Bronze Memorial to the legendary Led Zeppelin drummer in his home town of Redditch, Worcestershire
The Early Years
John Henry Bonham (aka Bonzo) was born in the Headless Cross area of Redditch, Worcestershire, not far from the family home in Hunt End, on 31st May 1948.
He was the eldest of two sons and a daughter, Mick and Deborah, born to parents, Joan and John Henry Bonham, or Jack as he was known.
Jack,a carpenter, helped run the family business which his father, also named John Henry Bonham, established: JH Bonham & Son, a building company. John’s mother Joan, ran a local newsagents shop.
John's desire to play the drums was much in evidence as a small child when he would improvise with pots, pans and a round coffee tin beating them with knives and forks as a substitute for drumsticks!
John's parents knew that their young son had a true passion to learn to play the drums, and when he was 10 years old, his mother, Joan, bought him a real snare drum. But he had to wait another 5 years before, his parents bought him his first full drum kit - a secondhand set which John later recalled as "almost prehistoric. Most of it was rust!"
After attending Wilton House private school in Redditch town centre with his younger brother, Michael, until he was 11 years of age, John moved on to Lodge Farm Secondary School. It was the headmaster of this school, Mr Gordon Anstis who during John's final school assembly said "He will either end up a dustman or a millionaire."
By the time he left school at 16, he was playing in his first band called the 'Blue Star Trio' while working by day on building sites with his father in the family firm.
'However John was shocked to discover there were two 7 o'clocks in a day, and that he had to be up ready for work for the first one!
Copyright © Bill Ford
John aged 7