Robert Plant Recalls His Advice To Jimmy Page About John Bonham
The singer Robert Plant recently appeared in an interview with Rolling Stone and shared what he said to Jimmy Page about John Bonham while they were playing in the Yardbirds.
In the mid-’60s, Jimmy Page joined the Yardbirds replacing Paul Samwell-Smith. He created a harmonized lead guitar line-up with Jeff Beck. After Beck parted ways, the band started to slow down as they were tired of touring and recording. Jimmy Page wanted to establish a supergroup including himself, Beck, Keith Moon, and John Entwistle at that period.
Page, Moon, and Beck recorded the 1966 rock instrumental ‘Beck’s Bolero,’ including the bassist-keyboardist John Paul Jones in the session. However, the band was never formed. Later, Page and the bassist Chris Dreja were authorized to use the name of the Yardbirds to fulfill upcoming concerts.
Initially, Jimmy Page wanted Terry Reid to join the band; however, Reid declined the offer suggesting Band of Joy’s Robert Plant. Plant accepted this request and recommended the former Band of Joy drummer John Bonham to Page. Later, John Paul Jones became the final member filling the bass guitar position. During a recent interview, Plant recalled suggesting Bonham to Page during the band’s first rehearsal.
The vocalist stated that he recommended John Bonham as his ‘dynamism‘ in playing drums was much better than the drummer he had lined up. As the rocker explained, after Bonham’s wife permitted him to attend the rehearsals, since she used not to trust Robert Plant, they started creating together. Plant noted that when they began playing, he understood how talented each of them was and was sure they would ultimately be very successful.
Robert Plant said the following, revealing his advice to Jimmy Page:
“It was when I went to the first rehearsal with the Yardbirds, and I was 19, soon to be 20. I had suggested to Jimmy Page that the drummer that he’d lined up was just nowhere near the dynamism of John Bonham and was a totally different thing altogether. And so once John’s wife finally gave him permission to come to a rehearsal — because Pat always said, ‘Keep away from Plant, because you’re just going to end up broke and in trouble’ — so when the two of us drove down to London in John’s mum’s van, which we borrowed, in that room, on that afternoon, when we kicked in with a bunch of songs that nobody really knew, ‘Train Kept A-Rollin’.’
I knew that I was in a room full of giants, really, and that was it. By 1973, what happened in that one room had exploded into some of the most adventurous non-rock rock that you could ever wish to find, and it was just the sum of the parts. Those guys were just insanely good. And it was as if everybody had just been waiting for each other with whatever happened prior to that. It was just like, bang!”
After they formed the line-up, the band initially performed in a room below a record store on Gerrard Street in London. While the band was making the cover of ‘Train Kept A-Rollin’,’ they were so impressed by Bonham’s drumming that the members instantly felt united, which explains the success they would achieve in the following eras.