Friday, September 25, 2009

The final tragedy

On this day in 1980, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones were together in the afternoon getting ready for their next rehearsal at Page's Windsor home.

With a Led Zeppelin tour coming up in North America the following month, the band had just gathered the previous day to run over material including "Carouselambra," never played at any prior Led Zeppelin concert.

The three band members and their assistants wondered where John Bonham was. Nobody had seen Bonzo since about midnight, when Bonham was passing out on a couch. He'd been drinking all through the first day's rehearsal, throwing back "a couple of large ones every hour."

Around midnight, Page's assistant, Rick Hobbs, helped him up to his bed. He left Bonham on his side, propped up with pillows.

Now, the band sent Plant's assistant, Benji LeFevre, to check on Bonham in the room. John Paul Jones came with him. They discovered Bonham lying on his back in a pool of vomit. Jones phoned an ambulance, but Bonham was far beyond resuscitation and had apparently been dead for several hours.

Responding to the tragedy, Plant drove to Bonham's home at the Old Hyde Farm to console Bonzo's wife, Pat Bonham, and their son Jason and daughter Zoe. Jones went home to his own family, "terribly shocked," he said later. Page remained at his own house, trying to cope.

Once the news had broken across England, Page stood inside, watching at his window as a group of fans held a silent vigil outside.

1 comment:

  1. I remember when I heard the news on the radio. I was 16. I was really getting into Led Zeppelin's music in a big way. I heard about an upcoming tour and was hoping they would play somewhere close to me & that I could get tickets and hoping even more so that my parents would let me go.
    Still all these years later I find it such a tragic story. Apparently John Bonham was wrestling with some personal demons and didn't want to be away from his family. So sad. I hope he is now at peace.
    Rock on Bonzo. You sure are missed around here.

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