Thursday, September 24, 2009

A time of rebirth

On September 24, 1980, John Bonham gathered with his fellow members of Led Zeppelin for the last time.

Bonham started out the day at his home, where he left his wife Pat and their children, Jason and Zoe, and immediately started drinking. He stopped off at a pub, where he downed a ham roll and four quadruple vodkas.

Then he met up with all the other members of Led Zeppelin at the Old Mill House, the Windsor home of Jimmy Page, for a rehearsal. It was their first time playing together in three months. Zeppelin's last tour had ended two-and-a-half months earlier, on July 7. So, first, there was a bit of catching up to do for Page, Bonham, John Paul Jones and Robert Plant.

When it came time to playing music together, the guys mostly fooled around. The band was excited to be back together again. They had a tour coming up in North America, so they made a plan to rehearse an arrangement of their 10-and-a-half-minute song "Carouselambra" to play on the road. The song was on their latest album, In Through the Out Door, but they'd never played it live before.

John Paul Jones remembers feeling "great excitement" during this first day of rehearsal. He said it was "a time of rebirth."

Through the day of rehearsal, Bonham kept on drinking. Heavily. Eventually, he passed out and was carried up to bed.

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