John Bonham: The Drum Solo That Will Make You Feel Inept

John Bonham and Moby Dick
We’re not sure what this thing is.

Seeing as we can’t be bothered writing anything innovative tonight, we’re going to take a look at John Bonham’s performance at the Royal Albert Hall in 1969 instead. As part of his self-indulgent, but often brilliant, Moby Dick drum solos, Bonham proceeded to show the world why he was one of the best on the planet.

Whilst many Led Zeppelin fans refuse to accept any drummer can be near Bonham’s level (Bonham Bores as we’ve dubbed them), often making some remarkably vacuous statements along the way, there is no denying Bonham was a genius of the highest order. This is why we’re including one of his finest moments right here, right now, in glorious colour. It’s…

John Henry Bonham… Moby Dick!

Bonham’s solos (especially post-1970) could range from a crushingly dull 30 minutes to a more acceptable 15. We have the latter here, in a blistering performance of power and outright virtuosity.

With jazzy fills mixed alongside outbursts of thunderous might, Mr. Bonham mixes innovation alongside riffs inspired by the likes of Buddy Rich. If you can’t be bothered watching the full clip:

  • Skip to 9 minutes 30 seconds for the beginning of the onslaught
  • Before culminating with a whirlwind of mania at 13 minutes and 50 seconds

For the record, Bonham’s one of our favourite drummers. He was amazing (he died in 1980 aged 32). However, even though he usually tops Best Drummers Ever lists, we make the claim there certainly have been better. Jaki Liebezeit of Can springs to mind, but the Stone Roses’ Reni (who is better – a listen to Daybreak proves this) is a natural step above what Bonham achieved during his seminal career. Indeed.

Regardless, here’s celebrating Bonham’s genius and his contributions to the world of percussion. His son, Jason Bonham, continued on his father’s goals and is touring with his version of the Led Zeppelin experience. A good drummer in his own right, he joined the band on its one-off reformation in 2007 in London. A fine effort he did, too. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like we’ll see this again now the others are into their 70s.


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