"Led Zeppelin" without John Bonham - a new chapter in the history of the legendary rock band

The departure of John Bonham left a huge hole in the history of rock and roll. He was one of the best drummers of all time, and more importantly, he was not part of a band, but of the Led Zeppelin family.

What happened to Led Zeppelin after John Bonham died

"Led Zeppelin" one of the most legendary rock bands in history. Despite the fact that it broke up many decades ago, it is still talked about as a great one. And it's hard to argue with that. Over a fairly long and vibrant career, four British rockers gave the world chic albums and timeless hits, the most famous of which was the cult "Stairway to Heaven". 300 million copies worldwide, seven Billboard 200 top albums, No. 1 "100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock" and other honorary titles and awards.

So what caused this amazing team to part ways for good? Having studied some moments of the Zeppelin biography, it becomes clear: collapse was inevitable.

Death of John Bonham and end of story

Early Led Zeppelin
Early "Led Zeppelin"

"Led Zeppelin" ceased to exist a few months after the death of the drummer John Bonham. Subsequently, the group reunited several times - in particular, on Live Aid in 1985 year and at another charity event in 2007 year. Then Bonham's place at the drum kit was taken by him son Jason. Legendary drummer dies September 25, 1980 aged 32 years old. This tragedy put an end not only to the band's tour of North America, but also to its history as a whole.

At the end European tour The band started rehearsing Zeppelin had to ride with concerts across North America. September 24, 1980 Bonham was taken to a studio in Berkshire where "Zeppelin" was being rehearsed. Assistant Rex King recalled how, along the way, John asked to stop "for breakfast": he ate a ham roll and drank four glasses vodka. During this period, Bonham had a huge problem with alcohol: the band had gone through a lot of stress over the past few years, and then there was the tour. The drummer found the only salvation in drinking.

John Bonham
John Bonham

Throughout the day, John drank alcohol, and when the rehearsal was over, the musicians went to Jimmy Page's house. By midnight, Bonham passed out and was put to bed. When the next day the Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones went to wake him up, he found that his friend was dead.

“I couldn’t believe it, but I had to tell the others about it,” he later recalled.

Led Zeppelin's private jet
Private jet «Led Zeppelin»

As a result of the investigation, it was established that Bonham died due to vomit. On the eve of the tragedy, the rocker drank 40 a glass of vodka for 12 hours. This in itself is a lethal dose. The North American tour was immediately cancelled. December 4, 1980 the remaining Zeppelin members issued a statement:

“We lost more than just a band member. We have lost our friend. We have made a decision: the group cannot continue to exist.”

It was the end.

What was before?

Led Zeppelin
"Led Zeppelin"

In summer 1979 year "Led Zeppelin" released their latest studio album "In Through The Out Door". No one then knew what lay ahead of them. But the colors over the group thickened every day. Despite the fact that Zeppelin were one of the most popular rock bands of the time, they were accompanied by big troubles: the death of their young son Robert Plante in 1977 year, exile from the UK due to problems with tax, personal troubles, and huge load. No wonder that Jimmy Page addicted to illegal drugs while John Bonham became addicted to alcohol.

Rare photo of the young members of Led Zeppelin
A rare photo of the young members of "Led Zeppelin"

Same summer 1979 of the year the group played two large-scale concerts in Knebworth - the last two concerts at home. A year later, the team went on tour, performing at venues in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. However, when they arrived at Nuremberg, health problems overtook John. The show started as usual - covers were played "Train Kept A-Rollin'" and "Nobody's Fault But Mine". When the turn of the third song came, it became clear that Bonham was not ready to perform. Before fulfilling Black Dog, Jimmy Page addressed the audience:

“Today, a member of our group does not feel well - a slight stomach problem. But we will try to do our best for you!”

Bonham tried to play, but his rhythms turned into something chaotic. And before Plante proceeded to execute "In The Evening"John passed out. He fell off his chair, and the vocalist nervously hurried to announce to the audience:

“We just had a little technical problem. We would appreciate it if you could wait a bit…”

Alas, that evening the show did not continue. Some fans have since stated that Bonham was very drunk. Nevertheless, the tour ended successfully in Berlin Eissporthalle July 7th This was last round John Bonham and Led Zeppelin.

Possible band history

John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Bonham sit on the hood of a car at their first WEA photo shoot in London, December 1968. Photo: Dick Barnatt
John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Bonham sit on the hood of a car at their first WEA photo shoot in London, December 1968. Photo: Dick Barnatt

After John Bonham was gone and "Led Zeppelin" broke up, the fans started hypothesizehow it would look the future of the group, be John alive. And many agreed that the end of the Zeppelin story was inevitable.

Girls are delighted with the game of John Bonham
John Bonham

First of all, it would be to blame page addiction: substances alienated the guitarist from the group and prevented Zeppelin from developing fully. If Bonham and would have remained alive, he would have had to get rid of alcohol addiction. And, accordingly, a rehabilitation course would be prescribed Page. Only in this case, in the case complete cleansing — The team had a great and bright future. But, as you know, Page resisted getting rid of addiction. Would he agree to such a condition then? Long away is not a fact.

Another hypothesis suggests that eventually the participants Zeppelin would get tired of the group and start looking for themselves on the side.

However, of all the hypotheses, only one is true: if John Bonham had survived and the group had existed at least until the 90s, we would have had more musical heritage.

The split could have happened much earlier

The story of "No Quarter" (Led Zeppelin)
"Led Zeppelin"

After Bonham's death, it became clear that the split Zeppelin could have happened much earlier 1974 year. Their manager told Peter Grant:

“In 1974 they were recording at Headley Grange and suddenly John Paul Jones showed up and said he was leaving the band. I said, "What are you going to do, John, if you leave the group?" He replied: “I will be choirmaster at Winchester Cathedral. I'm fed up with all the touring!" He was very annoyed - I think he just missed home. In any case, it was never discussed again."

In 1977 year Robert Plant lost his son. This darkened the situation again. Peter Grant recalled:

“That was the most dangerous moment - they came very close to a split. Of course, Robert went through the unbelievable... I still have no idea how he even coped with it when his son died. At the time, I think he wanted to get away from everything. And I really understood it ... "

Interview with Jimmy Page

Jimmy Page in his youth
Jimmy Page in his youth

Decades after the incident Jimmy Page gave an interview in which he explained why the story of "Led Zeppelin" finally ended after the death of Bonham:

“We played not so much for the money, but for the call of the heart ... Each of the members of Led Zeppelin was important to the total amount of what we were. There was nothing left for us. We couldn't take another guy and put him on drums and say, "You gotta do it like this, you know?" It wouldn't be fair..."

Page continued: “Yes, we had attempts to reunite. But it wasn't the same... Before the show in 2007, we prepared for a very long time: we rehearsed as much as we could, so that Jason felt like a part of our group!

In an interview 2012 of the year son of Bonham Jason shared an emotional moment from these rehearsals:

"Robert said, 'I don't want to do this, we can't even reunite with you. It doesn't matter how good your drumming is, Jason. I love you very much like a son, but it was John who was the drummer for Led Zeppelin: he was a part of me, Jimmy, John ... We all had something special in common. And, to be honest, it's hard for me to think about starting to perform again, to work magic without him ... He was my very, very close friend, whom I miss every day ... "

Led Zeppelin and Jason Bonham
Led Zeppelin and Jason Bonham


John Paul Jones, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page at the Kennedy Center Honors
John Paul Jones, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page at the Kennedy Center Honors

Care John Bonham left a huge hole in the history of rock and roll. He was one of the best drummers of all time, and more importantly, he was not part of a group, but families "Led Zeppelin". And there is nothing surprising in the fact that after his death the history of this team came to an end. On the contrary, it would be strange if they continued to perform: without Bonham, it would not be the same Zeppelin at all. However, it is not for us to decide whether they were to continue as a group or not. One thing's for sure: if Bonham hadn't left then, we'd all be a little richer today in terms of good music.

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