On this day in 1980, legendary Led Zeppelin drummer, John Bonham died after choking on his own vomit. He is one of the most influential and greatest rock drummers of all-time. Enjoy the legendary live “Moby Dick” solo below:
Here are the circumstances surrounding his untimely death and the last of Led Zeppelin, according to Wikipedia:
On September 25, 1980, John Bonham was picked up by Led Zeppelin assistant Rex King to attend rehearsals at Bray Studios for the upcoming tour of the United States, the band’s first since 1977. During the journey Bonham had asked to stop for breakfast, where he downed four quadruple vodkas (roughly sixteen shots, amounting to about 2/3 imperial quart or 700 ml). He then continued to drink heavily when he arrived at the party. A halt was called to the rehearsals late in the evening and the band retired to Page’s house, The Old Mill House in Clewer, Windsor. After midnight, Bonham had fallen asleep and was taken to bed and placed on his side. Benji LeFevre (who had replaced Richard Cole as Led Zeppelin’s tour manager) and John Paul Jones found him dead the next morning. Bonham was 32 years old.
An inquest at East Berkshire coroner‘s court recorded a verdict of accidental death, the cause being asphyxiation from vomit. A subsequent autopsy found no other drugs in Bonham’s body. The alcoholism that had plagued the drummer since his earliest days with the band ultimately led to his death. John Bonham was cremated and on October 12, 1980 interred at Rushock Parish Church, Worcestershire. A cymbal sits in front of his headstone in his memory. His headstone reads:
“ Cherished memories of a loving husband and father, John Henry Bonham Who died Sept. 25th 1980. aged 32 years. He will always be remembered in our hearts, Goodnight my Love, God Bless. ”
Despite media rumors that Cozy Powell, Aynsley Dunbar, Carmine Appice, Barriemore Barlow, Simon Kirke, or Bev Bevan would join the group as his replacement, the remaining members decided to disband Led Zeppelin after Bonham’s death. They issued a press statement on 4 December 1980 confirming that the band would not continue without its drummer. “We wish it to be known that the loss of our dear friend and the deep respect we have for his family, together with the sense of undivided harmony felt by ourselves and our manager, have led us to decide that we could not continue as we were.” It was simply signed “Led Zeppelin”.