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John Bonham: A Thunder of Drums Paperback – October 1, 2001


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Chris Welch is the author of numerous biographies and profiles of rock musicians, including the forthcoming Ginger Geezer: Vivian Stanshall and the Story of The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band. Welch served as chief reporter for Melody Maker, the UK's leading pop newspaper of the 1960s. Geoff Nicholls is a professional musician and writer. He wrote the award-winning BBC radio series "Byte The Music," and was the drummer/presenter on BBC TV's "Rockschool" series. Contributor to publications ranging from Melody Maker to The Independent, Nicholls coauthored Making Music's drum gear guide What Drum and wrote the acclaimed Rock Drum Method for drum manufacturer Boosey & Hawkes. Chris Welch is the author of numerous biographies and profiles of rock musicians, including the forthcoming Ginger Geezer: Vivian Stanshall and the Story of The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band. Welch served as chief reporter for Melody Maker, the UK's leading pop newspaper of the 1960s. Geoff Nicholls is a professional musician and writer. He wrote the award-winning BBC radio series "Byte The Music," and was the drummer/presenter on BBC TV's "Rockschool" series. Contributor to publications ranging from Melody Maker to The Independent, Nicholls coauthored Making Music's drum gear guide What Drum and wrote the acclaimed Rock Drum Method for drum manufacturer Boosey & Hawkes.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Backbeat Books (October 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0879306580
  • ISBN-13: 978-0879306588
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.4 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #171,490 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

The book also contains some remarkable color photos of the band on stage.
cjf
So, any drummer or rock fan who wants to understand the roots of metal and hard rock, this is one book to read.
Andrew Chapman
If you do want to know where John's greatness came from, this book is a good place to start.
D. Hawkins

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By D. Hawkins on May 29, 2003
Format: Paperback
It's nice to finally see a book that focuses on Zeppelin's secret weapon, Bonzo. Not only was he one of the greatest ever, his drum SOUND was without parallel. Reading about how he tuned his drums and other information about he got that sound was invaluable. Like another reviewer stated, too much time was spent on his pre-Zep days, and not enough as part of Hammer of the Gods era. The last chapter, with individual tracks explained was great, but it also have been nice to see some transcriptions of some of his amazing fills, etc. If you buy this book, you also owe it to yourself to buy the new Zeppelin DVD, which allows to see Bonzo in action in a serious way for the first time (it's light years better than "The Song Remains the Same."). If you do want to know where John's greatness came from, this book is a good place to start.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Christopher W. Hager on January 4, 2002
Format: Paperback
At long last an exclusive read about this genius, but it still doesn't do the trick. While I am very interested in Bonzo's pre-Zep days, and how it came to be that he joined Page, Plant, and Jones (although it's mostly well-known by now), I was hoping for an in-depth look and analysis of him as Zep's drummer, the guy I admire so much. Unfortunately, that's not in this book. What I did find was meticulous detail about his adolescent meandering through the local music scene where he lived, leaving one band to join another, and (surprisingly) dressing in somewhat of flashy manner. I wasn't expecting that. I also wasn't expecting this book to devote so much to his pre-Zep work, which is largely uncirculated, while leaving untouched much of his beloved Zep work. Granted, the analysis of select songs he played is on the money, but there's gotta be a whole lotta info about John Henry as Zep's drummer that's yet to be published. Maybe it'll be in the yet-to-be published book by his late brother? Or maybe a biography with contributions from Page, Plant, and Jones (just wishing)? Who knows. Either way, this book is long overdue for those who admire so much of what he meant to Zep's unprecedented sound, and it offers a lot of poignant insights into John that make the book well worth owning. There are also a slew of beautiful pictures that I've never seen before. Five stars is reserved for the book about Bonzo as Zep's drummer.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 5, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book is very insightful for Bonham's pre-Zeppelin years, then it kind of glazes over the Zep days. There are a few stories from Plant and Jones, but none from Page, which surprised me. There are a couple blatant and obvious errors by the author(s) which stunned me... "Kashmir on Led Zeppelin 4..." "Bonham was 31 yrs old when he died..." (he was 32). It's listed as a paperback, it is, but its appx. 10" x 12" which make the many new photos look great. I'm ready to order another one just to cut some of the new photos out.
I am a drummer and Bonham was my hero. This is a must have book for any Bonzo fan. It breaks down every Zep drum track at the end, which was pretty cool. There is a lot of "Kings English" for Yankees to decipher also. All in all, a great look at the world's greatest drummer. Worth every cent of the price.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By cjf on February 19, 2003
Format: Paperback
Obviously the best rock drummer of all time, the book includes ample information about Bonham's personal life, as well as his professional side and even his tricks of the trade.
The book is a clinic for rock drummers. Bonzo and others who worked with him, discuss how he tuned his drums, what drums he used and why, what to do and not to do about drumskins, and more.
The book also contains some remarkable color photos of the band on stage. With their dazzling light show, the photos suggest what it might have been like.
But what I can't understand is this. The book says that Bonham "drank vodka out of a bottle like water". Someone that far gone obviously needs help. With all of the people around him, did anyone try to organize a posse to get him some help?
Bonzo's alcoholizm even got to the point of interfering with rehearsals and shows, and soon after, ending his life. Did they all think they were invincible? Robert Plant's experiences in near previous years should have taught not. What a waste of an incredibly gifted musician, and a human being.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jacob R. Mcdowell on October 29, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is very good. Eventhough it doesnt talk about all the members in led zeppelin it tells about the life of the great john bonham. I started to play drums because of him. The first time i heard kashmir and when the levee breaks i fell in love with the drums riffs. if you get this book you are getting your money worths
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By T. Bien on July 28, 2006
Format: Paperback
I've bought this book along with the "John Bonham" book by Mick Bonham (See my review there as well).

I mainly bought these books because i was always impressed by John's inovating and unorthodox style. And i was strongly reminded after hearing the CD "How the West was Won" and seeing the double-DVD simply called "Led Zeppelin", what a great drummer he's been.

This is the story of the Powerhouse behind Zep, The Ludwig endorser, The hammer on the Nail, The Man and the Machine. Here it is everything you always wanted to know about his idea's, his examples (if any), his technique, his drumkits from the green sparkle to the stainles steel and of course the Amber Vistalite, All the albums reviewed by proffesionals from '69 to '79. Descriptions of all his famous tracks or should i say tricks with sticks, his triplets, paradiddles etc. But also a story of how this magical quartet got together and how they made history. Robert Plant's quote says it all:

"Bonzo was the main part of the band. He was the man whatever Page and I wrote basically work, by what he held back, by what he didn't do to tempos. I don't think there's anyone in the world who could replace him".

A Must for Rock (drummer) fans
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