Charlie Watts’ Honest Thoughts About John Bonham
via Raised on Radio / YouTube
The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin are two of the greatest rock bands of all time. As for their drummers, Charlie Watts for the Stones and John Bonham for Led Zep, they were easily considered the best among the rest.
Their methods couldn’t have been more dissimilar to one another, but they did have a passion for the blues and rock ‘n’ roll that was quite popular in the United States in the 1950s and 1960s. This passion helped them launch successful careers in the top ranks of the booming British music scene. It was asked of Charlie Watts, who would regrettably pass away in 2021, what he thought of a few of his contemporaries before he passed away, including John Bonham.
While he viewed these white bands with much uncertainty, especially in terms of being original, he also expressed his love for Black American music, especially those who spearheaded the blues scene. “A lot of white bands to me are vastly overrated,” Watts said. “I say white bands because most of the music I love to play on record is by Black American musicians, 40s and 50s stuff. When white musicians did get hold of the blues, they seemed compelled to expand it in all directions. Led Zeppelin, Cream, 15-minute versions of ‘Crossroads’.”
He also continued how his band never actually went all in to expand the blues the way these Black musicians did, except for Led Zeppelin. “The Stones never did. Zeppelin were amazing. Just the sound of Bonham and Jimmy Page was an amazing sound in itself, without anything else. And then you had the fact that they were bloody good players.”