John Bonham Biography

John Bonham is an English musician and songwriter who is best recognised as the drummer of the band ‘Led Zeppelin’. Read this biography to learn more about his childhood, profile, life and timeline.

Quick Facts

Birthday: May 31, 1948

Nationality: British

Famous: Quotes By John Bonham Drummers

Died At Age: 32

Sun Sign: Gemini

Also Known As: John Henry Bonham

Born in: Redditch, England, UK

Famous as: Drummer of Rock Band Led Zeppelin


Spouse/Ex-: Pat Phillips (m. 1968–1980)

father: Jack Bonham

mother: Joan Bonham

siblings: Deborah Bonham, Mick Bonham

children: Jason Bonham, Zoë Bonham

Died on: September 25, 1980

place of death: Clewer, England, UK

Cause of Death: Alcoholism

More Facts

education: Lodge Farm Secondary Modern School

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Widely recognised and remembered as one among the greatest rock ‘n’ roll drummers in the history of music, John Bonham continues to be one of the most talked about musicians even after his demise. He was a source of inspiration to countless aspiring drummers and was considered to be one of the most influential drummers in the music industry. Described my ‘Modern Drummer’ magazine as ‘the king of rock drumming’, Bonham has been hailed by prestigious publications as ‘the best drummer of all time’. This legendary godfather of drumming still continues to be idolised by innumerable number of heavy metal and hard rock fans from across the world. His passion for drumming began when he was barely a five year old kid, and used to make drum kits out of coffee tins and containers. After initially drumming for a number of bands, he finally became a part of ‘Led Zeppelin’. Sadly, he died a tragic death at the young age of 32, after which the band ‘Led Zeppelin’ announced that they could not continue without his presence.

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Childhood & Early Life
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  • In 1968, he became part of the English rock band, ‘Led Zeppelin’, as the drummer. The band was initially called the New Yardbirds and it changed its name later to, ‘Led Zeppelin’.
  • In 1969, the band ‘Led Zeppelin’ came out with their self-titled debut album, ‘Led Zeppelin’, which was released under the Atlantic Records label. The album initially received negative reviews, but was commercially successful.
  • On October 22, 1969, he played the drums for the Grammy Award nominated second ‘Led Zeppelin’ album, titled ‘Led Zeppelin II’. The album was successful and became one of the band’s bestselling albums.
  • On October 5, 1970, ‘Led Zeppelin’, released their third studio album, ‘Led Zeppelin III’, which was one of their highest selling albums. The album received good reviews from music critics.
  • In 1971, he was the drummer for the song, ‘Everybody Clap’, which was a song by Scottish singer, Lulu Kennedy-Cairns. The song was written by Maurice Gibb and Billy Lawrie.
  • On November 8, 1971 ‘Led Zeppelin’ released its fourth album, ‘Led Zeppelin IV’. A bestselling album, it featured the popular songs, ‘When the Levee Breaks’, ‘Black Dog’ and ‘Rock and Roll’.
  • In 1973, the band ‘came out with its fifth album, ‘Houses of the Holy’, which featured the song ‘The Ocean’. The album earned a Grammy Award nomination and peaked at the music charts.
  • In 1975, ‘Led Zeppelin’s sixth studio album, ‘Physical Graffiti’ was released. The album featured one of its famous songs, ‘Kashmir’, which he also co-wrote and was played at almost every concert.
  • In 1976, he played the drums for the seventh ‘Led Zeppelin’ album, ‘Presence’. The album received mixed reviews from music critics and was one of the band’s lowest selling albums.
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  • In 1979, he played the drums for his friend, Roy Wood’s album, ‘On the Road Again’. The same year, he also drummed for the English rock band ‘Wings’ for their album, ‘Back to the Egg’.
  • In 1982, the band Led Zeppelin’ came out with its ninth and final studio album, titled, ‘Coda’. The featured tracks included, ‘We're Gonna Groove’ and ‘I Can't Quit You Baby’. This was released after his death.
Major Works
  • The album ‘Led Zeppelin’ was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and in 2012 Rolling Stone magazine listed it on their list of ‘500 Greatest Albums of All Time’.
  • ‘Led Zeppelin II’ was a bestselling album that sold over 12 million copies and it reached the No.1 position on U.S, U.K and the Canadian music charts.
Personal Life & Legacy
  • In 1968, he married Pat Phillips, whom he met in the year 1964. The couple had two children together.
  • He died at the age of 32 in Clewer, England, UK; it is believed that he died due to excessive alcohol consumption and choking on vomit in his sleep.
  • In 2005, Classic Rock magazine ranked him at the No.1 position on their list of ‘50 Greatest Drummers in Rock’.
  • This legendary drummer had consumed 40 shots of vodka the night before his death and was so intoxicated that he did not wake up when he began vomiting. This resulted in his death due to asphyxiation.

See the events in life of John Bonham in Chronological Order

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