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McSeven

What could Bonham do that other drummers can't

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He just played the song how it needed to be played. He seemed to have the knack for making the drums sound just PERFECT for each and every Zep track. Amazing power, emotion, and flair. These qualities are sorely missed in this modern era of music.

Great post. That pretty much sums up how I fell about JB.

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He just played the song how it needed to be played. He seemed to have the knack for making the drums sound just PERFECT for each and every Zep track. Amazing power, emotion, and flair. These qualities are sorely missed in this modern era of music.

Totally agree with you on your assessment of Bonzo. I think modern music has those qualities but they're not going to be presented the same way as they were in the 60s/70s. Which is okay with me - it would be pretty boring if music didn't grow and develop.

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only cozy Powell and Keith moon and ian paice were as legendary as him

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"What could Bonham do that other drummers can't"

We to be sure, he could play "Moby Dick" for 40 minuits, i've never heard of anyone else doing that.

Robert once said, "He could do more with less".

He can rock my world daily, better, and more often than any other Drummer.

He can now play Thunder for the Gods, and lets face it, with him "Up There" there was bound to be a major climate change.

To you Sir, :beer: "John Bonham Moby Dick Dick Dick, 130 pounds of glory", the most awesome Drummer-Percussionist the world will ever see.

Regards, Danny

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He pioneered the most influential drum solo. What other drum solo has been studied or listened to by an audience more? Almost every drummer i know learns those bass tom tom triplets at the end of moby dick, the double kick single kick bass drum, playing with the hands, and all that jazz. There are a lot of drums wayyy better then John technically but he has so much soul into his drumming.

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To me Bonham did three things particularly well.

One, he got an amazing sound from his kit. I believe a lot of that is due to how hard he could hit. How can anyone not love the intro to TSRTS from LA 1977. I also liked his use of effects on songs such as Kashmir.

Two, that he could write/rip-off memorable beats. While he could keep impeccable time, he was more than a mere timekeeper. The magic of When The Levee Breaks isn't how easy or hard it is to play, it's that someone (Bonham) came up with that beat.

Three, he knew when not to play and to only play as much as the song needed.

Precisely! Tyler brings up several great points about Bonham... the 21 June 1977 show in LA is something otherworldly! Song Remains... Nobody's Fault... good Lord, was he on that night or what?!?!?!

There's a saying in music that what you leave out is as important... if not more important... as what you play. The gaps in between are essential. Bonzo understood this. You could literally make your way through the entire Zep catalog and find reference points that illustrate this, but for starters look at All My Love, Kashmir, For Your Life, What Is And What Should Never Be, The Rover, Tea For One, etc...

I read an interview with David Coverdale once where he stated Bonham had jammed in the studio once with some other band... can't recall who just now... and that Bonham's playing was completely different from what he did with Zeppelin. Reason... the music was totally different.

The great thing about Bonham's recorded history is that there is a wealth of material in the Led Zeppelin catalog. The sad thing is there isn't more of him with other musicians playing other styles. I think if there were the appreciation factor for Bonham would be even greater.

Two other notables: His drum kit was unbelievably simplistic. I had heard Zeppelin for a few years before I saw them. When I first saw his drum kit I was stunned. How could he do so much with such a small kit???

Look at chaps like Neil Peart, Alex Van Halen and Simon Phillips... it'd be like a guitarist with 24 strings! Yet Bonham used that small scale kit to create rock history.

One last reason he was the best... since 4 December 1980 the remaining members have reunited just four times: 13 July 1985 at Live Aid, 14 May 1988 at Atlantic Records 40th Anniversary, at Jason Bonham's wedding reception and 10 December 2007 at Ahmet Ertegun's charity event. In three of those four occasions the drummer was John Bonham's son. The other time they used not one, but two drummers, and they still failed to deliver as Bonzo could.

Other bands have lost drummers and carried on... not Zeppelin. Because nobody could do what John Bonham did.

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He could smash pool tables into shards & fit the remaining pieces into a matchbox. I dont even think Keith Moon could do that.

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Framing a triplet using the cowbell and the bass drum ala Good Times Bad times...certainly other drummers of the time were utilizing triplets with the rack tom/bass drum combo but they did it with the much easier R L B pattern. John realized that R B B combo's are far heavier and utilized that to do something nobody else had. He also pulled off quadruplet patterns with his single pedal, another first for rock drummers anyway.

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His sense of "feel" and ability to create... His background and influences evidently had a great deal to do with the way he played, but you simply cannot package up what he did and teach it.

You can listen to and watch him over and over, memorize it, transcribe it, try to play it note for note and maybe even succeed, but his strength was in his sense of knowing just what to do when, where, and how much, and to CREATE....

I grew up listening to him as we all have, and still do, every single day. And even after hearing "Misty Mountain Hop" for the zillionth time, I still wonder, what the hell was he thinking? Sounds easy when you listen to it, but his ridiculous sense of timing and ability to drop a cymbal hit at a strange time always amazes me. The music pushes and pulls, and he's right there making us all still gasp in awe 40 years later...

To me, he had the chops for sure, but he didn't really choose to uncork 'em on the studio stuff. Instead, he created a sound and style that is truly the unique benchmark that all drummers of his genre to this day must measure themselves by, period.

I didn't know him, only know what I've read and heard. But I really believe that he was a humble, shy man who at times really and honestly didn't think he was very good. If he could see how influential, revered, and beloved he is today, I think he would be shocked and amazed by it all.

But the bottom line is this: Quite simply, what he did that others couldn't do, was to be the only drummer in the world that was, is, and always will be, good enough for Led Zeppelin....

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His sense of "feel" and ability to create... His background and influences evidently had a great deal to do with the way he played, but you simply cannot package up what he did and teach it.

You can listen to and watch him over and over, memorize it, transcribe it, try to play it note for note and maybe even succeed, but his strength was in his sense of knowing just what to do when, where, and how much, and to CREATE....

I grew up listening to him as we all have, and still do, every single day. And even after hearing "Misty Mountain Hop" for the zillionth time, I still wonder, what the hell was he thinking? Sounds easy when you listen to it, but his ridiculous sense of timing and ability to drop a cymbal hit at a strange time always amazes me. The music pushes and pulls, and he's right there making us all still gasp in awe 40 years later...

To me, he had the chops for sure, but he didn't really choose to uncork 'em on the studio stuff. Instead, he created a sound and style that is truly the unique benchmark that all drummers of his genre to this day must measure themselves by, period.

I didn't know him, only know what I've read and heard. But I really believe that he was a humble, shy man who at times really and honestly didn't think he was very good. If he could see how influential, revered, and beloved he is today, I think he would be shocked and amazed by it all.

But the bottom line is this: Quite simply, what he did that others couldn't do, was to be the only drummer in the world that was, is, and always will be, good enough for Led Zeppelin....

Nicely put :)

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I think that Bonzo was just as much a musician as the rest of the band. He didn't just play a steady, repetitive beat that kept time for the others, he was very musical in his playing. He created moving parts that changed just as much as the guitar or bass parts did.

Just my take on it....

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This has got me thinking. Are there any live recordings of John pre-Zeppelin in existence?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AlkJC6eoKeA

I might have been led (excuse the pun) on a wild goose chase, but I found this link today. The Seantors, with Bonzo on drums in 1964ish

Anyway, I've never gotten into seriuos drumming discussions, or guitarist stuff (which is my first instrument, although hearing me you wouldn't believe it) but Bonzo had a power and individual 'pocket' that no-one else can emulate. I'm not a fan of double bass drums and have only recently realised that so many drummers had to employ them to 'replicate' his fills. And when they do use double bass, it sounds dead in comparison.

Bonzo fealt what he was doing, cos like so many musician at the time, he was learning from genuine inspirators (haha, is that a word?) and not frickin dvds

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AlkJC6eoKeA

I might have been led (excuse the pun) on a wild goose chase, but I found this link today. The Seantors, with Bonzo on drums in 1964ish

Very cool! It's wild to hear him in such a different musical context. I'd need to listen to it again to be able to say 'a-ha! I can tell it's Bonzo because of ...', but it's great to be able to hear this piece of history.

Thanks for posting. :thumbsup:

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His beats and sense of melody with the drums and all also helped to inspire Page in the studio, too.

"Out On The Tiles" is one such example. :)

R B)

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His beats and sense of melody with the drums and all also helped to inspire Page in the studio, too.

"Out On The Tiles" is one such example. :)

R B)

That's right Reid. John couldn't play any other instrument or, to my knowledge, couldn't read or write music... if he had a melody or any idea, he would simply sing it. Of course, Out On The Tiles is the best known example of this :)

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hell listen to his drumming on fool in the rain.. might seem simple but its a style bonzo mastered very quickly from everything i hear.. not easy at all.. and beats bonzo ripped off??? whats that supposed to imply.. rock n roll to me the drum beat isnt really that much similar to little richards song.. but he got the idea from it.. but its a drum beat and how the hell did he rip off anyone...

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He was also famous for his bass drum triplette. He played a single bass drum better then the majority of drummers that play two.

well said.. i try telling my friends who love garbage like slipknot and joey jordison.. bonzos foot was as quick as anybody and by that i mean far and above the strongest foot and quickest.. his feel for the groove

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That's right Reid. John couldn't play any other instrument or, to my knowledge, couldn't read or write music... if he had a melody or any idea, he would simply sing it. Of course, Out On The Tiles is the best known example of this :)

Kashmir? I know it was built off of White Summer & inspired by world travels, but that driving beat is the backbone - the foundation of the whole song.

HeHe...some of my friends got in an argument this afternoon about drummers & how they have to have strong arms...

You can probably guess where that went :D

What would we do without Bonzo?

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Drummers don't have to have strong arms at all

It's all in the way you handle the sticks with your fingers, and the way you move your wrists.

Also, it pisses me off to no end when people think that they can get by in this day in age as a drummer without knowing how to read rhythmic notation. Just because some FAMOUS drummers didn't, that doesn't mean it's not INCREDIBLY useful to any drummer to have as a skill.

Edited by Jarlaxle 56

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Have you guys heard John Mcentire from Tortoise....this guy really makes think in a modern Bonzo in some ways, cause he hits hard...with a freaking groove, and always searching for the perfect sound of his instrument...those three things are the keys of bonzos drumming IMO.

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hell listen to his drumming on fool in the rain.. might seem simple but its a style bonzo mastered very quickly from everything i hear.. not easy at all.. and beats bonzo ripped off??? whats that supposed to imply.. rock n roll to me the drum beat isnt really that much similar to little richards song.. but he got the idea from it.. but its a drum beat and how the hell did he rip off anyone...

He has admitted such! The tricky opening to Good Times Bad Times was borrowed. Can't remember the periodical, but Bonzo talks about lifting it from... Ginger Baker or the guy from Bad Company, I think. When he brought it to the attention of the particular drummer, the drummer was surprised. He didn't realize that he was actually doing what Bonzo lifted from him. Of course Bonzo put his own touch to it, but the foundation of it wasn't his. It was a very cool article, wish I could remember where it was from.

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