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John Bonham

Birth name John Henry Bonham
Also known as Bonzo
Born 31 May 1948(1948-05-31)
Redditch, Worcestershire, England
Died 25 September 1980 (aged 32)
Clewer, Windsor, England
Genre(s) Hard rock, heavy metal, blues-rock, folk rock
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter
Instrument(s) Drums, Timpani, Gong, Congas
Years active 1964-1980
Label(s) Atlantic, Swan Song
Associated acts Led Zeppelin, Band of Joy, Terry Web and the Spiders

On September 24, 1980, John Bonham was picked up by Led Zeppelin assistant Rex King to attend rehearsals at Bray Studios for the upcoming tour of the United States, the band's first since 1977. During the journey Bonham had asked to stop for breakfast, where he downed four quadruple vodkas (roughly sixteen shots (~2/3 imperial quart, or ~4dl of vodka)). He then continued to drink heavily when he arrived at the studio. A halt was called to the rehearsals late in the evening and the band retired to Page's house, The Old Mill House in Clewer, Windsor. After midnight, Bonham had fallen asleep and was taken to bed and placed on his side. Benji LeFevre (who had replaced Richard Cole as Led Zeppelin's tour manager) and John Paul Jones found him dead the next morning. Bonham was 32 years old.[4]

An inquest at East Berkshire coroner's court recorded a verdict of accidental death, the cause being asphyxiation from vomit. A subsequent autopsy found no other drugs in Bonham's body.[5] The alcoholism that had plagued the drummer since his earliest days with the band ultimately led to his death. John Bonham was cremated and on October 12, 1980 interred at Rushock Parish Church, Worcestershire. A cymbal sits in front of his headstone in his memory. His headstone reads:

“ Cherished memories of a loving husband and father, John Henry Bonham Who died Sept. 25th 1980. aged 32 years. He will always be remembered in our hearts, Goodnight my Love, God Bless.

Gravestone imageDespite media rumors that Cozy Powell, Carmine Appice, Barriemore Barlow, Simon Kirke, or Bev Bevan would join the group as his replacement, the remaining members decided to disband Led Zeppelin after Bonham's death. They issued a press statement on 4 December 1980 confirming that the band would not continue without its drummer. "We wish it to be known that the loss of our dear friend and the deep respect we have for his family, together with the sense of undivided harmony felt by ourselves and our manager, have led us to decide that we could not continue as we were." It was simply signed "Led Zeppelin".

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