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The Ringo Starr stories with John Bonham

Ringo Starr


The Ringo Starr stories with John Bonham

Ringo Starr joined The Beatles in 1962, shortly before the group recorded their first album and he became one of the most influential drummers of all time. Although he is not in the first position when people list the best drummers of all time, almost all the famous drummers mention him as an inspiration because he always played what the song needed. Even though he is from an older generation, born in 1940, he was in touch with younger drummers in the late 60s and early 70s.


One of them is the late legendary Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham, who tragically passed away in 1980 at the age of 32. They were friends and had the chance to hang out many times. Over the years Ringo told many stories involving Bonham and Rock and Roll Garage selected some of them.

The Ringo Starr stories with John Bonham

One of Ringo’s best friends was the late The Who drummer Keith Moon, who coincidentally passed away like Bonham, at the age of 32, but two years earlier, in 1978. Both of them were known for their wild lifestyle, which ultimately cost their lives. As the Beatles member recalled in an interview with BBC radio in 2021, those were wild times. But he also said that despite their behavior, they were both beautiful and kind.

“Well, there were wild times, I can tell you that. Both are beautiful guys. Keith was uncle to my children, we would get derelict. A long time ago, but we would get derelict. And it just happens with John Bonham – we would get derelict. Both beautiful, emotional, loving, kind human beings. But the story of their actions is bigger than they are,” Ringo Starr said.

The funny story of when Ringo, Charlie Watts and John Bonham were hanging out

But one of the coolest stories told by Ringo was when he invited Bonham and Charlie Watts from The Rolling Stones to go to his house. The musician told that story in 2021 during a press conference. He had a drum kit up in the attic in the 70s and he went up there with both of his guests. Bonham was known for hitting the drums really hard, unlike his other two friends, so when he started to play the drum kit started to hop away from him.

“I had a drum kit up in the attic – it was like a cinema attic, music, whatever you want to do up there. Charlie came, and so did John Bonham. We’ve got three drummers, just hanging out. Bonham got on the kit. But because it was just like … you know, it’s not like onstage, where you nail them down, so they’re steady. It was just, like, there. So as he was playing, the bass drum was hopping away from him.”

“You think, ‘Ah, man! ‘That would have been a great little video, a TikTok or a photo [that] would have gone worldwide! But in the ‘70s, I had parties, and you’ll never find any photos. Because I wouldn’t let you take photos, you know, in my house. But I always think, That would have been a great shot to have,” Ringo Starr recalled.

John Bonham loved to throw Starr in the pool

For tax reasons or to live in a place where the sun shines almost the entire year, the British musicians usually moved to the United States back then, or at least had a house where they stayed for a few months. That was the case of Ringo, who lived in Hollywood, California. He recalled in a picture book called “Postcards from the Boys“, released by him in 2004, that Bonham used to go to his house all the time just to throw him in the pool.

“All these houses, all these homes. I was California dreaming. At 2 a.m., because L.A. closed down at that time of night. You could hear all the traffic coming to my house. There was a party every night. John Bonham would always get a bee in his bonnet. Wherever he was in L.A., he would drive up to my house, grab me and throw me in the pool. Day or night — he wouldn’t care. I’d be ready, about to go out and, ‘No John, no!’ ‘No, I’m going to throw you in the pool!’ He was a very good guy. Well, for a while, and then he sadly left us,” Ringo Starr said.

I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

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