Beast: John Bonham and the Rise of Led Zeppelin Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
The first full-length narrative biography of Led Zeppelin's John Bonham, considered by many to be one of the greatest drummers in rock history, and a genuine wild man of epic (and sadly fatal) proportions.
Beast: John Bonham and the Rise of Led Zeppelin is the first-ever biography of the iconic John Bonham, considered by many to be one of the greatest (if not the greatest) rock drummer of all time. Bonham first learned to play the drums at the age of five and, despite never taking formal lessons, began drumming for local bands immediately upon graduating from secondary school. By the late 1960s, Bonham was looking for a more solid gig in order to provide his growing family with a more regular income. Meanwhile, following the dissolution of the popular blues rock band The Yardbirds, lead guitarist Jimmy Page sought the company of new bandmates to help him record an album and tour Scandinavia as the New Yardbirds. A few months later, Bonham was recruited to join the band who would eventually become known as Led Zeppelin - and before the year was out, Bonham and his three bandmates would become the richest rock band in the world.
In their first year, Led Zeppelin released two albums and completed four US and four UK concert tours. As their popularity exploded, they moved from ballrooms and smaller clubs to larger auditoriums and eventually started selling out full arenas. Throughout the 1970s, Led Zeppelin reached new heights of commercial and critical success, making them one of the most influential groups of the era, both in musical style and in their approach toward the workings of the entertainment industry. They added extravagant lasers, light shows, and mirror balls to their performances; wore flamboyant and often glittering outfits; traveled in a private jet airliner and rented out entire sections of hotels; and soon become the subject of frequently repeated stories of debauchery and destruction while on tour. In 1977, the group performed what would be their final live appearance in the US, following months of rising fervor and rioting from their fandom. And in September of 1980, Bonham - plagued by alcoholism, anxiety, and the after-effects of years of excess - was found dead by his bandmates.
To this day, Bonham is posthumously described as one of the most important, well-known, and influential drummers in rock, topping best-of lists describing him as an inimitable, all-time great. As Adam Budofsky, managing editor of Modern Drummer, explained, "If the king of rock 'n' roll was Elvis Presley, then the king of rock drumming was certainly John Bonham."
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|Listening Length||14 hours and 45 minutes|
|Author||C. M. Kushins, Dave Grohl - foreword|
|Narrator||Matthew Wolf, Chris Abell|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com.au Release Date||07 September 2021|
|Best Sellers Rank|| 3,742 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
39 in Biographies of Composers & Musicians
117 in Biographies of Celebrities & Entertainment Professionals
743 in Humour & Entertainment (Books)
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But he was also an angry, violent drunk, trasher of hotel rooms, abuser of women and was needlessly aggressive and confrontational to people who dared praise or compliment him, which won him few friends; the latter bad behaviour tending to obscure his better qualities, hence the "Beast" nickname.
So what made him such a Jekyll and Hyde personality ?
In this well researched and written book, Bonham comes across as an uncomplicated man, with simple tastes, for whom family and home were of paramount importance, so, whilst the slave driving touring itineraries of Led Zeppelin's manager, Peter Grant brought both him and the other members of the band great wealth, you have to wonder if it brought Bonham much happiness, as the long periods away from his family made him desperately homesick, which allied to a fear of flying, led to him drown his sorrows in drink, which brought of the worst in him and may account for the fact that Zeppelin seldom performed outside Europe and America.
By the end of their career, his drinking was bordering on full blown alcoholism and he was seriously out of shape, though his enormous strength still allowed him to deliver in performance; the European gigs from Zeppelin's final tour, being amongst the best and most focused they had played since the early days.
However, the prospect of another lengthy US tour led him to indulge in an alcoholic bender that was of truly epic proportions, with the inevitable sad result.
He was just 28 years old when he died.
If you want to know about John Bonham then buy John Bonham by Mick Bonham