‘Not Many Drummers Know How to Do That’

John Bonham’s drumming still impresses music fans more than 40 years after he died. The Led Zeppelin timekeeper did things no one before him did and what few who came after could replicate. Zep bandmate John Paul Jones needed just seven words to praise Bonham’s drumming skills. You could point to several ways he was unique among drummers, but Led Zeppelin engineer Glyn Johns said one skill set made Bonham different from anyone else.

John Bonham sits behind his drum kit during a Led Zeppelin performance at the 1969 Bath Festival.
Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham | Chris Walter/WireImage

John Bonham broke new ground with his drumming in Led Zeppelin

Bonham gigged with several local Birmingham, England, bands when he started his career. He toured with American-born, England-based musician Tim Rose before joining Led Zeppelin. Even then, Bonham had a vision for his drum technique — make his instrument a primary one instead of one relegated to the background. Zep’s founding guitarist Jimmy Page was the perfect player to make it happen.

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