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Summary

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." 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2021 C. M. Kushins (P)2021 Hachette Books

Critic reviews

"C.M. Kushins gives us a wild, behind-the-scenes look at one of the greatest rock bands ever, and brings John ‘Bonzo’ Bonham back to life in this well-written rock classic." (Peter Leonard, best-selling author of Voices of the Dead)

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-09-21

In-Depth and Entertaining

As a long time Led Zeppelin fan and student of John Bonham's work, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Although this tells the story of Bonham, it also details the story of Led Zeppelin quite well, highlighting the stories behind all of the albums and tours. Being a drummer, I understood all of the "drum-speak" and was able to follow the nerdy descriptions of his technique and drum kits with enthusiasm. However, you don't have to be a drummer to understand the story and what is going on. I recommend this to any Zep fans, and HIGHLY recommend to all of the drummers out there.

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  • Eisen Yeo
  • 30-10-21

Dave who?

Had to find out who this dave guy is, we old folks don’t really know any crunch grunge bands. Why waste 9 minutes telling people how you feel about Bonzo? Who cares? I bought this ebook for Bonham ! WTH?

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  • Luis V. Infantas
  • 23-10-21

This book is a must for any Bonham fan.

As a drummer, I was delighted by this story. Indeed, it explains the man behind the kit. A kind soul that struggled with separation, loneliness, and the fervor of family life. John Bonham is the epitome of the rock drummer, and this book, which was narrated masterfully by Matthew Wolf, enlightens the passion Jonh felt fit drumming.
Highly recommend this audible version of the book.
Cheers!

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  • albionmark
  • 12-01-22

Story of uncontrolled excess

I debated about listening to this book, as I was a huge fan of Led Zeppelin and John Bonham, and I had heard about the debauchery that was prevalent. I knew that I would be saddened by much of the book. As a young man, I had tickets to see them twice, but they had to cancel both times.

Needless to say, the book didn't disappoint. Yes, it shows what a good and decent man John was, but, because of his drinking and drug abuse, it really showed what a mean drunk, and out of control addict, is like. Peter Grant didn't do any of the band any favors by not ensuring that he had more control over them, mainly because Grant was as much (or more) out of control than the band was.

I'm saddened by the fact that Mr. Bonham will be remembered for the beast in him, and not the family man that he wanted to be.