Joan Bonham operated a newsagents shop in Redditch and is survived by both son Jason and daughter Zoe.
Begun at an early age, he quickly turned a collection of cans into his drum kit. At 16, he joined Terry Webb and the Spiders. Additionally, he played with The Nicky James Movement and The Senators (recording one single each year).
Early Life and Education
Joan Bonham was born in Redditch, Worcestershire England to carpenter parents; while her mother managed a local newsagents store. At Lodge Farm Secondary Modern School Bonham studied carpentry while also drumming for local bands.
She was instrumental in founding Bonham High School all school reunions and continued maintaining current lists of former classmates until her passing. In addition, she was an outstanding mother, grandmother and friend for many.
Annalisa Peace describes Joan as a collector with numerous interests, particularly animals. She campaigned to change San Antonio to “The Big Tomato”. Alongside Hap, Joan co-owned several businesses including The Greenhouse and San Antonio Country as well as being active participants in local development and conservation initiatives.
Joan was an attentive mother who encouraged her son’s music career by purchasing his first snare drum when he was five. By age ten he had made himself an entire drum kit out of containers and coffee tins. He particularly admired jazz drummers Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich despite not receiving formal lessons himself.
In 1962 he started performing in local bands such as Blue Star Trio and Gerry Levene and the Avengers, before joining Terry Webb and the Spiders as his first semi-professional band.
Bonham’s thunderous backbeat perfectly fit songs such as Communication Breakdown, Stairway to Heaven and Kashmir. In the early 70s he introduced drum synthesiser technology into live performances which allowed him to access an extensive variety of percussion instruments onstage.
Achievement and Honors
Joan Bonham was an active community leader. She gave time and money to charitable causes such as the University of Toronto and Royal Ontario Museum, while also championing arts events.
Bonham was unrivaled among drummers of his era. He expanded the number of peripheral percussion instruments played during live performances, as well as being said to be among the first performers who used drum synthesizers onstage.
She is survived by her daughter Deborah and grandchildren Jason and Zoe; Jason followed in his father’s footsteps and is also a drummer; singer-songwriter Zoe has made music her own career path. Bonham had been suffering since Christmas; recently at a reunion show by the band she appeared frail.
Joan was the mother of drummer Jason Bonham, who emulated his father and found success as his own drummer. Joan herself was also an accomplished singer; daughter Debbie Bonham is renowned musician while granddaughter Zoe also drums.
She is widely acclaimed for initiating her son’s musical journey by gifting him his first drum kit at age 10. In addition, she is an ardent animal rights supporter and has donated generously to various animal-centric causes.
Joan Bonham died at 68 in December 1986 and was laid to rest in Charleston, West Virginia. She is survived by her husband William Fox Bonham as well as their son Jason Bonham (drummer for Led Zeppelin). Joan enjoyed spending time with both William Fox Bonham and Jason Bonham and always looked forward to meeting up when touring took place.
Joan Bonham was the widow of drummer and rock musician John Bonham. She was the mother of singer/guitarist Deborah Bonham as well as grandmother to Jason Bonham who follows in his father’s footsteps by being a drummer himself.
She is a retired businesswoman who previously ran a newsagents shop at Hunt End Road, Redditch. Additionally, she is known for her charity work as well as being a talented singer.
She is an active philanthropist who supports Teenage Cancer Trust and Macmillan Cancer Support charities, performing with her band at various venues and festivals in the US; recording multiple albums; as well as being an avid car collector owning several classic vehicles like Jensen Interceptors and Ferrari 400is.