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Top 10 John Bonham songs on his 67th birthday, by Dave Grohl

"John Bonham is the greatest rock drummer of all time. Bonham played directly from the herat. His drumming was by no means perfect, but when he hit a groove it was so deep it was like a heartbeat. He had this manic sense of cacophany, but he also had the ultimate feel. he could swing, he could get on top, or he could pull back.

"Led Zeppelin, and John Bonham's drumming especially, opnened up my ears. I didn't truly discover Led Zeppelin until I was 16. I was into hardcore punk rock; reckless, powerful drumming, a beat that sounded like a shotgun firing in a cement cellar. But when CDs first came out in the 80s the first one I listened to was Houses Of The Holy. It changed everything. I played that CD thousands of times. I listened so hard I could hear the kick drum pedal squeaking!

"I learned to play by ear. I wasn't trained and I can't read music. What I play comes straight from the soul - and that's what I hear in John Bonham's drumming. I've watched Bonzo on the Led Zeppelin DVD and it looks like the film has been speeded up because he's playing so fast. I don't know anyone who thinks there's a better rock drummer than John Bonham: it's undeniable!"

1. Achillies Last Stand
Presence, 1976
"This song has some fireworks, and it's a good example of Bonham's reckless side. You can tell he's taking chances as the tape rolls. There's an amazing kick-drum pattern that propels the track. And there's one fill right after the first verse that just doesn't sound humanly possible."


2. Kashmir
Physical Graffiti, 1975
"Bonham knew when to step up and shine. I love the way he lays the snare in there. It's a straight backbeat throughout the song until he pulls off a signature kick-drum triplet. he's signing the cheque right there: 'Love, John Bonham'."


3. When The Levee Breaks
Led Zeppelin IV, 1971
"That is a straight groove. It's incredible to have a rock drummer that powerful, that crazy, that bad-ass, but with a groove so smooth. It's so purely human, so fuckin' smooth, man! It's pure chocolate fuckin' sex. I could loop that track in my iPod for hours. This is the best groove of all time - better than any James Brown track.""


4. Immigrant Song
How The West Was Won, 2003
"This live version just comes right out of the gate. You know that people's jaws would have dropped. Bonham is really pushing it. He's either drunk as hell or he's just having the time of his life."


5. Poor Tom
Coda, 1982
"It makes me want to throw on a pair of cowboy boots and do a jig on a sawdust floor. It's got a nice country swing. Bonham could play pounding rock but he was just as good playing weird Meters honky-tonk shit."


6. Trampled Underfoot
Physical Graffiti, 1975
"For a big white man from England, he was pretty funky. It's a fast-forward funk beat with another machine-gun roll - so quick across the drums. His sense of funk and feel were so natural. Bonham and John Paul Jones, they had funk up their ass!"


7. No Quarter
Houses Of The Holy, 1973
"Bonham's sense of dynamic is such an esential part of Zeppelin's songwriting. He's like one big volume knob - he takes it up and down, and that is something that few drummers understand. Every producer and drummer in the world has tried to recapture the John Bonham sound, but it's impossible. Drums are an acoustic instrument and how they sound depends on how you touch them."


8. Since I've Been Loving You
Led Zeppelin III, 1970
"The swing in that song - it's just so sad and beautiful. The drumming, it breaks my heart. It's such pasionate, feel playing. The way he plays on Since I've Been loving You, it sounds like John Bonham's got the blues."


9. The Wanton Song
Physical Graffiti, 1975
"There are not many riffs better than that. It sounds like all three guys - Bonzo, Jimmy and John Paul - are trying to be John Bonham in the way they play this song. It's a wicked beat - something to fight or shake your ass to."


10. Moby Dick
Led Zeppelin II, 1969
"What can I say? Fucking Moby Dick, man! You'll never find another drummer willing to play a solo with his bare hands. I've tried and it hurts. You'd have to drink a bottle of vodka just to think about doing that. Drum solos are usually just wank, crap, but the one in Moby Dick is the greatest drum solo of all time."


From: Foo Archive
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This Month in
Led Zeppelin History

March 17, 1969 - A four-song performance is filmed for TV Byen in Denmark (aired on May 19, 1969)
March 21, 1969 - Zeppelin’s debut TV appearance on "How It Is"
March 25, 1969 - Filming session for the Supershow
March xx, 1970 - The band turns down many TV offers worth large sums
March 05, 1971 - Led Zeppelin started a 12-date "Thank You" tour for British fans, appearing at the clubs from their early days and charging the same admission prices as in 1968. The first show was at Ulster Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland where they played songs from their upcoming fourth album, including the first public performances of Black Dog, Stairway To Heaven, Going To California and Rock And Roll.
March 12, 1972 - Page and Plant rehearse some songs with the Bombay Orchestra
March 25, 1973 - Led Zeppelin finally release Houses of the Holy after production issues with the album cover
March 28, 1973 - Led Zeppelin released Houses Of The Holy in the UK. The album title was a dedication by the band to their fans who appeared at venues they dubbed "houses of the holy". Houses Of The Holy has now been certified 11 times Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for US sales in excess of 11 million copies.
March xx, 1974 - The band decide to release a double album due to the amount of left over studio material
March 29, 1975 - Led Zeppelin saw all six of their albums in the US Top 100 chart in the same week, alongside their latest album Physical Graffiti at No.1. Physical Graffiti has now been certified 16 times Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for US sales in excess of 16 million copies.
March 15, 1975 - Tickets for the Earls Court shows sellout within four hours
March xx, 1976 - Jimmy speaks with reporters mentioning the new album due out called Presence
March 31, 1976 - Presence is released
March 28, 1977 - Zeppelin arrive in Dallas, Texas to rehearse before opening the eleventh tour of the US
March xx, 1978 - Robert and John spend some time hanging around the Midlands
March 26, 1979 - Robert takes lead vocal at a Bad Company gig in Birmingham
March 04, 1980 - John Bonham makes a TV appearance on "Alright Now" with Bill Connolly
March 26, 2006 - Readers of Total Guitar magazine voted the guitar solo by Jimmy Page in Led Zeppelin’s Stairway To Heaven as the greatest guitar solo of all time. The 1971 track was voted ahead of tracks by Van Halen, Queen, Jimi Hendrix and The Eagles. On the 20th anniversary of the original release of the song, it was announced via US radio sources that the song had logged up an estimated 2,874,000 radio plays - back to back, that would run for 44 years solid.
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