Say It's Your Birthday: Led Zeppelin's John Bonham

Today is the birthday of John Bonham, drummer with Led Zeppelin until

his untimely death in 1980. Bonham was born in Worcestershire in 1948,

and came to Led Zep from the Birmingham band called Band of Joy. Initially

called the New Yardbirds, Led Zeppelin got its name from Keith Moon's

catch phrase about going down like a lead zeppelin, concerning bad

gigs. From the onset, Led Zeppelin caused a stir with their incredibly

heavy yet dynamic sound, their questionable plundering of old blues

standards and Plant's agitated wail of a voice. Their audacious

self-titled debut displayed one of the greatest rock production jobs

of all time, with its fine balance of room ambiance and powerful

immediacy. Throughout most of the '70s, Led Zeppelin reigned as the

world's most successful rock band, breaking concert records and

releasing 10 top ten albums, eight of which went to number one or

number two. In spite of their huge success, Led Zeppelin only had one

Top Ten single, "Whole Lotta Love." "Stairway To Heaven," the most

requested song ever on rock radio, was never officially released as a

single. Over the years, many bands have tried and failed to capture

the raw power and sonic qualities of Led Zeppelin, but none have

succeeded.

It is also the birthday of Wendy Smith (Prefab Sprout),

Mick Ralphs (Mott The Hoople/Bad Company), Johnny Paycheck, and

Charles Miller (War).