For a time during the 1970s, Led Zeppelin was the biggest rock-and-roll band in the world. However, a pair of tragic deaths that occurred towards the end of the decade put an end to the band’s momentum. Join Facts Verse as we take a look at Led Zeppelin deaths that utterly destroyed the band.
Led Zeppelin released their self-titled debut LP in 1969, and quickly thereafter became one of the most notable rock-and-roll bands of the 1970s. The band consisted of lead singer Robert Plant, guitarist Jimmy Page, drummer John Bonham, and bassist John Paul Jones. Though Robert, Jimmy, and John Paul Jones have played with the late John Bonham’s son during a couple of reunion shows in the wake of the original drummer’s tragic death, the band essentially lived and died with it’s classic lineup. Unlike other classic rock bands, Led Zeppelin never switched out members.
The member of Led Zeppelin certainly had a strong sense of camaraderie from the outset, but they also had their differences. These differences grew stronger in the years leading up to the band’s dissolution. However, it wasn’t creative differences that ended up doing the band in for good. Instead, it was the aforementioned tragic death of John Bonham. Even son, John Bonham’s death wasn’t the first death that had come between the members of Led Zeppelin. Years prior to John Bonham’s 1980 death, the death of Robert Plant’s five-year-old son almost caused him to quit the band. John Bonham eventually talked him back.
In 1975, Robert Plant and his wife, Maureen, got in a car accident. Maureen nearly killed, and Robert Plant had to be confined to a wheelchair for some time. This was the year that the band released Physical Graffiti, which many consider to be their last great album. As a result of his wheelchair confinement. Robert lost a lot of spirit and didn’t bring all that much soul to the group’s 1976 album Presence. This album received much less positively than Physical Graffiti had been. And many believed that Led Zeppelin were on their way out. This ended up being the truth, though the band’s end wouldn’t come via burnout.
Two years after Robert survived their 1975 car accident, a much greater tragedy occurred. During Led Zeppelin’s 1977 tour of the United States, Robert received some terrible news from back home. His five-year-old son had passed away as a result of a stomach infection, and Robert absolutely devastated. There hadn’t been a whole lot of positive vibes on the 1977 tour beforehand. And the news of the death of Robert’s son only made things worse.
During their 1977 tour of the United States, all of the members of Led Zeppelin were knee-deep in substance-abuse habits. The worst culprits were Jimmy Page and John Bonham. Jimmy was a heroin addict, and his abuse of heroin caused him to be decidedly secretive and withdrawn. Meanwhile, John Bonham’s abuse of alcohol made him obnoxious and belligerent. Although John drunk for the entirety of Led Zeppelin’s 1977 US tour. He ended up being the only member of Led Zeppelin to attempt to console Robert Plant after the singer received his tragic news.
John Bonham also ended up being the only member of the band, besides Robert himself, who attended the young boy’s funeral. Robert especially perturbed that his longtime friend Jimmy Page didn’t show up to his beloved son’s funeral. Robert chalked Jimmy’s absence from the funeral up to the guitarist’s antisocial nature and worsening substance abuse habit. Still, Robert held a grudge.
From the 1975 car accident that left him temporarily wheelchair-bound to the 1977 death of his son. There were numerous things going on in Robert Plant’s personal life during the mid-1970s that took his focus off of his band. When you add into this the fact that none of the members of Led Zeppelin seemed to have been getting along all that well at the time. It’s not that surprising that Robert decided to call it quits on the band after returning home from the tour.
Not only did Robert Plant quit Led Zeppelin upon receiving the news of his son’s tragic death, but he also quit all of his substance abuse. Sadly, neither Jimmy Page nor John Bonham would follow suit. In fact, John Bonham’s substance-abuse habits would significantly worsen over the ensuing years, which inevitably resulted his own tragic death. However, before John’s death, he managed to talk Robert Plant into returning to Led Zeppelin and they recorded one final album. If you’re enjoying this video so far, be sure to hit the like button to show your support! Also, subscribe to the channel if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!
Although Robert Plant eventually returned to Led Zeppelin, the singer never felt the same way about his work with the band after the 1977 death of his son. In contrast to the band’s popular song title, the song didn’t remain the same. Robert had come to view much of his previous time with Led Zeppelin in a negative light. In fact, it seems that Robert began to believe that the debaucherous rock-and-roll lifestyles that he and the other members of the band had been leading karmically resulted in his son’s death.
Robert Plant returned to Led Zeppelin towards the end of the 1970s at the behest of John Bonham. Perhaps the fact that John had showed up to his son’s funeral made Robert feel some increased sense of loyalty towards the drummer. When Robert came back, the band was reborn, though it’s second life wouldn’t last for long. As already established, John’s substance-abuse habit was still worsening around this time, and it would only continue to worsen in the time leading up to his 1980 death.
In the year 1980, Led Zeppelin was preparing for another tour of the United States. They were rehearsing in England when tragedy struck yet again for the seemingly cursed band. This time, the tragedy wasn’t the death of a loved one. Instead, it was the death of one of the band’s members. Despite having successful talked Robert Plant to come back to the band towards the end of the 1970s. John Bonham seems to have become a bit disenchanted with Led Zeppelin himself by 1980. It was likely just the alcohol talking, but it seems that John had grown quite jealous of his fellow bandmates, who he felt were all more talented than him.
John Bonham’s jealousy and substance abuse were making rehearsals nearly impossible to accomplish. And Led Zeppelin were wondering if they were going to be able to perform their upcoming tour dates after all. The band members were certainly right that Led Zeppelin was about to come to an end for good. Though it wasn’t because of John Bonham’s lack of loyalty. Instead, the drummer’s worsening substance-abuse habit ended up killing him.
A few months prior of John Bonham’s death, the drummer had passed out during a show that Led Zeppelin had played in Nuremberg. The other band members ended up convincing the tabloids that the medical episode was unrelated to John’s alcohol consumption. However, they knew deep down in their hearts that John’s problem was only getting worse and that it would eventually do him in. Sadly, they weren’t able to stop him before they were too late.
Legend has it that John Bonham passed out drunk, and simply never woke up. Though an assistant for Led Zeppelin remained adamant that they had left John sleeping on his side. The drummer ended up choking on his own vomit and passing away. The remaining members of Led Zeppelin became suspicious when John didn’t show up for rehearsal the next day. John Paul Jones went to check on him, only to find John Bonham deceased. It was then John Paul Jones who had to break the news to his remaining bandmates.
John Bonham was only 32 years old at the time of his death. And he likely wouldn’t had a few more decades of rocking out in him if it hadn’t been for his nasty substance-abuse habit. The remaining members of Led Zeppelin weren’t keen on finding a full-time replacement for John. So the band came to an end. The band’s last album ended up being 1979’s In Through the Out Door. Though they sadly never got the chance to tour the United States in support of it.
Though Led Zeppelin is officially broken up, all of the former band members. With the obvious exception of John Bonham, are still alive. Every once in a while, the three remaining members of Led Zeppelin will get together with John Bonham’s son to perform reunion shows. However, all three surviving members of Led Zeppelin have moved onto other interest outside of classic heavy metal.
Though Led Zeppelin ended up coming to an end predominantly as a result of tragedy. Fans have come to view the band’s surviving members as having a lot of integrity for never trying to fully replace John Bonham. Though the band’s last two studio albums nowhere near the critical hits that their most acclaimed previous works had been. The band still ended it’s run on a high note and is considered to one of the most consistently revered bands of all time.
Given that Robert Plant views much of the work that he did with Led Zeppelin as karmically unbalanced. It’s no surprise that the singer has focusing on mellower work more recently. Robert Plant is still active in the music industry, though he makes country music instead of rock.
Led Zeppelin was a band that had one of the greatest runs in rock-and-roll history. And it all came crashing down as a result of a tragic pair of deaths. Now it’s time to hear from you: did you know that Robert Plant believes that he and the other members of Led Zeppelin had bad karma as a result of their time with the band. And that three out of four founding members of the band are still alive today? As always, like this video to show your support, and subscribe and hit the notification bell if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!