John Bonham was, without a doubt, one of the greatest rock and roll drummers of all time. (And there are many, included Rolling Stone magazine, who assert that he’s the uncontested greatest rock drummer to have ever picked up the sticks.)
The late Led Zeppelin rhythm master, who passed on September 25th, 1980, possessed a wild, powerhouse, pioneering style that influenced generations of players, including Dave Grohl, Neil Peart, Chad Smith, Bill Ward and many more. In fact, one could argue that entire heavy music genres like hard rock, metal and beyond owe a debt to his creative output.
From the jump, Bonham came out swinging. His dramatic playing on “Good Times Bad Times” — track one on Led Zeppelin’s self-titled 1969 debut — caught everyone’s attention and set the pace for the band’s game-changing body of work.
There are so many standout Bonham moments — “When the Levee Breaks,” “Achilles’ Last Stand” and “Rock and Roll,” to just name a few. And then there’s his tour de force performance in “Moby Dick,” from Zepp’s sophomore 1969 album Led Zeppelin II. The instrumental drum solo is an absolute gem that shines with Bonham’s power and precision.
Above, watch Bonham deliver an epic live version of “Moby Dick,” at the Royal Albert Hall in 1970.