Beast: John Bonham and the Rise of Led Zeppelin

C.M. Kushins. Hachette, $31 (480p) ISBN 978-0-306846-68-7
Journalist Kushins (Nothing’s Bad Luck) delivers a less-than-flattering portrait of one of the greatest rock drummers of all time, a musician whose legacy was marred by his violent reputation. He traces the tragic arc of John Bonham’s brief life, from his childhood in Worcestershire, England, to his premature death after a lengthy struggle with alcoholism. Bonham started playing drums at age five and joined his first band as a teenager. His skills attracted the attention of singer Robert Plant, who recruited Bonham into the New Yardbirds, later renamed Led Zeppelin, in 1968. Led Zeppelin went on to become one of the biggest bands in the world, and Bonham was regarded a superior arranger of music, “as one half of Led Zepplin’s powerhouse rhythm section.” But he drank excessively, threatened reporters, assaulted women, and even once pointed a gun at Mick Jagger (a frightening episode Bonham later dismissed as a joke). In 1980, after another gargantuan intake of booze, Bonham was found dead in the English home of Led Zeppelin guitar player Jimmy Page. While it may be hard to look away from, Kushins’s narrative, relying mainly on secondary sources, doesn’t provide any genuine insights into its troubled lead. Zeppelin die-hards may find this intriguing, but it certainly won’t gain the legend any admirers. Agent: William Clark, William Clark Assoc. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 07/22/2021
Release date: 09/07/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-6686-0004-7
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