Led Zeppelin: Our music was pretty radical says Jimmy Page
Led Zeppelin came together as a band in the late 1960s and soon made it big in the USA. Their lives were suddenly very different, with scores of fans queuing up to see their every show. However, it all came to an end in 1980 – but when did they break up and what happened?
Led Zeppelin broke up in 1980 after the death of John Bonham on September 25, 1980.
He died accidentally on September 25, 1980, from what is known as pulmonary asphyxiation.
The drummer was a heavy drinker, with alcohol being a vice which was a problem for much of his adult life.
According to the inquest after his death, John had drunk 40 shots of 40 percent ABV vodka, which equals almost one and a half litres of the drink, and then choked on his own vomit.
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Following his death, the band chose not to continue, unlike other bands who opted to replace band members who died.
In a statement released in December of 1980, the surviving band members said: “We wish it to be known that the loss of our dear friend and the deep respect we have for his family, together with the sense of undivided harmony felt by ourselves and our manager, have led us to decide that we could not continue as we were.”
John’s remains were laid at Rushock Parish churchyard, Worcestershire, where fans also left drumsticks in tribute to the performer.
Afterwards, the surviving band members each performed in various also and side projects, as well as releasing solo albums.
Robert Plant, the singer in the band, spoke to the Digging Deep podcast about how he was forced to write and record solo work after John’s death, which was something he struggled to deal with.
He said: “It [his track Like I’ve Never Been Gone] was my first adventure as a solo artist since I was seventeen years old.
“I was just 33 and the whole my last previous 12 years have been sort of in the warmth and occasional tepid and freezing climate of Led Zeppelin.
“So when we all lost John [Bonham], there was only one thing to do and that was to carry on, to try and carry on and distance myself if I could from the wondrous shadow of the past.”
He was also adamant the band could not continue without John, with him telling John’s son Jason about how they could never try to perform long-term without their drummer.
Jason said in 2018: “ I said [to Robert Plant], ‘I’ve got to ask you… are we gonna get the band back together?’
“And he said, ‘I loved your dad way too much. It’s no disrespect to you; you know the stuff better than all of us, and no one else who is alive can play it like you.
“‘But it’s not the same. I can’t go out there and fake it. I can’t be a jukebox.
“‘I can’t go out there and try to do it that way…’
“He told me, ‘When your father left us, left the world, that was it for Led Zeppelin.
“‘We couldn’t do what The Who did. It was too vital.’”
Since the band’s end, however, they did reunite on a couple of occasions, however, the band did not release further music.
The group reunited on stage in 1985, 1988, 1995 and 2007, with Jason playing drums for them on several of these occasions.
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