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Frank Smith on John Bonham

Had John Bonham still been with us today, it goes without saying that he would be an elder statesman of rock in the same way that Jimmy, Robert and John Paul Jones are recognized to be today.

I imagine he would be retired from the music business and would be a sober and loving proud father and grandfather. He wouldn't have been flashy and capitalizing on his fame but would appreciate the genuine recognition for all that he'd accomplished.

I like to think he would be on his farm with Pat and family and perhaps, occasionally, sit in with bands to smash the skins for the fun of it.

Bonzo would also be taking an active interest in Jason's drumming, shepherding him along in drumming technique and in life.

Perhaps, in a perfect scenario, he would have done an experimental solo percussion-only album or two with Jimmy producing.

I also picture him sitting in with bands like Tool and other local bands that he respected.

Its nice to think that Bonzo would also would have sat in with aspiring drummers and given clinics at drum industry conventions.

If he were still with us today, he would cruise around town on his motorcycles and cars from his collection-occasionally showing off his latest acquisitions; a black Citroen GT and a Bugatti Veyron.

For one reason or another, Led Zeppelin would have disbanded in the mid-80's after the music business and fans no longer supported the world in which Zep existed.

Jimmy and company wouldn't want to have cheapened all they had built in the previous years and they would have quietly put the band to rest once it became obvious to all of them that they had outgrown their time.

The MTV generation would have put the band on a shelf while they danced to Michael Jackson. John Bonham in particular wouldn't have wanted to continue to seem to be a caricature of his old self and would have voted to disband Led Zeppelin.

Perhaps there would have been the occasional get-together when the time and situation felt right.

Live Aid and the Atlantic 40th show certainly would have been much better with John there behind the kit, of course.

So, it all came full circle in December 2007 when his son sat in for him. John would have been proud.

He was a man of his time.

I often wonder how he would have adapted and grown to fit into the twenty first century with plastic drums, drum machines, YouTube and auto tune. My gut tells me he would have adapted just fine while staying true to his organic drumming technique.

He is missed by legions of fans, friends and family each day.
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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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