instead of down, which caused him to choke on his own vomit.