by Mick Bonham

The Powerhouse behind Led Zeppelin
The Godfather of Rock Drumming


On 25th September 1980 John Bonham, considered one of the greatest drummers of all time, died in tragic circumstances. Two months later a simple letter signed by Plant, Page and Jones, stated that they could not replace him and therefore could not continue. After nine multi-million selling albums and record breaking world tours, Led Zeppelin came to an abrupt and premature end.

To acknowledge the 25th anniversary of his death in 2005, Southbank published John Bonham a personal account of his life, by someone who knew him better than anyone – his brother Mick Bonham.

Unavailable for two years, this fitting tribute to one of the rock music greats is back in print, at a time when interest in Led Zeppelin is once again at a high point.

The book follows John’s childhood desire to play the drums, having to improvise with pots and pans until the first kit arrived at the age of fifteen, to the transition into an internationally renowned rock drummer of one of the most successful bands ever formed. Much has been written about ‘Bonzo’, good and bad, but this book (unlike others) gets closer to what he was really like, from those who knew him best.

With exclusive interviews with band members and contributions from many others that knew him, and including previously un-published photographs from the Bonham collection, this is an important tribute not only to John Bonham but also to Mick, who died soon after completing this book.

Pub Date: March 2014
Extent: 192 pp
Format: 196mm x 249mm
Colour and B&W Photography
Binding: Paperback
Price: £14.99
ISBN13: 978-1-904915-11-9
Territory: World English Language


Drumhead - March 2007

A personal account of John Bonham’s life, written by one of the few people who knew him best – his brother, Michael ‘Mick’ Bonham.

From Bonham’s childhood, the book takes us on the often frustrating journey of his rise through the Brum Band scene of Birmingham, to becoming the internationally acclaimed drummer of one of the most successful rock bands of all time.

Whether racing down the highway in his AC Cobra or driving through hedges on his chopper, working the land on one of his farms or planning a surprise party for a family member, we see a more complete picture of John Henry than previously published. A dedicated family man and true friend to many, ‘the beast,’ as Benji Le Fevre so appropriately coined him, was also a warm and very down-to-earth individual who preferred a quiet night at home to running around playing rock star.

This book reads easily and is pure enjoyment if you’re interested in Bonham, the person, and not just Bonham, the ‘God of Thunder’.

Featuring previously unpublished photos and interviews from those who were closest to him, along with plenty of gut-busting stories and anecdotes, this is a tribute not only to Bonzo but also to Mick, who died after completing this book, and before its release.

All pre-Zeppelin bands and gigs are listed chronologically and there’s a great timetable of what he did in between his tours and recordings with Zep. This is not just a book for drummers, John Bonham is a must read for all fans of Led Zeppelin and rock music in general.

Metal Hammer Magazine - Josh Harper, 2006

On 25th September 1980 John Bonham, considered one of the greatest drummers of all time, died in tragic circumstances. This book is about as close to the legendary tub-thumper as most mere mortals will get. Written by his brother, who also tragically died not long after the completion of this legacy, it features everything from unseen photos from the Bonham family album to exclusive interviews with the rest of Zeppelin.

Rhythm Magazine - February 2006

September 2005 marked the 25th anniversary of the tragic death of one of the most influential rock drummers that has ever lived. Mr John Bonham. ‘Bonzo’ was the thunderous heartbeat behind Led Zeppelin that kept them at the top of their game across nine multi-million selling albums and numerous record-breaking world tours. We’ve all heard his immense solos, lightspeed triplets and the rock solid grooves that made classic songs like ‘Good Times, Bad Times’, ‘Black Dog’ and of course, ‘Moby Dick’ as powerful today as they were decades ago.

Shortly after his death on 25th September 1980, the remaining members of the band issued a statement announcing that Bonham was irreplaceable and therefore they could not continue as Led Zeppelin, perhaps the most fitting tribute possible. Despite such a tragic and abrupt ending to sucha profound success story, Bonham left behind a legacy that burns as brightly today as it ever did. We challenge you to find an issue of Rhythm that doesn’t contain at least one drummer who cites him as a major influence. Chad Smith, Mark Richardson and Dave Grohl all hail from the school of John Bonham.

To acknowledge the 25th anniversary of John’s death his brother, Mick, set about writing a deeply personal account of the big man from his very intimate perspective to try to dispel the many myths which exist about John as a person. The result is John Bonham: The Powerhouse Behind Led Zeppelin, the newest and most compelling entry to the library of Bonham literature.

The book documents John’s childhood desire to play the drums, improvising, as we all did, with pots and pans until his first kit arrived at the age of 15, to becoming an internationally renowned and highly revered rock drummer with one of the biggest bands the UK has ever produced, right up to when the Bonham family and the music world suffered their greatest loss. Not only do you get a candid and very personal document from Mick, but exclusive new interviews with band members and others that knew him, plus previously unreleased photographs from the Bonham collection. It is a fitting tribute to John, and also to Mick, who sadly passed away shortly after completing the book.

The book is released on 1st February, priced at £12.99, and is the perfect addition to your Bonham collection. A must for fans, as well as a great introduction for those new to the world of the late, great John Bonham.

Rock Sound Magazine - James Dominic, 2006

Twenty-five years ago one of the greatest rock drummers of all time died tragically after choking on his own vomit. His name was John Bonham and he was the backbone of one of the UK’s most inspirational rock bands – Led Zeppelin. This book isn’t your typical biographical affair penned by a has-been hack. Instead, it was written by the drummer’s younger brother Mick (who’s since died himself). Consequently, it’s written with a family sentiment that makes it a passionate read and allows a far more personal look at the drummer than is usually possible. Also featuring interviews with musicians that played with ‘Bonzo’ (as he was known) prior to him joining Led Zep – this is more a celebration of a much-loved brother than a critical discussion of the ways of a rock ‘n’ roll legend.

Drummer Magazine - 2006

There is a great new book about the life and times of John Bonham, John Bonham – The Powerhouse Behind Led Zeppelin, written by his brother Mick Bonham.

Written to acknowledge the 25th anniversyar of his death, John Bonham is a personal account of Bonham’s life, written by someone who knew him better than anyone, his brother Mick.

The book follows Bonham’s life from his early childhood, right up to his sad demise and includes interviews and previously unpublished photos from teh Bonham collection. A complete Zeppelin chronology and history of the drummer’s earlier musical career is all combined into this fascinating book, which was completed just prior to Mick Bonham’s death.