The legendary Beatle Paul McCartney is often named one of the best songwriters of all time, also being praised for his bass playing that influenced countless musicians. But, he can also play many other instruments well, like guitar, drums, keyboards, piano, what gave him the chance to record all the parts of some of his solo albums, just like his most recent “Paul McCartney III” (2020), where he played all the instruments in all tracks.
Over the decades he gave his opinion on many famous artists, including drummers. One of them is the late Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham.
Paul McCartney’s opinion on John Bonham
Talking with Howard Stern in 2020, he listed the three best drummers of all time and one of them was John Bonham. He put Ringo Starr in the first position, Bonham in the second and The Who’s Keith Moon in the third.
“I’d go Ringo [Starr] top, he’s something else. Second, I’d go Bonzo [Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham]. And third, [the Who’s] Keith Moon. That’s mine. I’m going from that generation. Those are pretty good drummers, those boys,” Paul McCartney said.
But if he was able to form a “dream band” with dead or alive musicians who were not part of The Beatles, McCartney reveaeld to the Brazilian newspaper Estadão back in 2019 that Bonham would be the drummer.
John Bonham played in the studio and live in concert with Paul McCartney
Even though John Bonham’s career was tragically cut short when he died in 1980 at the of 32, he had the chance to record with others artists outside Led Zeppelin. One of the bands was The Wings, led by McCartney. Bonham played in the demo “Beware My Love” (1975) and in two tracks of the 1979 album “Back To The Egg”, that are called “Rockestra Theme” and “So Glad To See You Here”.
During a session of Q&A with fans on Twitter in 2014, McCartney was asked what is was like to play with Bonham. Then he replied, saying: “It was fantastic! He was always on my top 5 drummer list. (It was) a great friend and ballsy drummer!”
He had the opportunity to also perform live in concert with Bonham when he joined The Wings in 1979 at the Hammersmith Odeon in London when the band was promoting the record. That show also had Pete Townshend and John Paul Jones in the band.
Bonham saw Paul McCartney with The Beatles live in concert when he was only 14-years-old
After releasing their first albums The Beatles toured for only about three years from 1963 to 1966, deciding then to be a band that only made records. So not many people had the chance to see the Fab Four playing live.
But John Bonham was one of those lucky ones, that saw them at the age of 14 as his sister Deborah Bonham recalled in an interview with Rock Talk in 2022. “John and Michael, as I was growing up, they went to see The Beatles. Mom took them to see The Beatles when I think John was 14. Michael was 12. They went to see The Beatles and she had somehow managed to get front row seats. But they couldn’t hear anything. It was just girls screaming like mad.”
“I think that was when John had decided, ‘Yeah, I want to do that.’ And he did, he ended up playing with Paul McCartney many, many years later,” Deborah Bonham said.
Led Zeppelin was the first band to be elected the best in the United Kingdom after The Beatles
Curiously, Led Zeppelin was the first band to be elected the best one from the United Kingdom after 8 years in a row that The Beatles were being chose as the greatest. Melody Maker magazine used to make that poll every year. In 1970 Zeppelin beat The Beatles and Robert Plant was also chosen as the best male vocalist.
In an interview for the British TV (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage) in that year alongside Plant, John Bonham talked about The Beatles. “It’s changing (the music), I think that’s why the awards have changed. Because the kids are changing and so is the music changing.”
“I think these days, the public you know, let’s no just say the kids, because we’ve had all sorts of people at concerts. I think they’re coming to listen to what you’re playing. Not just to look you and see what you are.”
“I remember a few years when I went to see The Beatles, because we’ve mentioned them a few times. It was to look at them. You didn’t really bother what you were listening to. Today is not what you are, is what you’re playing.”