John Bonham statue unveiled in UK hometown on what would've been Led Zeppelin drummer's 70th birthday
Written by Classic Rock 93.9 on May 31, 2018
Thursday marks what would’ve been John “Bonzo” Bonham‘s 70th birthday, and in honor of the milestone, a statue of the late Led Zeppelin drummer was unveiled in his hometown of Redditch, U.K., the Redditch Standard reports.
The sprawling bronze memorial, which depicts Bonham bashing away on a large drum kit, was installed in Mercian Square, in the town center. The statue, designed by respected British sculptor Mark Richards, stands six feet high, 16 feet wide and four feet deep, while weighing about 5,500 pounds. It features an inscription that reads, “The most outstanding and original drummer of his time, John Bonham’s popularity and influence continue to resonate within the world of music and beyond.”
Most of the money for the statue was raised from private donations via The John Bonham Memorial Fund, which was founded in 2013.
Prior to joining Led Zeppelin, Bonham built his reputation as an impressive drummer playing in various U.K. bands during the mid-to-late ’60s, including two featuring singer Robert Plant — The Crawling King Snakes and Band of Joy. After Plant was recruited by Jimmy Page as the frontman of Led Zeppelin — initially, The New Yardbirds — Plant suggested that Page hire Bonham as the group’s drummer.
The rest, of course, is history. Bonham’s powerful and nuanced playing drove one classic Led Zeppelin song after another for the band’s 12-year history. Sadly, he was just 32 when he died on September 25, 1980, after a night of heavy drinking.
In 2016, Bonzo topped a Rolling Stone list of “The 100 Greatest Drummers of All Time.” “At his most brutally paleolithic he never bludgeoned dully, at his most rhythmically dumbfounding he never stooped to unnecessary wankery,” the magazine declared.
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