Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Obituary: Joan Bonham passes away

Joan Bonham, mother of John Bonham
By Brian Gardiner

"I see you're still up to the same tricks," Joan Bonham told Robert Plant last October in Birmingham, England. The mother of Plant's ex-bandmate, John Bonham, was teasing Plant backstage at a Band of Joy concert.

Joan Bonham died peacefully this morning. She was 81. (Editor's note: I have received conflicting information about her birthdate and age, and I will be looking to confirm this information.)

Born in 1929, Joan had three children, Led Zeppelin drummer John (1948-1980), photographer and writer Michael "Mick" (1951-2000), and daughter Deborah (1962). She is predeceased by both of her sons and her husband, John Henry Sr., who died in 1998.

To help supplement the family income when she was younger, Joan ran a news store in Redditch. In the past few years she sang for the geriatric rockers The Zimmers.

In Ritchie Yorke's biography of Led Zeppelin, John Bonham credits Joan with starting him on drums. "When I was 10, my mum bought me a snare drum," he said.

The Zeppelin site Achilles Last Stand reports that Joan Bonham has been ill since Christmas, and died this morning in her sleep. She is survived by daughter Deborah; her grandson, drummer Jason Bonham; and granddaughter, singer-songwriter Zoe Bonham.

Condolences go out to friends and family of Joan Bonham.


  1. Lovely photo and memorable quote. Condolences to this talented and legendary family.

  2. Condolences to the Bonham family.

  3. Joan Bonham was born in 1926, not 1929. She celebrated her 80th birthday in Scotland in 2006. See for correct birthdate, Achilles Last Stand ( is wrong.

  4. It's so moving to see this mum on son's drums !!! Condolences to the Bonham family...And God bless her with his son John !

  5. A lovely lady, I shall miss her. I especially remember her regal presence backstage at Cropredy Festiva,and at South Parade Pier Southsea when she came along to the celebration of my son Jamie's life, who died at 27. Jamie was a great Led Zep/Deborah Bonham Band fan, and Debs & the guys were good enough to play the whole evening - and afterwards sent me a DVD of the show. Bless 'em all, and RI.P Joan the REAL Duchess....


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