The Reason John Bonham Hated Led Zeppelin’s Reggae Song
John Bonham being interviewed by Billy Connolly - Mark Zep / Youtube
Led Zeppelin’s level of success is unparalleled by other bands. A cursory listen through their discography demonstrates that Led Zeppelin was not hesitant to experiment with different musical styles, with the band not being satisfied to use folk and blues only. Throughout their career, they had constantly stepped across genre lines to create something completely new and exciting.
However, it was probably unavoidable that some members of the band would have to make concessions and perform songs they didn’t like. John Bonham, the drummer, repeatedly voiced his opposition to changes he believed would water down the band’s signature booming sound. One song that can attest to this would be the reggae-flavored “D’Yer Mak’er.”
On the Led Zeppelin album Houses of the Holy, released in 1973, there is a track called “D’Yer Ma’ker.” The song’s title comes from the joke that the question “D’Yer Ma’ker” which translates to “did you make her?” sounds like it mentions Jamaica with a Cockney accent.
It appears that the band was unable to reach a unanimous decision on how they felt about the song, with Bonham and bassist John Paul Jones completely disagreeing with those who pushed for it to be a single – Jimmy Page and Robert Plant.
Jones revealed Bonham’s feelings towards the song in the book Led Zeppelin: The Story of a Band and Their Music. Jones expressed how the late drummer “hated reggae — he felt it was really boring.” He also “wouldn’t play anything but the same shuffle beat all the way through, and it would have been all right if he had worked at the part, but he wouldn’t, so it sounded dreadful,” Jones added. And that’s not reggae usually works for that matter.
Nevertheless, “D’Yer Ma’ker” is a fan favorite, reaching as high as No. 20 on the Billboard singles list in the U.S. You can listen to the song below.