Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Remembering Bonzo

Twenty-seven years ago today, the members of Led Zeppelin were staying at Jimmy Page's house after an upbeat rehearsal in the area the previous day. They had been in good spirits and, in between bouts of laughter, even began working up a live rendition of "Carouselambra" -- the longest track from their most recent album and perhaps the most intricately complicated song the group had ever considered. It had been two months since they had last played a concert, and they were preparing to take on the rest of the world. Advertising for their North American tour campaign was already underway with a slogan, "Led Zeppelin: The Eighties, Part One." Tentative plans for the following year included return trips to distant places like Japan and new destinations in South America.

That all changed when one of them didn't wake up. It was jarring when John "Bonzo" Bonham, a fun-loving 32-year-old family man, was found dead. He had been drinking large quantities of vodka all day and, in his sleep, choked on his vomit.

He was loved dearly by his friends, family and neighbors. Robert Plant said in 2003, "Well, it's tough because he and I came from the same area. I still live there. [His wife] Pat still lives there. [His son] Jason still lives there. Everybody's around, and it's a bit like waiting for Ulysses to come home."

On the 25th anniversary of Bonham's death, Pat wrote a message for her dear husband in a guest book at his grave. According to an article by Mike Nolan of the Worcester News, her note reads: "I miss you more each day my love will never die. Your loving wife Pat."

It's a great tribute to him that one of his children, Jason Bonham, will fill in for him on drums at the upcoming Led Zeppelin reunion concert. Jason learned from the best.

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