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Mr. Hudson

John Bonham was the TRUE leader in this band.

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The man was a BORN leader and he applied those inborn skills to his instrument of choice and lead the band extremely well. As much as Jimmy Page is thought of as the leader, and of course they were all equals in what they did together, I saw Jimmy Page as more of sculptor, an advisor, and a poet. To me John Bonham was the man of action - his stamp of authority can be heard on each of the songs. To call Led Zeppelin a guitarist's band is only partly true. This was/is a musician's band, but in reality it is pure drum porn.

My opinion is most likely based upon fantasy... what are your opinions on this?

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huw   

Yeah, I mean Bonham put the band together, wrote most of the songs, and produced the recordings, so of course he was the leader.

Oh, hang on a minute... I'm thinking of someone else ;)

Only kidding - and no offence intended! :)

Joking aside, I think you could perhaps make an argument for Bonham being a "musical director" at times on stage, where he was in charge of the time keeping, and the tempos, but even there, Zeppelin is one of those bands where each member is the "leader" at different times during a concert: at times they're following Page, at times they're following Bonham, at times they're following Plant, and at times they're following Jones - it was symbiotic, not one of those situations where one guys is simply in change and that's that.

Edited by huw

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As much as I love Bonham, I must respectfully disagree. All of the members were equally talented and had their own moments to shine at any point. Page might have mixed most of their albums and virtually formed the band, but he still isn't as important is Plant, Bonham, or Jones.

Edited by ledzepfilm

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Bonham asserted himself at live shows for sure! Jimmy couldn't shake him no matter how fast he played. Check the Texas Pop Fest version of Dazed, that should be Pagie's song but no matter what he plays Bonham ALWAYS answers back and takes it a little further. For more proof just listen to The Song Remains the Same from the 6/21/77 LA show! All the great bands are teams of equals working to support each other.

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I've always considered Bonzo to be more of an integral individualist as opposed to a leader, similar to Neil Peart.

Yup, that about sums it up. Also, I thought by leader, we were talking about the bigger picture, and not just musical contributions. Page was clearly the leader outside of the studio, and off of the stage, and I would argue, in both of the aforementioned venues as well.

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Yup, that about sums it up. Also, I thought by leader, we were talking about the bigger picture, and not just musical contributions. Page was clearly the leader outside of the studio, and off of the stage, and I would argue, in both of the aforementioned venues as well.

But Bonzo was big, and strong and had a far away look in his eye... :P

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IpMan   

Without any of the four there would have been no Led Zeppelin. Bonzo was an amazing drummer, but he was no leader, as Steve said he was an individualist. If Bonzo were the leader of Zeppelin the majority of their music would have sounded like 60's Motown and 70's funk. Without a doubt Bonham would have been quite at home as James Brown's or Parliament's drummer. Why do you think Tony Thompson was considered for a re-formed Zeppelin in 85'? Because he was a funk player, just like Bonham.

Edited by IpMan

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There is also of course the historical fact that Bonham (and Plant) was initially brought in on salary and thus impossible to be considered the leader.

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JTM   

^^^^^ Yes, but that was right at the beginning when Page put up the money to get them going.

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^^^^^ Yes, but that was right at the beginning when Page put up the money to get them going.

Thereby reinforcing the point that Page called the shots, and others took direction.

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DewieCox   

They all pulled their fair share of weight, but Page is clearly the leader, in all aspects.

Did the majority of the songwriting, had the vision for the direction of the band, selected the players, was a relative taskmaster in the studio and live. Just watching them play live it's obvious. Page is constantly giving little looks and gestures during the improvisations. He simply does what the leader does.

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All of the members were equal. Page may have started the band and was the "leader" in the beginning, but by the time they broke up, Zeppelin were all accomplished musicians.

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I see Robert Plant as Alexander the Great, Jimmy Page as the great Zhuge Liang, John Paul Jones as the Duke of Wellington, and John Bonham as William Wallace.

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kingzoso   

As many have noted, Jimmy Page was the Founder, Originator and "Leader" of the "New Yardbirds". Jimmy Page had the Experience, Knowledge, etc... that the others did not (excluding John Baldwin, aka, John Paul Jones).

I would say that behind a Great Man and Leader is another Great Man and Leader and that Man was Mr. Peter Grant. I believe that Page and Grant had the Experience, Knowledge, etc... to take Rock and Roll to a new and very Powerful level (which They did).

As much as I Love John Henry Bonham (RIP), He was not the "Leader" of Led Zeppelin. They were four among "Equals" but I think that Jimmy Page (and Peter) ran the whole show up until (maybe 1977).

Just MY thoughts and opinions on this topic.

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From the Knebworth booklet of Led Zeppelin DVD:

"What the early punks said it was self-indulgent they miss the point," says Plant."It was just the opposite:to achieve what we did stage,it took a lot of personal restraint.It was this comfortless form.Everybody was the personal captain of the ship at one time or another,..."

That is live.

Studio?Perhaps a different but not much. IMHO.

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Considering the number of times Bonzo followed the beat, this is a funny thread.

Drums would have to follow the other instruments in order for the music to make sense, and vice versa for the other instruments, but he really lead the way. He was pushing and pulling more than the rest musically, and live he was a monster. He'd take command more than a back seat.

Edited by Mr. Hudson

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Page was the leader, though by ITTOD Plant was the leader.

Page might have been the leader on those earlier albums, but without the MONSTER rhythm section behind him....

Like others said, this is one example where the sum of the parts is far greater than each individual's contribution. So for math, we would say each member equals 1, but the band equals 7. Just the sheer energy of the interplay added so much to the music.

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