If you read the first installment of Hard Rock Music Time Machine, you know that, growing up, virtually every inch of my bedroom walls was covered with posters and magazine clippings of my favorite hard rock artists. One of my favorite posters was a Led Zeppelin blacklight poster featuring the classic swan song logo. The year was 1980, and I was playing In Through The Out Door so often, that I practically wore away the grooves on the record. I dreamed of the day that I would be old enough to go see my favorite band in concert, but that day never came. On September 25, 1980, at the age of 32, John Bonham passed away, and Led Zeppelin would never be the same again.
Suddenly, the blacklight swan song poster wasn’t enough. I needed a poster that showed the entire band, more specifically, I needed to have John Bonham hanging on my wall. The day after his passing, I had my parents take me to the local record store to buy an enormous Led Zeppelin poster. The larger-than-life poster of the larger-than-life band that featured my favorite drummer was hung on the wall opposite my bed, and it remained there until I moved out of the house after college over ten years later.
Led Zeppelin’s music continues to be as relevant today to an entire generation as it was over 30 years ago, so it should come as no surprise that their most recent live album Celebration Day reached #1 on the Billboard Hard Rock Albums Chart. Sadly, many people who grew up during Led Zeppelin’s heyday (including me) never got the chance to see them in concert. If there actually was such a thing as a Hard Rock Music Time Machine, and I could use it to go back in time to see one band in concert, Led Zeppelin would be the clear choice.
Through the years, I have had the opportunity to witness quality live performances of Led Zeppelin’s music by bands like Zebra and Great White, but it just isn’t the same as seeing the original band. My closest Led Zeppelin concert experience was in 1985 when I saw Virginia Wolf (featuring Jason Bonham) open for The Firm (featuring Jimmy Page) at the Nassau Coliseum.
John Bonham has now been gone for as long as he lived, but his legend lives on as one of the greatest rock and roll drummers of all time. This summer, John will be honored by his son (Jason) on the Heartbreaker Tour when Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience opens for Heart.
If you’re like me, and you remember the exact moment that you heard of John Bonham’s passing, this is a show that is not to be missed!