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JMGuitar

If Bonzo Never Passed Away What Music Would Zeppelin Create?

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I know zep has a lot of different styles incorporated into their music across their discography but if bonzo never died what else would they make?

 

would they have done just rock or would they move to something a little different?

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My guess (assuming Plant didn't leave anyway) is some combination of Plant's solo work and the Firm.  Basically, following the trends of 80's New Wave with elements of 70's hard rock, which is sort of what ITTOD was, they probably would have continued in that direction.

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Posted (edited)

Hopefully a revisiting of the 'Fire/Say You're Gonna Leave Me' groove

Edited by bcarter690

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Well judging by some other sections of the forum, there may be some cynical responses to this topic. As has been stressed, it's all speculation, of course.

But had Bonzo not died, the first thing that would've happened was the first leg of a North American tour. Robert and Bonzo had to be persuaded to return to performing in America. The Oakland incident was probably still weighing on Bonzo's mind, and he may have thought he'd be apprehended if they returned to America. It may have been explained to him that that wouldn't happen since the first part of the tour didn't include California. It may have taken some additional arm twisting for him to agree to additional west coast tour dates in early 81. He may have flatly refused, who knows. How well the first leg went would also probably have determined whether there would have been a Part Two to the tour. Both Bonzo and Jimmy were struggling physically by the early 80s. Bonzo's death seemed to be a wake-up call for Jimmy. As someone pointed out in the Led Zep 80 thread, it's not unreasonable to wonder if Jimmy might have been the one to meet an unfortunate end had Bonzo lived. Again, mere speculation.

As for what kind of music they would have produced - i.e. new albums - judging from ITTOD, JPJ was having a more profound influence on their sound. Partly due to Jimmy's diminished state - and perhaps motivation - at least in the making of ITTOD. The music was more keyboard-based, even going back to the 77 tour when Dazed was dropped and No Quarter stood alone as the extended improvisation piece. I'm not saying they'd have gone all new wave - they were still a rock band - and we could point out any number of early 80s artists and wonder if that might have been what 80s Zep would have sounded like.

Would it have been similar to Robert's first two solo albums? Even Deathwish II had prominent keyboard parts. I'd venture to say Robert's early solo sound was harder edged than Jimmy's. I think it still would have been a cooperative largely among Jimmy, Robert and JPJ. But who knows if Jimmy's influence may have been further usurped by Robert and JPJ if Jimmy's substance issues continued to get in the way of his creativity. With Bonzo - and Zeppelin - still around, it would have been a different Jimmy than what resulted in The Firm.

I don't think they'd have taken a drastically different direction, but I think they each were in tune with musical trends. The prominent presence of keyboard-based sounds would have been significant, but also the mixture of big sounding fast-paced, high-energy tracks (guitars + keys) mixed with slower, quieter moments. The contrast of shades and moods that made Zeppelin unique.

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Jimmy was already experimenting with alternate guitar / keyboard sounding effects by the mid to late 70s w/ Roland guitar synthesizer on Presence and the Gizmotron on ITTOD, so no telling what direction Led Zeppelin would have taken musically into the 80s had Bonham had lived. It’s all speculation at this point. As discussed. JP had used multiple effects all throughout their recording and touring career (Theremin, etc).

R😎

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Two of the most Zeppelin of the post Zeppelin tracks to my ears, probably because each features two of them. 

 

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Probably albums in the vein of "We're Gonna Groove", "Darlene" with a single power song in the mold of Achilles Last Stand (with less flair) on each album, assuming Page could stay on track.  I would assume much more input from JPJ and a more mellow, time driven based by Bonzo, his power days behind him.

With the advent of heavy keyboard music in Europe in the 1980's, it would have been interesting to see if Zeppelin tried to outdo the other bands at their own game.  Just because they can.

Alas, all left to conjecture at this point and at that point.  RIP JHB.

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Jimmy once said that 'Bonzo and I had already started discussing plans for a hard-driving rock album’ after In Through The Out Door.
He also said of All My Love that ‘I would not have wanted
to pursue that direction in the future.’
So there's clues there about both what he did and didn't want to do next.


 

 

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, Brigante said:

Jimmy once said that 'Bonzo and I had already started discussing plans for a hard-driving rock album’ after In Through The Out Door.
He also said of All My Love that ‘I would not have wanted
to pursue that direction in the future.’
So there's clues there about both what he did and didn't want to do next.

 

 

Quote

I've read that before also.  That's why I suggested Achilles Last Stand as a blueprint for the type of songs they'd LIKE to do, again, assuming Page could keep it together. I have a feeling, Plant and JPJ were going to have a bigger say in the direction of the band, Plant becoming more of a melodic singer, with the band having a generally softer sound.                           

Even at their relatively young age at the time, they had been together 12 years.  The flame had burned out for the most part, writing had to have become more of a chore rather than a joy, and Plant in particular wouldn't accept being stuck in the same sound cycle. 

 

Edited by Canadianzepper
to fix quoting other poster

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23 hours ago, Zep Hed said:

The Oakland incident was probably still weighing on Bonzo's mind, and he may have thought he'd be apprehended if they returned to America. 

7/25/77: Bonham, Grant, Cole (two counts) & Bindon (two counts) were taken to Oakland City Jail, charged with battery and released on $250.00 bail for each count after three hours. There would have been no grounds to apprehend them in Summer 1977 because they'd not violated the conditions of bail.

2/16/78: The cases against Bonham, Grant, Bindon and Cole are heard…all incur suspended sentences and fines. Their attorney appeared on their behalf.

So from a criminal case standpoint, this was fully resolved by Feb 78. If memory serves correct, the civil case was settled out of court.

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They would have likely broken up by summer of 81' if either Jimmy or Bonzo had not succumbed to their addictions. Plant was ready to leave and if Plant left, Bonzo would likely have followed. The hard edged album Jimmy was talking about never would have happened, ITTOD was going to be Zep's last studio album no matter what.

The question which puzzles me is why they did not release a live album of a post-73' show to fulfill their contractual obligation to Atlantic instead of the outtakes Coda represented.

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57 minutes ago, PeaceFrogYum said:

They would have likely broken up by summer of 81' if either Jimmy or Bonzo had not succumbed to their addictions. Plant was ready to leave and if Plant left, Bonzo would likely have followed. The hard edged album Jimmy was talking about never would have happened, ITTOD was going to be Zep's last studio album no matter what.

The question which puzzles me is why they did not release a live album of a post-73' show to fulfill their contractual obligation to Atlantic instead of the outtakes Coda represented.

Probably because Page was in no shape to go through various shows, edit/splice songs, etc.  Outtakes were already lying around, so basically low-hanging fruit.

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50 minutes ago, JohnOsbourne said:

Probably because Page was in no shape to go through various shows, edit/splice songs, etc.  Outtakes were already lying around, so basically low-hanging fruit.

Good point

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2 hours ago, PeaceFrogYum said:

They would have likely broken up by summer of 81' if either Jimmy or Bonzo had not succumbed to their addictions. Plant was ready to leave and if Plant left, Bonzo would likely have followed. The hard edged album Jimmy was talking about never would have happened, ITTOD was going to be Zep's last studio album no matter what.

The question which puzzles me is why they did not release a live album of a post-73' show to fulfill their contractual obligation to Atlantic instead of the outtakes Coda represented.

The first half of your post is conjecture unworthy of comment.

They were contractually obliged to provide a studio album, not a live album. Jimmy had already begun work on a chronological live album as far back as 1977.

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2 hours ago, SteveAJones said:

They were contractually obliged to provide a studio album, not a live album. Jimmy had already begun work on a chronological live album as far back as 1977.

Any idea how far Jimmy got with project and were there going to be songs from all tours?

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22 hours ago, SteveAJones said:

7/25/77: Bonham, Grant, Cole (two counts) & Bindon (two counts) were taken to Oakland City Jail, charged with battery and released on $250.00 bail for each count after three hours. There would have been no grounds to apprehend them in Summer 1977 because they'd not violated the conditions of bail.

2/16/78: The cases against Bonham, Grant, Bindon and Cole are heard…all incur suspended sentences and fines. Their attorney appeared on their behalf.

So from a criminal case standpoint, this was fully resolved by Feb 78. If memory serves correct, the civil case was settled out of court.

Absolutely, Steve. Never know what might have been in Bonzo's mind. Far from being a lawyer himself, he may not have wanted to take any chances. Of course it's all speculation but the feeling may have been any small misstep back in California and it all blows up again. Even if he was satisfied that the Oakland incident was legally dead and buried. Thanks for detailed reply!

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11 hours ago, SteveAJones said:

The first half of your post is conjecture unworthy of comment.

 

This is a ridiculous comment as many threads, much less posts on this forum, are based on conjecture, yet you don't seem to have a problem with those. 

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15 hours ago, PeaceFrogYum said:

They would have likely broken up by summer of 81' if either Jimmy or Bonzo had not succumbed to their addictions. Plant was ready to leave and if Plant left, Bonzo would likely have followed. The hard edged album Jimmy was talking about never would have happened, ITTOD was going to be Zep's last studio album no matter what.

The question which puzzles me is why they did not release a live album of a post-73' show to fulfill their contractual obligation to Atlantic instead of the outtakes Coda represented.

I think they still probably had another album in them.  There was definitely friction at that time, for many reasons, most of them personal and deep.  Within a short period of time their decline in cohesion as a group was as rapid as their escalation into stardom which reached it's peak when PG was released.

I think releasing the studio recorded "throw aways" was probably the best business decision as the demand for the unreleased was probably higher than live stuff, which people could visually access with SRTS.  Also, there were a number of bootlegs of this stuff circulating, so, like the BBC Session, Page wanted to dry up that market and release it in a professional produced format.

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