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Music

The critique Jimi Hendrix gave Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham

@josephtaysom

It’s no secret Jimi Hendrix wasn’t exactly a fan of Led Zeppelin. However, despite his less than complimentary comments about them as a unit, Hendrix did make positive affirmations about their drummer, the irreplaceable John Bonham.

Hendrix’s dislike of Zeppelin is controversial, and for many, the band are the pinnacle of rock. Apparently, the American guitarist didn’t appreciate Zep because he didn’t think they were original enough to warrant the praise they received. Furthermore, Hendrix wasn’t shy about letting people know his opinion.

In 2006, Vanilla Fudge drummer Carmine Appice remembered discussing Zeppelin with Hendrix and his less than favourable remarks. “Jimi Hendrix personally told me that he didn’t like Zeppelin because they were like excess baggage and that they stole from everybody,” he explained.

“‘You Shook Me’ was on Jeff Beck’s record. ‘Dazed and Confused’ has a bit of Vanilla Fudge on it and it has parts of ‘Beck’s Bolero’ in it. I think I was told by a member of the band that the ‘Good Times Bad Times’ riff came from Tim Bogart’s bass line.”

Appice’s claims are supported by comments made by Hendrix in 1970, when he said: “I don’t think much of Led Zeppelin – I mean, I don’t think much about them.”

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Although he conceded, “Jimmy Page is a great guitarist”. The feeling was later replicated by the Led Zeppelin man who once said: “We’ve lost the best guitarist any of us ever had and that was Hendrix.”

Despite him not being a fan of the group, Hendrix was complimentary to them when he saw them in New York, and John Bonham particularly blew him away, according to Robert Plant.

“I remember Hendrix coming up to Bonzo at a club in New York,” the singer recalled. “And in those days everybody used to jam. It was a place called Steve Paul’s Scene. It was Buddy Miles and Hendrix and [Jeff] Beck. There was loads of us. Me, Rod Stewart, people all over the place.”

He continued: “[Hendrix] came up to Bonzo and he said, ‘You know what? You got a foot like a rabbit.’ ‘Cause Bonzo’s bass drum was so [makes sound of tongue rolling]. We used to take the mickey out of people who used double bass drums.”

This incident with Hendrix is a perfect illustration of Bonham’s spectacular talents. You didn’t even have to like Led Zeppelin to understand that he was a one of a kind magician.

While Hendrix could make a convincing case for Led Zeppelin being unoriginal occasionally, that was a tag that couldn’t be hurled towards Bonham, who had ingenuity pouring out of his veins.

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