Born in 1948 in Redditch, Worcestershire, John Bonham started playing drums at the age of 5 by transforming regular household items into his own drum kit. He used pots and pans from the kitchen along with knives and forks as substitutes for drum sticks. With his passion for drums clearly evident, he received his first item of drumming equipment, a snare drum, from his Mother Joan aged 10. This progressed to a full drum kit at the age of 15.
Around this time, John joined local band The Blue Star Trio as the drummer and he also filled in for numerous other local bands. He joined his first semi-pro band Terry Webb & The Spiders and played with them for a year before joining A Way Of Life in 1965. It was during his time in A Way Of Life that he met Robert Plant for the first time, who was performing on the same bill at a gig in Birmingham with his own band The Crawling King Snakes.
It wasn’t until 1968 that John, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones formed Led Zeppelin. Jimmy was playing in a band called The Yardbirds, who split up that same year. He recruited John Paul Jones, who he’d worked with previously with as a session bass player in The Yardbirds back in 1967. Robert Plant was then recommended for the band and they followed through by recruiting him as the singer, who then recommended John Bonham to the other members. John was earning a substantial wage touring with folk singer Tim Rose at this point and had interest from other artists, so it took some convincing from Plant and manager Peter Grant. But despite more lucrative offers, he accepted their offer and joined, stating that he decided he liked their music better.
During his time with the band, Led Zeppelin recorded 8 studio albums, topping the UK album charts 8 times as well as the US Billboard 200 on 6 occasions. They also toured extensively around the world from December 1968 – July 1980, with sold out shows in USA, Europe, Japan and Australia. John tragically died in September 1980 at the age of 32, which resulted in Led Zeppelin disbanding.